A Midsummer Night’s Dream Opens the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
MAY 17, 2022, VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival’s 33rd season returns to Sen̓ákw/Vanier Park, and begins with the all-time favourite, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs on the BMO Mainstage from June 8 to September 24, 2022, along with two plays on the Howard Family Stage. Full details on all the productions and events are at bardonthebeach.org
“It’s thrilling to open our festival with A Midsummer Night’s Dream as we return to the Park,” said Christopher Gaze, Bard on the Beach Founding Artistic Director. “Dream was the very first production for the Festival, back in 1990, and it seems fitting to have it be our signature production as we return to our beloved Bard tents after two dark summers. This joyful story is perfect for all ages; it’s full of imagination, love and laughter and I believe it will lift the spirits of everyone who sees it. And we’re creating some unusual production elements to surprise and delight our audiences!”
Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, follows four young lovers and a troupe of stumbling actors into an enchanted wood, on a journey of discovery to find out who they are, whom they love, and why it matters. They enter an alternate world where the natural and supernatural have merged and elves, goblins, and talking trees guide the way. Dream is directed by veteran Bard director and actor Scott Bellis (director – The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2017; Bottom – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2014).
Oberon, King of the Fairies (Billy Marchenski) is upset with his Queen Titania (Kate Besworth) and commands the mischievous fairy Puck (Sarah Roa) to charm her with a nectar that causes love-at-first sight. Puck arranges for Titania to become beguiled by a simple worker named Bottom (Carly Street). Meanwhile at court, Hermia (Heidi Damayo) loves Lysander (Olivia Hutt) but her father, Egeus (Joey Lespérance), insists she marry Demetrius (Christopher Allen), who in turn is loved by Hermia’s friend Helena (Emily Dallas) – and the stage is set for confusion and chaos. The young lovers run away to the forest where Puck further entangles their affections by using the magic potion. Adding to the play’s humour are a group of hapless tradespeople – Peter Quince (Richard Newman), Starveling (Joey Lespérance), Snout (Isaac George-Hotchkiss), Flute (Munish Sharma) and Snug (Advah Soudack) – who are rehearsing a play they hope to present during the celebrations for the wedding of Duke Theseus (Ian Butcher) and the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta (Melissa Oei). Queen Titania’s fairies include Emily Bosak, Emma Miebach, Polina Olshevska, Elyza Samson, Shäolin Temrick-Young, and Anna Wang-Albini. Supporting characters are played by Genevieve Fleming, Karthik Kadam and Ashley O’Connell.
Scenery Designer Amir Ofek has created an extra-large open stage area to support the play’s dance and movement elements, with an abandoned warehouse that transforms into the magical forest – all set as usual against Vancouver’s stunning backdrop of English Bay. Christine Reimer’s costume designs range from early-1900s industrial to the fantastical. Lighting Designer Gerald King will reinforce the magic of the forest in combination with Mishelle Cutler’s sound design. Choreographer Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg and Fight Director Jonathan Hawley Purvis add movement to support the magical world. Prop Designer Heidi Wilkinson, Creative Consultant Tasha Faye Evans and Intimacy Director Lisa Goebel round out the production team. Production Stage Manager Joanne P.B. Smith is assisted by Zoe Bellis (Assistant Stage Manager) and Sharon Wu (Apprentice Stage Manager). The Directing Apprentice for Dream is Laura McLean.
Performance details and Special Events for A Midsummer Night’s Dream are:
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs Tuesdays through Sundays from June 8 to September 24 on the BMO Mainstage. Previews: June 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15; OPENS: June 16
- Bard-B-Q & Fireworks – July 23, July 27 & July 30 – See A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then enjoy a delicious barbecue with all the fixings from Emelle’s Catering, plus pre-Fireworks entertainment. End the night with a private view of the spectacular Celebration of Light fireworks; this all-inclusive package offers outstanding Fireworks-event value.
- Family Days / Relaxed Performances – July 17 & August 14 at 2pm – Family Day and Relaxed Performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream offer an open attitude towards audience members moving, making noise, and exiting/entering the auditorium freely. Age restrictions are also relaxed.
- Accessible Performances: VocalEye – August 20 at 7:30 pm & August 28 at 2pm – A Midsummer Night’s Dream on both dates.
Play ticket prices (Regular Adult) include all fees & taxes and start at $27. Prices for special events, group bookings and multi-play ticket packages can be found online at bardonthebeach.org or by calling the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559. All tickets are now on sale. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection (all seats are reserved) and because many performances sell out in advance.
Bard on the Beach gratefully acknowledges the corporate sponsors and donors who support and sustain the Festival and its programs. 2022 support comes from the Peter and Joanne Brown Foundation (Season Sponsor), BMO Financial Group (BMO Mainstage) and Paul and Darlene Howard (Howard Family Stage), along with Production Sponsors Lawson Lundell LLP, BlueShore Financial Group and Polygon Homes; Season Media Sponsors The Vancouver Sun and Global BC, as well as many other valued sponsors and partners. Bard also thanks the City of Vancouver Cultural Services Department, the Vancouver Park Board, the Province of British Columbia, the B.C. Arts Council, Canadian Heritage, and the Canada Council for the Arts for their continuing support.
Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals. Established in 1990, Bard’s mission is to create transformational experiences through exceptional theatre, training and education opportunities that inspire, resonate, and promote the exchange of ideas. As well as its annual summer Festival, Bard offers year-round education and training programs for youth, adults and theatre professionals in its administrative home at the BMO Theatre Centre in Olympic Village as well as in schools and community facilities throughout the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
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