Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Brings Back Live Theatre After Two Dark Summers
APRIL 20, 2021, VANCOUVER, B.C. – Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival’s 33rd Season returns to Sen̓ákw/Vanier Park, after two years of dark stages in response to the pandemic, and all tickets are now on sale for three plays and special events in this year’s Festival, which runs from June 8 to September 24, 2022.
Bard’s single BMO Mainstage production is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s best-loved comedy, filled with laughter, love and magic. On the Howard Family Stage there are two innovative productions: Djanet Sears’ Harlem Duet, a powerful drama with connections to Othello, and Romeo and Juliet, the timeless story of two young people who risk everything for their love.
“It’s thrilling for our Festival to return this summer and we are busy preparing three incredible productions to welcome our patrons back to Sen̓ákw/Vanier Park,” said Christopher Gaze, Bard on the Beach Founding Artistic Director. “It’s time again for laughter and magic and to that end, A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be our single production on the BMO Mainstage. This joyful production is perfect for all ages and is designed to lift the spirits of everyone who sees it. On the Howard Family Stage, our two productions highlight Bard’s commitment to artistic innovation in theatre; they both feature powerful stories told in a unique way.”
The season begins on June 8 with Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It 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).
The Governor-General’s Award-winning drama Harlem Duet is a powerful story about passion and betrayal, with links to Shakespeare’s Othello. It imagines Othello with a first wife, Billie – the woman he married before Desdemona. Their story plays out in three key eras in the American Black Experience: 1860, before the US Emancipation Proclamation; 1928, during New York’s Harlem Renaissance; and in post-civil rights 1997. Harlem Duet is directed by versatile actor-director Cherissa Richards (Stratford and Shaw Festivals).
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is the timeless story of two young people who fall deeply in love in spite of their families’ bitter conflict. Their passion – and Juliet’s courage – have inspired young and old through the centuries and all over the world. And now more than ever, the story of a feud between “two households alike in dignity” leaves us with the hope that even the world’s greatest wounds can be healed through love. This production of Romeo and Juliet casts a particular light on Juliet’s point of view; it’s directed by Anita Rochon, Co-Artistic Director of The Chop Theatre.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream – June 8 to September 24 – Opening Night June 16
- Harlem Duet – June 15 to July 17 – Opening Night June 21
- Romeo and Juliet – August 3 to September 24 – Opening Night August 9
- Bard Explored – June 25, July 9 & August 13 at 11am – Simon Fraser University’s Paul Budra leads lively explorations of the Season’s three plays.
- VSO at Bard: Marvellous Music – June 8 – The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra plays favourite classical masterpieces under the direction of VSO Concertmaster Nicholas Wright.
- 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.
- Operas & Arias: A Celebration! – September 12 & 13 – Talented young stars of the UBC Opera Ensemble return to Sen̓ákw/Vanier Park to perform some of opera’s best-loved repertoire on the BMO Mainstage. Afternoon and evening performances on both dates.
- Forum – Challenging Shakespeare – June 28 at 7:30 pm – Discover how theatre artists are approaching the opportunities and the pitfalls when they use Shakespeare as a catalyst for new works that speak to our world today.
- 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.
- Wine Wednesdays – July 6, August 3 & 17 at 6pm (pre-show event). Enjoy the scenic view from our Marquee tent while you sip and savour BC wines, presented by industry experts and special guests.
- 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 go on sale April 20. 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.