A ‘60s-Inspired, Beatles-Infused As You Like It Launches the 34th Season of Bard on the Beach
The Beatles are Back at Bard on the Beach
April 20, 2023, Vancouver, BC / Traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations – Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival launches its 34th Season in Vanier Park with the return of the ‘60s- inspired, Beatles-infused production of As You Like It. Enjoy Shakespeare blended with The Beatles hits in this romantic comedy conceived and directed by Daryl Cloran (As You Like It, Shakespeare in Love). This production broke Bard box office records in 2018 and has since toured North America to ecstatic reviews.
“We are delighted to bring back the most successful production in Bard’s history,” says Christopher Gaze, Bard on the Beach Artistic Director. “This glorious musical is filled with tunes beloved of all generations. It will touch a vast range of people and become an inspired gateway into the magic of Shakespeare.”
“From ringside to the middle of the forest, the cast will be performing all The Beatles songs live,” enthuses director Daryl Cloran, who also adapted the work to incorporate the Beatles’ music. “The songs we’ve chosen lend themselves perfectly to the Shakespearean text. The evolution of The Beatles through the ‘60s is reminiscent of the free-spirited journey of the play’s main characters and the social and cultural evolution of Vancouver during that time. Touring this production across Canada and the United States has been incredible but I’m thrilled to return to Vancouver with this hilarious production, where audiences will feel a real connection to the Okanagan.”
As You Like It cast members, returning and new actors, include Henry Beasly, Scott Bellis, Sharon Crandall, Oscar Derkx, Ben Elliott, Alexandra Lainfiesta, Jennifer Lines, Matthew MacDonald-Bain, Andrew McNee, Naomi Ngebulana, Evan Rein, Chelsea Rose, Emma Slipp, Marco Walker-Ng, Andrew Wheeler and Sally Zori. Understudies for As You Like It are Jennifer Copping, Andrew Cownden, Olivia Hutt, and Matthew Ip-Shaw.
“We have an incredibly talented group of performers who are putting all of their skills to use throughout this production, whether it’s singing, dancing, playing in the band or wrestling” says Cloran. “We’re working with choreographer and fight director Jonathan Purvis to literally bring audiences ringside, with an homage to the excitement of All-Star Wrestling in the ‘60s in Vancouver, including a pre-show wrestling match; then we transform the stage into the forest of the Okanagan. I can almost guarantee that audiences will be leaving the theatre this summer with joy in their hearts after experiencing this blending of Beatles music and Shakespeare’s words.”
Set Designer Pam Johnson will transform the theatre into a ringside spectacle and Okanagan Forest. Inspired by the fashion of the ‘60s, from conservative to free-spirited, Costume Designer Carmen Alatorre will be packing a decade of styles into the production. Musical Director Ben Elliott and Sound Designer Peter McBoyle will weave the music of the Beatles through the story and lead castmates in live musical performances of the songs performed by musicians Henry Beasley, Ben Elliott, Evan Rein, Isaiah Terrell-Dobbs and Sally Zori.
Additional members of As You Like It’s production team include Rick Boyton (Creative Consultant), Gerald King (Lighting Designer), Jonathan Purvis (Choreographer/Fight Director), Melanie Yeats (Intimacy Director) and Alison Matthews (Head Voice & Text Coach). They are supported by Joanne P.B. Smith (Production Stage Manager), Jennifer Stewart (Assistant Stage Manager) and Yuting Yue (Apprentice Stage Manager).
SPECIAL EVENTS for As You Like It include:
- The crowd-pleasing Bard Fireworks Nights, where patrons enjoy a performance of As You Like It followed by a catered picnic dinner, a performance by Coastal Wolf Pack, and guaranteed, spectacular views of the Celebration of Light. Fireworks evenings are July 22, 26 & 29.
- Two matinee performances of As You Like It are designated Family Days, encouraging a new generation of young theatre patrons to discover Shakespeare and the Sen̓áḵw/Vanier Park festival experience. Special pricing and kids’ activities are in effect July 16 & August 20.
- Bard Pride Night returns for its second year, which includes early site access for special activities to celebrate Pride with the Bard Family on June 24.
- Patrons seeking a less structured experience are invited to join us for a Relaxed Performance of As You Like It. July 1 at 2pm. This performance is also “Pay As You Like.”
Ticket prices for all regular play performances start at $30 CAD and are available now. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection, as many performances sell out in advance. The full performance schedule and event details are on the Bard website at bardonthebeach.org. To book tickets, order online through the Bard website or call the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559.
Bard on the Beach gratefully acknowledges the corporate sponsors and donors who support and sustain the Festival and its programs. The 2023 Season Sponsor is the Peter and Joanne Brown Foundation, returning with its vital support for another year. Production sponsors include BMO Financial Group (BMO Mainstage) and Paul and Darlene Howard (Howard Family Stage). The Production Sponsor for As You Like It is Lawson Lundell LLP. Season Media Sponsors include 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.