Celebrating the 2023 Bard Season & 2024 Festival Lineup
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival Celebrates Its 34th Season & Looks Forward To 2024
OCTOBER 3, 2023, VANCOUVER, B.C. – Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival’s 34th Season has ended on a note of celebration, with another successful season that included four diverse plays and multiple Special Events that drew both critical and audience praise, attracting approximately 88,000 patrons over the course of the summer.
The 2023 Bard season ran from June 8 to September 30 in Sen̓áḵw/Vanier Park in Vancouver. The BMO Mainstage productions were the ‘60s-set As You Like It, brimming with love, laughter, and Beatles hits; and the critically acclaimed contemporary Julius Caesar, examining the human drive to get and hold on to power. The Howard Family Stage hosted two innovative productions: Henry V, adapted by Lois Anderson to focus on the power of love in the face of war, and the wildly successful Goblin:Macbeth, a supernatural attempt at “doing theatre.”
Bard’s beloved Special Events returned in 2023, from the Bard Fireworks Nights to Wine Wednesdays. A Pay-As-You-Like Relaxed Performances supported those who benefit from a less structured patron experience, and Family Days encouraged a new generation of young theatre patrons to discover Shakespeare and Pride Night welcomed the LGBTQ2S+ community to Sen̓áḵw and the Festival site.
In addition to its activities on the Festival site, Bard is hitting the road in the fall as As You Like It plays at Washington, DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company from December 2–31, 2023; and at Theatre Calgary from February 27–March 24, 2024.
“It is wonderful to be back at full strength,” noted Bard’s Founding Artistic Director, Christopher Gaze. “We are heartened that our patrons continue to support us, that our artists are ready and able to commit to our season’s unique demands, and that our funders and sponsors believe in all that we do. Our confidence is unshakeable that Bard’s brand of Shakespeare remains relevant to our contemporary world, and we’re excited to prepare for next Season where we can engage with diverse creators and audiences to keep Shakespeare works alive in our hearts and on our stages. The endorsement of our international colleagues and their confidence in our unique vision for As You Like It proves that we’re ‘on to something’ and we’re looking forward to connecting with new audiences in new cities to share the joy of this exceptional production.”
Adds Executive Director Claire Sakaki, “Operating as a not-for-profit cultural organization is both challenging and inspiring. This summer continued to prove that we are on the rebound from the pandemic, artistically, financially, and operationally. Our model is not without its challenges, but our people—on our stages, behind the scenes, and in our Village—carry us forward. We’re looking ahead to next season with hope and anticipation of artistic and financial success.”
In 2023, Bard advanced its mission to share Shakespeare with young people, a key part of its organizational mandate. This Season, 5,124 patrons aged 6 to 22 took advantage of the 50%-off GLOBAL BC Youth Tickets, and almost 4,821 students from 95 schools attended Student Matinees and select evening performances in June and September at a deeply discounted student price. Bard also offered onsite youth Summer Camps in July and August for ages 6-18; more than 160 participants gained experience performing and playing Shakespeare, led by professional theatre artists. The Riotous Youth program celebrated its 10th season, providing a group of four emerging artists with opportunities for Shakespearean performance along with practical experience as Bard Teaching Artists.
Bard’s volunteer cohort came back full strength to provide administrative, site, and Front of House assistance; 322 people contributed a total of 15,704 hours of service during the Festival season. Bard audience members generously contributed an astonishing $61,343 to Theatre Cares, the Actors Fund, and Bard’s own youth-education Bursary Fund, and the Festival gave over 550 complimentary tickets to various local charities and under-served communities during the Season.
Bard on the Beach gratefully acknowledges the corporate sponsors and donors who support and sustain the Festival and its programs. Support for 2023’s Season came 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 (As You Like It), The Richardson Family Foundation (Julius Caesar), BlueShore Financial Group (Henry V), and Polygon Homes (Goblin:Macbeth); 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 the charitable partner of the Vancouver International Wine Festival.
The Festival’s 35th Season includes four dynamic productions: On the BMO Mainstage, director Diana Donnelly celebrates the topsy-turvy world of Twelfth Night, packed with romance and laughs, adventure and self-discovery, set to original music by a beloved Vancouver singer-songwriter. It will play in repertory with Shakespeare’s classic tale of vengeance, love, and loss, Hamlet, adapted and directed by Stephen Drover. On the Howard Family Stage, two productions will play in repertory: The Comedy of Errors, directed by Rebecca Northan, who conceived and directed this year’s smash-hit Goblin:Macbeth, and an irreverent, footloose Measure for Measure, adapted and directed by Governor General’s Award nominee Jivesh Parasram.
“We’re very excited about our 2024 Season,” said Christopher Gaze. “With comedy, music, romance, and drama, there’s something for everyone, whether they’re a committed Shakespeare fan or have never been to the theatre before. We’re so thrilled to work with some of Canada’s finest theatre creators to present a unique and diverse season that will make you laugh, make you think, and move you deeply – all in equal parts.”
Early Bird-priced 2024 Season Packs are currently on sale and offer a substantial discount on tickets for all four plays. 2024 Flex Packs go on sale starting October 25. Single tickets go on sale in April 2024 on the Bard website or from Bard’s Box Office at 604-739-0559.
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.
A selection of photographs for media use is available on the Bard website.
Please contact Cynnamon Schreinert for password access or for post-season interviews.
Tel: 604-802-2733; email: firstname.lastname@example.org