Bard on the Beach relies on an incredible team of staff, Company members, and volunteers to help put on our Festival every summer. We are so excited to continue our People of Bard series, which will spotlight just some of the wonderful individuals who make our work possible. If you missed our last spotlight on Assistant Head of Wardrobe and Head of Backstage Wardrobe, Melissa McCowell, you can read it here.

This week, we’re excited to be highlighting our amazing Director of Marketing and Communications, Emma Lancaster! Emma joined Bard on the Beach just before the start of our 2023 Season, and her years of experience working in the performing arts meant that she brought a wealth of knowledge and insight to the company. We’re so lucky to have her at the helm of Bard’s marketing and communications initiatives, and we’re thrilled to be speaking with her today.

Emma in the Bard Village during a Boutique event.

Can you tell us about your current role and what brought you to Bard? 
I am the Director of Marketing and Communications. I started in February, which was a wild time to join Bard! The marketing team’s busy time begins around then, and it was a really fun time to join the company. I had been consulting and freelancing, and there were very few organizations that I was willing to cast that aside for – Bard was one of them. So when I saw the position posted, I went for it.

What do you enjoy the most about your role?
So much has changed in my 30 years of doing this type of work – some of it for the better, some of it for the weirder. My favourite thing about the decline of traditional media and the rise of digital tools is that the ability to tell our own story is in our hands. We don’t have to wait for a media outlet to do it for us. Our email newsletter, this blog, our social channels – all of them are an opportunity to shine a light on different aspects of what we do, and hopefully deepen people’s experiences when they come to a Bard production. I love that!

What were you looking forward to the most this Season? 
Honestly, figuring out how it all works together and what we, as the storytellers of the company, can do to support our colleagues in other departments. I was also really stoked to connect with our incredible volunteer team, some of whom have been around since year one. And, obviously, I was excited to see the shows multiple times and watch them evolve and change as the Season went on.

Do you have a favourite memory so far from your time at Bard? 
This is a bit of a weird one, but one of the things I did this Season was attend the technical dress rehearsal with our photographer and videographers to try to get a handle on what the “moments” are that we need to capture. This Season, at Julius Caesar’s tech dress, it was FREEZING cold, and the ambient soundscape (shout-out to Kate Delorme. Incredible work.) was so ominous and creepy that I had shivers down my spine. It’s very different when the theatre is full of people!

I also loved meeting a patron who couldn’t find a parking space for Bard Fireworks Night, so I was willing to give up my space to her. She was so delighted she gave me a big hug and a vegan chocolate bar – it felt like a very Bard interaction. In a plot twist, someone different left the lot and Deb Pound, one of our incredible long-time volunteers, stood in the empty space for my new friend, so I didn’t have to leave. I did get to keep the chocolate though. Score!

When you aren’t helping to put on a Festival, what do you like to do in the summer?
Ugh, summer is NOT my season. I am a fall gal, so I am looking forward to some downtime in my favourite weather. I love to knit, and there’s nothing better than a nice hot drink, knitting, and a cozy night in. But! I took this summer off dragon boating, not knowing how all this would go (also I dislocated my shoulder, but that’s another story), and am hoping to get back to it next year.


Thanks so much for chatting with us, Emma! Be sure to stay tuned for more instalments of our People of Bard series in the weeks to come.