Each summer, kids and teens take to our stages, harnessing their imaginations and making Shakespeare their own through Bard Summer Camps. As they explore Shakespeare’s text, they’ll also have the chance to work with professional Teaching Artists from the theatre community. This year, our fantastic Teaching Artist team will include Scott Bellis, Andrew Wheeler, Diana Donnelly, and Ming Hudson from our 2024 Company.

We’re always happy to see returning faces each summer, and sometimes, we even have the pleasure of seeing Summer Camps alumni come back as part of our Company! In today’s Bard Blog post, we spoke with alumni Christine Quintana and Chris Ross-Ewart about their experiences in Bard Summer Camps. We also had the chance to chat with Raugi Yu, who taught Chris almost ten years ago—and is now working with him this Season in Measure for Measure!

Christine Quintana 
Twelfth NightHamlet: Actor

What was your experience in Bard Summer Camps?  
My summers as a “Young Shakespearean” were some of the most beautiful times of my life as a young person. I fell in love with theatre at Bard on the Beach after seeing A Midsummer Night’s Dream with my school, and I couldn’t believe that I got to work and play on the same stage, with the company members I’d just seen in the shows. I still have vivid memories of working on The Tempest and Hamlet in my “Young Shakespeareans” group! Feeling that I was part of something that I loved so much was so powerful for me. And—in hindsight—I must have been an insufferable keener. I cringe thinking about how excited and eager I was. I wish I could say I’ve changed, but…

How does it feel to be back at Bard again, making your debut as part of our Mainstage Acting Company? 
Just the other night I got a message from an old friend who I did “Young Shakespeareans” with many many years ago, who said, “How surreal to have just seen you on the Bard stage so many years later.” Surreal is the right word! It’s been a long-held dream of mine that I never thought would come true, and having been a patron for so long, I know what a special experience it is for the audiences to come to Bard. It has been so powerful performing to school matinees and knowing that perhaps somewhere out there in the house, a young person’s dream of a life in the theatre is being sparked.

What would you say to a parent or young person who is interested in Bard Summer Camps? 
Whether or not you want to become a professional actor, the [Bard Summer Camps] are so fun and so full of important life skills, like learning how to use your voice, share your ideas, and how to read and research text. It’s also just so much fun, and so wonderful to be on the beautiful land at Sen̓áḵw in the summertime. I’m also so glad to know the Bard [Access Fund] exists, to make these classes accessible to anyone who wants to come and play. The wonderful teaching artists at Bard are ready to welcome everyone.

Chris Ross-Ewart 
Measure for Measure: Sound Designer

What was your experience in Bard Summer Camps? 
I was enrolled in my first [Bard Summer Camp] when I was 8 or 9 years old. I loved the experience and went back every summer until I was 16. I loved being on a big stage, with support from the very cool and supportive Teaching Artists and getting to feel what it was like to be in the performance of a play. I remember thinking it was really cool we got to [get a glimpse of] backstage and see everything that happened behind the scenes too!

How does it feel to have been in Bard Summer Camps with Raugi as one of your Teaching Artists, and to now be working together on Measure for Measure
Raugi was a Teaching Artist in my first summer when I was a child, so it’s amazing to now be a professional theatre artist and to return to the place where I got my first taste of theatre-making alongside Raugi, who taught and encouraged me so many years ago. I always remembered Raugi from that summer and really appreciate how positive he made that experience for me. I’m only where I am today because of the mentorship and support of so many amazing people and Raugi was right there at the start of my journey. Thanks Raugi!

What would you say to a parent or young person who is interested in Bard Summer Camps? 
Making theatre is a beautiful thing for a young person to engage in. You collaborate and learn social skills, develop confidence and strength, learn about vocal and physical expression, and come out feeling very empowered. I think it’s a great way to enjoy the summers in Vancouver, and it’s really cool to get experience being on stage at Bard. I think every child should have a chance to play around at Bard; it’s an amazing resource in the city and one of the best ways to experience the thrills and excitement of live performance.

Raugi Yu
The Comedy of Errors & Measure for Measure: Actor

What has your experience been as a Teaching Artist for Bard Summer Camps? 
My experience has been one of deep learning and amazement. I started teaching “Young Shakespeareans” in 1998, and the bulk of my teaching was every summer until about 2010. I taught youth from 6 years old to 18 years old. In that time, I learned so much about myself and about how to communicate to young people and to see Shakespeare through the unclouded and clear lens of a person who was yet to experience some of the more challenging aspects of life as an adult, and it was indeed beautiful and truthful.

How does it feel to have taught Chris Ross-Ewart when he was in Bard Summer Camps, and to now be working with him on Measure for Measure
It feels joyful to be working with Christopher at this time, in this way. It is a very full circle moment for me. Chris was a regular at the Bard Summer Camps and I had the pleasure of running his workshops many times. Chris was very dedicated then with his care and love of Shakespeare and he is very dedicated now with our sound design and attention to detail and story. Christopher is super talented and everyone should be banging down his door to hire him. I am very honoured to be working with Chris.

What would you say to a parent or young person who is interested in Bard Summer Camps? 
I would say give your young person a chance, at least once, to experience it. They won’t regret it. It is a beautiful and enriching experience. The instructors are top notch and so is this Festival. Your young person will not only learn how to perform Shakespeare, but they will also learn about themselves—and maybe even a little about how the world works.

Huge thanks to Christine, Chris, and Raugi for chatting with us! If you haven’t already, get your tickets now to see the phenomenal work they’re doing this Season. To purchase your tickets, visit our Season Schedule or call our Box Office at 604-739-0559 from 12pm–6pm daily.

Inspired by Christine and Chris’ stories? There are still very limited spots remaining for our 2024 Bard Summer Camps! To learn more, visit our Bard Summer Camps page or email Education Manager Katie Johnstone at [email protected]. Financial support for Bard Summer Camps is available through the Bard Access Fund.