Hamlet Joins the 35th Season of Bard on the Beach

May 1, 2024, Vancouver, BC / Traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) NationsBard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival continues its 35th Season in Vanier Park with Hamlet joining Twelfth Night on the BMO Mainstage from June 13 to September 20, 2024. Stephen Drover directs his own innovative adaptation.

No play by Shakespeare has more meaningfully captivated us than Hamlet. At its core, Hamlet is a tale of revenge and existential crisis. A young prince returns home to mourn the death of his father only to uncover a dark secret he can’t ignore. His struggle to move forward with purpose awakens deep questions about life, existence, and if it’s better “To be or not to be.” As he attempts to make sense of a world that has shifted beneath him, we are invited to see ourselves in Hamlet and to consider the blurry lines around loyalty, self, and all the things that are in heaven and earth.

“This adaptation aims to dive deep into the psychological landscape of Hamlet, to capture the character’s dreams, anxieties, and struggles with stark realism,” says Stephen Drover, director of Hamlet. “The production retains the essence of the source plot while proposing to infuse it with contemporary relevance and emotional depth. By intertwining modern sensibilities and degrees of heightened realism, we intend to create a thought-provoking and immersive journey into the timeless themes of Shakespeare’s masterpiece.”

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, has returned home to Elsinore for his father’s funeral, only to learn that his mother, Gertrude, has married his uncle Claudius, who is now King of Denmark. Disturbed by this turn of events, a melancholic Hamlet continues to mourn the loss of his father and his friend Horatio brings news of a ghost that resembles the late King Hamlet wandering the grounds of Elsinore. Hamlet starts to realize that things may not be exactly as they seem and resolves to try and catch a glimpse of the ghost for himself. Elsewhere, Laertes, the son of Polonius, speaks with his sister Ophelia while preparing to return to France. He warns Ophelia to steer clear of Hamlet’s affections, and when Polonius overhears this and learns that Hamlet has been courting his daughter, he forbids Ophelia from spending any more time with Hamlet. That evening, Hamlet, Horatio, and the watchman Marcellus wait outside, where the ghost reveals himself to Hamlet as his father’s spirit. He tells Hamlet that he was not killed in an accident, but rather, murdered by his brother Claudius, and asks Hamlet to avenge his death. What happens next is a tragic saga of betrayal, murder, political intrigue, and revenge that has captivated audiences for generations.

Hamlet cast members include Kate Besworth, Ivy Charles, Evelyn Chew, Jennifer Clement, Aidan Correia, Matthew Ip Shaw, Nathan Kay, Camille Legg, Anton Lipovetsky, Chirag Naik, Christine Quintana, Munish Sharma, Nadeem Phillip Umar Khitab, Andrew Wheeler, and Marcus Youssef. Understudies for Hamlet are Charlie Gallant, Olivia Hutt, and Billy Marchenski.

Set Designer Pam Johnson has crafted a stage reminiscent of a Danish modern library. Costume Designer Barbara Clayden has constructed a contemporary costume collection reflecting the looks worn in today’s world. Additional members of Hamlet’s production team include Mary Jane Coomber (Sound Designer), Gerald King (Lighting Designer), Jonathan Hawley Purvis (Choreographer/Fight Director), Lisa Goebel (Choreographer and Intimacy Director), Alison Matthews (Head Voice & Text Coach) and Heidi Wilkinson (Head of Props). They are supported by Joanne P.B. Smith (Production Stage Manager), Jennifer Stewart (Assistant Stage Manager) and Harlow Nguyen (Apprentice Stage Manager).

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. Sponsors include: BMO Financial Group (BMO Mainstage) and Paul and Darlene Howard (Howard Family Stage), along with Hamlet Production Sponsor Odlum Brown. 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 BC Arts Council, Canadian Heritage, and the Canada Council for the Arts for their continuing support.


About Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
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.

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