The actors take to the stage — Photo courtesy of Bard on the Beach
When the warmer weather hits, Vancouverites start to feel the buzz of summer's imminent arrival.
But there's one other indicator that lets locals know summer is coming: Bard on the Beach's large white tents in Kitsilano's Vanier Park.
Now with more than 25 years under its belt, Bard on the Beach is Western Canada's largest Shakespeare festival, and it's a wonderful and totally different way to spend an evening in Vancouver.
Bard on the Beach is Western Canada's largest Shakespeare festival — Photo courtesy of Bard on the Beach
Bard on the Beach was created in 1990 with the mandate to provide locals and tourists with affordable, accessible, top-quality Shakespearean productions. And suffice to say, they have succeeded in that department.
Bard on the Beach's founding (and current) Artistic Director Christopher Gaze brings many accolades and plenty of experience with him to the stage. He frequently both performs and directs Bard on the Beach. It's safe to say that the audience is in very good hands and will thoroughly enjoy these performances.
The setting of these performances is unlike anything you have been a part of before. The performances take place on stages that set up in Bard Village. In the village are full concession and bar services, education events and the Bard Boutique. It opens an hour before the curtain, so get there early, enjoy a drink and mingle before the show.
The Mainstage Theatre tent seats 733 people, and it's open-ended so that you can enjoy stunning views of Vancouver's mountains and ocean set behind the actors. As the sun sets, prepare yourself for a stunning sunset.
The Douglas Campbell Theatre tent seats 240 people, and it's here on the Howard Family Stage that audiences can enjoy an intimate production of Shakespeare's lesser-known plays.
Bard Village is right on Vancouver's Seawall, so why not hop on a bike and cycle to the show? Bike to Bard and use their lock-up areas. They'll also provide complimentary coffee or tea from the concession stand.
Shows run from June to September. This year's Shakespeare plays include The Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Love's Labour Lost and Shakespeare's Rebel by C.C. Humphreys. You can view the schedule and purchase tickets online.
Groups of 12 adults or more save 15% off select adult prices. Want to take the kids? Bard on the Beach offers youth pricing for those aged six to 22 years old. There are matinees to check out, but evening shows start at 7:30 p.m.
While the professional actors are a joy to watch, they work after the curtain goes down by helping encourage and foster local youths who are interested in theatre through the young Shakespearean workshops: kids aged eight to 18 have the opportunity to enroll in the workshops, where they learn from the company's professional actors.
Bard on the Beach is a unique and fun addition to Vancouver's nightlife during the summer months, and it's worth checking out.