Bard on the Beach

By Natalie Grant, USA, June 2011

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In the twinkling of an eye… All that glitters is not gold… Too much of a good thing… Love is blind, and lovers cannot see… Forever and a day…

If you don’t know where these sayings come from, then you need to brush up on your Shakespeare! If you’re in Vancouver between June 2nd and September 24th there’s no better way to do so than by catching a live performance at the Shakespeare Festival in Vanier Park, near the waterfront downtown.

The two headlining shows (in the Mainstage tent) will be As You Like It, staged by David Mackay, and The Merchant of Venice, directed by Rachel Ditor. For an odd-humored flight into the forest, see Like It. If you tend to enjoy weighing in on your friends’ debates about Antisemitism, see Merchant. (For the record, all of the above quotes are from these two plays.)

In the Studio Stage you can catch Henry VI: The War of the Roses – a blend of all three Henry VI plays –and Richard III. The former is adapted and directed by Christopher Weddell, and the latter is directed by Kathryn Shaw. For political squabbles and shenanigans, see Henry; if you like pondering the existence of fate or determinism, see Richard.

Tickets run from $21 to $40. Shakespeare fanatics might be interested in the “Bard Pack” (all four plays for $145). Be sure and check the schedule of performances so you know you’re attending the right show on the right day. All seats require tickets, and no children under 6 are allowed. Broke college student in tow? You’re in luck – youth tickets can be purchased for anyone under 25.

Don’t arrive last minute; you don’t want to miss out on a picnic in the Bard Village an hour before or the free “In A Nutshell” educational talks taking place before each performance (25 minutes before Mainstage shows, 15 minutes before Studio Stage shows).

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts” (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII).

Photo by David Blue, courtesy of Bard on the Beach

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