Bard on the Beach 2011

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The Basics

Who? What? Where? Why?

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Expand your knowledge of Shakespeare before the Festival begins

Precisely When?

Schedule and program information



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Need to Know

June 2 – September 24, 2011

Where: Vanier Park, Kitsilano (nearest street address: 1695 Whyte Avenue)

The Plays: This season, Bard on the Beach has massively increased its seating capacity. In the newly expanded Mainstage Tent: As You Like It and The Merchant of Venice are playing. On the Studio Stage: Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses (a condensed version of the Henry VI plays) and Richard III. For schedules and tickets click here.

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Learn More About Shakespeare

Expand your knowledge of Shakespeare before the season begins with a series of free lectures hosted at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre. Mary Hartman answers everything you wanted to know about Shakespeare but were too afraid to ask April 20, and SFU’s Dr. Paul Budra delves deeper into the playwright’s signature charm May 24.

Every Show: Before the curtain rises, expand your knowledge of Shakespeare by listening to a free on-site educational talk. These discussions take place before every performance this season (excluding previews), 15 to 25 minutes before the night’s performance begins.

Tuesdays Only: Learn more about the play you’ve just enjoyed. After each Tuesday evening performance, there is a free question-and-answer session with members of the cast.

Select Saturdays: Ask questions, share your insight, and build your knowledge of this season’s four plays at the Saturday Morning Talk Series. June 25 and July 23 are devoted to The Merchant of Venice. July 16 and August 6, As You Like It. August 13 and September 3, Henry VI. And August 27 and September 17, Richard III. Latter refers to discussion date, former references lecture date. Tickets $10 each.

July 11: Noted scholars Errol Durbach and Graham Forst join members of the Bard company in an exploration of moneylending in Shakespeare’s England on this Monday evening only. Tickets $10 each.

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This Year’s Performances

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As You Like It In this merriest of comedies, Shakespeare draws on his signature themes of disguise, misplaced affections and pastoral passion. The setting is ripe for romance when Rosalind, daughter of the banished Duke, runs away in disguise with her cousin Celia to the Forest of Arden. There they meet a pair of feuding brothers and Rosalind, who is masquerading as a young man, finds herself uniquely poised to teach her unknowing suitor Orlando the way to win a woman’s heart. Offering their own commentary on life and love are the melancholy Jaques and the wry clown Touchstone.

The Merchant of Venice Portia and Bassanio find true love for the first time while the moneylender Shylock and the merchant Antonio are locked in deadly battle, driven by prejudice and the desire for justice. Loyalties and values are famously put to the test when a ‘pound of flesh’ becomes the price of a failed contract, and young lovers conspire to win lasting happiness.

Henry VI: The War of the Roses After King Henry V’s sudden death, England is shattered by a struggle between the rival houses of York and Lancaster, represented by the white and the red rose. Naïve and godly, King Henry VI struggles to pacify a nation in turmoil as rabble-rousers and ambitious relatives take turns trying to overthrow the ineffectual King. In this rousing new adaptation of Henry VI, Parts I, II & III, Christopher Weddell distills the trilogy into a single thrilling narrative filled with dirty politics, illicit romance, family violence – and witchcraft.

Richard III Shakespeare’s popular Richard III delivers the closing chapter in the epic struggle between the houses of York and Lancaster for the ultimate prize – the English crown. Physically deformed and transparently amoral, Richard, Duke of Gloucester is one of the world’s most sinister and fascinating villains. He murders his way to the throne while manipulating not only the court around him but the audience itself. Relative or friend; man, woman or child – no one is safe from Richard’s relentless intent until the long exiled Henry Tudor arrives to claim his right to rule.

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