The 2016 Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival opens with Romeo and Juliet. Photo & Image Design: David Cooper & Emily Cooper.
The 2016 Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival opens with Romeo and Juliet. Photo & Image Design: David Cooper & Emily Cooper.

Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival opens its 27th season in Vanier Park in June with a production of the timeless romantic comedy, Romeo and Juliet, directed by Kim Collier.

The Festival’s summer-long celebration of Shakespeare continues on alternating nights with the Festival’s Jessie Award-winning 2012 production of the comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor.  An audience favourite that features the live performance of popular 1960s music, the production sees the return of director Johnna Wright and many of the original actors.

The Merry Wives of Windsor returns to the BMO Mainstage
The Merry Wives of Windsor returns to the BMO Mainstage. Photo & image design by David Cooper & Emily Cooper.

Over at the Howard Family Stage, two of the Festival’s best-known, and award-winning, actors make their directorial debuts. Bob Frazer directs the tragedy Othello, setting the play’s jealousy and manipulation amidst the racism and violence of the American Civil War.

Bob Frazer directs a production of Othello set during the American Civil War. Photo & image design by David Cooper & Emily Cooper.
Bob Frazer directs a production of Othello set during the American Civil War. Photo & image design by David Cooper & Emily Cooper.

On alternating nights, Lois Anderson directs a mythical and exotic setting of Pericles, Shakespeare’s adventurous tale of a hero’s quest to find love, family and the meaning of life.

Lois Anderson directs a production of Pericles. Photo & image design by David Cooper & Emily Cooper.
Lois Anderson directs a production of Pericles. Photo & image design by David Cooper & Emily Cooper.

Along with the four plays, Bard on the Beach will also feature the return of some favourite concerts and special events including the popular Bard-B-Q & Fireworks. Also returning this year is Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, this year with Mane Stage, an evening of popular hits from the likes of Cyndi Lauper and David Bowie, mixed with some Canadian classics from Spirit of the West and Gordon Lightfoot.  The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra takes up residence for a third year with Live at Bard.

New this year are the Festival’s Salon Series which will feature panel discussions on what it takes to bring Shakespeare from “the page to the stage”.  This new series is in addition to the Exploring Shakespeare Talks, which takes an in-depth look at the four Shakespeare plays being present this year.

The 2016 Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival runs June 3 through September 24 under the iconic red and white tents at Vanier Park.  Visit http://bardonthebeach.org for tickets and information.