The Best of the Bard

Rumour has it Summer officially started at 7.30 this morning. I know, I know…. You can hardly tell at the moment. Just read Remy’s post from earlier today! For me however, the start of summer is marked every year by going to Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival for the first time. For theatre lovers like myself, there are few things like Bard on the Beach. And as I have gone to at least one show every year for the past 6 years, I have learnt a few things about how to get the most out of the experience. These are just a few simple tips on how to make the most of your night at Bard on The Beach. I won’t be spilling all my secrets about Bard, but this will definitely get you started.

The site opens 40 minutes before showtime. I recommend being there at least one hour before that. Take a blanket, pick up some food, soak up the ambience of sitting in spectacular Vanier Park with other like-minded theatre goers. As you are in Vancouver, your food options are endless. My personal Bard fave is Rocky Mountain Flatbread in Kitsilano. However, if you don’t want to cart in your food, Bard also offers pre-ordered Bard themed picnic services. The folks next to us in line had them, and they looked pretty tasty.


An Epic Battle in Antony and Cleopatra (photo: David Blue)

As to why you should be there that early? Bard is General Admission seating, so if you are there early, you can ensure that you are able to get a fantastic seat. While it is true that there are no “bad” seats under the tents, it is also true that not all seats are created equally. Some are better than others. My preference is 4-6 rows from the top, in the centre section. Why?

The open back of the stage is an integral part of what makes Bard on the Beach such a spectacular experience. To watch the sun set, see the boats and birds and bikes and dogs go by in Vanier Park, to witness the lights of the city…… there is nothing like it in the world. If you are at the front you miss some of this. And considering on Saturday I was sitting directly in front of Artistic Director, Christopher Gaze – I will take that as a stamp of approval for my seat suggestions ;)

Antony and Cleopatra (Andrew Wheeler & Jennifer Lines) (photo: David Blue)

As for the show itself? I saw Antony & Cleopatra and it was magnificent. Passionate & dramatic & romantic. I was also completely blown away by the lighting and costumes. Golden, soft tones… simple, yet stunning costumes. It was so lush and beautiful. I am hoping to also go and see Henry V at some point during the summer. My inner geek can’t miss the chance to see Alessandro Juliani (Felix Gaeta from Battlestar Galactica) in the title role. Do not judge me…….


Alessandro Juliani in HENRY V (Photo: David Cooper)

Bard is celebrating its 21st season this year. Get your tickets early as shows normally sell out! See you in the park!

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