Bard on the Beach 2012

Bard on the Beach performs Shakespeare with the northern mountains as a backdrop. Photo: Tourism Vancouver

Summer theatre season kicks off a little early this year with Bard on the Beach—Vancouver’s beloved annual Shakespeare festival—returning for 2012 this Thursday, May 31.

One of the largest Shakespeare festivals in Canada and a summer tradition for many Vancouverites (our own Suzanne Raikes goes every year), Bard on the Beach is famous for the high-calibre of its performances as well as its eye-popping location: set at Vanier Park, Bard’s two main stage tents have open-backs, allowing the majestic northern mountains and Vancouver city views to function as the literal backdrop for its plays.

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Bard on the Beach 2012

Vancouver International Children’s Festival 2012 Starts May 29

"The Itch of the Golden Nit" at the Vancouver International Children's Festival 2012.

A massive crowd-pleaser since its inception in 1978 and one of the largest children’s festivals in all of Canada, the annual Vancouver International Children’s Festival returns to Granville Island with six-days of theatre, live entertainment, puppetry, music, and more from May 29 – June 3.

The theme for 2012 is “Celebrate Our Stories,” and along with traditional theatrical techniques (on-stage shows), the Festival engages audiences of all ages with innovative performances on Aquabuses (!), in and around Granville Island’s duck ponds (the inspired “Quack Attack”), through hands-on activities, and with cooking classes at Edible Canada.

Highlights of the Vancouver International Children’s Festival 2012 include:

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Vancouver International Children’s Festival 2012 Starts May 29

Vancouver International Burlesque Festival 2012

Photo: Vancouver International Burlesque Festival

Burlesque has a unique place in adult entertainment today. It’s “naughty” but still “nice” because, with it’s tongue-in-cheek sexiness and (frequent) inversion/subversion of gender tropes, it appeals to women as much as (if not more than) men, and to people across the sexuality spectrum. There’s a subversive element to the best of today’s burlesque, and that makes it as exciting to watch as it is titillating.

To catch some of the very best burlesque, check out the 7th annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, May 3- 6, 2012: three nights of bawdy theatrics, humour, dance, and showmanship with some of the best local and international burlesque performers around.

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Vancouver International Burlesque Festival 2012

Find Vancouver Theatre Listings with Online GVPTA Vancouver Theatre Guide

For theatre and arts lovers, it’s hard to know how to react to the shocking and sad news that we’ve lost the acclaimed Vancouver Theatre Playhouse Company (it announced its closure on March 9 and held its final show on March 10). But there is one way we can help Vancouver theatre at large, and that’s by enjoying and supporting the myriad theatre productions and companies still producing remarkable shows on our local stages.

One of the best ways to keep up with current and upcoming Vancouver theatre productions is via the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance (GVPTA). Dedicated to promoting live theatre in Greater Vancouver, the GVPTA includes more than 100 organizational members from 11 Lower Mainland municipalities (theatre companies, theatre schools, venues and others), as well as many individual artist members. Their website has a perfect-for-bookmarking listing of “What’s On in Vancouver” in their online Vancouver Theatre Guide.

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Find Vancouver Theatre Listings with Online GVPTA Vancouver Theatre Guide

Tonight We Dance! Vancouver International Burlesque Festival 2011

There are few things that combine fun, tongue-in-cheek humour and sexiness in a way that appeals to women as much as (or maybe even more than) men better than burlesque, which may be why the old art form has seen such a resurgence over the last decade. If you haven’t been keeping up with Vancouver’s lively burlesque scene, this is the weekend to get give it a try.

The 6th Annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival is three nights of bawdy theatricality featuring local and international performers in seven shows at two different Vancouver venues, the Rickshaw Theatre and Vogue Theatre.

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Tonight We Dance! Vancouver International Burlesque Festival 2011

Bard on the Beach: Sneak Peak at Shakespeare’s Birthday Breakfast

Bard on the Beach's Anthony & Cleopatra from the 2010 Season

For many Vancouverites, summer just isn’t summer without at least one trip to Bard on the Beach, the Shakespeare theatre festival at Vanier Park that uses the beach, sea and mountains of English Bay as its back drop for acclaimed live productions of the Bard’s best-loved plays.

If you’re one of the many theatre-lovers that can’t wait for Bard on the Beach’s 2011 season to start—it runs from June 2 – September 24, 2011—you’re in luck: you can catch a sneak preview of the 2011 season at Bard on the Beach’s celebration of Shakespeare’s 447th birthday May 5 at the Sheraton Wall Centre in downtown Vancouver.

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Bard on the Beach: Sneak Peak at Shakespeare’s Birthday Breakfast

Bard on the Beach June 10 – September 25, 2010

Photo © Bard on the Beach

As Suzanne pointed out a few weeks ago, summer in Vancouver is the time for outdoor theatre and music concerts, and one of my favourites is the annual Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.

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Bard on the Beach June 10 – September 25, 2010