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Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival


“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, his acts being seven ages.” -William Shakespeare

Bard on the Beach is Western Canada’s largest professional Shakespeare Festival. It has an annual attendance of more than 90,000 patrons, and is held in the Bard Village in Vanier Park from mid June to mid September in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Festival celebrates its 25th season in 2013.

Bard Village

The Bard Village is a lively gathering space for patrons to socialize prior to the performances. The Village has a concession, bar services, a gift shop and box office. The Village is open one hour prior to curtain. Performances are held in two tents in a unique setting on the waterfront. The 742-seat main stage tent is open-ended giving the audience a spectacular backdrop of mountains, sea and sky. The Douglas Campbell Studio Stage tent seats 240 and its two repertory productions run from the end of June through September.


Bard on the Beach offers a range of educational opportunities through performances, workshops, downloadable resources and special events. The Society’s aim is to promote an enthusiasm and passion for Shakespeare’s characters, language and stories. Bard on the Beach provides opportunities for students, teachers and lifelong learners to enhance their experience of Shakespeare’s plays through:

  • Bard in the Classroom (Workshops for Students)
  • Bard Explored Lecture Series
  • Bard Unbound (Workshops for Teachers)
  • Student Matinees
  • Young Shakespeareans Workshops


Bard on the Beach is my favourite summer festival. The popular Bard-B-Q & Fireworks Celebration and the Celebrating Red & White wine tasting event sell out every year. I have attended numerous performances, and recommend tickets be purchased early in the season before they sell out.

Two other well attended events are the Chor Leoni Men’s Choir and Opera & Arias. The Chor Leoni Men’s Choir will entertain you with song from James Bond epics to the Full Monty, from Bollywood to La Cage au Folles and South Pacific. In a concert full of humour and fun, be prepared for a madcap ride as Chor Leoni takes you to the movies.

Opera & Arias features an assortment of scenes from Bizet’s Carmen and The Pearl Fishers, Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman, Delibes’ Lakmé, Gounod’s Faust and Romeo and Juliet, and Thomas’s Hamlet. This costumed concert series on the BMO main stage showcases gifted young stars of the UBC Opera Ensemble with instrumental accompaniment by members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.


Bard on the Beach began as an Equity Co-op in the summer of 1990. The Festival was funded primarily by a Canada Council Explorations grant that was awarded to Artistic Director Christopher Gaze. With this funding and support from patrons, Christopher and a company of actors whom he had directed in Under Milk Wood at the 1989 Vancouver Fringe Festival, staged A Midsummer Night’s Dream as an Equity Co-op production in a rented tent in Vanier Park. More than 6,000 people attended. Following the success of the Festival, the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society was founded in the fall of 1990.

Picnic at Bard

Bard’s official caterer, Emelle’s Catering Ltd, offers pre-ordered picnic services to theatre patrons. From simple bagged snacks with sandwiches, veggies and cookies to dramatic gourmet picnics. You can enjoy your very own feast in Bard Village. Order your picnic directly through Emelle’s 48 hours in advance and you can pick up your picnic in the Village one hour prior to showtime. Bring a blanket, it can get chilly in the evening, and you will want to use the blanket for your picnic.

2013 Plays

  • Twelfth Night
  • Hamlet
  • Measure for Measure
  • Elizabeth Rex
7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Amy #

    The costume part takes so much effort including the fabric, designs,and colors in considering with the story and history, we don’t normally think too much about it.
    That is a wonderful video. Thank you so much for sharing, Patricia!

    May 6, 2013
    • Thanks Amy, Bard on the Beach is a favourite summer festival of mine. I hope you can catch a show on your next visit to Vancouver.

      May 6, 2013
  2. Reblogged this on Texas Poetry and commented:
    Patricia Jordan has one of my favorite blogs. I always find a worthy reblog on her site. This fellow is great in verbally relating Shakespeare, perhaps the greatest poet of all time.

    September 5, 2013
    • Thanks so much John. You are my favourite poet!

      You are right about Christopher Gaze, he is a remarkable actor.

      September 8, 2013
      • Your comments always me feel special as a man and especially joyful in what seems many dark days lately. Thank you so much for your support of my poetry work, especially thank you for supporting me as an individual.

        September 8, 2013
      • I hope your days are brighter!

        September 12, 2013
      • Thank you for your comment my dear friend.

        September 13, 2013

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