In September 2012, the Vancouver International Wine Festival Society announced that its new charitable beneficiary would be The Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. VanWineFest has energized Vancouver’s wine and food scene since 1979, while also raising more than $8.5 million for the performing arts; we are dedicated to celebrating the inspiring creativity of vintners, chefs and artists.
Vision: To create an enduring contribution to the cultural fabric of the community as an inspiring centre of Shakespeare performance, education and understanding.
Celebrating its 28th season in 2017, Bard on the Beach is the Vancouver International Wine Festival’s charitable beneficiary. One of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals, Bard’s home is a magnificent waterfront setting in Vancouver’s Vanier Park where it offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas and special events in two modern performance tents every summer. The 2017 season, running from June 1 to September 23, opens with Much Ado About Nothing on the BMO Mainstage, directed by John Murphy. Playing in repertory with Much Ado About Nothing will be The Winter’s Tale, directed by Bard Artistic Associate Dean Paul Gibson. The Howard Family Stage will feature The Merchant of Venice, directed by Nigel Shawn Williams, alternating with The Two Gentleman of Verona, directed by Bard Artistic Associate Scott Bellis. The 2017 festival will also feature a limited-run production of Shylock by Mark Leiren-Young in September, which will complement The Merchant of Venice.
In addition to its plays, the Festival offers opera, choral and orchestral concerts, wine tastings and educational events. The tented Bard Village is home to many activities and amenities including informal pre-show In A Nutshell talks, concession and bar services, and the Bard Boutique.
Bard engages a team of exceptional actors, directors, designers and technicians each season, along with year-round administrative staff and teaching artists; it is also supported by more than 250 volunteers each year. Bard’s critically-acclaimed plays repeatedly draw full houses; season attendance surpassed 100,000 in 2016 and more than 1.4 million patrons have enjoyed the Bard experience since 1990.
Through its constantly expanding community outreach, Bard hosts the popular Young Shakespeareans Workshops for youth and teens at the site during the summer and Bard in the Classroom workshops for students and teachers during the school term. In 2014, it launched the Riotous Youth program to provide further Shakespearean theatre education to some of its summer workshop graduates.
Bard on the Beach is extremely proud and honoured to be the Wine Festival’s charitable recipient. The partnership is invaluable, helping Bard maintain its signature high artistic standards and educational programs while at the same time keeping its programming affordable for hundreds of thousands of local residents and city visitors. For more information, visit Bard on the Beach.