June is beckoning, and for theatre lovers in the Lower Mainland, that can only mean one thing: it’s Bard on the Beach season again.
Burnaby talents will be front and centre when the 29th season of the popular Shakespeare festival returns to the tents at Vancouver’s Vanier Park.
Nicco Del Rio, who grew up in Burnaby, is one of the featured actors on the mainstage this year, appearing in both As You Like It and Macbeth.
Owen Belton, a Burnaby resident, is the sound designer for Macbeth, and Amanda Testini – another homegrown Burnaby talent – is the choreographer for Timon of Athens.
Also returning to Bard is Lois Anderson, a Cariboo Hill Secondary graduate who's directing this year’s production of Lysistrata – an adaptation of Aristophanes’ comedy created by Anderson and Jennifer Wise.
Anderson is a familiar name for Bard-goers – among other honours, she earned a Jessie Award for Outstanding Direction for her direction of Pericles in the Bard’s 2016 season.
Beyond the Burnaby talents, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the festival this year – not the least of which is the appearance of celebrated Canadian actors Ben Carlson and Moya O’Connell as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Carlson has been a featured player at both the Stratford and Shaw festivals for the past two decades, and O’Connell has been at the Shaw Festival for the past 10 seasons. Macbeth opens June 17.
It alternates on the mainstage with a 1960s-inspired, Beatles-infused version of As You Like It, opening June 22.
On the Howard Family stage, audiences can enjoy female power with a reinterpreted Timon of Athens, starring Colleen Wheeler, and a new adaptation of Lysistrata.
Plus, of course, the summer will be full of the usual roster of special events: Bard-B-Q and Fireworks nights, Opera and Arias, Wine Wednesdays, Chor Leoni’s Mane Event and Family Nights.
See www.bardonthebeach.org for all the details and to book your tickets.
NOTE: This story was updated June 11 to include information about Lois Anderson.