Bard on the Beach is a staff and volunteer-run registered theatre organization with the festival running its season through May-September of each year. They have a wealth of resources for adults and children alike, including a youth summer camp that is coached by professional actors. The theatre group performs the timeless tales of Shakespeare in beautiful Vanier Park in English Bay. We sat down with Emma Lancaster, Director of Marketing and Communications, in order to learn more about the group’s dedication to celebrating the work of Shakespeare in Vancouver fashion.
Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.
Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest Shakespeare Festivals and a beloved Vancouver institution. In addition to our May-September season in Senakw/Vanier Park, Bard Education provides opportunities for participants of all ages, cultural backgrounds, genders, neighbourhoods, abilities, and personalities to be creative, collaborative, and courageous as they express themselves through Shakespeare. We celebrate individual identity while nurturing compassion and collaboration through Shakespeare’s language and stories.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Pens hearts, expands thinking, and builds community through the power of storytelling. Inspired by Shakespeare and our rich cultural landscape, we create magical theatre experiences and transformative learning opportunities for 100,000 people (or more!) per year. We also engage hundreds of talented artists, artisans, technicians and year-round administrators.
When did you start/join it?
What made you want to get involved?
Bard’s reputation for producing quality productions and its commitment to equity and inclusion on its stages, and its administrative practices
What was the situation like when you started?
Like most live arts presenters, we’re slowly recovering from the pandemic and the restrictions that prevented gathering. But Bard weathered the storm.
How has it changed since?
As we get further away from that time, things are looking up every day! Audiences have returned to our stages, our summer camps for kids are back, and our education team can deliver programs in person, rather than virtually.
What more needs to be done?
We have some work to do to break people’s habits of sitting on the couch for two years. In a broader context, we need to spread the word that Shakespeare is accessible, and can provide insight into contemporary issues. His work can also be just plain fun!
How can our readers help?
Get tickets to our season this year! Watch our educational videos on YouTube! Make a donation to support our activities.
Do you have any events coming up?
We run on our two stages at Vanier Park until September 30, 2023, with 7-8 shows per week.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
UNYA! (Urban Native Youth Association). They support youth on their journeys by amplifying and celebrating their voices. Their vision is for Empowered Indigenous youth leading and inspiring all Nations.