VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 16, 2013) - Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival will mark its 25th anniversary in 2014 with a season that runs from June 11 to September 20. To celebrate, the Festival is presenting two audience favourites on the BMO Mainstage: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, directed by Dean Paul Gibson (Bard Associate Artistic Director) and THE TEMPEST, staged by Meg Roe. These silver anniversary season presentations will be re-imaginings of Gibson and Roe's hugely successful 2006 and 2008 productions, cast with a mix of familiar and new faces and bringing back the magic of those two remarkable runs. On the Douglas Campbell Studio Stage, Bard will present a bold, physical adaptation of Shakespeare's CYMBELINE, performed by six actors and directed by Anita Rochon (Chop Theatre). Alternating with Cymbeline is EQUIVOCATION, a co-production with Victoria's Belfry Theatre, written by contemporary playwright Bill Cain and directed by the Belfry's Artistic Director Michael Shamata.

"We are very excited to celebrate our 25 years of bringing Shakespeare to life in Vancouver", said Artistic Director Christopher Gaze. "To salute that legacy, we are revisiting two productions that our audiences truly loved. They'll be refreshed whilst retaining their charm and wonder. It is our birthday gift to Vancouver as we and the rest of the world celebrate the 450th anniversary year of Shakespeare's birth. Add to that the Studio Stage's bold production of Cymbeline, performed in repertory with Equivocation, a play outside of Shakespeare's canon, and we have an anniversary season program that encompasses Bard's evolution throughout the years. I'm thrilled and confident it will be a landmark season."

There will also be a series of 25th anniversary special events and celebrations, creating an inviting reason to return to Bard for the thousands of people, both artists and patrons, who together have created the Festival's exceptional history.

Bard's 2013 Season Ends With Increased Attendance

The 2013 Bard on the Beach season ended on September 14, and 89,000 patrons attended its events - up 3,000 from 2012 and over a 2-week shorter run. The romantic comedy Twelfth Night, directed by Theatre Calgary's Dennis Garnhum, played in the Mainstage Theatre tent in repertory with the iconic tragedy Hamlet, directed by Kim Collier. In the Studio Stage tent, Bard's New Orleans-themed production of Measure For Measure directed by John Murphy played alongside Canadian playwright Timothy Findley's Elizabeth Rex, directed by Rachel Ditor.

Bard presented its usual roster of signature special events in 2013, including three Bard-B-Q & Fireworks evenings which drew a record number of patrons, the Bard Explored Lecture Series and the Celebrating Red & White wine-tasting event. The Shakespeare's Rebel Book Launch and Sword Fighting event, which launched C.C. Humphreys' latest novel in Canada, drew a new, enthusiastic audience to the Festival. The acclaimed Opera & Arias series offered Viva Verdi!, a concert staging of Giuseppe Verdi's most beloved works; that series is presented annually as a co-production and features members of the UBC Opera Ensemble and the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, directed by Nancy Hermiston with conductor Les Dala.

Bard's programming continues to entertain and educate students and youth, as thousands of elementary and secondary school students and their teachers attended Student Matinee performances in June and September this year. Bard in the Classroom, an in-school workshops program, continued over the past year and offered workshops in schools throughout the province of BC. The lively, interactive Young Shakespearean Workshops, which bring young people age 8 - 18 to the Bard site each summer, drew 240 participants.

One of the most important ingredients in Bard's continued success is its enthusiastic and loyal volunteers, who deliver a wide range of services, from administrative work to front of house duties. In 2013, Bard's volunteers collectively contributed more than 11,000 hours of their time.

Updates on Bard on the Beach's 25th Anniversary Season will be posted regularly at Bard on the Beach is Western Canada's largest professional Shakespeare company summer festival presented annually in Kitsilano's Vanier Park, adjacent to Vancouver's downtown core. Bard productions are staged in open-ended tents on the waterfront against a stunning backdrop of mountains, sea and sky. Tickets will go on sale in April 2014 and will be available through the Bard website or by calling 604-739-0559. Connect with Bard on the Beach on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact Information:

Cynnamon Schreinert
Twitter: @CynnamonS