The world will be honoring the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's passing on April 23, 2016. Joining in the global celebration is Vancouver's Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, which will stage a classic wake.
Will's Wake, hosted by Bard Artistic Director Christopher Gaze, joins together members and friends of Bard's Acting Company with Shakespeare lovers for a lively words-and-music tribute at the BMO Theatre Centre in Vancouver's Olympic Village.
Joining in the April 23 festivities will be the British Consul General in Vancouver, along with honorary guest Vancouver Deputy Mayor Heather Deal. On behalf of Mayor Gregor Robertson, she will officially proclaim April 23, 2016 as Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Day in Vancouver.
Will's Wake, which runs from 7-10 PM on Saturday, April 23 in the BMO Theatre Centre, begins with a pre-show hors d'oeuvres reception. Bard revelers will enter the BMO Theatre for on-stage readings and music. Presenters include Gaze, along with Vancouver theatre luminaries Bernard Cuffling and Dean Paul Gibson. Also presenting will be 2016 Bard on the Beach Company members Bob Frazer, Hailey Gillis, Jennifer Lines, Tom Pickett, Kamyar Pazandeh and Andrew Chown.
The presenters will not only be reading some of Shakespeare's most celebrated words, but some will be performing music during the evening. "We can't think of a better way to honor Shakespeare than by hosting this classic wake," said Gaze. "An evening full of eloquent language and sparked by music." At the end of the program, there will be live music by Jeff Gladstone & The Bad Ideas ("a Vancouver based band of scoundrels and minstrels performing songs about lost love and lost minds").
Tickets are $39, with funds going to support Bard Education programs. they're available online or by calling the Bard Box Office at 604.739.0559.
Bard on the Beach is Western Canada's largest non-profit professional Shakespeare company. Established in 1990, the annual festival is in Kitsilano's Vanier Park, located next to Vancouver's downtown core. The 2016 Festival runs June 3 - September 24 and productions include The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Pericles.