City Lights-Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival-2008

Heather Bissonnette and City Lights are loving up Shakespeare in the summer of ’08 down at Vanier Beach.

Christopher Gaze, the Artistic Director behind Bard on the Beach, explains what makes the event so special. “What we did here at Vanier Park, essentially what was different from other places was to open the back. I’d seen this before in Edmonton, and here we really have a spectacular backdrop, the city, sea, and mountains…put the beautiful play, the great Shakespeare work, on the stage. Everyone’s under the tent, everyone’s dry, but the backdrop, of the mountains and the sea!” 

2008’s line-up saw such favourites hit the stage as: the Twelfth Night, King Leer, the Tempest, and Titus Andronicus. “On a summer’s night, there’s nothing better that we like to do than be outside…so you get to see a sunset, see some great Shakespeare…and its a huge demographic, all kinds of people sharing a great evening in the theatre,” says the director of the Twelfth Night, David MacKay. You’ll notice that these productions aren’t in keeping with a more traditional portrayal of Shakespeare, such as there being no haughty English accents, no elaborate costumes, and the plays are set in different time periods, such as the 1920s. 

“Shakespeare, in our city, in this setting, has struck a wonderful chord, a wonderful note, and…we’ve embraced it,” says Christopher Gaze.

For more information on 2009’s Bard on the Beach, visit



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