Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival continues its 30th Anniversary Season in Vanier Park with the opening of the Howard Family Stage with a bold, new staging of All’s Well That Ends Well.
Co-directed by Johnna Wright (The Merry Wives of Windsor, 2016) and Rohit Chokhani (Artistic Director, Diwali in BC), this year’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well transports audiences to an India on the cusp of independence in 1946.
“Placing the story of All’s Well That Ends Well in this setting reaffirms the global appeal of Shakespeare,” explains Wright. “This new environment has opened up a complex journey of identity and discovery, as Helena examines her relationship with her own culture.”
Adds Chokhani, “Setting the play in India allows us to look at where we are at as a society now and endeavour to make Shakespeare more accessible across cultures and languages. It has been both exciting and challenging to interpret this play in a new context, augmented by music and movement. It’s given us an opportunity to explore the complexities that exist in this diverse country of India.”
Wright and Chokhani have placed this production during a pivotal moment in India’s history. With the end of British colonial rule, there is an opportunity to explore issues around colonization, privilege, identity, culture, race and gender. “It has been an exciting journey to collaborate with artists from such richly different backgrounds, practices and perspectives,” says Wright.
“Working with our team of South Asian dancers under the choreography of Poonam Sandhu and with the music of Ruby Singh, we are creating a rich production allowing us to bring audiences to India, while also celebrating Shakespeare’s appeal over centuries and his plays’ capacity to be placed in different settings,” adds Chokhani.
The cast of All’s Well That Ends Well are Bernard Cuffling, Veenesh Dubois, Lucia Frangione, Jeff Gladstone, Nathan Kay, David Marr, Ashley O’Connell, Sarena Parmar, Pam Patel, Nadeem Phillip, Munish Sharma, Edmund Stapleton alongside dancers in the ensemble Andy Kalirai, Shannon Karan, Gunjan Kundhal, Priya Pranjivan and Talia VandenBrink.
Set Designer Pam Johnson has designed a thrust stage inspired by the story’s many locations in India, complemented by Costume Designer Carmen Alatorre’s designs which highlight the cultural diversity of India in the 1940s. This period of time in India is also enhanced by the soundscapes created by Composer and Sound Designer, Ruby Singh, evoking the landscape and emotional atmosphere of the country in 1946. Additional members of the production include Poonam Sandhu (Choreographer), Alan Brodie and Conor Moore (Lighting Designers), Paneet Singh (Apprentice Director and Creative Cultural Consultant), Kimira Bhikum (Assistant Set Designer), Sophie Tang (Assistant Lighting Designer), Sophie Wallace (Assistant Costume Designer), Alison Matthews (Head Voice & Text Coach) and Nutan Thakur (Hindi Dialect Coach). The Stage Management team includes Joanne P.B. Smith (Production Stage Manager), Jennifer Stewart (Assistant Stage Manager) and Zoe Bellis (Apprentice Stage Manager). Full cast and crew details available here.
Dates of note for All’s Well That Ends Well include:
All’s Well That Ends Well – June 26 to August 11, Opening Night June 30
Exploring Shakespeare – July 13 at 11am, presented by Simon Fraser University’s Paul Budra
Bard-B-Q & Fireworks –July 27, July 31 & August 3: play performance plus dinner and entertainment
Talkback Tuesdays – From July 2 through to August 6, join members of the cast for lively Q & A sessions after each Tuesday evening performance
Wine Wednesdays – July 10 & August 7 at 6pm (pre-show events)
Ticket prices include all fees & taxes and start at $26 for all regular play performances. Youth Price tickets, sponsored by Global BC, are available for patrons ages 6 to 22, at 50% off regular adult prices. Prices for special events, group bookings and multi-play ticket packages can be found online at www.bardonthebeach.org or by calling the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection (all seats are reserved) and because many performances sell out in advance.
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