Prepare to be swept away with romance and cry tragic tears on Vancouver’s iconic Granville Island. One of my favourite summertime destinations in the city is playing host to Carousel Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s beloved Romeo and Juliet.
It’s outdoors, it’s wonderfully dramatic, and, best of all, it’s free!
For twenty-six years, Carousel Theatre for Young People (CTYP) on Granville Island offers a summer Teen Shakespeare Program (TSP). Admission auditions occur in January, with selected teens (thirteen to eighteen-years-old) later taking part in a six-week intensive training program, the culmination of which is the mounting of a Shakespearean play. They learn how to move on stage, project their voices, develop their dramatic characters, as well as gain overall confidence in their performing abilities.
This year, they’re performing Romeo and Juliet until August 12, 2017, at Granville Island’s Performance Works Outdoor Stage in Ron Basford Park. The play is directed by head instructor Mike Stack and Associate Instructor Kayla Dunbar and features the acting talent of Bronwen Bente, Atticus Cseh, Sofia Day, Fiona Goldberg, Amitai Heyl, Finnegan Howes, Daisy Hulme, Aijaz Karim, Lucy Layton, Saige MacKenzie, Fox Mutual, Julia Pante, Pascale LaRiviere, Maggie Stewart, and Simon Wilcox. Costumes are by Kiara Lawson and production design by Nicole Weismiller.
Fans of (or newbies to) the play can look forward to a tale of two star-crossed lovers who struggle to be together against the prejudice and the hate of their rival family clans. The play is a suitable choice for the teen theatre group since Romeo and Juliet are adolescents trying to reconcile their independent desires with their parents’ strictures.
The TSP’s annual production is always a treat. Audiences get to support budding actors in an outdoor space that leverages the natural setting as the backdrop. As the sun sets and the ‘theatre space’ darkens, Romeo and Juliet will find their love become so perilously complicated that they will be forced into desperate measures to preserve their passion.
The performance is free, so get there early if you want to snag seats. Otherwise, Premium Seating is available for pre-booking at $ 5 per seat, with the option of add-ons, such as a blanket (extra $ 1) and/or a hot dog (extra $ 5). August 8 is a “Relaxed Performance,” geared towards audiences (eg those with autism or sensory and communication disorders) that would benefit from a more relaxed viewing experience.
More info and premium seating bookings can be found on-line.
Audience members can make a night of it on Granville Island by grabbing a bite before or after the performance. Restaurant options include Bridges Restaurant, Dockside Restaurant, Edible Canada Bistro, The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, The Sandbar, and The Vancouver Fish Company Restaurant & Bar.