Langley’s Bard in the Valley tackles drama

Local thespians are invited to audition for one of Shakespeare’s best known tragedies based on true events.

Julius Caesar is the selected play for Bard in the Valley’s 2014 season and auditions will be held at the Douglas Park Recreation Centre at 1 p.m. on March 30 and 7:30 p.m. on March 31.

The production will again be directed by Darcy J. Knopp who also directed The Comedy of Errors last year and performed in previous Bard in the Valley plays.

Diane Gendron is the producer of this year’s performance as in the past.

With a wide cast of characters with traits ranging from power-hungry to loyal, valiant to ambitious, 15 to 16 actors will be chosen for the production.

Auditions are by drop in and those interested should attend the sessions at the Douglas Park Recreation Centre.

Bard in the Valley will provide an outline of the production as well as explain about performance expectations and rehearsal commitments.

Auditioning actors will perform a “cold read” at the sessions where hard copies of headshots and resumes are to be submitted with an audition form. Digital copies will not be accepted.

Once actors are selected, rehearsals are planned for Sunday afternoons, Monday evenings and possibly another weekday evening starting in early April.

Performance dates run from July 1 to Aug 3 at different venues throughout Langley.

President’s report 2013

A successful fourth season

Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, directed by Darcy J Knopp and produced by Diane Gendron, was well received by the more than 2000 people who attended the 14 performances. In the four years Bard in the Valley (BIV) has been presenting their summer plays, 9000 people have come to see our performances. As in past years, this year’s audiences were treated to a show that was well presented and full of fun – thanks to the vision of the director, the talented actors, the hardworking and knowledgeable technicians, the enthusiastic, creative and supportive crew and production team and generous sponsors and supporters.

Director, Darcy J Knopp, chose to set this play in a modern-day casino giving the audiences a completely different experience from BIV’s previous three productions which were set in Shakespearean time. The music and costume choices also reflected this modern era.

The number of performances increased from 10 in previous years to 14 in 2013 because BIV was invited to give four performances at the Township 7 Winery in July. In addition to those four performances, Bard in the Valley staged eight performances on the Spirit Square Stage at Douglas Park and two at Willoughby Park in conjunction with the International Festival. As in previous years, we were extremely lucky with the weather and none of our shows were rained out.

Once again, thanks to our sponsors and supporters, there was no admission fee charged for the performances on the Spirit Square Stage and the International Festival. This means many people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a live theatre production, let alone a Shakespearean play, come to see our shows. Whole families come bringing their blankets, chairs and picnics, and spread out on the lawn in front of our stage to watch the show. And people who don’t want to travel into Vancouver to see a play, or can’t afford to go to a play in the big city can, and do, come to see BIV’s productions – many of them from the area immediately surrounding Douglas Park (an area that includes many social housing complexes).  

All the members of the BIV team, from the producer to the director, stage crew, costume designer, lighting and sound technicians and actors, are volunteers. Their dedication, commitment and talent make BIV’s outdoor theatrical experience in Langley a reality.

Many audience members have told BIV cast and crew that attending a Bard in the Valley play has become a welcome summer tradition for their family.

The Bard in the Valley team and the audiences who come and enjoy our productions wish to thank our wonderful and generous sponsors and supporters: The City of Langley, The Langley Times, The Rotary Club of Langley, The Township of Langley, 24/7 Security, Tourism Langley, Coast Capital Savings, Benjamin Moore – Langley’s Decorating Centre, MediaLink Graphic Design, Heart Sage Healing, Deloitte, The Waterstone Law Group,  93.7 JRfm, The Township 7 Winery, The Langley Arts Council, Laureate Alpha Epsilon, Aldergrove Elks Club 66, Staples Langley, Jim See Trucking and Ella’s.

Bard in the Valley’s Youth Theatre Program

With a grant from the City of Langley, Bard in the Valley partnered with the Langley Players Drama Club to create a one-week summer theatre workshop for 15 children ages 10 to 15. The workshop was held at the Langley Players Drama Club theatre giving the young participants a true and real theatre experience which included lights, sound, costumes, professionally done make-up plus the excitement of waiting in a green room while the theatre auditorium filled up with patrons.

The camp registration filled up as soon as the workshop was listed so BIV added an assistant to help the camp leader and was then able to offer the theatre workshop experience to more youth and give work experience as a theatre camp leader to a youth in the community. This position was offered to one of the 16 youths registered – a 15 year old with extensive theatre experience. She accepted and being home schooled, she was able to add this toward the work experience credits necessary in high school.

The camp had 15 participants and a waiting list of 16. Out of those 15 participants, 7 presented as youth at risk.  Youth at risk, defined by the Government of Canada in their Youth at Risk Programs, is any youth being disadvantaged.  Examples of disadvantages could be but not limited to:  raised in a single parent family, presenting with a physical limitation, being from a recently immigrated family, English as a second language, homelessness, addiction to drugs or alcohol.  

The fee for registering for the week was set at $50 per participant. Any family in which this amount was a hardship were exempt from payment. Two families requested exemption.

Parents were given receipts of payment so they could claim the cost when filing their income tax.

Workshops delivered were:  plot development, character development, team work, auditioning, improv theatre games, voice/body/presentation, costuming, make-up, set design, set decoration, lighting design, sound design, team work in rehearsals. All culminating in an hour-show for family and friends called “The True Story of the Trojan Horse.”

The positive feedback received from the participants and parents, during and after the camp, indicated this camp was a great success for all involved.

BIV’s 2014 production – celebrating Bard in the Valley’s fifth season

The play Bard in the Valley is presenting for the 2014 season is Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. It will be directed by Darcy J Knopp. Performance dates have been moved forward this year. The season will open on July 1, with one performance at the Canada Day celebrations in Fort Langley in front of the Historic Community Hall. The next performances will be at the Township 7 Winery on the weekends of July 11 and 18 and then the set will be moved to Douglas Park on the Spirit Square stage for the weekends of July 26 and August 2. The final performance will be on Sunday, August 3.

It’s going to be an exciting production and we’re looking forward to seeing you and your family at the show.

Diane Gendron

President, Bard in the Valley

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