Right about now, we should be gathering in the Park and Barracks Square every night, soaking up the beauty of early summer Fredericton, cursing the rain clouds and the mosquitoes, and taking in some fine Shakespeare. Instead, we’re cursing COVID-19.
However, if you’re missing Bard in the Barracks, you now have another viewing option on YouTube (along with Macbeth and King Lear announced in our post earlier this summer) with the addition of our 2012 production of Love’s Labour’s Lost! Our brilliant videographer Chris Giles laboured over the final edit of this one for many years. It was truly a labour of love for him… and now available for your viewing pleasure!
Love’s Labour’s Lost is one of Shakespeare’s wittiest comedies, and our production was set in the JFK/Mad Men-era early 1960s. The premise, in brief: four young noblemen decide to swear off women and all wordly pleasures and devote themselves to a year of monk-like study, when four comely young noblewomen show up at their kingdom on a diplomatic mission. What could possibly go wrong? Meanwhile, in the subplot, a fantastical (and possibly pretend) Spaniard, a pretentious schoolmaster and assorted other sidekicks create a hilariously bad play to entertain the royals (think the play of Pyramus and Thisbe in A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
Not produced as frequently as some of Shakespeare’s other comedies, Love’s Labour’s Lost is a rare treat. And 2012 was perhaps our worst year ever for rainouts, meaning not a lot of people got the chance to see this one. So now’s your chance to see it for the first time, or to revisit it. The production featured a stellar cast and, sadly, marked the final performance for our much missed dearly departed alumni Andrew Jones and Victor Stanton.
Enjoy the play, and the rest of your summer, everyone!
Right about now, in a normal year, we at Bard in the Barracks would be getting ready to start rehearsals for another season of outdoor Shakespeare in downtown Fredericton. Of course, this is not a normal year. Today we are announcing the indefinite postponement of our 2020 season. This would have been our fifteenth anniversary year (imagine that!), and we had a pretty exciting lineup in store to mark the occasion. But that will have to wait. Until when, we’re not sure. Probably 2021. But we’re going to leave the door just a crack open, in case the public heath situation and government regulations around social distancing and gatherings change drastically for the better in a way that would allow us to rehearse and perform for you safely. In that case, you might yet see us before the end of the year. Since that seems unlikely at the moment, though, we’re not holding our breath.
We’d like to thank our funders and sponsors, our past and present company and crew members, and all of our devoted audience members for your support over the years. We look forward to when we can all gather again in an enchanted forest or city square and share some theatre magic with one another.
In the meantime, if you’re missing your Bard in the Barracks fix this year, we have a couple of quarantine viewing recommendations. Revisit, or watch for the first time, two of our past productions, available free on YouTube, as filmed by the very talented Mr. Chris Giles.
First up, from 2011, our production of King Lear.
By now you’ve all heard how Shakespeare wrote this deepest and most soaring of his tragedies during quarantine, so what could be more appropriate? This production featured a truly all-star cast, one of the finest ever assembled in Fredericton. If you’d like, you can even compare Bard vet John Ball’s Lear with his real life buddy, Colm Feore’s, as performed at the Stratford Festival and currently available for viewing.
Second, we have Giles’ film of our 2010-11 wildly ambitious and hugely popular Macbeth, which remains our all time box-office champion, having drawn close to 1,500 attendees over two years and now over 600,000 views on YouTube. Watch this one to see how it set the bar for our subsequent Odell Park productions.
To get the true Bard in the Barracks experience, we suggest you wait until a rainy day at the end of June when the mosquitoes are at their worst, take your laptop into your back yard at dusk, and place it where the screen is partially hidden by a tree while you sit on a rock for a few hours.
Or, you can just watch it on your big-screen tv, in the comfort of your living room. Your choice.
Thanks so much, everyone, stay safe and healthy, and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.
There are only four more performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Odell Park remaining, tonight (Tues.), Thurs., Sat., and Sun., 7:30 nightly. And if you’re waiting for a night with perfect weather, that might not happen… You don’t want to miss this show, with moments like this! (music by Hannah Zamora, words by Wm. Shakespeare, choreography by Hilary Ready).
We’re taking Canada Day off (happy Canada Day, everyone!) before beginning our final week of performances for this season. Only four performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Odell Park and three of Measure for Measure in Barracks Square remain. Both have been getting rave reviews from audience members, and with more uncertain weather in the forecast, you’ll want to plan carefully to make sure you don’t miss them!
If you’ve seen the shows, or photos from them, you know how fabulous the costumes in both productions are. That’s all the work of our amazing costume designer of many years running, Lynn Addleman, a woman who has lent her talents to countless Fredericton productions over the years, and who was awarded the Playhouse Honours Award for her contributions to theatre in the community. Below, an interview with Lynn by Bard in the Barracks publicist Matt Carter.
Lynn Addleman has been designing costumes for Bard in the Barracks since our 2010 production of Macbeth. That was our second season to include performances in Odell Park and our first introduction to Lynn’s incredible skill and patience.
“I love Bard in the Barracks,” says Lynn. “I love the adventure of moving scene to scene in Odell Park and so I like to help to make it happen each year.”
Since our first production of Macbeth, there have been seasons with one production and others with two running in tandem between Odell Park and Barracks Square. That’s a lot of actors to outfit, and lot of measurements to take and a lot of final fittings and adjustments before opening night. With more than ten BITB productions now under her belt and over a hundred costumes created, Lynn has certainly become an intergral part of the Bard family. And to think, this all started with a few simple Halloween costumes.
“I started making costumes when my kids were little,” she said. “I would make their Halloween costumes. Eventually my sons would all get involved in musical productions at Fredericton High School and so I started helping with costumes for those shows. My youngest son is 37 years old now so I have been doing this work for quite a while.”
After taking a position in the Resource Department at Fredericton High School, Lynn’s interest in costumes became a bit more involved.
“That was a huge endeavor because it involved costuming over 100 kids for musicals every fall,” she said. “So that’s why I have grey hair. I’m completely untrained so I’m always flying by the seat of my pants and doing everything by trial and error. It can be very frightening and time consuming but somehow it usually works out.”
Soon after, other theatre companies from around the city began borrowing from FHS’s vast costume supply and asking Lynn to lend a hand.
Her work with each season of Bard in the Barracks follows a similar pattern. She first meets with Artistic Director Len Falkenstein to learn which plays will be performed and then begins her research into the stories and the period for each play.
“Len tells me what shows he’s decided on and then I reread the plays and make a few notes about costumes,” she said. “I have an English degree and I did quite a bit of Shakespeare study when I was doing my honours.
“He usually tells me what his concept is. For instance, this year’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is centered around Hollywood glamor of the 40s and 50s. And I must admit, I really had a hard time getting my head around how we were going to do that in the woods. I’m still not quite sure but I’m looking forward to seeing it happen.”
Having become an in-demand costume designer with a number of annual commitments throughout the city, Lynn admits one of the biggest challenges each year is simply finding a balance between getting things prepared and enjoying what she has helped create.
“My husband is a saint,” she said. “He puts up with costumes and costume bits all over the house. And he’ll also do the cooking and the shopping. He loves Bard in the Barracks too, but probably not as obsessive as I do. I go to every single show that I can because I just love it that much.
With no improvement in the weather forecast looking likely for tonight, we are cancelling our performance of Measure for Measure for Wednesday evening. We’ll hope for clearer skies for tomorrow when we’ll be back at Odell Park for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Join us then and for Measure for Measure later in our run!
After great opening performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Odell Park Saturday and Measure for Measure in Barracks Square Sunday, both with strong crowds (get yer tickets!), we’re taking our usual Monday as a day off for our hardworking casts and crew. We’re back in action again tomorrow with performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday nights for the next two weeks, and Measure for Measure Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday afternoon. See you at the shows!
We regret to inform you that tonight’s preview performance (Fri., June 21st) of Measure for Measure has been cancelled. Even if the showers stop by showtime, the amount of rain that has fallen has rendered our playing area unplayable. Even divine intervention didn’t help!
The good news is, the forecast looks great for Saturday night’s preview of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Odell Park and Sunday night’s opening night performance of Measure for Measure in Barracks Square! See you at the shows!
You can now BUY TICKETS for our productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Odell Park and Measure for Measure in Barracks Square and find full details on the shows, all right here at http://www.bardinthebarracks.com! Just two weeks until Bard in the Barracks takes over downtown Fredericton!
Auditions for Measure for Measure in Barracks Square and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Odell Park, April 28-29
Open auditions will be held for the Bard in the Barracks productions of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, directed by John Ball, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Len Falkenstein, on April 28th and 29th at Memorial Hall on the UNB campus. The plays will be performed outdoors (in Barracks Square and Odell Park respectively) and will collectively run from June 21-July 7, with exact performance dates for each play still to be determined. The plays will be rehearsed intensively (mainly evening hours) beginning the week of May 5.
Roles are available for actors of a variety of ages. Auditions will take place from 2:00-4:30 PM on Sunday, April 28 and from 7:30-10 PM on Monday, April 29, with callbacks the evenings of May 2nd/3rd. Those auditioning are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the plays beforehand. Auditions will consist of readings from the plays. Prepared monologues may also be performed, but are not required.
To book an audition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your availability for the audition dates and any preference for date/time. Actors may be cast in one or both plays (if willing) at the discretion of the directors, but may indicate a preference of play (if any) when booking their audition.
Anyone interested in auditioning who is unable to attend either of the audition dates, or anyone requesting further information, can email email@example.com or call 506 458-7406. Expressions of interest from persons who would like to assist with the productions in a musical or technical/crew capacity are also welcome. All members of the company will receive honorariums for their work on the productions.
Our 2019 season will feature new productions of two contrasting comedies: Shakespeare’s most magical and dreamy romantic comedy; and a gritty, urban play that is very much of our time.
Ten years after Bard in the Barracks first staged a show at Odell Park, we’ll return to the play we performed that year, the perennially popular A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in a promenade-style production directed by Len Falkenstein. As four young Athenians take to the woods with romantic designs on (or against) each other, the resident fairies start to mess with their desires and spark a deliriously spirited comedy of confused passions and shifting allegiances. When a group of “rude mechanicals” decides to rehearse a play in the same forest, the opportunities for transformation – and just plain embarrassment – proliferate. There is no play more suited to a night in the woods than this hilarious romp that’s about, well, a night in the woods!
This summer’s second play will be Measure for Measure, one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays,” to be performed in Barracks Square and directed by John Ball. Set in a Vienna whose absentee Duke has been lax at enforcing the laws regulating sex, this tragicomedy puts a strict deputy on a collision course with his own desires when a young nun pleads with him for her brother’s life. As he unexpectedly falls for her and makes a scandalous proposition, she calls him out and precipitates a crisis that the Duke in disguise sets out to resolve. If Shakespeare has a #MeToo play, this is it: sexual coercion, abuse of power, and the limits of justice and mercy are just some of the 21st-century themes explored by this 415-year-old play.
Together, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Measure for Measure will run from June 21-July 7. Full details regarding performances and tickets will be announced in May, and news about auditions will be coming very soon, right here!
It’s been a great and very successful run for Bard in the Barracks once again this year, and we’re down to our final show! Cymbeline rides for one more time at 7:30 in Odell Park tonight, and then it’s all over for 2018. If you haven’t caught the show yet, you’ve got one last chance to see this rare and wonderful gem of Shakespeare’s later works. Feedback and response from our audiences to date has been ecstatic, so we’d love to see you out tonight.
We would like to thank our sponsors and funders–UNB, NBCCD, the City of Fredericton, Downtown Fredericton Inc., Valley Graphics, Picaroons Traditional Ales, and the Radical Edge, for all they’ve done to make our shows possible this year.
Thanks so much to all of you who came out to see The Comedy of Errors and Cymbeline and we’re already looking forward to 2019!
We’re taking the holiday off, but will be back for our final week of performances starting Monday. Our two final performances of The Comedy of Errors in Barracks Square (and also featuring our Picaroons Bar in the Barracks) will take place Monday and Tuesday evenings, July 2-3. Don’t miss this hilarious comedy that has had audiences smiling for the last two years. The temperature is going to be hot, but the beer will be cold, and there won’t be a better place to be for an evening of fun Bardic tomfoolery!
Then we will close our 2018 season with performances of Cymbeline in Odell Park at 7:30 nightly Wednesday July 4 through Sunday July 8. Audiences have been enthralled by this funny, wild, and wonderful Shakespearean fairy tale, unfolding in an exciting immersive staging amid the beautiful (and cool in the shade) greenery of Odell Park. If you hadn’t heard of Cymbeline before, we’re pretty sure it will become one of your favorite Shakespeares after seeing the show–as our audiences have been telling us!
Happy Canada Day, everyone!
Into every Bard in the Barracks run, a little rain must fall. We’ve had more than a little today, and with it expected to continue through the evening, Cymbeline’s court, the wilds of Wales, and even usually sunny Rome will be not so pleasant for either cast or audience.
We’re going to be back Friday night with another performance of The Comedy of Errors in Barracks Square, featuring our Picaroons Bar in the Barracks. And after a great opening show last night, Cymbeline in Odell Park will have its next performance on Saturday.
See you at the shows!
Our cast and crew are taking a well-deserved day off Monday after a busy week of final dress rehearsals and opening performances. After a great opening weekend for both shows, we’ll be back with performances of The Comedy of Errors in Barracks Square (featuring our Picaroons Bar in the Barracks) Tuesday and Friday at 7:30 PM (two of only four remaining shows for that play) and Cymbeline in Odell Park Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30. See you at the shows!
After a very successful opening night show on Friday, we’re back with another performance of The Comedy of Errors in Barracks Square tonight! Sunday, June 24 will be Twinbill Shakespeare Sunday, with Pay-What-You-Will (Shakespeare) performances of The Comedy of Errors at 2 PM and Cymbeline in Odell Park at 7:30 PM. Both plays continue through July 8!
Check out our handy schedule for our performances beginning Friday, June 22!
Our 2018 season, featuring The Comedy of Errors in Barracks Square and Cymbeline in Odell Park, opens on June 22! Everything you need to know about tickets (available online starting June 11) and the shows is now right here at bardinthebarracks.com!
Open auditions will be held for the Bard in the Barracks productions of William Shakespeare’s Cymbeline and our remount of The Comedy of Errors on May 1st and 2nd at Memorial Hall on the UNB campus. The plays will be performed outdoors (in Odell Park and Barracks Square respectively) and will collectively run from June 21-July 8, with exact performance dates for each play still to be determined. The plays will be directed by Len Falkenstein, and will be rehearsed intensively (mainly evening hours) beginning the week of May 6.
Roles are available for actors of a variety of ages. Auditions will take place from 7:30-10:00 PM on Tuesday, May 1st and Wednesday, May 2nd, with callbacks from 7:30-9:30 PM on Friday, May 4. Those auditioning are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the plays beforehand. Auditions will focus on Cymbeline (with only a small number of roles from The Comedy of Errors to be recast) and will consist of readings from the play. Prepared monologues may also be performed, but are not required.
To book an audition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating your availability for the audition dates and any preference for date/time. Actors may be cast in one or both plays (if willing) at the discretion of the director, but may indicate a preference of play (if any) when booking their audition, keeping in mind that only a few roles in The Comedy of Errors are available.
Anyone interested in auditioning who is unable to attend either of the audition dates, or anyone requesting further information, should contact the director at email@example.com or 506 458-7406. Expressions of interest from persons who would like to assist with the productions in a musical or technical/crew capacity are also welcome. All members of the company will receive honorariums for their work on the productions.
Our 2018 season will feature the return of a popular production from last year, along with a new work that will introduce Fredericton audiences to one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known late gems!
Our second consecutive two-play season will include a remount of our 2017 production of The Comedy of Errors in Barracks Square.
That’s right, those crazy twins will be back!
A high-spirited, farcical comedy, the play depicts the chaos that results when two pairs of long-separated identical twins unknowingly find themselves in the same city and cases of mistaken identity spiral out of control, threatening dangerous consequences. Set in a seaside town in Italy in the 1970s, last year’s colorful and zany production was a hit with audiences but ran afoul of the weather gods, completing only six performances and leaving many ticket buyers disappointed.
The summer’s second play will be Shakespeare’s late romance Cymbeline, to be staged in Odell Park. A tale of jealousy that sees lovers and families torn apart by envy and malice only to be reunited after standing the test of time, Cymbeline is a wild and exciting fairy tale-inspired dark comedy. Set in Ancient Britain against the backdrop of a rebel uprising, as native Britons struggle to assert their independence against their Roman overlords, Cymbeline will transform Odell Park into the wilds of rural Wales, replete with potions, treachery, ghosts, gods, and epic battles. Oh, and perhaps the odd decapitation. If you happen to like such things… and we think you will!
Together, The Comedy of Errors and Cymbeline will run from June 21-July 8. Full details regarding performances and tickets will be announced later in the spring, and news about auditions will be coming very soon, right here! Stay posted, folks!
Until we reveal what we have in store for you for summer 2018! We’ll be announcing our season today at 2 PM via Facebook, Twitter, and at bardinthebarracks.com! Spread the word!
Monday, April 23rd is Shakespeare’s birthday. We thought we’d celebrate the occasion by sharing what Bard in the Barracks has planned for Fredericton audiences this year! Join us at 2 PM on our website, Facebook, or Twitter to learn all the details of our 2018 summer season! P.S.: we think you’re going to like it!
Tonight, the only sounds in Odell Park will be those of birds, squirrels, and regular human park-goers going about their business. There will be no deathly shrieks, battle cries, or haunting medieval songs being sung. The smiling villain Richard will not make an appearance. That’s right, sadly our 2017 season has come to an end. It’s been one for the record books, with our most performances ever, terrific weather (only 2 of 18 shows rained out), and large, warm crowds. Thanks so much to our sponsors and funders, our crew of volunteers, our hosts at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design and Fredericton Tourism, and all who came out to see the shows. We are incredibly thankful to all who made both The Comedy of Errors in Barracks Square and Richard III in Odell Park possible, and for all the many kind comments on the shows.
We look forward to seeing you again next summer, and hope you will continue to spread the word about our company and our shows!
Most of us will now turn our attention to work on the upcoming NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival (July 25-August 5). We have a dozen fantastic new plays by New Brunswick playwrights that we’ll be presenting then, and we hope you’ll come out to see us then! Photo: Miguel Roy as Richard III, photographer Michael Holmes-Lauder.
Our production of Richard III in Odell Park has been getting a phenomenal response from Fredericton audiences, thrilling a capacity crowd last night! Only four performances remain, tonight through Sunday, July 9 at 7:30 (but arrive by 7:15). The weather is going to be great tonight, but with chances of rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday, you might not want to wait to come take in this exciting immersive production of Shakespeare’s famous dark tragedy. In the meantime, check out some great photos of the show by Michael Holmes-Lauder. Above: Kira Chisholm as Lady Anne and Miguel Roy as Richard. Below: Robbie Lynn as the Duke of Buckingham, Miguel Roy as Richard, and Sharisse LeBrun as Catesby (background), with Telina Debly as Prince Edward and Lee Thomas as Richard, Duke of York (foreground).
We’re taking Canada Day off, but will be back with BOTH of our productions July 2 as part of our second Twinbill Shakespeare Sunday! At 2 PM in Barracks Square it’s your LAST CHANCE to catch the hilarious comedy of The Comedy of Errors, which has been a huge hit with our audiences. Please bring a lawnchair or blanket to sit on, as our regular bleacher seating has been commandeered by Canada Day activities. Then at 7:30 PM head over to Odell Park to experience the immersive nighttime forest adventure of Shakespeare’s dark tragedy, Richard III.
And remember that if you attend both our shows this year, your second play is HALF-PRICE with your ticket stub from the first show! Enjoy Canada Day, see you tomorrow, and let’s all think sunny thoughts in the meantime!