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!