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— Colleen Wheeler (Queen Elizabeth). Photo by David Cooper

By Timothy Findley
Bard on the Beach
Vanier Park
July 5-Sept. 11
$25-$43 at or 604-739-0559


BARD ON THE BEACH SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL continues its 24th season with Timothy Findley's ELIZABETH REX, a poignant study of a sovereign in love. It plays Tuesdays through Sundays in the intimate 240-seat Douglas Campbell Studio Stage in Vanier Park from July 5 to September 11, 2013. RACHEL DITOR (The Merchant of Venice, 2011) returns to direct the second full-length non-Shakespearean production in Bard's history.

"I require distraction," declares Queen Elizabeth I, when she suddenly appears in the castle barn where Shakespeare and his acting company are lodged overnight; they've been forced inside after their royal performance by a city-wide official curfew. She's quite serious: a former lover of hers, the Earl of Essex, is jailed in the Tower of London for treason and will die by her order at dawn. As the hour of his execution draws closer, the Queen must reconcile her responsibilities as a leader with her feelings as a woman. Charismatic actor Ned Lowenscroft, renowned for his portrayals of Shakespeare's women, becomes the Queen's verbal sparring partner in Findley's fierce examination of devotion, power and identity.

The Lord Chamberlain's Men, housed in the barn for the evening, are William Shakespeare (DAVID MARR), Edward 'Ned' Lowenscroft (HAIG SUTHERLAND), Jonathan 'Jack' Edmund (ANDREW WHEELER), Matt Welles (LUC RODERIQUE), Percy Gower (BERNARD CUFFLING), Henry 'Harry' Pearle (ANTON LIPOVETSKY), Tom Travis (DUSTIN FREELAND), Luddy Beddoes (CHRIS COCHRANE), the wardrobe mistress Kate 'Tardy' Tardwell (LOIS ANDERSON), and the tame Bear (BENJAMIN ELLIOTT); they are met by Queen Elizabeth (COLLEEN WHEELER). Also playing their parts on this fateful night are Countess Henslowe (SUSINN MCFARLEN), Lady Stanley (SEREANA MALANI) and the Queen's private secretary Lord Robert Cecil (DAVID MACKAY).

Set Designer DREW FACEY's barn design allows for an intimate relationship between the audience and the action on stage while Costume Designer MARA GOTTLER has aged materials to create Renaissance costumes true to the early 17th century setting. ADRIAN MUIR’S lighting establishes the soft mood of a barn and brings depth and space to the set, PATRICK PENNEFATHER’S sound design provides historical context for the production with music grounded in early 1600s London, and Fight Choreographer NICHOLAS HARRISON has been coaching the intricate movements involved for the Bear. Production Stage Manager JOANNE P.B. SMITH is assisted by SAMARA VAN NOSTRAND (Assistant Stage Manager) and JENNIFER STEWART (Apprentice Stage Manager).

Funding in support of this production of Elizabeth Rex has bee generously provided by the Vancouver Foundation, and the production's official sponsor is Sandhill.


Performance details for Elizabeth Rex are as follows:

  • PREVIEWS: July 5, 6, 9, 12, 13; OPENS: July 14.
  • Runs TUESDAYS THROUGH SUNDAYS from JULY 5 TO SEPTEMBER 11 - on the Douglas Campbell Studio Stage Theatre in Vanier Park.
  • Plays in repertory with Measure For Measure, which begins in previews on July 3.

Play ticket prices include all fees & taxes and are $43 (evenings) and $25 TO $30 (previews, matinees and long weekend evenings) with a $25 Youth Rate (6-25 years, all performances). Prices for special events, groups and multi-play ticket package discounts can be found on the Bard website. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection (all seats are reserved). The performance schedule and information can be found on the Bard website at WWW.BARDONTHEBEACH.ORG. For more information and tickets, call 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559 or ORDER ONLINE through the Bard website.