Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival announces 2014 season and a new acting programme.
I’ve been a Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival volunteer for a number of seasons, and a great fan of the Victoria Shakespeare Society (the producers of the festival). 2014 marks a new era for both, as long serving Artistic Director Michael Glover steps down, and Karen Lee Pickett takes the reins as Artistic Director and Festival Producer (a role she filled in 2013).
There is something magical about Shakespeare performed outdoors, complete with multi-generational audiences. Don’t forget that special $10 ticket vouchers go on sale soon.
The Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival (GVSF) announced its 24th season (12th season as produced by the Victoria Shakespeare Society) as Henry V and The Taming of the Shrew at its Annual General Meeting last week. The plays will be performed in repertory, and both will be directed by Festival founder Clayton Jevne (The Comedy of Errors, 2011; Measure for Measure, 2013).
This announcement comes on the heels of the departure of Michael Glover as Artistic Director. Glover has been involved in the Victoria Shakespeare Society since its inception in 2003, and became Artistic Director in 2005. “I am very proud of my work on the Festival and very grateful for the help I received along the way,” says Glover. “The board has quite appropriately chosen Karen Lee Pickett to fill my shoes, as she has spent the last two years as Producer and she has a passion for the Bard.”
Pickett brings 25 years as a theatre artist and classical actor to her new role. She has worked with Judith Gick in the UK, as well as Walton Wilson of Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, MA. Shakespearean acting roles have included Adriana, Imogen, Cressida, Lady Macbeth, and Maria. She joined the VSS in 2012 as Festival Producer.
This season, the GVSF enters a new phase of its strategic plan that includes introducing a layered acting company. The season’s lead roles will be anchored by professionally-established “Mentor Actors,” who will provide teaching and mentorship to the other actors with clear learning outcomes established for the programme. The “Company Actors” will experience acting in a repertory schedule and receive direct support from the Mentor Actors. The GVSF will also launch a “Junior Company,” comprised of several 13-18 year-olds who will take on smaller roles. Both the Company and Junior Company actors will have the opportunity to learn about and hone their skills in other aspects of theatre, such as stage management and design.
“This season’s plays lend themselves to a robust theatrical style,” says Pickett. “Creating an ensemble around doing the plays in rep — it’s an exciting way to kick off our new acting programme and it will substantially elevate the artistic quality of our productions.
The Festival will continue to perform outdoors on the Camas Stage on the grounds of Camosun College’s Lansdowne Campus. Pre-season discount tickets will go on sale May 11.
Directed by Clayton Jevne Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays July 16 through August 15
Preview: July 14
Opening: July 16
The Taming of the Shrew
Directed by Clayton Jevne Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays July 17 through August 16
Preview: July 15
Opening: July 17