The crowd settles in, having gathered blankets, chairs and cushions along the way. Regulars carry extra layers of clothing, including hats, and even mitts, for evenings outdoors can be brisk in Victoria in July and August.
We gather in a field close to a rocky outcropping and Garry Oak meadow remnant at Camosun College, Landsdowne Campus, for Shakespeare in the Summer by the Victoria Shakespeare Society.
Families take advantage of free tickets for children under the age of 13 to introduce them to the Bard.
As the sun moves slowly westward, lights illuminate the trees, and a lone figure strides onto the scene. Hamlet begins.
Since 2003, the Victoria Shakespeare Society has produced 14 shows, seen by almost 14,000 people. Their objectives are to bring accessible theatre to the public, to provide avenues for young emerging artists, and to develop the festival and its audience.
This year’s offerings are Hamlet, directed by David McPherson, and The Comedy of Errors, directed by Clayton Jevne (of Theatre Inconnu).
Many of the actors are students or recent graduates of the University of Victoria theatre department and the Canadian College of Performing Arts. Last year’s production of Richard III had a small coterie of child actors from local schools. Many of the adult actors are only beginning to explore their craft.
It’s a wonderful way to spend an evening, remembering plays studied in high school or college, as the actors slowly unwind the oft-repeated stories for us. The ensembles work hard to bring us quality theatre.
Shakespeare in the Summer continues to August 13th with shows alternate evenings. Check the website for details.
Tickets $16-$22 with children under 13 free.
Parking on campus (3100 Foul Bay Road, enter off Landsdowne) $2.50
Tickets may be purchased on site or through Ticket Rocket (online or by phone 250 590 6291). Service fees apply to Ticket Rocket.
Please feel free to bring your own chairs and blankets. There is a concession serving drinks and treats at intermission.