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Summer theatre starts now

Bard to Broadway announces 2016 show lineup, schedules first reading Nov. 10

Bard to Broadway has made a name for itself as mid Vancouver Island’s premier summer theatre. But work on its annual productions is hardly restricted to a single season.

Last week, the local theater group announced a lineup of three shows for the 2016 season — its 17th — and will begin preparation with public readings next Tuesday, Nov. 10, and the following week, on Nov. 17.

“Even though it’s summer theatre, it’s a year-round venture,” said Laurel Johannson, president of the Bard to Broadway Theatre Society. “And we’re really excited about the season coming up.”

Aspiring actors, from beginner to experienced, are invited to become a part of B2B’s 17th season, starting with the readings the next two weeks. Volunteers across all areas of theatre production, including set design, stage management, lighting/sound and front of theatre operations, are also invited to take part.

Auditions for the three casts will commence in January, and the shows will take place at Village Theatre from the first weekend in July through mid-August.

The first reading, next Tuesday, will be for Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, a 2013 Tony Award-winning comedy. Bard to Broadway will be the first amateur theatre on Vancouver Island to produce the show, which follows two middle-aged siblings.

whose bickering, complaining existence is jarred by the arrival of their movie star sister and her new boy toy. A sassy maid who can predict the future and a pretty, aspiring actress seen as a threat by the movie star round out the cast.

On Nov. 17, the public is invited to read for The Ladies Man, a production translated from the French farce Tailleur Pour Dames. In the play, a seemingly innocent “white lie” by a recently married doctor unleashes a cascade of increasingly convoluted deceptions, misunderstandings and mistaken identities. Swirling around the action are the suspicious wife, a mother-in-law from hell, a disturbingly aggressive patient and her jealous husband, a well-meaning friend with a speech impediment, a valet with attitude and a maid with a secret.

Both readings take place beginning at 7 p.m. at Shelly Road Centre, 186 Shelly Road in Parksville.

Bard to Broadway also puts on an annual musical, and next year’s performance will be a reprise of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

“It has been done in the past,” Johannson admits. “But it was well received by the community, and sometimes you want to bring back the favourites.”

Bard to Broadway began in 2000 with the idea of providing the community summer theatre production ranging from Shakespeare to Broadway favourites. The first performances were held in a tent adjacent to the Old School House Arts Centre, and moved to the Parksville Community Centre for a few years before settling in at Village Theatre in downtown Qualicum Beach.

The theatre is owned by Echo Players, which runs a fall-through-spring season each year and which rents out the facility to B2B each summer.

“It works out well for both of us,” said Johannson. “It’s a nice little theatre.”

Bard to Broadway has produced as many as five shows in a season and as few as two, but has settled on three performances for the past several seasons, Johannson said. The society also has a two-part educational component, with its Junior Musical Theatre Production (JUMP) and Teen Musical Theatre (TMT) held for area youth each summer.

For information on the upcoming readings or to volunteer with B2B, visit b2btheatre.com, email info@b2btheatre.com, or call 250-752-4470.

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