Romeo and Juliet Opens in Fort Langley: Friday, June 29  

Langley BC: Bard in the Valley (BIV) is presenting Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on three outdoor stages in Langley this summer, offering 16 performances between June 29 and July 29. This is Bard in the Valley’s ninth season and admission is still free at 11 of the 16 performances.

Romeo and Juliet is produced by BIV president, Diane Gendron and directed by Jacq Ainsworth. Ainsworth, who has had roles in past Bard in the Valley productions, is a UBC English Literature major with a minor in Theatre. In 2016, she earned the World Champion title in Taekwondo sparring and brings with her a wealth of knowledge of martials arts which she will be drawing on to create the cultural climate of Romeo and Juliet.

“When we first planned Romeo and Juliet as a Martial Arts Romance, I knew we would need a strong and talented production team,” comments Ainsworth, “and I have been lucky to have the very best, from the choreographers of the fight, intimacy and dance scenes to the production design, including costumes, set and graphics.”

“And my cast…wow! So much training and experience and some personal friendships have led this to be one of the closest, most trusting companies I’ve ever worked with,” comments Ainsworth. “They come to rehearsal fully prepared to dig deeper into the script which means we are spending all our time mining the text for the truth, in the story and in the relationships, which has resulted in everyone involved feeling a gamut of emotions at every rehearsal. “

“I am incredibly grateful to Diane Gendron, our Producer, and the Bard in the Valley Board of Directors for, not only giving me the opportunity to direct for them this year, but also for supporting me by finding me an amazing team of volunteers, ” says Ainsworth.

“Bard in the Valley’s Romeo and Juliet is a beautiful spectacle. It’s filled with romance, tragedy, discipline and joy,” adds Ainsworth.

BIV is delighted to offer director, Jacq Ainsworth’s vision of this Shakespearean classic with its international flare and exciting martial arts fight scenes,” comments Gendron. “Her passion for theatre, and understanding of this play in particular, is clearly apparent in every scene.”

“We’ve welcomed two new movement experts onto our team for this production – Phay Gagnon, a violence and intimacy choreographer from Burnaby and Jordan Plaster, a Taekwondo/Weapons Master from New Westminster,” adds Gendron. “These two have added an exciting energy to the production.”

Bard in the Valley is able to continue to offer this exciting, summer theatre admission-free thanks to generous community support. In addition, we have a terrific group of 60 talented actors, creative artists and dedicated people on the crew and production team who volunteer their time and energy for the season, including June Ainsworth who has taken on the role of production designer for this play” says Gendron. “This is our way of giving something back to the community.”

Chairs will be set up at all venues, and there is a concession. Audience members are welcome to come early, bring a blanket or lawn chairs and a picnic and spread out on the lawn in front of the stage. Donations are welcome to help cover production costs.

Summer 2017 Performance Dates:

  • On the lawn in front of Fort Langley’s historic community hall. Admission Free
    June 29 & 30 and July 1 (as part of the Canada Day Celebrations) – performances begin at 7 p.m.
  • At the Township 7 Winery – Tickets $20 call 604-532-1766 or email township7.com/events
    July 6, 7, 8, 13 & 14 – The Sunday performance is a matinee and begins at 2 p.m.
    Evening performances begin at 7:15 p.m.
  • On the Spirit Square Stage in Douglas Park in Langley City. Admission Free
    July 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, – The Sunday performances are matinees only and begin at 2 p.m.
    Evening performances begin at 7 p.m.

The production is made possible with the generous support of the City of Langley, The Township of Langley, The Rotary Club of Langley, Deloitte, The Langley Times, Township 7 Winery, 24/7 Security, Tourism Langley, Wolfe Auto Group, Waterstone Law Group, The Aldergrove Rotary Club and MediaLink Graphic Design.

Summary

Three hundred years in the future, the polar ice caps have melted, the climate has changed dramatically and the supercontinent of Eurasia no longer contains the flooded out coastal countries. There has been mass emigration inland from Japan, India, Indonesia, Korea, China, Russia and Europe, with the result that multicultural communities have been forced to live together and work together to survive.

Many wars and territorial skirmishes over the centuries have reduced the population to a near-feudal state again. This is where we find that one town, Verona, has been placed under strict martial law with curfews and patrols to keep the citizens from open warfare in the street. It is a city trying to make its way forward amidst deeply rooted traditions in conflict. Capulet, a majority land owner in the area, tries to lead by example: strength in solidarity. His household still feels protective against the encroaching Montague family, who won many allies through its ingenuity in battle and fierce joy and discipline in its barracks. The two heirs of these families, Juliet and Romeo respectively, meet accidentally and realize that love, regardless of race and tradition, has a power greater than that of hate, to drive change. 

CAST

Actor                                         Character                                           Hometown

Ahnika Barber                    Juliet                                 Langley
Angel Duran                           Benvolio                                            Maple Ridge
Emily Eggert-Botkin          Dame Montague                         Chilliwack
Reilly Ellis                                Romeo                                                Burnaby
Miranda Croft                      Alison Capulet                              Langley
Diane Gendron                   Lady Capulet                                  Langley
Carson Gervais                   Paris                                                    Langley
Henry Lee                           Sensei Lawrence                            Vancouver
Josh Levesque                    Capulet                                               Vancouver
Veda Maharaj                     Balthasar                        Langley
Emily MacKinnon               Petra                                                   Langley
Shawn McGrory                  Watchman/Merchant             Langley
James McIntosh                 Prince/Philip                                  Langley
Matthew Strauss             Tybalt                                                  Abbotsford
Karen Street                         Nurse                                                  Abbotsford
Luke Street                            Gregory                                              Abbotsford
Brittany Vesterback          Mercutio                                        Surrey

Dancers
Emily Zheng — Langley
Amy Kirby – Abbotsford
Cherry Hsu – Langley
Emily Thoeny – Langley
Sara Thoeny – Langley
Sasha Telychko – Langley
Hannasofia Jyringi — Langley
Amber Schneider

Director – Jacq Ainsworth – Langley

Stage Manager – Amber Schneider – Langley
Violence and Intimacy Choreographer – Phay Gagnon – Burnaby

Taekwondo/Weapons Master – Jordan Plaster – New Westminster
Production Design – June Ainsworth – Langley
Assistant Producer – Shawn McGrory – Langley
Elizabeth Lisa of AzestA Ballet – Langley & Abbotsford