The Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival will stage ‘The Tempest’ Aug. 2-4 at Saxe Point Park in Esquimalt, part of Bard Across the Bridge. Photo contributed

Bard Across the Bridge brings ‘The Tempest’ seaside

Stage set for classic Shakespeare tale in Saxe Point Park this week

The classic tale of a powerful sorceress exiled on a remote island, who brings about vengeance with the aid of a mighty storm, seems but a perfect fit to be staged against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.

And so, for the second summer, the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival returns to Esquimalt’s Saxe Point Park with Bard Across the Bridge, staging a production of The Tempest tomorrow through Saturday (Aug. 2-4).

“Esquimalt is like the Brooklyn of Victoria,” says Karen Lee Pickett, Festival artistic director. “It’s a little bit further afield, but there’s just so much going on there – community spirit, culture, activism.”

In partnership with the Township Community Arts Council, GVSF experimented with the location last summer; the festival stages other productions in repertory throughout July at the Lansdowne campus of Camosun College.

Pickett calls the unique setting and dramatic plot “a really dynamic production” in a “spectacular setting.”

“Our director is a really bright star,” she says of Chelsea Haberlin, an award-winning graduate of the applied theatre program at UVic. “She really has a strong vision. Working outdoors takes a lot of flexibility and willingness and she and the actors have brought that in spades.”

Collaborating with the Township Community Arts Council has been fantastic, Pickett says.

“They have certainly brought a lot to Esquimalt,” she points out. “The interest was there and the energy was there and they’ve tapped into it.”

For the GVSF, Pickett feels it’s been great to have outreach into another community to find a wider range of audience.

Tickets are available online or at the door; each performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and audience members are welcome to bring lawn chairs or blankets, but seating will also be provided.

For more information visit vicshakespeare.com.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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