Theatre Calgary’s Shakespeare by the Bow is back after taking a break for the Calgary Folk Fest. This year’s play is The Two Gentlemen of Verona directed by Dean Paul Gibson and featuring 12 young emerging artists from 7 post secondary institutions across Alberta and the country.
Program Director Haysam Kadri chats about the program that has been running in the city for over 30 years. “It’s a great great initiative because it offers the community, our city an opportunity to see Shakespeare outdoors. It also caters to the largest demographic that you could ask for, which means that anybody can come see this show.”
“We sent out a notice to all the post secondary institutions in Alberta,” says Kadri when asked how they select the artists for the program. We really want to spread the importance of building the talent within the community. This program has been very successful because we have seen many of the artists cut their teeth on Shakespeare and go on to have successful careers as artists. Some are in our community some are abroad.” Kadri himself started at Shakespeare in the Park.
The choice of play usually comes down to the director and what show would be a fit for that season. “Dean has been amazing working with the young artists,” Kadri says, “you want someone who can teach, mentor and direct at the same time. Those are qualities that Dean Paul Gibson gives.”
So why Shakespeare? “Every major city across the country and in North America has a major Shakespeare festival every summer,” Kadri says, “Shakespeare is timeless and no other playwright captures the human condition better than he does.”
Every production is not without its challenges and certainly the main one for Shakespeare by the Bow. If it’s too hot or storming, performances can be cancelled. But it’s “part of the charm,” as Kadri puts it.
Oh and The Two Gentlemen of Verona is set in the 80s. So it’s bound to be a lot of fun.