Robert Light

Robert Light

Shakespeare by the Sea stages two plays in Nanaimo’s Pioneer Waterfront Plaza

NANAIMO - Victoria-based theatre company brings Shakespeare's plays to Nanaimo audiences.

Shakespeare’s plays Othello and Much Ado About Nothing will come to life in the open sea air at the Pioneer Waterfront Plaza.

The two plays are being presented by the Victoria-based theatre company, Vancouver Island Shakespeare Arts.

This is the second year the organization has come to Nanaimo to perform.

“We had such a phenomenal response last year we had to come again,” said Steve Duck, executive director of Vancouver Island Shakespeare Arts. “It’s so exciting to come back again.”

Duck said the organization has a long-term vision and wants to become a cultural icon on Vancouver Island and be comparable to Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival.

The two plays presented this year, Othello and Much Ado About Nothing, have been modernized so audience members can relate more to the characters.

Othello is set in the late 1960s or early ’70s in Cyprus, said Duck, and involves Canadian peacekeepers.

The theatre company was loaned uniforms from Victoria’s Ashton Armoury Museum.

Much Ado About Nothing is set in Messina, Sicily in the 2000s.

Duck said the actors will be wearing modern clothes and using devices such as cellphones onstage.

Actors will move among the audience members and perform during both plays. Duck said it creates a more intimate experience.

The natural outdoor setting is also an important part of the production. There will be minimal props. Duck said the company is placing more emphasis on the actors, rather than grand stage designs.

The plays run rain or shine.

Nanaimo’s Shakespeare by the Sea is from Sept. 16-19 at the Pioneer Waterfront Plaza.

Othello shows Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 17 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Much Ado About Nothing shows Sept. 18 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sept. 19 at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets are $29 or $25 for seniors and students. A special green ticket price of $25 is also available for cyclists and walkers. Children 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

Tickets are available at the Port Theatre by calling 250-754-8550 or visiting www.porttheatre.com.

For more information about the plays, please go to www.vancouverislandshakespearearts.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com