From left: Luke Stevens

The things we do for love

Bard in the Valley returns for its sixth season with Love’s Labour’s Lost. Performances begin on Canada Day in Fort Langley



Pull up a lawn chair, spread a blanket out on the grass and plan to take in some amazing theatre this summer.

Bard in the Valley returns to its comedy roots, after a tragic turn last summer, with Julius Caesar.

Beginning on Canada Day and continuing until early August, Langley’s outdoor Shakespeare theatre company will present Love’s Labour’s Lost, a look at the ridiculousness of love.

Bard in the Valley’s 60-plus cast and crew will be on three outdoor stages in Langley this summer, offering 16 performances between July 1 and Aug. 2. This is Bard in the Valley’s sixth season.

The play is produced by BIV president, Diane Gendron, while Mandy Dyck is making her directorial debut.

Dyck, who had major roles both on and off stage in the last two BIV productions, has her bachelor’s degree in theatre from the University of the Fraser Valley and is currently teaching in the Surrey school district.

“Love’s Labour’s Lost has intrigued me since the first time I read the script,” said Dyck.

“In this play, Shakespeare was writing beyond his time and speaking to a more modern audience. With the women being in control, I could not help but want to direct it.

“Take one part men being silly, one part women being ruthless, and one part complete ridiculousness and you get Love’s Labour’s Lost — a tale of love, courtship, loss and all the games that come with it.

“There are times in our lives when we have all done crazy things for love; do we blame ourselves or the mischievous cupid?”

Dyck knew from the beginning that she wanted to make this play in the style of a Broadway musical.

“What that means is that the movement is somewhat lyrical in places, and the acting can be a little dramatic or over-the-top,” said Dyck.

“This works well for the supporting characters, like Don Adriano de Armado, who is described as a ‘fantastical Spaniard’. It gives the actor Luke Stevens something that he can play with and a style that doesn’t limit him to playing it too real or straight.”

The production will include dance and two original songs.

“The play features original, high-energy dances by choreographer and dance instructor Kyra Esau, and two original songs by multi-talented Bard in the Valley cast member and musical director Lauren Trotzuk,” said Gendron.

The audience is invited to come early and bring the whole family. Chairs will also be available at all venues. Theatre snacks will be sold on site.

Admission is free to all three performances in Fort Langley on the lawn of the historic community hall, and to all eight performances on the Spirit Square Stage in Douglas Park in downtown Langley.

The other performances are at Township 7’s Bard in the Vines, where tickets are $20.

Donations will be welcome at all performances, to help cover production costs.

“Bard in the Valley is able to continue to offer this exciting, summer theatre to our audiences admission-free because of generous support from the community. 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,” said Gendron.

“This is our way of giving something back to the community.”

Performance dates:

• Wednesday, July 1, at 3 p.m. on the lawn in front of Fort Langley’s historic community hall during Canada Day Celebrations and Thursday, July 2 and Friday, July 3 at 7 p.m. Same location.

• July 10, 11, 12, 17 and 18, at the Township 7 Winery in Langley. Tickets to attend the performances at Township 7 are $20 and can be reserved online at township7.com.

• July 23, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31 and Aug. 1 and 2, on the outdoor Spirit Square Stage in Douglas Park in Langley City.

Sunday performances at the Township 7 Winery and the Spirit Square Stage are matinees and begin at 2 p.m.

Evening performances begin at 7 p.m.