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Bard on Bower is Back! Summer Shakespeare Festival starts Thursday night at Bower Ponds

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9 minute read

Bard on Bower actors

From Prime Stock Theatre

Bard On Bower 2019

The 9th season of Red Deer’s own 3 week festival celebrating the works of William Shakespeare.  Presented on the outdoor stage at beautiful Bower Ponds in Red Deer for a limited run July 25th – August 11th, 2019

Featuring MacBeth and The Tempest performed in repertory, and NEW THIS YEAR “Bard in a Box” touring pocket productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Comedy of Errors playing FREE in select parks  in Red Deer and area.

Enjoy LIVE theatre on a warm summer’s evening against the romantic backdrop of beautiful Bower Ponds!  Live music!  Feature Days!  Picnic Baskets!  Performances suitable for all ages!

Bard on Bower Stage

How much does it cost?

The shows on the main stage at Bower Ponds are proudly presented with  NO ADMISSION charge, thanks to government support and sponsors. We do welcome cash donations at the mainstage shows, which go directly towards covering a small portion of the expenses not covered by our fundraising, and to the cast & crew who are SHAREHOLDERS in the festival. They do not get paid a fixed amount for working full time hours for weeks on end to provide this exciting cultural event for all central Albertans. For info on becoming a sponsor please click here.

Is it a rain or shine event?

Most of the stage is covered by a roof and we do provide some tents and several umbrellas to the audience. If the day is rainy leading up to the performance and we are convinced no one will want to come, we may cancel a performance. Rain has come upon us during performances and we have always finished the show (taking impromptu intermissions as needed). If severe weather closes the park system all shows are suspended until the park reopens. For notice on cancellations follow us on twitter and like us on facebook!

Are there washrooms and amenities?

Washrooms are located in the Bower Ponds Pavillion, where there is also a concession. These are closed by the time our performances end. Here’s a closer look at the site:

 

OUR PERFORMANCES

MACBETH

MacBeth – Director: Victoria Wells-Smith

“Screw your courage to the sticking place”

(Act I, scene vii)

A desperate warrior yearns to become king. His destiny foretold by witches, and encouraged by his aspiring wife, MacBeth exercises ruthless dominion over troubled Scotland, and pays the price for his ambitions.

“MacBeth shall sleep no more”

(Act II, scene ii)

THE TEMPEST

The TEMPST – Director: Ben Blyth (of The Malachites / Edmonton/ London)

“Oh, Brave new world, that has such people in’t”

(Act V, scene i)

Shipwrecked on the magical isle of Prospero, love-lorn Ferdinand and sheltered Miranda discover the wonder of love in a Brave new world. Retribution and forgiveness clash in the spirit world of Ariel and Caliban

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on!”

(Act IV, scene i)

BARD in a BOX!   TOURING POCKET PRODUCTIONS OF A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and COMEDY OF ERRORS

The touring company – condensed (45 minute) retellings of the popular summer romps, set to tour the civic parks of Red Deer and the surrounding County. Cast size of 4-5.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (45 minute version) – Director Thomas Usher

Helena and Hermia and their suitors run away, and run afoul, in a mysterious woodland realm of the faery king and queen. Meanwhile, local would-be actors rehearse a bizarre play in a nearby glade with asinine results.

“Lord, what fools thee mortals be”

(Act III, scene ii)

TOGETHER WITH:

The COMEDY of ERRORS (45 minute version) – adapted by Glen Gaston, Director Ashley Mercia

“I am to the world like a drop of water, that in the ocean seeks another drop”

(Act I, scene ii)

Separated at birth, two sets of identical twins encounter each other’s servants and families by chance. Unaware of what ties them together, they now must untangle whatever kept them apart.

“One of these men is genius to the other”

(Act V, scene i)

NEW THIS YEAR – Tea-for-2 picnic from Cronquist House

The package includes a carafe of tea or coffee, sandwiches, squares all personally packed in a basket for a summer evening repast watching BARD on BOWER.  Order through Prime Stock website.

 

Bower Ponds Outdoor Stage Schedule

Thursday July 25, 7pm MACBETH

Friday July 26, 7pm MACBETH

Saturday July 27, 7pm MACBETH

Sunday July 28 (New to Canada Day!), 1pm The Comedy Double Bill! COMEDY OF ERRORS & A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, 7pm MACBETH

Tuesday July 30, 7pm THE TEMPEST

Wednesday July 31 (LGBTQ2S+ Night!), 7pm THE TEMPEST

Thursday August 1, 7pm MACBETH

Friday August 2, 7pm THE TEMPEST

Saturday August 3, 1pm THE TEMPEST, 7pm MACBETH

Sunday August 4, (Family Day!), 1pm The Comedy Double Bill! COMEDY OF ERRORS & A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, 7pm THE TEMPEST

Tuesday August 6, 7pm The Comedy Double Bill! COMEDY OF ERRORS & A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – with special guests the Edmonton Magpie Morris Dancers!

Wednesday August 7, 7pm MACBETH

Thursday August 8, THE TEMPEST

Friday August 9, 7pm THE TEMPEST

Saturday August 10, (Treaty 6 & 7 Day!), 1pm The Comedy Double Bill! COMEDY OF ERRORS & A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, 7pm MACBETH

Sunday August 11, 1pm THE TEMPEST

Bard on Bower location

 

What should I bring with me?

Seating is on the sloped ground so you may want to bring a blanket or low festival chair to sit on. We have many tarps on hand that you can lay under your blanket (the geese will have left unwelcome presents for you on the grass). Picnics are welcome, and as it cools off you will find bug spray and an extra layer of clothing useful. A hat, sunscreen and rain-gear are always wise, and you may want cash if you choose to make a donation or take advantage of any refreshments available. We have a limited number of tents set up for public use, and many umbrellas.

Is the park accessible for wheelchairs and strollers?

The audience area is on a sloped grassy hill which might be a little awkward, but it is a barrier-free park. The ground is more flat at the back of the seating area just off of the walking path. Bulky items like strollers should be kept to the periphery of the seating area.

What if I have other questions?

When you are at the ponds please visit our donations tent at the back of the audience area if you have any questions at all, or if need to see someone with First Aid. In advance of a performance you can e-mail us at [email protected]

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Arts

“Winter Escape” Family Day Celebration will go on for 2 weeks!

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Submitted by Red Deer MAG (Museum and Art Gallery)

Extending Family Day: MAG to participate in 14-day cultural challenge

The Winter Escape Family Day Challenge arrives in Red Deer on February 13

Nine cultural organizations in the Red Deer Community are collaborating to create a Family Day celebration, Winter Escape/Escapade Hivernale, comprised of various activities, both outdoors and virtual, that participants can complete anytime between Feb. 13 and Feb. 27.  Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, local arts and cultural organizations are still finding ways to celebrate one of the most popular holidays: Family Day. Register yourself or a team at www.winterescapereddeer.ca  starting February 5th.

“We are trying to make the Winter Escape Challenge as family friendly, senior friendly, and accessible as possible,” says Lynn LeCorre, Education Coordinator at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery (MAG). “We want people to explore culture and heritage in Red Deer, and recent circumstances have pushed us to think of new ways to make that happen.”

Challenge activities are designed to allow for safe social distancing while bringing participants together. Work individually or with a team to answer trivia questions and complete photo and video challenges. Activities include snapping a selfie in front of some of Red Deer’s murals, learning simple powwow dance moves, and the MAG Virtual escape room. Teams can register online and join in on the challenge for free, and completion of challenges will allow participants to earn entries into a draw to win one of three gift baskets – one per team category. This event is offered in partnership by the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum, Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta, Norwegian Laft Hus, Red Deer Aboriginal Dance Troupe, Red Deer Arts Council, Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society, Red Deer Public Library, Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery (MAG), and Sunnybrook Farm Museum. In times of uncertainty, these organizations are excited to help bring culture to the people of Red Deer.

The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery works to be Central Alberta’s leading establishment for the research, collection and presentation of visual art and material culture that is related to this region. The MAG is a vibrant and inclusive gathering place for our community and its exhibitions and programs promote the enjoyment of art, culture and the history of Central Alberta.

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Sailing the Nile – Parts 1 and 2

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Sailing the Nile

This is the second in a two-part series “Sailing the Nile”.

There were only 15 guests on board the Malouka: nine polite Americans and our group of six raucous Canadians. We were on a six-day sail up the Nile River. The vessel was a traditional double-masted dahabiya, part of the Nour el Nil fleet https://www.nourelnil.com/

Dahabiyas have been plying the waters of the Nile for millennia. But this was a cleverly-constructed, modern, luxurious craft for us clever, modern, luxuriant folk.

Egypt: Sailing the Nile Part 1 by Gerry Feehan

 

In addition to the crew – who outnumbered the guests – we were graced with the presence of Jean-Pierre, a gentle man with a charming Parisian accent whose only responsibility aboard ship (from what we could glean) was to hop from boat to boat, entertaining the guests with his relaxed septuagenarian spirit – and to act as self-appointed ‘bodyguard’ to Eleanor, one of the fleet’s owners. Eleanor, an elegant French lady, maintained her sumptuous quarters on the Malouka’s sister ship, the Meroe.

Every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner, was served in style, on deck, in the open air. The food was amazing. We were waited on like Pharaohs and Queens: fresh-netted Nile perch, crisp fried falafel and baba ghanouj; straight-from–the-oven flatbread to scoop up the tahini, hummus and yogurt sauces. Each afternoon, we were offered the refreshing juice of some exotic fruit. After dinner, often just a simple desert of dates and figs.

After feeding the guests, the crew enjoys lunch on the lower deck

We quickly bonded with the crew. Where English/Arabic language issues arose, the occasional knowing nod, some common courtesy and a mutual admiration for the beauty of the Nile, sufficed. The Egyptian crew was polite and attentive. And even the most hardened of these river seamen displayed a boyish sense of humour.

Each time we neared shore to dock for an excursion, the captain – whom the staff had inexplicably nicknamed Humpty Dumpty – commenced a routine of alarmed shouts directed at the bow crew—while simultaneously engaging in a frantic arm-waving ceremony toward the helmsman. As we neared Edfu, and before he could start this inevitable daily performance, I jumped into his station at the bow and began gesticulating and yelling in my best pidgin Arabic.

Humpty looked at me in astonishment. The crew was momentarily dumfounded. Then one-by-one they burst into hysterical laughter. The cook, abandoning the galley, fell to the floor, pounding his fists on the deck with unrestrained glee.

I looked at the captain apologetically and said, “Asif.” But I wasn’t really sorry—and Humpty was laughing just as hard as the others.

The sun began to redden over the Nile. The barge passed fertile fields of cotton and sugar cane; lush orchards of pomegranates and figs. Galabiya-clad shepherds looked up from their flocks. Women washed clothes in the fading light. Children leapt into the clear warm water. A startled grey heron squawked. A young boy astride a thin donkey waived hello. Everything was fun and games. Then the squall hit.

The sudden gale propelled the dahabiya sideways. We were headed for an inevitable collision with shore. All hands were on deck as the bow slowly crushed into a thick grove of papyrus. I looked at the captain. He was not laughing. Orders were shouted. Two crewmen jumped overboard with tie-lines in hand, frantically swimming through the thick reeds. On shore they pounded grounding stakes into the hard bank. Then the entire team, from first mate to cook, hauled fast the lines.

When you are a ship’s captain you are on duty 24/7 and can never break, even if your name is Humpty.

As quickly as it started the squall ebbed and all was well again.

Humpty at the helm

This motley crew was not much help during the squall

After the calm we resumed our drift. Near the Temple of Horemheb we tied up for the night, went ashore and visited a small village. We popped in for shai (tea) at what can only be described as the neighbourhood pub, although no alcohol was served. The place smelled of desert grime seasoned with stale tobacco smoke. In the dim murky light an animated group of men were huddled around a table, taking turns smashing domino tiles down upon the battered old piece of furniture. They offered us shai and thick, sweet Turkish coffee, then invited us to join the game and share shisha—a water pipe. The local tobacco is flavoured with fruit and the taste is very mild. Even a deep inhale doesn’t burn the lungs. Or so I’m told.

It was evident that the people here were desperately poor. And yet they welcomed us politely, with expressions of sincere gratitude for our visit to their country. Proffered payment for the shai, coffee, shisha—and our domino debts—were all firmly refused.

Young and old, Nile folk were friendly and welcoming

Egypt needs visitors. Tourism has been hard hit by an unfortunate series of events: 9/11, middle-east concerns, terrorist threats – both real and imagined. The 2010 ‘Arab Spring’ democratic uprising was, ironically, particularly devastating. Tourist numbers plummeted to near zero, but are now recovering. Still, only about 150 of the 350 tour boats that formerly plied this section of the Nile are operating.

We left the village and climbed to a high vantage point overlooking the mighty river. It began to rain. Soon we were all soaked to the skin. Sawi, Alberto and Mahmoud (our on-board waiters and off-board protectors) danced gleefully in the desert downpour. This part of Egypt had not seen rain for four years.

In the morning, docked below the high dam at Aswan, we enjoyed a solemn breakfast while watching a last sunrise over the Nile. Our toast was served with marmalade and melancholy. Our time aboard the Melouka was over. Jean-Pierre and Eleanor came to bid us adieu. All of the crew were emotional. Mahmoud’s eyes were glued to the floor. You know I hate to see a grown man cry… so I avoided looking in the mirror.

We walked the gangplank off the dahabiya. A van awaited us dockside. There we were introduced to Sayed Mansour, from Exodus Travel, who would be our guide for the rest of our Egyptian adventure. He hurried us into the van. A plane awaited us. We were bound for the ancient temple of Abu Simbel on Lake Nasser.

Exodus Travel skillfully handled every detail of our Egypt adventure: www.exodustravels.com/‎

Gerry Feehan is an award-winning travel writer and photographer. He lives in Kimberley, BC.

Gerry Feehan is an award-winning travel writer and photographer. He and his wife Florence now live in Kimberley, BC!

Thanks to Kennedy Wealth Management and Ing and McKee Insurance for sponsoring this series.  Click on their ads and learn more about these long-term local businesses.

Click to read more travel stories.

 

8 miles off the coast of Ireland Gerry Feehan’s “Buddy-Hike” discovers the Skellig Islands

 

 

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