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BWW Review: Shakespeare Takes His Show On the Road at Theatre Calgary

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Theatre Calgary proves the new normal Is possible.

BWW Review: Shakespeare Takes His Show On the Road at Theatre Calgary

When it comes to celebrating summer in Calgary, there are two things that come to mind: Stampede and Shakespeare. While it's unclear if the two have ever collided (in what would most certainly be a very unorthodox production of "Titus Andronicus"), seeing both festivals open their doors to guests is surely a sign that Calgary is adapting to the new normal.

Theatre in Calgary over the past eighteen months has been unusual and uncertain to say the least. Some companies have been forced to move, or postpone their seasons, and others have had to shut their doors completely. But, as the 2021-22 season draws nearer, companies are finally able to poke their heads from the shadows and show the city what they have to offer.

Though last year's production of "Romeo & Juliet" was successfully adapted into a digital performance, I will admit to some relief when I heard that Theatre Calgary would be returning to their outdoor series "Shakespeare By the Bow". Typically performed at Prince's Island Park, Theatre Calgary (in conjunction with The Shakespeare Company) showcased emerging artists from across Alberta in a shortened production of one of William Shakespeare's various plays. Truly, nothing is so quintessentially "summer" as laying on the grass, most certainly earning a sunburn, and watching a group of early-twenties actors run around the stage while ignoring the crying toddler desperately trying to waddle towards them.

I am not ashamed to say that I missed the chaos last year, so when I heard they were returning with a one-act production of "The Comedy of Errors", I was over the moon. This year, instead of performing in one location, Theatre Calgary is taking their show across the city with the aptly named: "Shakespeare on the Go". Throughout the month of August, a rotating cast of three actors are set to perform in various locations, including The Public Library, Heritage Park, and Lougheed House.

I was excited to head to Springboard Performance's containR this past Sunday to see this new production for myself. But nothing says a return to normal Calgary theatre like a rained-out show. The beauty of the city, however, is that the weather had cleared up within the hour and performances were able to resume the following Tuesday.

This year's cast features amazing talent from across the province including: Lauren Brady, Anna Dalgleish, Hannah Kerbes, Rebbekah Ogden, Sarah Ord, Spencer Streichert, Zachary Strom, Dylan Thomas-Bouchier, and Hannah Wigglesworth. It is also directed by Reneltta Arluk, Artistic Director of Akpik Theatre and Director of Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

I have no doubt that next year will see Shakespeare making an even stronger return to Calgary's summer scene. Whether that's "by the Bow" or "on the go" is yet to be determined, but after seeing Theatre Calgary's continuous adaptation to ever-changing global circumstances, I am hopeful for the future of theatre in this city.

There are still over twenty performances throughout the city and I hope to see all three casts give their all, but until then, more information about "Shakespeare on the Go" can be found on the company's website.


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