2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Photo credit Tim Nguyen

The Shakespeare Company welcomes Richard Beaune for their 2024-2025 season 

By Ansharah Shakil, June 1 2024—

While the Shakespeare Company recently presented A Midsummer’s Night Dream as the final show of its 25th season, it also announced its upcoming season, led by new Artistic Producer Richard Beaune. As a theatre company devoted to presenting works by Shakespeare and other classic and contemporary plays, the upcoming season reflects the company’s goal to connect audiences with theatre from the past.

“Live theatre is very current, it’s very immediate, it’s happening with real people right now. And if you’re doing that with a script that is old, you’re looking at human behavior through a double lens. We all live in the same world as our audience but also through the playwrights’ lens,” Beaune told the Gauntlet. “I think that’s really insightful in terms of understanding the human condition, seeing human behavior as portrayed by an artist hundreds of years ago, but still being brought to life in a contemporary setting.”

Beaune spoke on the importance of continuing to have a dedicated space to perform Shakespeare in Calgary, not only for those involved with the production but for members of the audience or university students.

“[Shakespeare] wrote these incredibly large thematic ideas in [exciting] narratives or storylines with characters who were really idiosyncratic and peculiar. He ties that all in with this incredible poetry,” he said. “[He is] not just a playwright, but a poet and actor. So he really understands theatre from the ground up and he looked at human behavior in ways that were really profound but still widely accessible.”

In their rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is showing until June 1, The Shakespeare Company plays up the comedic aspects by being a fun and appealing time through its costume, set and sound design of the fairy world as compared to the regular world.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is, again, one of those great examples of Shakespeare doing several things all at once in a way that brings them together seamlessly. So he writes this incredibly fun, romantic […] archetypal, silly comedy, and he writes this incredible story of fairyland. And he weaves them all together into one story that’s all interconnected,” Beaune said.

The upcoming season will include The Comedy of Errors from Sept. 27 to Oct. 18, Twelfth Night from Sep. 28 to Oct. 19 and The Games of Love and Chance from May 2-17. Beaune expressed excitement for the final show, a French classic comedy. 

“I wrote the translation and directed the original production which was performed in Red Deer, and we’re going to [have] that production in Calgary,” he said. “It’s a really lovely light comedy, but explored through a really modern sensibility.”

With this upcoming season, Beaune seeks to introduce himself to the city and become part of the community. 

“What I want to do is I want to show how much I love actors, because that’s kind of my primary thing as a theatre artist. So we’re really going to highlight actors at the forefront of next season, and the actors and their ability to transform is going to be right at the front and the center of what I’ve programmed,” he said. 

The theme for this season is Arrivals, and like Beaune, who has recently arrived to Calgary, each play in the season begins with an arrival: Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse arrive in Ephesus in The Comedy of Errors, shipwrecked siblings Viola and Sebastian are separated in new places and a suitor and his servant arrive to meet his betrothed in The Games of Love and Chance.

“I’ve been really made to feel so welcome in Calgary that I wanted to celebrate that with our theme,” Beaune said. 

Many of these plays explore mistaken identity, disguises, transformation, self discovery and gender identity in ways that can still be relevant to audiences.

“Going to the theatre provokes, consciously or not, an act of empathy. As soon as we look at a person on stage pretending to be another person and we, as an audience, place some sort of judgment on that, we’re unconsciously performing an act of empathy. We are engaging with another person as though we understand who they are. And when we do that, we are, I think, battling one of the most serious dangers in our society right now, which is a loss of empathy,” Beaune said. “The theater is really the best antidote that we have. And then with a city like Calgary, where you’ve got so many new arrivals from all kinds of different backgrounds, exercising our empathy is really, really important.”

More information about The Shakespeare Company and their upcoming season is available on their website

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet