The Bard's Night is an annual feast of an evening in celebration of the greatest literary genius in the English language. It ran for the first time on April 21, 2017 at the Stratford ArtsHouse in Stratford-upon-Avon and received great acclaim.
The evening mixes an evocative dinner menu, with first class, professional theatrical, musical and dance performances. These draw upon the life, times and work of William Shakespeare, to create an immaculately rounded evening that ends with a toast to the spirit of Shakespeare. The Bard's Night is a stylish and memorable occasion to kick off the Shakespeare Birthday Celebration weekend in Stratford, but has future appeal that reaches way beyond the county of Warwickshire.
While the evening is professionally cast and directed, the oganisers make sure that the public can be a part of the occasion. In 2017, a video entitled "One Man, Many Voices" featured 39 members of the public (and two socks), each speaking a line from one of Shakespeare's plays. The video saw its premiere at The Bard's Night 2017.
For 2018, another video is planned featuring the theme "The Elements" and again involving members of the public. In addition, sixth formers from local schools will jointly design the "Elements" backdrop and then construct it on stage as a dramatic start to the performances at The Bard's Night 2018. The organisers will team up again with the Fred Theatre company for all the dramatic performances and hope to work with a local orchestra to introduce further musical levels to the evening.
From 2019, The Bard's Night will become a multi-centre event, with two occasions taking place simultaneously and linked online. Shakespeare generously included the names of many suitable locations in his plays and the organisers are aiming for the use of 10-12 centres simultaneously, within 5 years.
To achieve these goals calls for investment now and in future years and the plan is to use crowdfunding progressively to enhance the marketing activity and secure venues and performers for 2018 and 2019.