Shakespeare returns to the rock

A new Shakespeare on the Rock series of plays is to be launched by the Bermuda Festival.

TJ Armand, festival director, said organisers wanted to continue the work of the Bermuda Shakespeare Schools Festival, which helped pupils understand and appreciate the playwright’s work.

Mr Armand said: “We felt there really needed to be a home for Shakespeare on the island and we really wanted to make it a part of not just the festival but also our outreach programme.

“Bermuda will never be without Shakespeare ever again.”

Mr Armand said the Shakespeare on the Rock series would feature a series of pupil workshop performances throughout the year at locations around the island.

The programme will reach its peak at the Bermuda Festival, which will run between January and March next year, with a performance by an international touring company.

Mr Armand said the Shakespeare comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be the focus for the 2019 festival.

He added the programme would help the schoolchildren understand Shakespeare’s plays, which are a part of the GCSE curriculum.

Mr Armand added that the reaction to the programme had been good.

He said: “It’s a difficult organisational platform. It’s not easy to co-ordinate, but we are pretty good at this.

“There have been other programmes, but the school festival was the closest to our hearts, so continuing that work was important.”

Mr Armand said the festival organisers also wanted to support other charitable causes through a new Performing Arts Management Services programme to raise funds for charity.

Mr Armand said: “There are charitable organisations or charitable causes that require fundraising events and need someone to organise their concerts.

“Basically we want to use our knowhow to assist other organisations and charitable causes to fundraise.”

He added: “Some charities have already reached out to us, which is why this programme is important to us.

“The performing arts brings attention and it can help other organisations achieve their goal. We can provide the organisation necessary to help their causes and fundraising efforts.”

Mr Armand said organisers planned to launch a “curated summer festival”, which would include performances featuring island and international talent.

He said: “We will announce the venue and how it is going to operate very soon, but it will be focused mostly on music.

“The proper festival focuses a lot on dance and theatre, but this will be more of a music festival.”

Mr Armand said that even with the expanded focus, he was “very, very excited” about the line-up for the main 2019 Bermuda Festival.

He said: “It’s going to be an eye-opening line up and we will be making announcements earlier than we usually do.”


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