Bard in The Yard by Will & Co
Theatre lovers will be thrilled to know that they can now enjoy a live performance from the comfort of their own homes. Drama-makers have had to get very creative to find ways to connect with audiences during lockdown. Surviving the enforced closure of all arts and entertainment venues has been a considerable challenge that saw the industry turn to digital avenues to make the internet its temporary stage. The Will & Co theatre group knows that, in spite of best efforts, nothing will ever beat the magic of a live performance, and they went one step further to provide people with an opportunity to experience it again. The creators of Bard in The Yard, led by artistic director Victoria Baumgartner, are bringing performances right into spectators’ own gardens.
Respecting all safety restrictions, the project involves an actor, or rather “a bard”, performing a 40-minute play in private outdoor spaces to groups of up to five people (this number is likely to expand as the government’s safety regulations change). The show is a joy to experience, especially after months of accessing theatre only via a screen. However, it is not just the novelty of the project that makes it so thoroughly enjoyable. The play encapsulates the spirit of Shakespearean drama and also delves into the personal life of the playwright, offering fascinating insights into the experience of the man behind the legend. It makes for a great show, even without the unique circumstances and the intimate setting that no doubt enrich it.
Merging storytelling, history and humour, the clever script manages to be relevant as it connects Shakespeare’s quarantine experience (the plague struck several times during the bard’s lifetime) with the current pandemic. In under one hour, the actor (Ben Galpin, in this case) brings to life Shakespeare’s world and ably marries humour with reflective musings on mortality, creativity and productivity. There are several “bards” like Galpin spread across London ready to run to the rescue and rekindle the joy of experiencing live acting. This is a great opportunity to see theatre in a unique way, and a perfect reminder of how magical and powerful it can be.
Photo: Will & Co
Bard in The Yard is showing from 10th July. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Bard in The Yard here: