Have you ever watched a live Shakespeare play? Feeling a little nervous about the language barrier? Here are some tips on how to enjoy Halifax’s Shakespeare by the Sea with your family.

Explore the magic of these classic performances in the unique setting of Point Pleasant Park’s Cambridge Battery. Shakespeare By The Sea recommends parking at the Tower Road (upper) parking lot and heading straight down the main path (Cambridge Rd) until you reach the Cambridge Battery- about 10-minute walk. You can even take the #9 bus straight down to Point Pleasant Park. Easy!

Shakespeare by the sea

From Shakespeare by the Sea’s website

Shakespeare by the Sea performances are paid by a suggested donation of $20, but this is a donation, so if you are on a moderate income, or have a large family, don’t let that price stop you – just pay what you can.

When you get to the park, you can rent a chair for $2, or bring your own. You can buy snacks there, or bring your own. You could even just bring a blanket! But…if you are feeling fancy, you can purchase on of the 50 best seats in the house, which includes a chair in the front, and a bottle of water. These are called ‘Sweet Seats’ and they can be bought online. Highly recommended!

Shakespeare by the sea

Practice: don’t worry- at the real thing there will be costumes! Photo: SBTS/Facebook

Are you a little nervous around Shakespeare?  Don’t be!  His stories and characters are about as funny as anything you’ve seen at the movies, and guess what?  He’s a little bit rude too.  Actually, quite rude – Parental Guidance Advised!  If you’re scared of the language, remember, it’s still English, just a little bit older. (Shakespeare’s actors spoke Elizabethan English, by the way, not “Old English”. Believe me, a play in Old English wouldn’t be much fun at all). Anyway,  I promise that the actors’ live performances will smash right through that language barrier, so you will definitely know exactly what’s happening on stage.

If you really want some practice before you go, why not download this Shakespearean Insult Kit, borrowed from the British teaching site www.teachit.co.uk. Print out a copy for each member of your family, and let the insults fly!

Shakespeare by the sea

Want another cheat? Before you go see any Shakespeare play, read an abridged or children’s version. If you have children, read it with them, pretending it’s for their benefit.  Getting a sneak preview of the plot and characters will definitely help.  I recommend Usborne’s Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare, pictured above. It’s a gorgeous little volume that sits nicely on a kid’s bookshelf, and it has a fun little character profile at the beginning of each play. If your child is reading comfortably at about Grade 3 reading level, he or she will actually be able to read the book alone, but it is a lovely book to read together.

Another way to get a grip on the Bard is to read a copy of Lamb’s ‘Tales from Shakespeare’. These abridged versions of Shakespeare’s plays were published long long ago, but they are still some of the most easily digestible. They would make good bedtime reading for a slightly older child or a quick read for a parent.  The good news is that because original version, by Charles and Mary Lamb, was published so long ago, there are many many copies in circulation, some with beautiful illustrations. Dash over to Amazon.ca and see what you can find!

And as for Sleeping Beauty? Well, we all know that story. However, I suspect that Shakespeare by the Sea will provide their own twist to this classic fairy tale. Just wait and see!

So, make sure you grab the kids (especially those teenagers) and head out to Shakespeare by the Sea one evening this summer. I guarantee it will be an evening you will never forget!

Shakespeare by the Sea Details:

When: Tuesday- Sunday, check SBTS website for details.
Where: Cambridge Battery, Point Pleasant Park NS B3H 1A1
Website: http://www.shakespearebythesea.ca
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SBTSHalifax
Phone: (902) 422-0295
Instagram: @SBTSHalifax