Artistic Director Robert Light throws back his head and laughs appreciatively as his merry band of actors throw themselves into the hilarious chaos that is Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

This play, together with Othello, and a locally-written, Shakespeare-inspired play, Richard the Lionhearted, will be performed by local professional actors under a 20’x40’ tent at Fisherman’s Wharf Park from Tuesday, June 28th to Sunday, August 7th with evening shows at 7pm and matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2pm. There will be no performances on Monday.

Artistic Director Robert Light is flanked by actors from “Richard the Lionhearted” at the Victoria Day Parade. “Richard the Lionhearted”, “Othello”, and “Much Ado About Nothing” will be performed at Fisherman’s Wharf Park this summer.

(Photo by Steve Duck, Executive Director VISA)

After several years as Victoria’s Shakespeare by the Sea (under the auspices of Discovery Dance Theatre) Vancouver Island Shakespeare Arts (VISA), a BC non-profit society founded in 2015, became the producer of Victoria’s Shakespeare by the Sea. Over the past five years, performances of Shakespeare’s plays have been staged at a number of Victoria venues, including Clover Point, Holland Point and Ogden Point. This year the company will also make its fourth tour to the Saanich Peninsula, performing August 9 to 14 and September 8 to 11 at The Roost and a second visit to Nanaimo, September 16 to 19 at Pioneer Waterfront Plaza

The company has received widespread approval for well-conceived interpretations of Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet, The Tempest and other plays, all under the brilliant, if somewhat unconventional, artistic direction of Robert Light, MFA.

According to VISA’s website, Robert was born in the Maritimes, raised on the Prairies, lived in the Arctic, studied in the United States, and settled on the West Coast, after receiving a Master of Fine Arts from York, he decided that he would “rather make theatre history than teach it” and so turned down a PhD from UBC. Responsible for production, directing, actor selection and management, VISA says Robert is known to the troupe as the “Minister of Internal Affairs.”

A professional actor, writer, editor, teacher and voice coach for 42 years, Robert has been involved with over 96 play productions. He co-founded VISA’s predecessor, Prospectus Theatre, in 1987 with a Vancouver theatre producer. Over the next 24 years, many plays were performed at the Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island and the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood.

According to VISA, it was while he was working in Los Angeles as a screenwriter and editor that Robert came up with the idea of taking the theatre company to Victoria – he envisaged tents, the Pacific Ocean, the Olympic Mountains… Five years and seven productions later, we have Vancouver Island Shakespeare Arts Society producing Victoria’s Shakespeare by the Sea.

But, Robert just never stops making plans and then it’s full steam ahead. Two years ago he announced the theatre company’s goal of building a replica of the Globe Theatre – with modifications like a ten metre opening behind the main stage to provide audience members with a breath-taking view of sea and mountains. When people ask how he can possibly contemplate such an ambitious project, Robert replies, in typical Robert fashion, “Well, you do your best and then hope for the best” also pointing out the fact that Sam Wanamaker did it in London, England, and the audiences love it.

Tickets are $29/$25 and can be purchased (cash only) at the door for all venues. Advance tickets can be purchased on-line at VictoriaTicket.ca or in person at The Visitor Centre, 812 Wharf St, Victoria. Green tickets are $25 for those audience members who walk or cycle to the venue OR are 65 years or older OR students. Seating is open-festival and wheelchair accessible. On cooler evenings, even blankets will be provided!

As well, Saturday and Sunday mornings, from 10 am to 12 Noon, VISA is offering FREE theatrical performance classes at its Stratford School to children and accompanying parents.

Following this, the 2016 season, next year VISA plans to mount King Lear and The Taming of the Shrew, as well as Kiss Me Kate; “A tremendous challenge,” says Robert, “but one we will meet head on. It will complete our three year project we call Shakespeare and Women. 

For more information on this theatrical company and the plays to be presented in 2016, please visit or check out Facebook (Vancouver Island Shakespeare Arts).