With the 2019 theme “She is Art,” the 44th Annual Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts features the work of legendary female artists like Nina Simone and Chaka Khan while bringing unforgettable theatrical productions and family-friendly performances to the stage. Add some artistic inspiration to your island escape by catching one or more of these performances, which take place at various venues throughout the island.
Here’s a sneak peek at this year’s lineup.
Theatre, Song & Dance: From Shakespeare to Nina Simone
Maybe it’s the fact that Bermuda was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s The Tempest, or maybe it’s the generations of vibrant Gombey dancers that have been so integral to the island’s heritage – but the performing arts have always factored heavily into Bermuda’s arts and culture scene. This year’s festival celebrates some of the island’s most beloved traditions while also looking beyond Bermuda.
In a tribute to American dancer and choreographer Paul Taylor, who died in August of 2018, the internationally renowned Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company will perform key pieces of his work, including the visually stunning and legendary “Esplanade,” January 21 and 22.
Fittingly, Shakespeare will have a presence at the festival. On January 25 and 26, a British cast performs a unique, Bollywood-inspired take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Set in the 1930s, this unique take on a classic is the first play of the inaugural Shakespeare on the Rock series.
After enjoying the Bard’s foremost comedy, jump to the pivotal Civil Rights Era with esteemed director Marcus Gardley’s production of Nina Simone – Four Women. The play, based on one of the iconic artist’s most powerful songs, takes the stage January 29-31.
Get a taste of island-inspired talent with prolific Bermuda-born Broadway actress Rebecca Faulkenberry, who offers an exploration of her experiences as a professional performer in “Well Behaved Women Rarely Make it on Broadway” (February 18 and 19).
On March 8 and 9, Kathryn Kates stars as larger-than-life opera singer Maria Callas in Master Class.
Big-Name Concerts Come to Bermuda
In keeping with the deep passion for music that permeates the island, the festival is packed with musical performances from local and international artists alike.
Among the headliners is Grammy-winning jazz-vocal outfit Manhattan Transfer, who perform January 19.
On February 8 and 9, explore the work of groundbreaking blues singer Janis Joplin with a tribute by dynamic vocalist Mary Bridget Davies.
Celebrated musician Chaka Khan, herself a winner of multiple Grammy Awards, takes the stage February 16 – a performance that will likely pack the house.
Appreciate locally grown musical talent with a performance by singer-songwriter Heather Nova, whose February 22 and 23 performances will pay tribute to the careers of women songwriters, from Joni Mitchell to Madonna.
On February 25 and 26, British a cappella group The Queen’s Six will make concertgoers feel like royalty (the guys are no strangers to performing before royals themselves) with a performance specially curated for this festival.
Family-Friendly Fun: Bubbles, Improv & Beyond
Be inspired by Bermuda’s youngest performers on February 6, when the Second Annual Onstage Competition showcases the talents of young female songwriters in keeping with the festival’s “She is Art” theme.
In the mood for spontaneous hilarity? No two shows are the same when you see the expertly improvised Broadway’s Next H!t Musical, a totally unscripted “awards show” that comes to the festival March 1 and 2.
On March 5 and 6, the up-and-coming musicians that make up the New York-based Frisson Ensemble will explore the works of Mozart, Bernstein and – to stay on-theme – women composers throughout history.
Can’t wait to put this on your itinerary? Look into tickets and packages.