“Shakespeare surrounds us. If you say “It’s Greek to me” or you “refuse to budge an inch” or you’re “in a pickle,” you’re quoting Shakespeare. He’s alive and well.”
– Christopher Gaze
Some people, Shakespeare wrote, are “born great. Some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” As a messenger of the fabled writer, Christopher Gaze would seem to fit all of the above.
Born in England, Gaze spent three seasons at Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake before moving to Vancouver, where he founded the Bard on the Beach, allowing Shakespearean actors to perform against a spectacular backdrop of the city’s skyline and mountains. He’s nurtured this festival for more than 20 years to become one of the most successful not-for-profit arts organizations in North America.
The sophisticated Gaze also introduced the Young Shakespeareans acting program which provides an opportunity every summer for more than 250 young people to train with seasoned professionals. A talented actor and director, in 2004 he won a Jessie Richardson Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the Playhouse production of Equus. He also narrated the Emmy Award-winning animation series Madeline.
Gaze, who works with arts organizations and as a guest host on the Knowledge Network, for three years was on the Board of Tourism Vancouver, serving as the Festival and Events representative. Gaze’s numerous honours include induction into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame, Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal and invested in 2012 to the Order of British Columbia for ‘elevating the cultural standard of Vancouver and all of British Columbia.’
As a professional speaker, Gaze is compelling and Shakespeare-articulate. Someone as charismatic and passionate as he can make you want to learn about him and his message. He is also an excellent master of ceremonies.