Children of God is getting all the BUZZ!

Children of God is getting all the BUZZ! – Must close March 10!

Corey Payette’s powerful musical, from Urban Ink, about the impact of Canadian residential schools has now been witnessed by over 35,000 people on stages across the country. People can not stop raving about this play; over and over we hear, ‘must-see’, ‘essential’, and ‘vital’, being used to describe it. Check out some of the latest reviews:

Photo by Emily Cooper Photography

“Children of God truly is a must-see for all Canadians, as a lesson about the true history of our country.” —VANCOUVER PRESENTS

“A triumph of dramatic ceremony.” —BROKEN LEG REVIEWS

“Powerful, exciting and emotional.” —TWO CENTS & TWO PENCE

“If you haven’t seen Children of God yet, you should go. Yes, partly because every Canadian needs to understand the legacy of residential schools, but also because it’s an excellent script performed by top-notch double-threat actor/singers and, even when the subject matter gets dark, it’s a real treat to see them perform”—ILIVEINEASTVAN

“One of the most vital and powerful new works in Canadian musical theatre.” —MONTREAL THEATRE HUB

Social media has been lighting up with amazing personal reflections and recommendations:

“An outstanding, transformative production.” —Robert Clifton, facebook comment

“Such a powerful and absolutely moving production. A true must see!” —Joy Clifton, facebook comment

“Very powerful and effective. Bring your tissues and stay for the discussion.” —Leanne Roy, facebook comment

“A show that all Canadians should see! It is brilliant!” —Jamie Johnston, facebook comment


Children of God runs until March 10, 2019, at the York Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

A conversation with Much Ado About Nothing Director, Rebecca Patterson

A conversation with Much Ado About Nothing Director, Rebecca Patterson

Previously from New York City, Rebecca Patterson is known for her inventive classical productions featuring all-female casts for The Queen’s Company (NYC) and her advocacy for diversity and gender-blind casting. As Classic Chic Productions prepares to open Much Ado About Nothing this week, we caught up with Rebecca to chat about her work and inspirations.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Born in California and raised in Western Canada, I went to Studio 58 as an actor before beginning my ongoing journey as an auteur theatre director. For the past 20 years I have been happily living and making theatre in New York City, I moved back home to Vancouver just over a year ago and am now making theatre here in addition to my work in NYC.

Can you tell us more about your work at The Queen’s Company in NYC?
Founded in 2000, The Queen’s Company is a NYC-based theatre company dedicated to the creation of inventive productions of classical plays featuring all-female casts. My work with the company weds a love of language to a love of life, weaving inspiration from history and world cultures into the fabric of each production, and is known for its exquisite use of language, bold physicality, creative storytelling and artistic playfulness. I have also been a vocal advocate for culture change in casting practices, calling for greater opportunities for classically trained professional female actors through all-female productions and gender-blind casting.

Why is gender-blind casting important?
Because it’s about humanity. It is a true reflection of our current culture where the old divisions between men and women are falling away. It is also about social justice and equal employment opportunity for female actors.

What inspires your work?
Life, and the actors I have the pleasure and privilege to work with.

What makes you most excited about being back in Vancouver?
Vancouver has become the city I went in search of, diverse, engaged, hopeful, curious. The city and the theatre community excites me, though I love the dynamic energy and drive of NYC, I miss my culture and my people, it is wonderful being back and diving into this new experiment.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Femme Series?
It means I am claiming space onstage for women and encouraging other women to do the same. This is important, we need to have our diverse voices heard and seen. It will be the journey of multiple lifetimes to undo the untold generations of female silence, to arrive at a time where equality of expression is the norm, this is why, even as women achieve more overt equality, programs like the Femme Series remain important and relevant.

What should audiences expect from Classic Chic’s Much Ado About Nothing?
Expect to be surprised.

Tell us about a woman who has inspired you.
So many to choose from! Of all the fierce females who make my day, I have to choose the French female director Ariane Mnouchkine, within the artistry of stage direction she is considered one the best, her relentless pursuit of truth and bold theatricality has been deeply inspirational and fueled my passion to create theatre.

Photo by Emily Cooper

Much Ado About Nothing runs Feb 5 to 16 at the Historic Theatre (1895 Venables Street). Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Power Ballad Creator’s Notes

A Note from Julia Croft | Power Ballad Creator/Performer

Power Ballad is a living, breathing, and demonic little show that we are absolutely delighted to be presenting in Canada for the first time.

This work is the second in a trilogy of feminist works that we created. Power Ballad was inspired in part by the misogynistic train wreck that was the 2016 US election and the implicit gendered narratives that were played out in the politics and media of that time and continue to ripple through our lives and our culture. It was also inspired by a lifetime of personally feeling the ways in which language was used against me as a woman and the ways I felt (and still feel) that language can be an impossible bind.

Over the course of making the show, the concept of language began to also stand in for all those other seemingly immovable patriarchal structures we are all trying to live within or against. They seem permanent but they aren’t – things could be different. While making this work I thought often of the famous Ursula Le Guin quote “We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.” This work is about finding the cracks where resistance can begin.

This show started to become a small rally cry – or at least my own attempt to begin to understand what a resistance could look like and my reminding myself of the importance of being hopeful.

Then as we began rehearsals for the show millions of women around the world marched collectively as part of the Womens’ March. And then we had #metoo. And Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette. And a million other acts of resistance both big and small seem to be appearing every day. And I feel in my gut that things are shifting. Maybe the revolution has already started.

Either way, it is my great joy to be in a room with you all while we sing our hearts out.

Julia x


Power Ballad runs Jan 20-26, at the Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or call The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Music Monday: The Songs of East Van Panto

Music Monday: The Songs of East Van Panto

Check out all the songs given an East Van spin in this year’s East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz. Musical Director, and composer, Veda Hille is infamous for taking some of the most (and least) popular songs of recent decades and flipping them on their heads with new arrangements and lyrics to add a little pizzazz to Theatre Replacement’s winter tradition. Take a listen to the original songs that have inspired the music of this year’s Panto soundtrack, then come hear our versions at the York Theatre! Scroll through this awesome list of golden age videos and live performances, or check out this Spotify playlist if you’re on the go!

Gloria by Laura Branigan

Valerie by Steve Winwood

This is America by Childish Gambino

Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and The Waves

Downtown by Petula Clark

Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg

Northwest Passage by Stan Rogers

Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin

All Night by Big Boi

Ding Dong The Witch is Dead by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg

Macarena by Los del Rio

In My Feelings by Drake

Swish Swish by Katy Perry

Footloose by Kenny Loggins

Daydream Believer by The Monkees

ABC by The Jackson 5

I Want You Back by The Jackson 5

Teen Titans Go To The Movies by Lil Yachty

Ballroom Blitz by Sweet

Sweet Transvestite by Richard O’Brien

Time Warp by Richard O’Brien

East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz is onstage now at the York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive – must close Jan 6, 2019! Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

A conversation with Paneet Singh, Writer/Director of A Vancouver Guldasta!

A conversation with Paneet Singh, Writer/Director of A Vancouver Guldasta

Paneet Singh. Photo by Pardeep Singh Photography

The Cultch is excited to once again partner with Diwali in BC. This year we are co-presenting two shows, The Believers Are But Brothers ( Oct 30 – Nov 10, Vancity Culture Lab) and A Vancouver Guldasta (Oct 2 – 21, Vancity Culture Lab). A Vancouver Guldasta, written and directed by Paneet Singh and produced by South Asian Canadian Histories Association (SACHA), opens next week and we couldn’t be more excited. We chatted with Paneet Singh, and he gave us a little background about the show.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a playwright and filmmaker based out of Burnaby. I absolutely love history, and especially the history of the local South Asian community. A lot of my work is around examining intimate stories that happen within large-scale events, much like the story in A Vancouver Guldasta. I also work in admin and am part of the instructional staff at Arts Umbrella, working mostly out of the Surrey locations. Above all else, I love storytelling. I consider engaging with story to be a large part of my professional and personal life, as well as my spiritual journey – and really the only way in which all of these aspects of my life can intersect. I also like to make a lot of jokes. Usually when I shouldn’t be making jokes. I thought that was important to share.

Where did you get the idea for A Vancouver Guldasta?

About a decade ago, a friend of mine gave me a VHS tape that he had gotten from his uncle which contained a ton of local and newscasts from 1984 immediately after the invasion of the Golden Temple. I was so moved by the content and I knew that there was a story to discover around it. I played with it in many ways over the past few years, eventually discovering that the story would be well-served to be told in a way which captured that trauma is shared across generations and cultures – from there, A Vancouver Guldasta was born.

Is it true that the word ‘Guldasta’ means ‘bouquet’? Can you explain what the significance of the word Guldasta is in the context of A Vancouver Guldasta?

Yes, it does! Guldasta means ‘bouquet’ in a few languages from South Asia, including Punjabi, Hindi, and Urdu. The title is meant to reflect the make-up of many Vancouver neighborhoods that many of us grew up in, where families weren’t just those who you were biologically related to, but also became those who you shared a living space with, and interacted with everyday. It speaks to this being a story experienced in a space which appears to be a Punjabi space, but is actually intercultural. ‘Guldasta’ is also a term used in Indian classical music to refer to a composition that is made up of contrasting musical measures – but I won’t go too far into it, as that’s explored in my favourite scene of the show!

The Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib (“abode of God”) or Darbar Sahib, (Punjabi pronunciation: [dəɾbɑɾ sɑhɪb], “exalted holy court”), is a Gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. Credit Wikipedia

The invasion of the Golden Temple is a significant event in the Punjabi community. Were there difficulties writing about such a significant period of time, one that is so firmly cemented into people’s minds? How did you overcome these?

The biggest challenge comes from the fact that it’s in the lived experience for so much of the community. Even those of us who didn’t live through it personally, feel the tremors of its impact and have inherited the trauma from those around us. Furthermore, the politics of 1984 form the basis of politics today within the community. Most people want to examine one or the other – the politics, or the trauma. I feel as though the two are so heavily intertwined, to really unpack either you need to see how they intersect, and that’s what forms the basis of this piece. You can approach the politics and trauma in a sensitive manner if you put a face and experience to them. I did a lot of research, observation, and consultation in order to ensure that there was a truth and sensitivity behind every distinct voice that is reacting to this catastrophic incident.

What can you tell us about the characters in the play?

They’re so different from one another, but I think you can really believe them to be interacting the way that they do. They’re funny, they’re bold, they’re dynamic, and they’ve all got something to say – but, perhaps they’re still discovering the right way to say it. I don’t want to get too much into each character individually, but the thing that surprises me most about this show is that an audience member will often say that a particular character reminds them of themselves, but they really found themselves listening to the character who was opposed to them – to me, that’s really exciting because it means that there’s a strong thesis and antithesis being examined and there’s a compelling enough argument to draw the attention of otherwise unwilling ears.

Lou Ticzon as Andy, Gunjan Kundhal as Niranjan, Parm Soor as Chattar, and Arshdeep Purba as Rani. Photo by Pardeep Singh Photography

We are so excited to have A Vancouver Guldasta in our Culture Lab; the last time it was presented, the stage was set in an actual Vancouver Special, the location that the play is set. How did you manage creating a stage inside of a home? What are you looking forward to about having it in our Culture Lab?

Typical Vancouver Specials. “Vancouver Specials have similar floor plans with the main living quarters on the upper floor and secondary bedrooms on the bottom, making them ideal for secondary suites.” Credit Wikipedia

It was tough staging it in that space, but I was stubborn! I knew that I wanted to experiment with that location the first time we put it up, just because there’s so much gravitas with this particular story in that space which is, in other regards, so infamously humble and common. We had three rows of bleachers built into the room and squeezed in 25 people, crammed in shoulder-to-shoulder, to watch this show that was entirely lit by practical lighting, and had all the sound coming out of the television set. It wasn’t glamorous, but it really forced you into the world of the characters, and audiences really responded to it.

I’m twice as excited now because we get to bring that experience into the Lab. We’re playing with the audience’s seating arrangement, we’re playing with projection, and we’re playing with some of that good ol’ 80s technology to really make it as much of an experience as it was in the house. It’s fun re-imagining it in this space – it feels like a whole new production. I have been approaching it creatively not in a way in which I’m trying to get the Lab to become that living room, but rather respecting the Lab for what it offers, and discovering how these feelings translate in this new space, for a larger audience.

Is there anything else you would like to share about the production?

I am really struck by how much this show strikes a personal chord with so many audiences – Sikh, South Asian, Vietnamese, Vancouver residents, and those who fit into none of the above, have all said they found a story in this story that resonated with their own personal experience – and I love that. Experience and empathy lies at the heart of much my work, and A Vancouver Guldasta is no exception, so I really want to invite folks into this intimate space to spend time with this family. Certainly a unique family – but still one that’s perhaps not so far-from-home.


A Vancouver Guldasta runs Oct 2-21 at the Vancity Culture Lab. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Corporate Sponsor Spotlight: Giulio Recchioni from the Italian Cultural Centre

Corporate Sponsor Spotlight: Giulio Recchioni from the Italian Cultural Centre

Giulio Recchioni

Can you tell us how the Italian Cultural Centre first got involved with The Cultch?

Our very first time at The Cultch was in March 2012 with FRESCO, a play the Italian Cultural Centre commissioned from Lucia Frangione and BellaLuna Productions, telling the lesser known story of the internment of Italian citizens in Canada during WW2.

However the first proper partnership with The Cultch was in May 2017 with LA MERDA, featuring a naked Silvia Gallerano sitting on a stool on a dark stage… what a tough show that was!

What has surprised you and your colleagues most about partnering with The Cultch?

I was surprised by the richness and diversification of the shows offered at The Cultch, and also by the number of people that created a community around this historical institution in Vancouver;  some of the audience changes according to what’s playing, but there is also a hard core audience that comes to every show. I think that’s great. They trust The Cultch, they know whatever gets put on stage will be good and will have an impact on them, and they come with an open mind.

Over the years, the Italian Cultural Centre has supported several Cultch shows. Are there any highlights or memorable moments?

I still can’t help but smile when I think of Pss Pss and what they did with the ladder. Pss Pss was a funny show by Compagnia Baccalà that made adults and children laugh with non-verbal humour. In our line of work, cross-generational and cross-cultural are adjectives we use constantly, but this show brilliantly embodied both concepts.

How important do you think it is that the arts organizations continue to cultivate and sustain partnerships with corporate sponsors and local businesses?

It’s of paramount importance. The population is growing in this expensive city, and we are also seeing the consequential multiplication of cultural and artistic organizations. Often putting up cultural activities costs more money than ticket sales can generate, and government grants (municipal, provincial, federal) do not always keep up with the growing demand for funds. I hope more and more thriving businesses will want to share some of their wealth with the local community to keep this city interesting and interested.

What are you curious about right now?

I am curious about the new Creative City Strategy that the City will be rolling out – hopefully soon. There have been a number of explorative meetings to get an idea of what is needed in the arts and culture sector, and I can’t wait to see how all that knowledge will convert into an action plan.

Do you have a favorite show?

This is always such an unfair question… I see a decent number of shows throughout the year, and I have to constantly update my list of favourites. If I had to single out something I saw recently, though – I am a jazz fan, and I was lucky enough to go to Pyatt Hall for the live concert of the great baritone sax player, Gary Smulyan, with strings. He is a powerhouse!


As a registered Canadian charity, The Cultch relies on the support of the community to operate as a cultural hub; bringing diverse and engaging live performance to the stage.
Please consider making a donation today! Contact Natalie Schneck, Development Associate: natalie@thecultch.com; 604.251.1766 x.121
Charitable registration # 11928 1574 RR0001

DONOR SPOTLIGHT: Jodi Sprackman with the Rosedale on Robson

DONOR SPOTLIGHT: Jodi Sprackman with the Rosedale on Robson

Can you tell us how the Rosedale on Robson first got involved with The Cultch?

Our long-standing partnership with The Cultch began in 2001 when we were approached to discuss accommodating your artists during the theatre season. This is our 17th year as a hotel sponsor, and we still love welcoming The Cultch’s artists to the Rosedale!

What has surprised you and your colleagues most about partnering with The Cultch?

The great relationships we’ve forged with many of the people who work at The Cultch.

Over the years there have been several artists who have made the Rosedale on Robson their home while touring shows to The Cultch.  Are there any highlights or memorable moments from meeting the artists?

Meeting Miriam Margolyes when she stayed with us in 2012 while performing in a one-woman show entitled Dickens Women. She is an award-winning actress and a long-time veteran of film, television and theatre. She was funny, outspoken and gracious (we chatted a few times during her stay), and made such an impression on us that we even changed our pool hours to accommodate her schedule (and we haven’t changed them back since!).

Jodi, can you tell us a bit more about what you do in your role as the Director of Community Relations?

I am responsible for all things community-related, with a primary focus on sponsorship agreements with various performing arts organizations. Accommodations are a big part of their budgetary requirements, and because we have the means to help out in this area, we do.

Because we’re an all-suite hotel that also happens to be located in the heart of the entertainment district, artists really enjoy staying with us. It’s an easy walk to a variety of theatres (and not too far a drive from The Cultch), and they love the convenience of having their own kitchen, especially after getting “home” after a late performance.  Working with theatre companies and festivals is a natural partnership that has flourished over the years.

How important do you think it is that the arts organizations continue to cultivate and sustain partnerships with corporate sponsors?

I think it’s crucial to create and foster these partnerships. The very nature of sponsorships focuses on building relationships where different organizations can help support one another. The reason we primarily focus on these organizations is because the arts are notoriously underfunded and are always in need of assistance from the community. The arts tend to be overlooked, and cultural events are often forced to be put on the back burner, having to be either scaled back or cancelled.

We believe that the arts are an integral part of our community as a whole, and partnering with various organizations helps foster the commitment the Rosedale has to the overall support and promotion of the arts in Vancouver. We’re committed to playing a part in helping to enrich our cultural community.

What are you curious about right now?

People. My kids say I’m nosy, but I’m really just interested (and maybe just a little bit nosy). Everyone has a story. I like learning about people and their lives.


As a registered Canadian charity, The Cultch relies on the support of the community to operate as a cultural hub; bringing diverse and engaging live performance to the stage.
Please consider making a donation today! Contact Natalie Schneck, Development Associate: natalie@thecultch.com; 604.251.1766 x.121
Charitable registration # 11928 1574 RR0001

Behind-the-scenes of Jabberwocky and No Foreigners!

Behind-the-scenes of Jabberwocky and No Foreigners!

It is an exciting week here at The Cultch – we have TWO shows opening! At the York Theatre, Jabberwocky runs Feb 6-17 (Opening Feb 7), and at the Vancity Culture Lab, we have No Foreigners playing Feb 7-17 (Opening Feb 8).

In this exciting blog post we reveal a few behind-the-scenes images for both of these amazing shows – A sneak peek just for you!

Jabberwocky:

Inspired by Lewis Carrol’s famous nonsense poem, Jabberwocky explores the things that keep us awake at night. What will it take to slay our own Jabberwock? Take a look at some of the behind-the-scene images from The Old Trout Puppet Workshop:

For an exciting behind-the-scenes look at Jabberwocky, check out this great video from Vancouver Presents!

No Foreigners:

An interdisciplinary collaboration (co-presented with Theatre Conspiracy) from Hong Kong Exile and fu-GEN Theatre (Toronto), two leading Asian-Canadian performing arts companies, No Foreigners takes a unique look at Chinese malls, through live performance, micro-to macro video, text, miniatures, and media design in this exciting world premiere. Check out these images from their time creating at Carleton University:

Jabberwocky runs at the York Theatre Feb 6-17. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

No Foreigners runs at the Vancity Culture Lab Feb 7-17. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

 

Q&A with Governor General award-winning playwright, Colleen Murphy!

Q&A with Governor General award-winning playwright, Colleen Murphy!

Photo by Heidi Hamilton

How did the idea to adapt a Shakespearean text incorporating Bouffon come about?

When Stephen [Drover] asked me to write an adaptation of Titus Andronicus I wondered how to connect with a play I felt was emotionally vacant but intriguing.  “What makes people so angry they kill children?  What is under such rage? Terrible hurt probably, and terrible grief.”

While adapting the play I was the Lee Playwright in Residence at the University of Alberta, working in the same department as Professor Michael Kennard, aka Mump from the incredible duo Mump & Smoot.  Michael teaches clown there and I was inspired by the rigor and the fearlessness he used in his hilarious student presentations.  I felt that given the blood-bath of the 21st century, Bouffon were more suitable to my adaptation because they bring a primal urgency to a story that both begs to be taken seriously and begs not to be taken seriously.

Can you tell us a little bit about the effect that the Bouffon style has on the piece?

The Bouffon style opens up both the emotional and the farcical aspects that are already in Shakespeare’s play.  He must have enjoyed writing it, and there are some beautiful passages, as fine as any he wrote.  The murders and the outrage might even be funny…and the funny is sometimes sad.  The world of revenge is an over-the-top world driven by sad, angry people.

What is something about the show that audiences may be surprised to learn?

Perhaps members of the audience might be surprised to discover that nothing is sacred, that everything is human, including the worse things people do to each other.

Can you describe the show in 3 words?

Fun Meets Death.

What most excites you about bringing this piece to the stage?

Marrying Shakespeare with Bouffon offers another perspective on Titus Andronicus in the 21st century.

Peter Anderson in “The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius”. Photo by Stephen Drover


The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius runs from Nov 22 – Dec 3 at the Cultch’s Historic Theatre. Tickets are from $22 and can be found here.

Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan brings attention to sex trafficking

Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan brings attention to sex trafficking

This year The Cultch is partnering with Diwali in BC, a new organization spearheaded by Rohit Chokhani, to launch the organization’s inaugural year. Diwali in BC has chosen the artistic theme of Shakti, feminine power. On October 17 we hosted the launch of this new initiative with a reception and the opening of Encounter (Oct 17-22).

The celebration of the power of the feminine continues with this Friday’s (Oct 20) opening of Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan.

Created and performed by Dipti Mehta, Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan is the story of a mother and daughter living in the red light district of Mumbai. Dipti Mehta has been using this production to shine a light on sex trafficking, and a portion of her profits is donated to an organization called Apne Aap, a company dedicated to helping at-risk and prostituted women and children.


According to Equality Now, trafficking women and children for sexual exploitation is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. This, despite the fact international law and the laws of 158 countries criminalize most forms of trafficking.

Sex trafficking is a lucrative industry making an estimated $99 billion a year.

  • At least 20.9 million adults and children are bought and soldworldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor.
  • About 2 million children are exploited every year in the global commercial sex trade.
  • 54% of trafficking victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
  • Women and girls make up 96% of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

We, at The Cultch are thrilled to be have local company Atira Women’s Resource Society as the community partner for this important show.

“Atira Women’s Resource Society is a not-for-profit organization committed to the work of ending violence against women through providing direct service, as well as working to increase awareness of and education around the scope and impact on our communities of men’s violence against women and children.”


Here are a few of the many organizations in the city who are resources for our city’s women:

WAVAW

Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

Elizabeth Fry Society

Pivot Legal

PACE Society

WISH

SWAN Vancouver

HONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan runs at the Vancity Culture Lab Oct 20- Nov 4. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.