A time for Remembrance: Three Winters captures the defiance of the human spirit

A time for Remembrance: Three Winters captures the defiance of the human spirit

Louise Chapman, Cultch Development Associate

This November The Cultch is presenting the Ceasefire Series: an exploration of war to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice of WWI. The series features three unique shows that explore the causes, effects, and traumas of war from different lenses; one taking place during WWI (SmallWaR), one taking place during WWII (Three Winters), and one taking place in contemporary times (The Believers Are But Brothers). We hope you will come and enjoy all three!

Our Development Associate, Louise Chapman, had the opportunity to hear the early read through of Three Winters. She responded by writing this post.

After seeing any of the shows in this series, if you would like to share your reflections, memories, or stories, please email us at outreach@thecultch.com


 

Playwright, Amiel Gladstone revisits the site of his Grandfather’s internment

Part of the Ceasefire Series, Three Winters is a based on the true-life experiences of Playwright and Director Amiel Gladstone’s Grandfather in Stalag Luft III, a World War Two Prisoner of War (POW) Camp. Stalag Luft has become one of the most infamous POW camps of the war, mostly due to the escapes engineered by the Canadian, US and British soldiers held there.

Three Winters is set against the backdrop of the famous escape, but the real focus is the plays that the soldiers perform in the camp. Men in Stalag Luft were sent plays by the Red Cross which they staged in the camp, providing a creative space to escape to during the long months of incarceration.

The 1963 film with Steve McQueen immortalized the escape efforts of the prisoners in Stalag Luft III

 

I’m from the UK and growing up, every Christmas I would sit down with my Grandpa and watch the The Great Escape, an iconic 1960s movie based on the Stalag Luft story. We’d laugh at the jokes, whoop at Steve Mcqueen’s motorbike stunts, and hum the theme song for days afterwards.

My Grandpa was in his early twenties when World War Two started. He lost his best friend, watched his city turn to rubble in the Blitz, and experienced the brutality of the army. Like many people who have experienced war, he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and had nightmares into his nineties. Yet he found humour in the darkest of memories and would wistfully recall dances, dates with barmaids in towns he was stationed in, and one boozy night when he slept through a bomb blowing the roof off the house was staying in.

I’ve found this same humour in other people of my Grandpa’s generation. My friend Helma, now in her nineties, lost both her brother’s in the conflict. She still cries with laughter when telling stories of how, in occupied Holland, she would win local potato peeling competitions. Even friends who lived through the more recent Gulf War in Kuwait will share hilarious anecdotes of people escaping whilst hidden in boxes of underwear drenched in pungent fish sauce.

The characters in Three Winters, performed by an all-female cast, have the golden glow of youth that tinged my own Grandpa’s memories. They banter, they joke, they dream of the future and their sweethearts back home. In a world where millions are suffering and dying and their own fates are so uncertain, they explore morality and humanity in the form of theatre. Three Winters captures this defiance – to laugh and dream and live in the face of hopelessness.


Three Winters runs Nov 7-17 at the Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363. See all three Ceasefire Series shows for as low as $65 with The Cultch’s Choose 3 Subscription package.

Javaad Alipoor: The Believers Are But Brothers looks at the shape of contemporary violence

Javaad Alipoor: The Believers Are But Brothers looks at the shape of contemporary violence

The Believers Are But Brothers (part of our Ceasefire Series) is in full swing in our Vancity Culture Lab (runs until Nov 10), and it has been getting amazing reviews!

“The textural variety of the show is rich…There’s more to take in than a single viewing affords; that’s an enormous achievement.”— Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

“The Believers Are But Brothers is about the internet and it’s like the internet: it’s bursting with information and I’m not sure how to make sense of it, but I find it really f**king stimulating.”— Colin Thomas

“It’s an impressive and important show.”—Lincoln Kaye, Vancouver Observer

We had a chat with the writer/director/performer, Javaad Alipoor about creating the show that The Georgia Straight said “clicks all the links”:

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a mixed race writer, director, poet, and political/social activist from a city in northern England called Bradford. I tend to make work that tries to encode the questions it asks about the world in the form of the play; whether my own writing like this play or my versions of classic plays. I also do a lot of community and participatory art works, and try to keep my hand in some other stuff too; I helped to set up a campaigning group that defends migrants in the UK, and write about politics and social theory occasionally.

What inspired the creation of The Believers Are But Brothers?

Really, I wanted to decanter the Islamophobic and racist narratives around the war on terror. So if you look at a lot of the ways that so-called “Muslim radicalisation” is talked about its as if we are told there is a problem with Muslim young men. To be slightly tongue in cheek, there’s just a problem with men; and that’s what this play explores.

We are so excited to have you here as part of our Ceasefire Series: An exploration of war to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice of WWI. With this series we set out to start conversations around the cause and effects of war; in what way does this show add to that conversation?

I think there are some ideas in the play that will help people to think about (and ask questions about) the shape of contemporary violence, and in particular how it exists as a sort of fantasy that helps to order a masculinity that finds itself in crisis. From Brexit to Trump, Modi to Bolsonaro, a revanchist and vicious right wing masculinity is ripping through the world. We need to think about what it is, if we are ever going to stop it.

The Believers Are But Brothers is also a co-production with Diwali in BC, and part of this year’s Diwali celebration. We understand that Diwali celebrates “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”; how do you think that your show brings light and knowledge to issues we are often ignorant of?

I think a lot of the show is about things that people sort of know exist, or have heard of, but that exist just at the corner of vision. The bits of the internet just below the surface, or the young man in the room in the corner of your eye. Hopefully, we turn the light from the centre onto the fringe for a moment or two.

The Believers are but Brothers
Credit: The Other Richard

The Believers Are But Brothers utilizes the app Whatsapp—it is a rare show that people are encouraged to keep their phones on for! How does having people actively engaging via the app change the relationship between you, as the performer, and the audience?

A lot of my work, especially the stuff I write myself, tends to be work that responds to the physical reality of performers and audience being a room together, so in one sense its not all that different. I suppose what this extra level of interactivity brings out is a sense of liveness (weirdly, given that the audience engage through a screen!) that helps me to tell a little bit of the story about the way that we can often be over faces or consumed by the velocity of digital media.

Have you been to Vancouver before? What are you most excited to see or do while you are in town?

I haven’t been here before. I’m really looking forward to seeing some theatre and film here, as well as seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I’ve heard pretty great things about BC wine and seafood too.

The Believers Are But Brothers runs in the Vancity Culture Lab until Nov 10. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363. See all three Ceasefire Series shows for as low as $65 with The Cultch’s Choose 3 Subscription package.

Cultch Connects: making art for everyone!

Cultch Connects: making art for everyone!

A thank you note from a grateful recipient!

As Vancouver’s most diverse arts and culture hub, The Cultch brings world-class performance to our community in East Vancouver. We are a charity, and ticket income from our shows only makes up 30% of our running costs – the rest comes from the generous support of our donors, sponsors and funders. In return, we offer dynamic contemporary programming in theatre, dance, music, and the visual arts, showcasing cutting-edge national and international work.

At our core is the belief that art is for everyone, and economic background or life circumstances should never be a barrier to participation in live performance.  To this end, we set up our Cultch Connects program, so that our donors could share their love of performance with everyone in our community.

Cultch Connects provides free tickets to our holiday hit the East Van Panto and other shows throughout our season to people in need. Now in its 6th year, Cultch Connects has brought thousands of people from low-income families, mental health facilities, recovery centres, community organizations and more to our shows at no cost.

We know from the messages our Cultch Connects patrons send us that this simple act makes a real difference in the lives of people who are facing difficult times, making the holiday season a little brighter for hundreds of families.

“Christmas was going to be a hard time at the transition house, but attending the Panto helped to make the holiday season better for me and my daughter. You made our holiday season special.” — Cultch Connects patron

This year will be our most ambitious Cultch Connects fundraising campaign yet. Our anonymous match-funder has once again agreed to double any gift made to Cultch Connects between now and November 30 2018, making more tickets available than ever before to people in need.

“By giving to Cultch Connects, our donors are making our theatre accessible to everyone” says Executive Director Heather Redfern. “What I love most about the program is that it is inspiring the next generation of artists, musicians, and theatre-goers, ensuring our city remains a vibrant centre for the arts for years to come. That’s pretty amazing!”

— Louise Chapman, The Cultch’s Development Associate

Would you like to support Cultch Connects? Click here to donate now!

$150 = $300 Brings a community/school group to the Panto

$100 = $200 Brings a local youth group to a Cultch show

$50 = $100 Sends a Cultch Connects family to the Panto

Do you know an organization that would benefit from this program? Let us know!


Contact Louise Chapman, Development Associate:

louise@thecultch.com; 604 251 1766, ext. 108

Charitable registration # 11928 1574 RR0001

A chat with Gravity & Other Myths acrobat, Lachlan Binns

A chat with Gravity & Other Myths acrobat, Lachlan Binns!

Gravity & Other Myths member, Lachlan Binns. Photo by Darcy Grant

Backbone opens October 30, 2018 at the Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton Street), and we are beyond thrilled to have Gravity &Other Myths back in the city once again! We caught up with Lachlan Binns, one of the key members of the award-winning, world-renowned Australian acrobat company, for a quick chat.

We are so excited to have Gravity & Other Myths back in Vancouver. What are you looking forward to doing while you are here in the city?

Last time we were here we had a lot of great opportunities to explore the city. We rode bikes around the city, explored nearby national parks and saw an ice hockey game. It was a fair while ago, so we’re all really excited to re-familiarise ourselves with the city and explore again! Plus, obviously we’re keen to show our audiences what we have been doing since we were there last; Backbone is much bigger and more spectacular show than A Simple Space.

How do you prepare to get on stage each night—warm ups, stretches—what is the process like?

We will spend around three hours warming up before each show. The first section will be stretching, using foam rollers and thera-bands; doing rehab and general body maintenance. This will last for around 45 minutes, and we will use this time to relax and joke around with each other, and get “socially warm”. Then when we are feeling good, and the sweat has started flowing, we will start to practice some of the skills from the show, anything that needs maintenance or adjustment. We will also spend a lot of time training new skills, and experimenting with new material for this show, or future projects. The last 30 minutes of the time is spent focusing, and preparing the stage for the show.

What is the craziest stunt Gravity & Other Myths has ever attempted?

“Craziest” is a strange term for us—a lot of the things we try are considered crazy! The two most difficult stunts we do are in Backbone; one is called the Four High, it is four people standing on top of each others shoulders in a straight column. It is an incredibly rare and difficult skill in the acrobatic world, and we’re really proud of it!

Four High! Photo by Carnival Cinema

What safety measures do you take to keep everyone safe? Have there been any injuries?

There are always injuries when you practice acrobatics; its impossible to avoid completely. A combination of smart body management, and trust in each other to catch and support one another, is the best way to manage injuries.

Gravity & Other Myths has toured all over the world—what is the wildest experience you have ever had touring with this show?

The literal wildest experience would be performing and going on a safari tour in Zimbabwe, Africa. Being in a totally different culture, and experiencing both the natural beauty, and the amazing tradition, is something we will remember for a long time!

Backbone looks like so much fun! Are you having as much fun on stage as it looks?

Definitely. The fun we have on stage is not pretend. Our job is to do what we love with a group of our best friends, and it’s hard not to smile!

Photo of Gravity & Other Myths by Darcy Grant


Backbone runs Oct 30-Nov 4 at the Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton St). Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

SmallWaR Creator’s Notes

Valentijn Dhaenens, the creator and performer of 2016’s hit BigMouth, returns to the York Theatre stage with his new work, SmallWaR. Read on to discover the inspiration behind the companion piece to a show The Georgia Straight called “a mind-blowing celebration of the power of the human voice.”

BigMoutH (pictured above) was a smash hit of The Cultch’s 2015/16 Season

Photo by Inge Lauwers

SmallWaR Creator’s Notes by Valentijn Dhaenens

The idea for SmallWaR was born while touring BigMouth. I soon felt the urge to make a companion piece dealing with the reverse side of those historical speeches. In contrast to BigMouth’s sensational speeches, dynamic rhythm and mankind trying to be God, SmallWaR is about the small victims, the paralyzing standstill, and the trauma of being stuck in the mud. I grew up in the area of Flanders Fields in the early 1980’s and remember playing on those impressive Canadian, Australian, and British cemeteries. Once in a while, schoolmates living on farms would still find bomb-shells while playing on the ploughed fields of their family. I’ve always been fascinated by the First World War as a symbol for war in general. It was the first industrialized war – war as we still know it today. Tanks were invented, air bombing played a new crucial role, lung-hitting gas introduced first weapons of mass destruction and the ripped apart victims of it all allowed surgeons to experiment with the first plastic surgery.

SmallWaR became the necessary sequel to BigMouth. More than 80% of the speeches in BigMouth are directly or indirectly linked to events that led to war. Nevertheless, they’re speeches with wonderful words, where heroism is emphasized. Leaders try to convince the masses to go to war, then they praise the ones who died and pretend to be grieving with their families. While performing BigMouth, I felt more and more obliged to show the other side. There are millions of people who suffered the consequences of what was being said in those speeches. I felt the urge to tell these stories.

Photo by Inge Lauwers

The First World War proved to be the perfect backdrop to tell these stories. Not only because of the 14-18 commemorations. The First World War was the mother of all modern wars. It was the first time that killing had been industrialized. Modern warfare took shape back then and has barely changed since. And to me, after months of reading on the subject it seemed the most useless and meaningless of all wars. Its cause was preposterous – as if the world just felt like fighting. What most struck me in lots of soldier’s diaries was the difference between the sheer excitement and optimism about entering the war and then not much later the total horror of being stuck in the muddy trenches, fearing to die.

There has been so much literature, movies, poetry, and documentaries on the topic of war. As a theatre-maker, I felt compelled to explore the strongholds and laws of this medium in contrast to the other arts. Rather than depicting battle or reconstructing history, I found an opportunity to make an emotional reflection on the trauma and the repetitiveness of war, concentrating on the deadlock instead of the action. To whisper in fear as not to scream for blood.

SmallWaR runs at the York Theatre from November 6th-11th as part of The Ceasefire Series, an exploration of war to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI. To learn more about The Ceasefire Series and to get your tickets to SmallWaR click here.

SmallWaR image credit Daily Dolores


SmallWaR runs Nov 6-11 at the York Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

What is Toxic Masculinity, anyway?

The York Theatre’s season kicked of on Tuesday, October 2nd, with the critically acclaimed Testosterone by Kit Redstone. This darkly comic, physical theatre piece by Rhum and Clay Theatre Company takes the opportunity to explore the meaning of gender, identity, and masculinity all through the eyes of someone who has experienced life on both sides of the gender fence.

Specifically, Testosterone asks the question “What does it mean to be a man?”

This seems like a simple, face value question, and I think if you’d asked it ten years ago, maybe even two years ago, you’d have received a simple, face value answer. But, in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the ever present conversations around gun violence and reproductive rights, the stubborn and rigid form of masculinity has begun to crack and a whole new can of (slightly phallic) worms has been pried open.

So, what is Toxic Masculinity? And how do we recognize it in the world around us and within ourselves?

Toxic Masculinity was coined by Psychologist Shepherd Bliss during the Mythopoetic men’s movement in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but became more widely used – predominately on Social Media – when the Weinstein Scandal emerged. To quote ABC “The term toxic masculinity has become a catch-all to describe male feelings of entitlement, anger, and vulnerability, and the urge to dominate and intimidate, through either overt or covert means.” Of course there are some glaring examples of this, I’m sure we could all name several, but is Toxic Masculinity really just the male archetype that occurs far too frequently in Hollywood, and recent political campaigns?

Jonathan McIntosh puts it in a nut shell for us: “Toxic Masculinity is not something that men are, but rather, it’s something that some men do.” McIntosh lists these behaviors as:

  • Emotional Detachment
  • Hyper-competitiveness
  • Aggression
  • Intimidation
  • Violence
  • Sexual Objectification
  • Sexually Predatory

McIntosh also insists that these behaviors are not inherent or biological traits of men. Sure, I guess that’s true, but I do think it’s very fair to say that a lot of these behaviors have become normalized within society and are often expected of men. Maybe this isn’t a nature situation, but it definitely is a nurture one. Boys are prevented from expressing their emotions because boys don’t cry, aggression on the playground is justified because boys will be boys, young men are humiliated for not pursuing and harassing women because what? are you gay? (you know, because being gay makes you less of a man?). Masculinity in the male sex is instantly compromised if they show any traits that are deemed “feminine”.

Who does Toxic Masculinity affect?

The answer to this question is, obviously, broad, and maybe the easier question to ask (or at least the easier question to answer) is, who isn’t affected by it? We are all affected by Toxic Masculinity, some of us more so than others, but everyone in our society is somewhat living their lives in a way that is directly affected by toxic masculinity.

Probably the first answer we think of is women. Women are, without question, victims of toxic masculinity. 1.3 million women report being physically assaulted by an intimate partner, annually. Due to male privilege in the workforce, women still make 73 cents to every dollar that men make, and it will take another 151 years in Canada for the number of women in middle management to equal that of men.  The #MeToo movement saw thousands of women come forward, finally being able to give voice to the coercion and harassment experiences that occur within their lives everyday and stems back generations (probably since the rise of mankind). From the extreme, which has led to the fall of empires, to the completely normalized, uncomfortable, sexual encounters where women just go through with it so the whole thing can end. And it wasn’t until women began talking about it that we realized that “just getting it over with” wasn’t actually okay.

With that said, it’s very easy to skew Toxic Masculinity as a term that damns men, defames them and denounces them as violent, sex and power mad, monsters. But really the primary victims of toxic masculinity are…men. This ridiculous concept that we drill into little boy’s brains that they must be brave, that to be attractive a man must be strong and silent, that they cannot wear certain colours or smell like flowers or cry when they get hurt or get their hearts broken. This stifling society ensures that men must work themselves to the bone so that they can single-handedly provide for several other people whilst giving them no healthy means of expressing their frustration.

Really, all toxic masculinity is, is a gender confine that we force everybody to conform and submit to. As much as it is second nature for men to dominate and control women (and other men), it is equally ingrained in women to put a man’s pleasure first, to report to him, and to fear him. Society has created this insane and ridiculous battle of the sexes where we are put into boxes that we don’t really fit in. Like my 6 foot 2, 200 pound friend who, when he’s walking toward you on a darkened street, you’d probably cross the road to avoid, but who prides himself on his flawlessly applied sparkly purple nail polish. Or my male friend who’s a professional dancer and prides himself on not submitting to gender norms but who can’t help but cut me off when I’m telling a story, silencing me so he can tell his own. Because women are taught to avoid men in the dark, and men are taught that their louder, deeper voices are more important and have more right to speak.

Testosterone by Kit Redstone, explores these ideas and ideals of masculinity. As someone who has lived as both male and female, Kit has to face what he thought it meant to be a man, and what it actually means to be one, and where, in between all that, he fits in. Testosterone challenges male stereotypes and openly deconstructs the concept of Toxic Masculinity in the most masculine of places – the locker room. It is a “bold, breezy dissection of what makes men men.”

Testosterone plays at the York Theatre from October 2nd to 13th, tickets can be purchased right here

By guest writer and outreach intern: Charlotte Wright

All photography provided by Rhum and Clay Theatre Company

Staff Picks #3: don’t miss these highly recommended shows!

Don’t miss these highly recommended shows!

Jamie King, Box Office Attendant, recommends Kamloopa, Sept 25-Oct 6, 2018 AND New Cackle Sisters: Kitchen Chicken, April 2-6, 2019

Jamie King, Box Office Staff, couldn’t pick just one show from our 2018/19 Season!

Kamloopa – This is a brand new show from Kim Harvey who is one of the coolest people on the planet. Not only does it have some incredible Indigenous women onstage, but there is “no crying and no dying”. These women are badass, hilarious and in for an awesome adventure story . Beside writing and directing, Kim is facilitating the most incredible process in the rehearsal room, in talks with the community; this is more than a show – it’s medicine. I cannot wait to see it.

New Cackle Sisters: Kitchen Chicken – I think I cried out with joy when I saw we were bringing l’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres back this season. Think of performance art meets incredible Appalachian bluegrass, meets weirdly funny and sometimes erotic performers. After two amazing shows featuring Tom Waits & Kurt Weill’s music, I am PUMPED they are focusing on female voices and getting weird with some chicken.


Andrew McCaw, Production Manager, recommends A Brief History of Human Extinction, Oct 10-20, 2018

Andrew McCaw, Production Manager

 

 

Some of the artists involved in A Brief History of Human Extinction worked on the show in our studio earlier this summer. It was fascinating to see artists from very different disciplines develop a language to work with each other. The term “Puppeturgy” was jokingly coined. I am excited to see how it all comes together.


Cindy Reid, Managing Director, recommends Testosterone, Oct 2-13, 2018

Cindy Reid, Managing Director, a big fan of nudity!

 

 

 

I am really looking forward to Testosterone. I am interested in personal stories of transformation, and it looks like it’s going to be an interesting ride! Plus, nudity and strong language—should be a good night out!


Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363 | Save 20% with our Choose 5 subscription package or 25% with our Choose 8 subscription package! This year we also have a Choose 3 package—see three different shows for as little as $65!

A Q&A with Joyce Lam, founder of VACT!

A Q&A with Joyce Lam, founder of Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT)

In Vancouver, we are thrilled to have access to such a great range of theatre. One of the companies we are so lucky to be able to partner with is Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT). As we gear up for our 2018/19 season we are getting more and more excited about VACT’s The Ones We Leave Behind, Oct 24–Nov 3, at the Historic Theatre. We had a quick conversation with Joyce Lam, founder of VACT to chat about VACT, Asian Canadian Theatre, Crazy Rich Asians, and The Ones We Leave Behind! 

You founded VACT 18 years ago; can you explain what the impetus to start it was?

VACT was started 18 years ago because I loved attending theatre and it bothered me that there were no Asian Canadian stories or any Asian Canadian actors/characters on stage when Vancouver had a large population of Asian Canadians.  When a friend told me he had actually enjoyed an Asian American Fringe show at a BYOV, I thought it was a shame that more people didn’t get to see it and I decided to invite that show back to Vancouver.  We sold out the show and found a “starving” paying audience for contemporary Asian Canadian stories and actors.

What makes VACT unique in Vancouver, and in the world?

At first, VACT, was a stepping stone to assist Asian Canadian actors to gain more acting experience/skill in order to level the audition process in getting acting roles. Playing significant complicated characters would be instrumental in developing the actor’s talents. Also developing Asian Canadian stories was invaluable to showcase how an underrepresented group was seen in Canada without stereotypes from other mainstream shows. VACT was also unique in seeking out material that reflected specifically on the North American Asian experience—how we live here today and how our cultural heritage played a role in our collective identity as a North American.

Since leaving VACT you have moved on to many other exciting projects; do you feel that VACT has continued on with the mission and mandate that you initiated true to your initial goals?

VACT has continued with the mission and even surpassed its original goals by raising it to a professional theatre company that showcases Asian Canadian stories with Asian Canadian actors locally to expanding its audience nationally and hopefully internationally.

I understand that you recently organized a group of people to go see the new movie Crazy Rich Asians. The movie is making major headlines right now for being the first Hollywood movie in 25 years to have an all Asian cast. How did you like the movie?

I loved the movie, Crazy Rich Asians!  Before viewing it, I was secretly praying that it would have a good story, good acting & direction. After seeing the film, I realize my fears were needless. The acting was excellent, the story line was exceptional as the “ending” surprised me (and I don’t get surprised often).  The direction was the perfect combination of romance, comedy and timing.  What was surprising was that although I went to see it to support Asian American actors, it was a very good universally romantic comedy on its own merit that anyone (mainstream) could identify with. It was a significant rom-com because for the first time, I saw a romantic lead Asian male who was attracted to an Asian female and how each character brings their cultural backstory with them which I could identify with.

Do you think that theatre is ahead of film in representing underrepresented and marginalized groups? Behind?

I believe theatre is way ahead of film in representing underrepresented and marginalized group in a “real” sense because theatre is less expensive to produce and it develops a grass root foundation (locally) in acting and stories. Film is near impossible to penetrate without Asian representation in the decision makers.  For instance, Kim’s Convenience started as a Fringe Show, then Theatre Show and now a TV show.  These actors are now transitioning to film.  In theatre, it is more forgiving to show stories outside of the “mainstream” audience and to reach out and tell individual stories of marginalized groups and make the characters believable and not stereotypical.  With this realistic portrayal, audiences members will appreciate the story.  Hopefully through inclusive theatre, we learn and eventually bring societal tolerance.

The Ones We Leave Behind. Photo by Ray Shum. Photo Design by Terry Wong.

This fall, from Oct 24-Nov 3, we will be presenting, with VACT, Loretta Seto’s The Ones We Leave Behind. Are you looking forward to seeing it? What makes it exciting to you?

Yes, I am excited to see Loretta Seto’s The Ones We Leave Behind, as I am a fan of her other show Dirty Old Woman plus the fact that it is a female Asian Canadian playwright. I don’t usually research shows I see so that I don’t know what it is about.  I like to be surprised when I am watching the show.   I do love the title of the show, very intriguing.  With the fact that it represents three underrepresented components:  females, Asian Canadians actors, Asian Canadian stories in theatre …. I am highly anticipating its opening and wishing it box office success.


The Ones We Leave Behind runs Oct 24-Nov 3, 2018 at the Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

GUEST POST: Kim Senklip Harvey, Protocols for the Indigenous Artistic Ceremony Kamloopa

GUEST POST: Kim Senklip Harvey, Protocols for the Indigenous Artistic Ceremony Kamloopa


This is a repost of Kim Senklip Harvey’s blog post, used with permission. The original can be found at www.kimsenklipharvey.com/blog.


It’s day 1 of the Kamloopa portion of the Indigenous artistic ceremony we’re creating and the power and energy is ancestrally kinetic. We’re going to spend the next 2 days honouring and presencing ourselves to arrive and get in tune. I did some deep work at the end of last week, disconnecting from tech and reconnecting to Indigenous values of love, respect and listening and I’m absolutely going to be embedding that practice into all of my artistic creation journeys.

The creation of the Indigenous ceremony Kamloopa has been a big learning curve for a lot of people including myself. Approaching this with producing partners that are Canadian colonial institution

Kim Senklip Harvey, Fire Igniter, Writer/Director for Kamloopa

We are focusing Kamloopa around the 7 Grandmother teachings of wisdom, love, respect, truth, courage, honesty and humility. In all of our creation work we’re reflecting back on how our engagements intersect with these 7 teachings and with the following Smoke Signal we strongly ask that as you engage the ceremony centring those values as well.  s with primarily Settler producers has evoked teachings of humility, understanding and knowledge. I do want to take a moment to honour the producing partners and all their staff for their courage in journeying into the dark with me until we all can arrive at the fire together. Limelet.

Please click here to read the official Smoke Signal that speaks to the protocol for this ceremony. One protocol states that Settlers do no write formal critiques of the ceremony, this request comes from a number of places that I really look forward to speaking about at the Community of Practices (COP) in Vancouver on On Monday, Sept 24, 6-7:30 pm at the Cultch. Dates to be confirmed in Kamloops at WCT and Saskatoon.

I will touch briefly on the main rationale but I hope that the community can respect that myself and the Fire Creation team are headed into a very intense portion of our journey. So I hope we can respond in a way that doesn’t put the labour of explaining settler oppression of Indigenous peoples onto Indigenous peoples participating in creating artistic ceremony. I was once taught that I should be mindful of what I ask of others, contextually in this moment with Indigenous peoples because those questions, that time is time away from us participating in spiritual practice.

So here goes:

First, Indigenous protocol. Period. End of story.

Hahaha but seriously like, we’re stating it’s Indigenous artistic ceremony protocol, that should be enough and that alone should be respected. I’ve had the fortune and privilege of participating in ceremony and in the Indigenous paradigm, questioning that would be extremely disrespectful. It makes me cringe thinking about questioning a knowledge holder of a longhouse or sweat or any ceremony. #Shudder #Barf

For Indigenous sovereignty to occur I understand that Settlers need to understand Indigeneity but I will say this, I have a PHD in Whiteness. I’ve been studying Settler Eurocentricity my entire life, I live under Settler oppression all of the time, so I’ve put my time in doing the work, research, lived experiences and detailed studies of why I’m positioned in society where I am.

So I offer everyone to do a inventory of where their level of understanding is with regards to Indigenous world views, ceremony, historical and pre-colonial paradigms of thoughts and everything beyond. Then I offer, you consider how you make your requests from Indigenous peoples or make potentially oppressive comments towards Indigenous peoples who continue to live under siege of Settler and white supremacy.

After that inventory, I would make another offer that as a Settler, take time, significant time, to listen and listen and listen and experience and experience and experience and before you speak and that maybe you use your Settler power that currently is wielded against us to actually hold space for Indigenous peoples to engage and be given voice instead of you taking more space.

If you feel the need to speak or be given voice before, above and or louder than Indigenous peoples about the ceremony then you are actively continuing to use your Settler power to silence, take space and harm Indigenous peoples and I think you’ve missed the invitation, the offer, the opportunity here.

Settlers have oppressively positioned themselves in this theatrical context to have some presumed kind of academic and or artistic “authority” over Indigenous peoples. Historically and contemporarily that might be permissible protocol in Canadian theatre – but this is not that. This is Indigenous artistic ceremony, so I offer for you to take an inventory again, of why you think you have been given authority, permission or be entitled to speak, critique or position yourselves over Indigenous Matriarchs creating Indigenous artistic ceremony.

Kaitlyn Yott as Mikaya in Kamloopa (Sept 25 – Oct 6); Photo Credit: Emily Cooper

We’re not looking for comparative analysis with Canadian Theatre and we’re not seeking comparative experiential analysis with Canadian Theatre that has told Indigenous stories. We are inviting you to come and bear witness and participate in Indigenous artistic ceremony, to learn what that means and not assert Settler power aggressively over us. At the top of the Kamloopa ceremony we will share with you how to bear witness and we hope you can embody the values of respect, humility, courage, wisdom, trust, love and honesty as we journey through this together in our co-existence.

With all of that being said and with great excitement we’d like to make this our official invitation for Indigenous people’s who see themselves in the work to speak about the show: Mom’s, Sisters, Aunty’s, academics, community members, cuzzins and friends come hang out with us! We’re having talkbacks and talking circles specifically for Indigenous voices to be presenced and celebrated so please check out the websites for more details. We really would love to hear form the Indigenous community. DM us, grab us before or after the ceremony, tweet us, lets meet for tea, walks and chats.

This story, this ceremony is for our Indigenous peoples, it is to give voice and illuminate the power of Indigenous women. It is about our unwielded power and unsuppressed Settler suppremacy for the entire journey of the artistic ceremony. That is the power we are reclaiming over our storytelling ceremony with Kamloopa.

With respect, in love and deep hope we can be vulnerable together to live courageously, we look forward to seeing you in the Long Lodge.

Kim.


For more information about Kamloopa, and to be a part of the conversation, follow along the Kamloopa journey on Kim Senklip Harvey’s blog; learn about, the brave women who’ve agreed to bring this ceremony to life,” and read about how Kim is including Indigenous women in all aspects of the process, in Equity in Action: Access to the Fire.

“We’re looking for Indigenous women from all aspects of our community, I want our Grandmas, our teachers, our friends, Aunties—the women who are sometimes not seen or not appreciated enough. Kamloopa is about presenting Indigenous women throughout the entire process and this aspect is super important to me.”


Kamloopa runs Sept 25-Oct 6, at the Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Gala prize winners wined and dined by Bahareh and Tetsuro Shigematsu!

Gala prize winners wined and dined by Bahareh and Tetsuro Shigematsu!

The Cultch’s amazing and talented friends, Tetsuro and Bahareh Shigematsu, were kind enough to offer an amazing dinner for eight guests as a live auction item for our 2018 Gala, “Persia, Celebrating 2500 Years of West Asian Culture”.

The evening, hosted by Bahareh and Tetsuro, saw the lucky bidders gathered this past weekend to enjoy an amazing Persian dinner!

Prepared by Bahareh and her sister, Banafsheh Givargis, at the home of their friends, Aranka Anema and her partner renowned Tibetan artist, Kalsang Dawa.

With a tour of the artist’s studio and an amazing authentic Persian dinner; wine by our sponsors Hester Creek Estate Winery, and transportation by Star Limousine; a beautiful evening was had by all.

We are so grateful for our kind friends and supporters who made this possible; thank you for supporting The Cultch!