Nirbhaya #EndTheSilence

On December 16, 2012, a young woman boarded a bus in Delhi heading for home. What followed changed countless lives forever. People poured onto the streets in grief and rage demanding justice. Legally prevented from revealing her real name, the press named her NIRBHAYA — “Fearless”. To march beside the women on the streets of Delhi was to take back the night, to salvage being a human being.

Around the world, one in three women will experience some form of violence in their lifetime. Based on the performers’ real life experiences, Nirbhaya is a voyage into a tapestry of personal testimonies. Bear witness to these brave women’s stories and join their call to action to Raise Your Hand and help us to break the silence around the world, one voice at a time.

Nirbhaya will be playing at the York Theatre Nov 3-14. Every audience member will be invited to participate in our #EndTheSilence campaign and will be given a card that allows them to write a message, share their story, or post their reaction to the show. The cards will be displayed as an installation in the York Theatre’s lobby as part of the #EndTheSilence campaign. We hope to start a dialogue and to take away the shame that surrounds sexual violence.

The Raise Your Hand installation at the York Theatre will be on display throughout the duration of the show’s run (Nov 3-14). 

Spread the word online and tag your comments, reactions, and stories with #Nirbhaya or #EndTheSilence.  Thank you for joining us to help #EndTheSilence!

Raise Your Hand #EndTheSilence

Raise Your Hand #EndTheSilence

Thank you Pacific Blue Cross!

The Cultch's executive director Heather Redfern accepts a cheque from Tracey Harston, Pacific Blue Cross board member before the opening night performance of The Damage is Done - A True Story.

(L-R) The Cultch’s executive director Heather Redfern accepts a cheque from Tracey Harston, Pacific Blue Cross board member before the opening night performance of The Damage is Done – A True Story.

Donations and sponsorship fuel the work that we do here at The Cultch. The support of individuals and organizations in our community is vital to The Cultch, and makes it possible for us to continue presenting socially-conscious and thought-provoking performances.

We are tremendously grateful to Pacific Blue Cross Community Connection Health Foundation, who have donated $7,500 to two shows this Fall that focus on mental health.

Pacific Blue Cross is BC’s leading benefits provider and its Community Connection Health Foundation is designed to offer financial assistance to organizations that support mental health and chronic disease. The foundation will be supporting two shows; The Damage is Done – A True Story (October 20 – 24) and You Will Remember Me (November 17 – 28).
Richard Taylor, chair of the Pacific Blue Cross Community Connection Health Foundation said, “We are proud to support these productions which help foster an understanding and dialogue around mental health. Our mission is to improve the health and well-being in our province, and encourage people to recognize the importance of and protect their mental wellness is central to this.”

Some of you may have been lucky enough to see The Damage is Done – A True Story  which closed last weekend after a sold out run. Through Rita Bozi’s exploration of family and cultural history as well as insights from Dr. Maté, the play sheds light on experiences of depression, addiction and suicidal thoughts and ultimately, healing.

A poignant family drama, You Will Remember Me explores the impact of caring for an aging father suffering from dementia, by acclaimed Québec playwright Francois Archambault.

We hope you will join us at the theatre for You Will Remember Me, and continue the conversation around mental health.


First Reviews of ‘A Simple Space’ are in! Fans & Critics call it a “Must-See”

A Simple Space opened last night to thunderous applause! The seven acrobats from Australia thrilled a full house at the York Theatre with death defying feats of athleticism, artistry, and mind boggling precision.

Here are the initial reactions we’ve been receiving on social media:

“Just got home from the opening night of A Simple Space, and seriously, wow. I’m racking my brain to figure if I’ve ever seen a physical performance I enjoyed more. It was edgy and funny, and dangerous and so energized. I actually don’t know if I’ve ever had more fun in or out of a theatre.” – Jillian Christmas, Facebook

“In A Simple Space, the Australian acrobatic company Gravity & Other Myths presents an hourlong program that will leave you wrung out—and very happy… Kids will love this show. So will you.” –Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“Had the pleasure of enjoying the scintillating acrobatic party, A Simple Space, at The Cultch last night with Seb Chamney. Coolest show I have scene in a while – innovative, fun and visually stunning accompanied by energizing live percussion.” – Jason Chamney, Facebook

“Just came back from the The Cultch and A Simple Space. What a joyful ode to play! The whole show was like watching seven acrobats playing a game…and the kids loved it!” David Jordan, Facebook

“…Forget Cirque! … I dare you not to shed a few tears of ABSOLUTE JOY as you watch” – Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

“YVR: #ASimpleSpace @TheCultch’s #YorkTheatre is must-see joyful, energetic athleticism. Do yourself a favour & go!” – Kathleen B, @KathleenBee751

“A SPECTACULAR show. . anyone who has an hour should go see this at the York Theatre!! You will laugh & ooooo & clap spontaneously!” – Mary Vickars, Facebook

Want to join in on the conversation? Use hashtag #ASimpleSpace and chime in on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

A Simple Space runs until Oct 24 at the York theatre. Tickets are from $20 and are available at or at The Cultch box office at 1895 Venabales Street.

Project Elysium presents Cornet: Viktor Ullmann’s Legacy from Theresienstadt

ElysiumProject_EmailHeaderOn October 16 Project Elysium will present Cornet: Viktor Ullmann’s Legacy from Theresienstadt – A performance of Ullman’s final work, written in a concentration camp.

We asked Cornet producer, Catherine Laub, a few questions about the presentation.

This will be the first time the artists of Elysium will be performing in Canada – however, Elysium-Between Two Continents has been presenting the work of Viktor Ullmann in the United States and Europe since the 1990s. Could you tell us about this organization and their work?

Founded in 1983, Elysium was the first and (at that time) only organization in New York which dedicated all its efforts to the presentation of music by composers who were banned, silenced, or persecuted by the Nazis. The many concerts and musical-literary collages presenting works of mostly forgotten artists– works Elysium had found in archives in the US and Europe–had a trailblazing effect. Other organizations and individuals soon followed in Elysium’s footsteps. Some of these composers, who were unknown a few years ago, are now regularly featured in concert and onstage around the world. As an organization, Elysium, together with the Lahr von Leïtis Academy and Archive, has three interrelated components: research and collection, performance, and education. Elysium’s mission statement reads, “Fostering artistic and creative dialogue and mutual friendship between the United States of America and Europe.  Fighting against discrimination, racism and antisemitism by means of art.”

Can you tell us a little more about the artists involved ?

Gregorij H. von Leïtis is the artistic director of Elysium, between two continents. He has directed operas and plays in major theatres throughout Europe and in New York and will provide the recitation for “Cornet.” Herr von Leïtis is an advisor for the Viktor Ullmann Foundation and a consultant for the Jewish Music Institute in London. His awards include the Knight’s Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the New York Theatre Club Prize.

Michael Lahr is the executive director of the Lahr von Leïtis Academy and Archive and Elysium’s program director and will provide the opening lecture. Also a published author, Herr Lahr has curated numerous international exhibits and conceived programs such as Music from Theresienstadt and Degenerate Music. He serves on the advisory board of the Neitzsche Forum in Munich and regularly lectures on topics of social and political importance.

“Master pianist” Dan Franklin Smith is Elysium’s music director and frequent recital soloist and collaborator.  Described as “an incredibly sensitive player,” his “breathtakingly beautiful” artistry will bring Ullmann’s piano sonata to life and provide the musical background for the recitation in “Cornet.” As a chamber musician and vocal accompanist, Dan has performed at major venues throughout the United States and toured Bermuda, Taiwan, and Puerto Rico.

What inspired you to produce this presentation?

When I was a few years out of graduate school, I participated in the Elysium Academy in Bernried, Germany with all three of these artists on faculty. In the years since then, I have been increasingly inspired by the second part of Elysium’s mission statement “fighting against discrimination, racism and antisemitism by means of art.” I reconnected with Gregorij von Leïtis and Michael Lahr in Munich nearly two years ago now and spoke with them about coming to Vancouver at some point to present one of their concerts. Initially, I had planned for there to be only once performance at the Roedde House, but once I began sharing their work with others, I was encouraged to make this music available to a wider audience. In terms of the historical context of the music, we are able to honour the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in 2015 and also mark the actual date of the composer’s death in 1944, mere months before the end of the war.  There’s a really moving story here, and one that is particularly timely right now as our global society has issues of runaway political regimes, discrimination, and displacement once again brought to the forefront of our collective consciousness.

Is there anything else you would like audiences to know about this presentation?

While it isn’t possible to rewrite history, this project functions as a kind of musical “rescue mission,” bringing recognition to a brilliant composer whose work was nearly lost to us.  His story and his music allow us to make a more personal connection to a time that is almost too overwhelming to contemplate.  This connection is essential as it helps us not only mourn but learn.


Cornet: Viktor Ullmann’s Legacy from Theresienstadt

Friday, October 16 at 8PM, Historic Theatre at The Cultch – Buy Tickets Here

Saturday, October 17 at 8PM, Pyatt Hall – Buy Tickets Here

* Please note that this event is taking place off-site at 843 Seymour St

Sunday October 18 at 3PM, Roedde House – by Invitation only


For more information please visit


Are We Cool Now? An Interview with Director Amiel Gladstone!

Are We Cool Now? An Interview with
Director Amiel Gladstone!

We are so excited to start our new season with Are We Cool Now?, a musical featuring the songs of Dan Mangan. The show is directed by the fabulous Amiel Gladstone, who was also the director of the hit Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata and both of our East Van Pantos (Jack & the Beanstalk and Cinderella). We chatted with Amiel about kicking off the new season.

Hey Amiel! Are you excited to be back at The Cultch?

AG: Of course! The Cultch is the neighbourhood theatre, and I have so many memories of being there. Amazing things happen there – there’s a great vibe and it feels homey. So many different things happen on The Cultch stages and so it feels like the perfect place to host this hybrid indie-rock musical.

Can you tell us a little bit about the show?

AG: Well, I’ve always been curious about how to get the music we listen to every day on to the stage. Dan (Mangan) and I knew each other, he had seen Craigslist Cantata and I really liked his music. It seemed like a natural fit for both of us. We looked for a narrative in Dan’s music and found themes of love, longing, nostalgia, and road trips and Are We Cool Now? was born!

What can subscribers expect from Are We Cool Now?

AG: It’s an indie-rock musical about life and love in your 20s and Dan Mangan’s music provides the backdrop. It’s songs we all recognize and Dan wrote one new song for the show which hasn’t been heard anywhere else.

Is Dan Mangan coming to Opening Night at The Cultch?

AG: Yes! And Dan hasn’t seen it yet! Anton Lipovetsky is playing guitar, and Spencer Schoening from Said The Whale is on drums.

We can’t wait! Thanks Amiel! Tickets to Are We Cool Now? (and all the shows in our 15/16 season) are on sale now!

Top 5 Dan Mangan Songs (as decided by you)!

Are We Cool Now?, the new musical by Amiel Gladstone and featuring the music of Dan Mangan opens next Tuesday in our Historic Theatre and we can’t wait!

To celebrate the show’s premiere we held a little contest and asked you – our friends, subscribers, and supporters – to tell us your all-time favorite Dan Mangan song. We were overwhelmed with the response and loved reading all the entries – so much so, that we compiled a list of the TOP 5 Dan Mangan songs as decided by you. Hopefully these songs will set the mood for your next road trip or possibly a pre-listening playlist to get you in the mood for the show next week!

5. Road Regrets

4. The Indie Queens are Waiting (the title of Are We Cool Now? was inspired by the lyrics in this song)

3. Sold

2. Robots (Won’t be in the show – but it was in the Panto  last year!)

1. Basket


Q&A with The Dancers of Damelahamid: Cultch Artist-in-Residence

As part of their artistic residency here at The Cultch, the Dancers of Damelahamid are currently workshopping their upcoming production, ‘Flicker‘. We chatted with Margaret Grenier, Executive and Artistic Director of the Dancers of Damelahamid, about the role of dance in her heritage, the power of reconciliation through art, and the creative process of workshopping a new performance.

Hi Margaret! Can you tell us a little about the Dancers of Damelahamid? 

The Dancers of Damelahamid are an Aboriginal dance company based in Vancouver, BC. Our mandate is to advance the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the art, history, language, and traditions of First Nations’ culture through story dance and song; to educate the public about and increase cross-cultural understanding of First Nations’ heritage through dance performances at festivals, in educational institutions, and at other venues and public spaces; and to advance education by providing instructional workshops on traditional First Nations’ dance to students at elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools.

What role does dance play in your heritage?

Dance plays an integral role in our cultural heritage. It is an intergenerational practice, strengthening ties between elders and youth. The art form carries forward language, story, song and dance as well as being a platform to share from as a community and on many levels.

What is Gitxsan masked dance?

Dance on the Northwest coast has always brought together all aspects of coastal art. The masks, as well as the narratives portrayed through movement and song support the underlying story and themes. The art form is a reflection of a way of understanding and seeing the world, indigenous to our home territories.

Gitxsan songs and dances were banned by the Canadian government for several decades. The Dancers of Damelahamid emerged, in part, as a response to this – to ensure that the Gitxsan heritage was preserved and not lost. What role can art play in reconciliation and healing?

Storytelling through movement has been an integral part of defining our unique identities as indigenous peoples on the Northwest coast. There is a healing authority to the dances. Through continual and dedicated practice we strengthen our ability for reconciliation within ourselves as well as offer this understanding through performance. Therefore our collective consciousness can move forward, bridging our differences and celebrating our distinct identities.

Your upcoming production, ‘Flicker’, is a part of The Cultch’s 15/16 season. Can you describe the show?

Flicker is an innovative dance piece by the Dancers of Damelahamid in collaboration with multi-media artist Andy Moro that combines Northwest coast graphic designs with projected environments. Vividly rich imagery represents the ‘spirit world’, the mystical realm portrayed through Gitxsan masked dance. Just as light shimmers, Flicker represents the moments through which one can cross space and time, as the dancers journey in and out of the ‘spirit world’ of their ancestors.

In creating a new work during your residency here at The Cultch, what has your creative process been like?

It has been an intensive creative process and a wonderful opportunity to bring together the multilayered aspects to the production, making for a very full and productive month. We have worked for a year to prepare for the residency, beginning with a short research residency last summer at The Cultch. All aspects of the production are coming together from the choreography and song composition, the regalia and set creation, as well as the supporting soundscape, video projection, and lighting design.

‘Flicker’ will be on at the Historic Theatre May 25 – 29, 2016.

For more information about the Dancers of Damelahamid, visit their website:

OUR ANNUAL VOLUNTEER BBQ: Celebrating an amazing year!

The end of the season is a special time here at The Cultch. It’s a time where we can reflect on all the amazing events that happened in our venues, and it’s also the time where we can express thanks to the people that helped make it happen – our volunteers.

On July 9, we honoured the 130+ volunteers who gave their time this past year by throwing a Volunteer Appreciation Barbecue. More than 4253 volunteer hours were contributed in total for the 14/15 season.With mother nature providing some amazing set dressing, we set up the BBQ out front of The Cultch and kicked back in the courtyard. After the ‘Name Tag Follies’, some mingling, and some fun with our makeshift photo booth, everybody enjoyed some delicious food graciously provided by Choices Market.

Check out these wonderful photos from the event below and if you or someone you know is interested in volunteering at The Cultch please contact


(L to R) Elaine, Sharron, Betty Lou, Selma, & Cora strike a pose in our photo booth


Heather & Mihai enjoying some delectable food provided by Choices


Heather Redfern (Executive Director) giving the troops her thanks!


Nena contributed over 280 hours!


Annalies contributed over 100 hours!


Mona contributed over 100 hours!


David contributed over 100 hours!


Emma contributed over 100 hours


(Left to Right) Jane, Kathy, Kris, Gail, and Beverly


Just kicking back and relaxing on the courtyard


Lyle and Heather


Margaret has recently been volunteering upstairs in our admin office as volunteer receptionist


June and Lisa!


Jenn, Ed, and Moira


Annalies & Frank (Cultch Board Members) raise a glass!


Graham and Nena!

The Faces of The Cultch: Lorin Ritchie – Volunteer, Subscriber and Donor!

LorenThe Faces of The Cultch…’ is a profile series on The Cultch blog where we  feature staff members, volunteers, subscribers, and community movers and shakers. Stay tuned for upcoming photos and interviews and drop us a line at if you have a burning question for one of our staff members or volunteers!

Lorin Ritchie is a volunteer, subscriber, and donor to The Cultch and we were so happy to chat with Lorin about her recent night out at the Bill Reid Gallery Dinner!

Every year, we hold a fabulous gala on the Historic Theatre of The Cultch. It’s a night to remember: dinner on the Historic stage, a silent and live auction, dancing, special performances, and live music. We also auction off a very special prize: dinner for you and nine friends in the Bill Reid Gallery, hosted by Martine Reid and our very own Managing Director Cindy Reid. Catered by an amazing chef, with wine pairings and a behind-the-scenes look at the gallery collection, it’s one of the most special nights of our year here at The Cultch. This year, featured artist Beau Dick also stopped by the gallery to perform for the party-goers. We chatted with Lorin, who attended this year’s Bill Reid Gallery Dinner.

The Cultch: What did you think of your first Gala at The Cultch?

Lorin Ritchie: It was marvelous! I’d never been to the Gala before and I loved that the event was in the theatre on the stage. Totally fabulous!

The Cultch: Can you tell us a little bit about your Bill Reid Gallery Dinner experience?

LR: It was amazing. I know a little bit about Indigenous art, not as much as I would like to, and to have Martine show us around the gallery was so special. It’s a beautiful gallery, the artist showed up and it was so much fun. Of course we were with a big group of friends (including my friend Nancy, who won the Live Auction prize of the Dinner!), so it was bound to be a marvelous evening. Oh, and the food was amazing!

The Cultch: You’re a huge supporter of The Cultch, Lorin, as a donor, subscriber and volunteer! What inspires you to be such a supporter?

LR: Well, I subscribe, and I am a volunteer usher and now I’m a Super Subscriber! When I was selecting my shows for the upcoming season, I added on the Super Subscriber donation ($125) because I want to contribute. The Cultch does such amazing work, and it feels nice to support the organization.

The Cultch: You attended a Super Subscriber event last year, our “Behind the Famous Puppet Death Scenes” event, which was a special post-show reception and talk back with the cast (and puppets) of the show. We have some really exciting Super Subscriber events coming up this season, and we are so excited to see you there! Is there a show you are particularly looking forward too?

LR: The Super Subscriber event was so much fun! It’s a lovely little bonus. I attended the Season Launch party and, well, it’s a hard question but I think Empire of the Son is the one I am looking forward to the most!

Thanks Lorin!

Success! Community Day at the York Theatre

18470255793_6fbc677be3_zOn June 21, we proudly opened the doors of the York Theatre for The Cultch’s first ever community day! Hundreds of guests of all ages came to celebrate with us! The day was filled with good food, live music courtesy of Britannia Marimba Ensemble, a craft station for families, a smudging ceremony by Bruce Robinson to commemorate National Aboriginal Day, and a live stream of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 16 match! Here are some photos from the event taken by Roaming the Planet.

Many thanks to our performers, staff, volunteers, and YOU for making this event a big success. We couldn’t have done it without you! Please  visit the York Theatre’s page for more info and email for inquiries about renting the venue.

If you would like a photo of yourself or a loved one removed from this webpage, please feel free to contact