Community Day at The York Theatre

Bring the family! Bring friends! Bring yourself! Mark this date on your calendars everyone! The York Theatre’s first Community Day Event is happening on Sunday, June 21. Swing by anytime between 11am to 4pm for free food, prizes, activities, and a big screen viewing of FIFA Women’s Cup Soccer. Also taking place on the same day will be Commercial Drive’s Annual Car Free Day! Attracting attendees across the Lower Mainland, it will be a great time to be on the Drive with tons of exciting things happening all throughout the street.

Here are a few fun things to look forward to Community Day at The York Theatre.

Smudging Ceremony

A smudging ceremony is a practice of Indigenous peoples and cultures where sacred plants are burned to drive away negative energies, help restore balance as well as stimulate centering and healing. Plants such as tobacco, cedar, sage and sweet grass are burned and the smoke is directed with a feather or a fan of feathers.

Crafts for the Family! Prizes! Live Music! 

FIFA Women’s Cup Soccer and Free Hot Dogs, Popcorn, and Refreshments!

Soccer game starts at 1:30pm so have a break from the heat and grab a spot in our air conditioned theatre.  Exact teams to be determined. Also, enjoy some popcorn, refreshments and a dog on us!  Hot dog that is.

Community Day at the York Theatre is a free event and falls on the same day as the street-wide event, Commercial Drive Car Free Day! If there is one day of the year to be on the Drive, don’t miss Sunday, June 21.

The rEvolver Festival Opens This Week!

The 2015 rEvolver Festival kicks off on Wednesday, May 20 with three local performances on the opening night of the Festival:

7.00PM Caws and Effect (Mind of a Snail, Vancouver)
Historic Theatre

Crows are re-dreaming the world. Is the future all it’s cracked up to be?

Mind of a Snail’s large scale shadow theatre production is an exploration of survival and extinction from a bird’s eye view. Funny, beautiful and unique, with handmade layered projections, puppetry, masks, and an original musical score. The story can be seen as a modern fable, a tongue-in-cheek nature documentary, or the animated dream of a sleeping bird. In 2014, Caws & Effect won Patrons Pick at the Winnipeg Fringe and Pick of the Fringe at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. More info

8.00PM Double Recessive (Jordan Lloyd Watkins, Vancouver)
Culture Lab

A blessing. A curse. A one in four chance. A people on the brink of extinction. What would you do if you were the last of your kind?
Double Recessive. “Opression. Genocide. Comedy.” is a savage comedy about an eerily familiar dystopia. Double Recessive shows us the history of the Ginger crisis, and how society reacts when a lone Red is born, years after their extinction. A nasty, seemingly extreme, look at how society deals with “the other”, everything in Double Recessive is based on real events. Double Recessive is the multi-media brain-child of creator/performer Jordan Lloyd Watkins, working with award-winning director David Bloom. More info

9.15PM Hell of a Girl (Jeff Gladstone & The Bad Ideas, Vancouver)
Historic Theatre

Hell of a Girl is a unique musical theatre experience. The story is loosely based on the myth Orpheus and Eurydice, set in a timeless world with cowboys, nymphs & demons, and told through 26 original songs. Musically it weaves together gothic country with rockabilly and swing, into a visual style drawn from German expressionism and French absurdism, and taking the audience to Hell and back again. More info

Be sure to join us in between shows for an Opening Night Reception! For more festival programming visit Upintheair’s website or The Cultch’s Online Box Office.

Next week: rEvolver Theatre Festival hits The Cultch!

2015_revolver_bannerNext week, we’re thrilled to welcome back Upintheair Theatre for the third annual rEvolver Theatre Festival. The rEvolver Festival runs from May 20-31, and is dedicated to providing presenting opportunities to emerging theatre companies both locally and nationally. Past rEvolver Festivals have included such shows as Kayak (seen at the Firehall Arts Centre in January) and Stationary: A Recession-Era Musical which played last month at The Cultch!

This year’s festival line-up reflects the dynamic and distinct work being created in the theatre community on a national level. From the comedic to the confounding, the festival will present works that explore the dynamics of human relationships, classical myth with a musical twist, modern fable, new world orders, historic journeys and elements of risk taking.

The 2015 rEvolver Festival Mainstage is:

Excited by what you see? There are a number of different ways you can purchase tickets! With the 6-show flex pass, the passholder can see up to six individual shows, take five friends to one show, or any combination in between! If you can’t see 6 shows, you can still save by purchasing a 3-show pass instead! And of course, individual tickets are available both through The Cultch’s Box Office and at the door.

IGNITE! Youth Driven Arts Festival: An inside look with Jeanine Longley!

Cultch Youth Panel Member Jeanine Longley

Cultch Youth Panel Member Jeanine Longley

This week, the York Theatre plays host to the IGNITE! Youth Drive Arts Festival! Led, coordinated, and organized by The Cultch’s very own Youth Panel, this event is definitely not one to miss!

But first, a little background.

The Cultch’s Youth Panel is a group of approximately 20 young people aged 13-24 from all over Vancouver with a passion for the performing arts. From Sep-May, the ambitious, curious, and fun-loving group meet once a week to plan and learn about all aspects of festival organization. Everything from technical operations to marketing and media relations. The professional festival is the culmination of nine months of passion, dedication, and hard work.

We were able to catch a moment with Jeanine Longley, a Youth Panel Member, to get an inside look at this year’s festivities.

Hi Jeanine! Could you tell us a little bit about IGNITE! and the role the youth play in creating this event?

The IGNITE! Youth Festival is multifaceted. Younger and newer members on the youth panel are learning how to put on a festival, everything from advertising to operating a sound board. We are showing the community what youth are capable of, both in featuring completely youth performers, and in having the entire festival run by youth. As a collective, we are IGNITE! and we hope to ignite, inspire, and celebrate youth creativity.


This is the first year that the IGNITE! Youth Festival is taking place at the York Theatre, down the street from The Cultch. How did this decision take place?

The IGNITE! Youth Festival has always been at the Historic Theatre. We chose to move to the York Theatre this year to explore a beautiful new space. The York has incredible options for a festival like ours, both in decorating options (that stunning lobby!) and in the theatre itself. We are definitely excited to try out our new home.


I understand that the youth panel also creates an IGNITE! Youth Festival Zine. Could you tell us a little about it and where patrons can get a copy?

The IGNITE! Zine will be available for purchase at the Merchandise table each night of the festival. It features art and poetry and prose submitted by youth. It is hand-made and incredibly awesome!

There are quite a diverse range of themes throughout the week, how does the youth panel decide on the programming for each night? 

This year we are featuring our favourite themes from our extensive history as a festival. We have found that our audience has a variety of interests, and as we like to feature a variety of performers, a variety of themes seems to fit the bill! As a whole, our festival really has the youth aspect to tie everything together, so although our individual nights are quite varied, we hope that our audience will be keen to try out all the different flavours available!


What are your must-see acts in this year’s IGNITE! Youth Festival?

Oh, I can’t pick favourites! Well, maybe I can. I know the performers in the band Leave, who are performing on Saturday, and psst – a bird told you (not I!) that a fantastic MC might be mastering that flawless ceremony! (OK – it’s me!).


If there’s ONE thing you want our readers to know about this year’s festival, what would it be?

It’s going to freaking ROCK! Each night has an enthusiastic team of youth behind it, really shining the spotlight on amazing performers and creating a super fun environment for the audience to participate in. I hope to see you there!


The IGNITE! Youth Festival runs from May 12 – 16. The festival includes showcases in music, dance, and spoken word, the world premiere of two one-act plays, a visual arts exhibit, variety shows featuring improv, circus arts, and much more! Tickets starts at only $2 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604.251.1363.

Reviews for Stationary: A Recession-Era Musical!

Stationary: A Recession-Era Musical opened last week and critics and audience members are loving this indie-rock musical!

Check out the reviews below! And make sure to get yourself, or the millennials in your life, tickets before the show closes this Saturday!


You should run, not walk, to one of the most entertaining nights in Vancouver” – VanCity Buzz

You don’t have to be under 30 to get the message of this charming, compact musical romp. Anyone who’s done time as an office drone will tell you that there are certain fantasies that take over your brain, offering a respite from the seemingly unending day-to-day drudgery” – Vancouver Sun

There are laughs and smiles and the odd tear galore to come from this original score and script… This show is fresh and witty and charming and worth every minute” – Broken Leg Reviews

Hilarious and relatable…Go see this” – Room Magazine


“Y’all must see Stationary by @christinequinty & @MishelleCuttler it’s amazeballs. Full of spunk & angst & great tunes” – Josh Epstein @Josephstein1

“If you’re in #Vancouver see @delinquentheatr’s #Stationary at @TheCultch. It’s sweet AND it’s a protest against pigeon-holed adulting. Must” – Tara Pratt @tarakjpratt

Stationary by @delinquentheatr at @TheCultch is not to be missed! Humour, pathos and fantastic musical numbers – what more do you need?” – Kathleen B @kathleenbee751

“You should really go see #Stationary at @TheCultch. It’s as funny and moving as any entertainment from any medium you’ll find playing now” – Mack Gordon @mackgord

Q&A | A fascinating talk about The Duchess with director Sarah Rodgers

It’s been a long time coming for Ruby Slippers Theatre, but after first workshopping it in 2009, The Duchess a.k.a. Wallis Simpson finally makes its west coast professional premiere tonight at The Cultch!

With all the time and effort that has gone into creating this excellent piece of work, we wanted to share what’s in store for everyone. We took a chance to talk with Director Sarah Rodgers and got her thoughts on about this exciting production and fascinating woman!

Wallis Simpson was certainly a controversial figure when you look at some of the stories about her. What is your opinion of her?

I grew up in a British family with a real Royalist for a mother so it was ingrained in me that Wallis Simpson had ruined the Royal Family and had taken away the most beautiful matinee idol Prince England ever had – my mother remembers listening to the abdication speech with her family and crying and crying. It wasn’t until years later when I started to read up about Wallis that I grew to truly admire her for her moxy and ambition and wit. I think she was a very charming and intelligent and strong woman and contrary to what is thought she didn’t encourage or want the King to abdicate. She is a fascinating, formidable woman and has intrigued generations of people.


Wallis was a woman who was incredibly confident and who was in many ways, the most visible woman in the world, and certainly one of the most influential. So how important was it to get the casting right?

I worked very hard to get all the casting pitch perfect. Whenever I am dealing with people from history vs. fictional characters, I work very diligently to find an actor who really can embody the person – spirit and speech and physicality. I am thrilled with the entire cast – everyone is pitch perfect – and we have had some great fun bringing in age and ethnicity and yet somehow everyone is absolutely bang on. We have an Asian Nazi and an Iranian Bertie and one of the eldest members of the cast playing a young Princess Elizabeth (Queen Mum) and yet when you see it – you will not be able to imagine anyone else in the roles – they are all perfection.

What kind of balance is there between fact and theatre in this piece?

The writing of this piece is filled with style and wit and magic realism. It is not in any way like so many of the British mini-series that have filled masterpiece theatre Sunday nights for years. Linda Griffiths has a terrific imagination and great style – she brings a highly stylized vision to the play – the characters are arched and bigger than life and yet she actually brings a great deal of fact and historical tidbits into the piece. Anyone who knows the true anecdotes of this love story and the real history will really enjoy the little in jokes and facts sprinkled throughout the play amongst the crazy humour and sexy fun.

What do you hope audiences will take away from The Duchess?

I hope that the audiences will enjoy the theatrical feast we are offering them: all the great music and dancing I have incorporated into the play but ultimately I really do hope that people will like Wallis and walk away with sympathy and understanding of this complicated and wonderful female figure.

Are you excited the show is playing at The Cultch?

I am thrilled to be bringing this piece to The Cultch – I could not think of a more apt venue to create this world in: a world that offers Art Deco and a time of great indulgence and jazz and champagne. This lovely older venue with its balcony and gorgeous hardwood floors and intimate setting is the perfect venue – fit for a Duke and Duchess!


The Duchess a.k.a. Wallis Simpson runs until April 18 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets start from $19 and are available on our website or by calling the box office at 604-251-1363.

Q&A | A hilarious, and slightly morbid, interview with Famous Puppet Death Scenes’ Judd Palmer!!


Judd Palmer is one of the founding co-artistic directors of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop!

After doing a lot of globe trotting, The Old Trout Puppet Workshop has returned to Vancouver bringing back their smash hit, Famous Puppet Death Scenes!

To celebrate their return, we took  time to ask The Old Trouts some questions about their renowned production. We were fortunate enough to get some very interesting answers from Co-Director Judd Palmer.

After doing a lot of travelling around the world, how does it feel to be back in Vancouver?

We’ve been to some pretty wild places over the years, places where “puppeteers” aren’t exactly “welcome,” but Vancouver is one of the places we fear most. The last time we were here the entire team was mauled badly by a guy with a beard who was freakin’ on some kind of fierce medical marijuana, and we’re haunted by that night even now. But even though we’re deeply terrified of your city, we know we’ve got a job to do, and we’re going do it, no matter what the long term emotional cost.


What should people who have never seen Famous Puppet Death Scenes be expecting?

They should expect… the unexpected. Get it? I know – how can you expect the unexpected? That doesn’t make any sense at all. And yet somehow it does. It makes so much sense. That kind of sense/nonsense thing is what we like to call the Wow Zone. Which is another thing you can expect. You can expect to get a one-way ticket to the Wow Zone.

What does that mean? The Wow Zone? I guess it’s a personal thing. Everybody’s Wow Zone is different. If your own intimately guarded secret Wow Zone involves a cavalcade of puppet demises, then you’re one of the people we’re talking about when we say that you can expect a one-way ticket to the Wow Zone (or “WZ,” as we like to call it for short, although actually when you say it out loud it takes longer than just saying Wow Zone – way too many syllables in the letter W. It’s a letter, not a word, right? Hey W: why don’t you take a cue from B? Or F? Or N? Or actually all the other letters?) – where was I? Right: if your own personal WZ involves enjoying a sophisticated evening of relentless puppet tragedy, then you’re one of the people we’re talking to when we say this show is a one-way ticket to your WZ. If your WZ is more about hot tubs and flan or whatever, fine, the show won’t get you anywhere near your stupid WZ. Get out of my face, hot tub & flan guy.

For people who are coming to see the show again, is there anything new for them?

Depends on how much they remember. For me, personally, it’s all new all the time, but generally I can’t remember what I had for breakfast. Plus, we’ve been changing the show constantly as we perform it, honing it, perfecting it, tossing our artistic integrity out the window by sycophantically changing it in hopes that people will eventually like it, going for the laugh when we should be letting the deep stuff sink in, ruthlessly replacing puppets that won’t stop crying ‘please don’t make me do this anymore.’ Point being: it’s actually changed a great deal since the last time it was in Vancouver. In fact, the very first time we did this show, it was at the PuSh Festival, and it was a total train wreck. Now we mostly get through the whole show without anybody getting hurt, at least, so that’s a pretty big leap forward right there.

How exactly can you promise to cure the fear of death?

Actually you’ll come out of the show just as terrified of death as you’ve always been. Maybe a bit more. But you just can’t sell a show by saying it’ll make you rock back and forth in a corner moaning, overwhelmed by the certainty that your unpeaceful demise is imminent. So we tell a little tiny white lie there.


 Is there one scene that you think stands above the rest?

To me, the best puppet death scene is the scene that we haven’t written yet.  Isn’t that beautiful? But also sad. I guess for now we’ll have to settle for the ones that have already been written… the second best ones. Sorry.

Are you happy/excited to be playing the show at The Cultch?

I’d say we’re both happy AND excited. So happy/excited would be a great way of putting it. The Cultch is an amazing organization; pretty much the only thing that sucks about it is that it’s in Vancouver, where none of us live. Thank you so much, Cultch, for having us.


Famous Puppet Death Scenes runs until April 19 at the York Theatre. Tickets start from $19 and are available on our website or by calling the box office at 604-251-1363.

March Mayhem: A month in photos

We’re only a quarter of the way through 2015 and it’s already been a VERY busy year. We’ve barely had a moment’s rest in March, there was so much happening! Here’s just some of what went on:

The biggest event we had this month was our annual fundraising gala, in which we celebrated the Celtic Spirit of Ireland!


Heather Redfern rocking out with auctioneer David C. Jones


MCs Margaret Gallagher and Fred Lee addressing the attendees

There was some great entertainment throughout the evening



You couldn’t turn around without seeing someone doing something!



We had two great openings, first with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s TransMigration:


Kaha:wi Dance Theatre Artistic Director Santee Smith with Heather Redfern


Cultch Ladies: Caitrin Innis (Development Coordinator), Zoe Forsyth (Concierge and Volunteer Coordinator), Nicole McLuckie (Director of Patron Development) and Cindy Reid (Managing Director)


Members of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre giving us a smile


Kaha:wi Dance Theatre giving us… something else

And then we had Obaaberima from Buddies in Bad Times, which the audience enjoyed talking about post-show

Kaha:wi Dance also hosted a Pow Wow Boot Camp:


Kaha:wi Artistic Director leads the participants


It wasn’t all fun though, as we said farewell to our fantastic Senior Design and Web Coordinator, Isa Chernets


We did get a lot of puppy love though, as we welcomed Murphy to The Cultch family!

And to end March, we have a little tease for what’s coming up in April, as the Famous Puppet Death Scenes set was loaded in yesterday!


There are so many crates, they’re not only over flowing outside…


But even into the lobby as well!


It’s a lot of work, putting a set together


The view from above



The set is starting to rise!


Do you perfer the orchestra view


Or looking down from the balcony?

It was a pretty packed month, and we can’t wait for what’s next! Remeber you can always check out our Flickr page for more great photos! Be sure you come down and join us so you don’t miss any of the fun!

Heather Redfern on why you need to see Obaaberima!

With Obaaberima opening tonight there’s a lot that we could say about it, but it might be best to share why The Cultch’s Executive Director Heather Redfern chose to program the show for the season:


Obaaberima is a play and a performance that lifted my soul. It made laugh, it made me cry, and in Obaaberima, orange really is the new black.

Its universal themes about freedom of expression and embracing our differences, about not being perfect, about telling the truth to ourselves resonated really deeply with me. And I know they will for you too.

Tawiah M’carthy is amazing, a true rising star. The man not only embodies the characters, he dances them! I love to discover new talent and everywhere the play has been performed there have been wild standing ovations.

Cultch audiences deserve to see the best work in the country and that is exactly what Obaaberima is! It won three Dora Awards in Toronto last year and just played to rave reviews at the National Arts Centre.

I can’t say it enough: do yourself a favour, and GET to this show.

_W0A2095Obaaberima runs from March 24 – April 4 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets start from $19 and are available on our website or by calling the box office at 604-251-1363.

Kaha:wi Coming To The Cultch: Celebrating 10 Seasons with a Presentation of TransMigration

In 2005 an artist-run sole proprietorship was officially incorporated into not-for-profit organization.

Now, 10 years later Kaha:wi Dance Theatre is a leader in the dance world, combining indigenous and new dances to educate and engage their audiences. Encompassing music, storytelling, theatre, and design, Kaha:wi has created several shows that still tour successfully across the country.

To help celebrate what they’ve accomplished, we’re providing a brief overview before they hit The Cultch stage next week!


A dynamic force in contemporary dance Kaha:wi (Ga-HA-Wee) has been treating audiences with creativity, innovation, artistry, and Aboriginal expression that reflects, honours and celebrates culture.

The Cultch is thrilled to help spread the pleasure that has been created by this incredible company, and to take part in Kaha:wi’s tenth anniversary with their award winning production of TransMigration.


A story inspired by the paintings of Ojibwe shaman-artist Norval Morrisseau, TransMigration is one of Kaha:wi’s most successful productions, garnering multiple Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations, and receiving the National Museum of the American Indian Expressive Arts Award in 2009.

Through Morrisseau’s works, which to expressed identity, to reclaim strength, beauty and healing in a post-colonial world TransMigration dips into the brutal realities of life in the streets, homelessness, alcoholism and aftermath of residential school.


Choreographed, designed, and interpreted by artistic director and founder Santee Smith, the show is a reflection of humanity and spirit that explores the themes and imagery not only of Morrisseau’s paintings, but also his life.

We’re so excited to see how much more Kaha:wi will grow in the next 10 years, and what the future brings for TransMigration.

TransMigration runs from March 17 – 21 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets start from $19 and are available on our website or by calling the box office at 604-251-1363.