Christmas Carol Project Song of the Week: Bah Humbug

Bill Bourne as Ebenezer Scrooge, live music presented by The Cultch

Bill Bourne as Ebenezer Scrooge

The Christmas Carol Project makes its first visit to The Cultch this Friday and Saturday, December 17 & 18. The third and final installment of our song of the week from the album Songs of the Christmas Carol Project is Bah Humbug featuring Bill Bourne and Terry Morrison. The Christmas Carol Project is made up of a talented cast of Edmonton-based musicians who have created a collection of songs written from the perspective of each character in this beloved Christmas fable, and in Bah Humbug, Bill Bourne is playing Ebenezer Scrooge.

Listen to Bah Humbug here >> Bah Humbug

About Bill Bourne:
A multiple Canadian Juno Award winner, Bill has received international acclaim for his recordings and live performances. A mainstay on the international roots scene, life on the road is reflected in Bill’s music – powerful rhythms and soulful songs, steeped in world beat, blues, cajun, celtic, folk, flamenco, funk, poetry and more.

Bill Bourne as Ebenezer Scrooge in The Christmas Carol Project: Live music in Vancouver presented by The Cultch

Bill Bourne as Ebenezer Scrooge (in the top hat)


Bah Humbug (You Don’t Know Me)

Well if you think I care
You don’t know me very well
If you think I have a heart
You don’t know me, I can tell

If you believe in peace
You really are stone blind
for you waste my precious days
you leave your task behind

Well if you think I care
You don’t know me very well
If you think I have a heart
You don’t know me, I can tell

And if you stand up for love
well, you really are stone blind
you, who idle away the hours
pretending to be kind

Well if you think I care
You don’t know me very well
If you think I have a heart
You don’t know me, I can tell

© 1996 Bill Bourne

The Christmas Carol Project: An Interview with the Show’s Creator, John Armstrong

What is on your Christmas list this year? Socks? Underwear? An iPhone? How about tickets to see and hear Juno-nominated folk musicians that make up The Christmas Carol Project at The Cultch. Complete with an original score of 14 musical pieces, The Christmas Carol Project chronicles a transformative night in the life of one Ebenezer Scrooge. The Cultch was lucky enough to catch up with John Armstrong, the man behind The Christmas Carol Project. He was kind enough to answer a few questions and give a little insight into the show’s concept and talent, along with his personal insights.

The Christmas Carol Project: Entire band of Live Musicians in Vancouver for the Holidays

Tell us about The Christmas Carol Project – how does the show unfold?

The show is based on compositions by a collective of songwriters who have written from the perspectives of the main characters of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The songs are tied together with text from the story delivered by our narrator, Dave Clarke who makes his debut with the project this year.

What inspired you to make a music show out of the classic story, A Christmas Carol?

When the idea came to me, I was looking for a way to showcase some of the incredible musical talent that we have in Edmonton in one show. It just made a lot of sense as a vehicle and it’s a classic, timeless story with an important message for all of us.

What about A Christmas Carol made it the best platform to showcase the talent in Edmonton’s music scene?

(more…)

The Christmas Carol Project Song of the Week: On the Wings of the Wind

Kevin Cook - musician in The Christmas Carol, live music in Vancouver at The Cultch

Kevin Cook

The Christmas Carol Project is made up of an extremely talented cast of Edmonton-based musicians who have created a collection of songs written from the perspectives of each character in this beloved Christmas fable. Leading up to the show’s opening at The Cultch December 17 & 18, we are posting a song from the project.

This week’s song is On the Wings of the Wind by Kevin Cook. Click here to listen >> On The Wings Of The Wind

About Kevin Cook:

Kevin Cook, a long, lean guitar picker from Alberta conjures up his own brand of raw folk voodoo.  Critics unanimously agree, Cook’s obvious ace is his lyrics. From haunting ballads to edgy country blues his songs often reflect his western roots. Cook tours as a solo artist as well as working with a rockin’ four piece band. Recently he’s been exploring the world of film, scoring the music for the documentary “One More Mile”. His new recording “Calahoo” has just been released. Here are the lyrics to Kevin’s song:

ON THE WINGS OF THE WIND

Yeah, its me, your old partner
I suppose I look a mess
I’ve been doing some hard traveling
seven years without a rest

On the wings of the wind,
On the wings of the wind,
I’ve been doing some hard traveling
seven years without a rest

Yeah, its me, you better believe it
if you want to escape my fate
I’ve made my bed now, I’m lying in it
For you its still not too late

Oh, these chains, oh, these chains
Oh, these chains feel like the weight of the world

Yeah, its me, I’m here to warn you
three ghosts will come to haunt you
listen close my old friend
Its your last chance to make amends

My time is gone
I’m disappearing
you won’t be seeing me no more

On the wings of the wind, on the wings of the wind
I’ve been doing some hard traveling
On the wings of the wind

© 1996 Kevin Cook

Tickets to The Christmas Carol Project are available online at https://tickets.thecultch.com, or at The Cultch Box office by phone 604.251.1363 or in person at 1895 Venables Street.

Announcing the 2011 IGNITE! Mentorship Program

IGNITE! Mentorship Program poster 2011

IGNITE! Mentorship Program poster 2011

By Corbin Murdoch, Cultch Youth Program Manager

The Cultch’s Youth Program is proud to present the fourth season of our IGNITE! Mentorship Program. IGNITE! is designed to offer youth in Vancouver unprecedented access to professional artists and to demystify what it takes to build a career in the arts. In 2011 we will be offering mentorship programs in songwriting, spoken word, dance, directing and playwriting.

“Not only has the program allowed me to meet and work with a professional playwright that I admire, it also introduced me to a group of like-minded youth who share my love of the theatre. The program has made me want to continue to be active in the theatre even more, and all in all, has been one of the best experiences of my life.” – Jennifer Bednard, 2010 Playwriting Mentorship participant

The program is free for young artists between the ages of 13-24 who want to pursue a career in the arts. Each participant is paired with a professional for a series of participant-driven one-on-one workshops. In addition, the youth receive skill-building workshops with industry professionals in areas such as grant writing and media relations, an opportunity to document their work in a professional studio environment, and a showcase performance on The Cultch’s stage.

IGNITE! Mentorships - dance workshop with Ron Stewart

2009 Dance Mentorship with Ron Stewart

The Cultch has recruited an amazing roster of mentors for the 2010/2011 Season. They are:

(more…)

Taking Residency: The Transformation of “Fish Face” from Fringe Show to Cultch Presentation

By Ginette Mohr

Fish Face, live theatre for children and families presented by The CultchFish Face tells the story of a young woman who journeys into a vivid underwater universe to battle a giant sea monster and confront her destiny. A fantastical mystery full of humour and suspense, this solo show incorporates dance, puppetry and music.In September 2009, The Quickening Theatre‘s Fish Face toured from its home in Toronto to the Vancouver Fringe Festival, where it won the “Cultchivating the Fringe Award” – an award in which The Cultch chooses one show from The Vancouver Fringe Festival to develop in a residency at The Cultch and to be presented in its season. The Cultch offered Fish Face development residency for four weeks and a run from Dec. 3-5, 2010.

We at The Quickening Theatre Company believe original work is the lifeblood of this industry. Our residency here at The Cultch is instrumental in the development of both Fish Face and our creation process, as it takes time and space to develop original work.

Fish Face director/co-creator Kate Fenton co-creator/performer Ginette Mohr rehearsing

Fish Face director/co-creator Kate Fenton co-creator/performer Ginette Mohr

The Cultch engenders a wonderfully inspired community of artists and celebrates the achievements of dynamic, independent theatre. Executive Director Heather Redfern is a wealth of information and has taken us under her wing, and the staff at The Cultch have been incredibly generous with their time and knowledge. The residency has also afforded us collaboration with a stellar west coast team: Ray Moschuk (lighting design), David Mesiha (sound design and composition), Diana Magallon and Kelsey Peacock (stage management).

In a solo show, the relationship between the actor and director is greatly intensified. Director/co-creator Kate Fenton is my life-line. We work closely together – playing, searching, questioning, investigating and following trails to magic moments. When I get on stage, Kate radiates better than a kindergarten teacher at a spring concert. I am so proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far. Yesterday we read the final scene, counted the characters (five) and the actors (one), and said,  “Okay, let’s dive in.” I love that.

It is our ultimate goal to tour Fish Face. There is strong potential in the play to speak to audiences about fear, commitment and finding your own way. With the history and viability of our performance at The Cultch, Fish Face could be well-placed for future productions. The time, space and resources – what a gift it has been.

Fish Face, live theatre for children and families presented by The Cultch

Fish Face director/co-creator Kate Fenton co-creator/performer Ginette Mohr

Ginette Mohr writes and acts in Fish Face, which will be presented at The Cultch Dec 3-5, 2010 in The Vancity Culture Lab as part of its Family-Time Series. Tickets start at $15 – $18 and are available at tickets.thecultch.com, or by phone at 604.251.1363 or in person at The Cultch Box Office at 1895 Venables Street at Victoria Drive.

The Christmas Carol Project Song of the Week: God Bless Us Everyone

The Christmas Carol Project is made up of an extremely talented cast of Edmonton-based musicians who have created a collection of songs written from the perspectives of each character in this beloved Christmas fable. In the coming weeks, we will be revealing one song from the concert leading up to the show’s opening at The Cultch December 17 & 18.

This week’s song is God Bless us Everyone by Maria Dunn. Click here to listen >>  God Bless Us Everyone

Maria Dunn, Sings God Bless Us Everyone from The Christmas Carol Project, live music presented by The Cultch

Maria Dunn

God Bless Us Everyone
© Maria Dunn, 1996

“I wrote this song from the perspective of Tiny Tim Cratchit in Charles Dickens’ beautiful story
A Christmas Carol and perform it annually in Edmonton’s original songwriter production of The Christmas Carol Project.” – Maria Dunn

When the world is feeling cold and the sky more grey than blue
And the snow it seems to fall heavy heartedly on you
Time to count your blessings though seemingly but few
Time to take a look at what’s within and without you
For health is more than walking
And wealth much more than gold
But kindness overwhelming as a gentle hand to hold

So God bless us everyone with the riches of the soul
And may hopelessness ne’er be the demon darkening our door

When the world is feeling cold and the sky more grey than blue
And the snow it seems to lie heavy heartedly on you
Remember when you see us: the hungry, lame, the meek
Who would feed us, heal us, keep us is the same one that you seek
For joy is more than dancing
Good cheer much more than wine
But love is all enfolding as beholding hearts entwined

When the world is feeling cold and the sky more grey than blue
And the snow it seems to lie heavy heartedly on you
To the counting house of blessings may we often chance to stray
And in company together spend many’s the night and day

Maria Dunn lead vocal, accordion Shannon Johnson violin, Dawn Anderson harmony vocal Andy Illig acoustic guitar, Derek Stremel electric bass. With the Cratchit Family Chorus: Dawn Anderson, Paul Bellous, Shannon Johnson, Terry Morrison, David Ward

Tickets to The Christmas Carol Project are available online at https://tickets.the cultch.com, or at The Cultch Box office by phone 604.251.1363 or in person at 1895 Venables Street.

The Cultch’s Not-to-Miss List: Our Picks for the 2010/2011 Season Part 2

With the successful run of our first theatre performance of the season – after the quake – now behind us, we’ve asked some members of our staff to look ahead at the rest of our 10/11 season, and let us know which presentations they are really looking forward to seeing. We recently had picture day here at The Cultch, and thought it would also be a good opportunity to show you some of the faces behind the administration team here at The Cultch!

Corbin Murdoch, Cultch Youth Program Manager

Corbin Murdoch, Youth Program Manager

CORBIN MURDOCH, YOUTH PROGRAM MANAGER:

Double Bill: Hero & Heroine / Audible by the response. / The 605 Collective.
As part of our 2010 Summer Youth Intensive, I was lucky enough to step into the rehearsal room with this amazing group of dancers. What a thrill! These boys and girls can MOVE! I can’t wait to see the result of their residency in our Vancity Culture Lab.

Christine Fellows
In my humble opinion, Christine is one of the finest Canadian songwriters of all time. This performance marks the Vancouver debut of her new album. She will be joined onstage by a string quartet. Mark my words, it is going to be a breathtakingly beautiful night of music. Unmissable!

Mark Berube
Mark’s star is on the rise. His music is at once powerful, anthemic, and deeply moving on a personal level. With the release of his new album in early 2011 he is sure to become a household name. This is going to be one of those “I saw him back when” kind of performances.

Eleanor Stacey, Director of Development

Eleanor Stacey, Director of Development

ELEANOR STACEY, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT:

Dr. Egg and the Man with No Ear, a Jessica Wilson production
I find shows about science so exciting. Theatre and science are a seemingly unlikely couple, but they both ultimately serve the same human interests in fantasy, creativity and innovation. Add an ethical dilemma and you’ve got a recipe for a riveting play. Overall, Dr. Egg sounds like a really good story. I’m also looking forward to seeing Redmoon Theatre’s puppetry as well.

Firebird 2011 by Turning Point Ensemble
This music and dance collaboration between Turning Point Ensemble and Move: the company sounds amazing. I also can’t wait to hear Michael Bushnell’s new take on Stravinsky’s Firebird (see Stravinsky here in 1963 conducting the original Firebird). Overall I think the entire project just seems so magical and inspired.

The You Show by Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM
I have enjoyed watching Crystal Pite and Kidd Pivot unfold over the last few years, and I have always looked forward to seeing their performances (and the always-fascinating new compositions by Owen Belton) each time they have returned to The Cultch. This show is no exception – I am interested to see how the company and choreography has grown and changed during their time in Germany.

DENISE HIGGINSON, DESIGN & WEB CO-ORDINATOR:

Working at The Cultch, I’ve become exposed to a lot of wonderful contemporary dance, and I’ve since become a dance fiend. We are so lucky this season to have a stellar line-up of three dance presentations, so my recommendation is an all-dance trifecta:

Double Bill: Hero & Heroine / Audible by the response. / The 605 Collective
These young hot Vancouver dance companies address very contemporary themes such as social media and data addiction, as well as referencing hip-hop gestures. I love the physicality of their dances, and how they spring and jump vertically and horizontally. I hear they are the next big thing in Vancouver dance, so it’s an opportunity to see them in this seminal stage of their careers.

relay by Ame Henderson/Public Recordings
This show just had a sold-out run in Toronto, and the critics call Ame Henderson “notoriously adventurous” (Toronto Life) and “an agent provocateur of dance” (The Globe and Mail). I am a fan of agents provocateurs in any artistic medium, so I am really looking forward to this one! I am very intrigued by their notion of “re-imagining unison”. I’m not sure what unison dance means exactly, but I love that they are exploring it and traversing its boundaries.

The You Show by Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM
Choreographed by Crystal Pite, an international dance sensation hailing from Vancouver, I am so excited that she is returning here to The Cultch where she used to perform as an emerging artist. I have heard about workshops of this piece and I can only say – I am so there.

Dr. Egg and the Man with No Ear: an interview with Director Jessica Wilson about the production, the science and (of course) the puppets

From October 26th to November 6th, The Cultch will run one of its most spectacular shows of the season: Dr. Egg and the Man with No Ear. Combining the stunning visual elements of puppetry, stop-motion animation and physical performance, the play follows a man’s quest to replace his tragically lost ear.  Dealing with the moral dilemmas of scientific advancement, Dr. Egg and the Man with No Ear tackles the difficult questions society faces as new developments are made in technology and medicine. Known for her stunning productions, Director Jessica Wilson carefully weaves rich visuals throughout the play making this one unforgettable performance. Excited about the show, we couldn’t wait for opening night and touched base with Jessica beforehand to pick her brain about the production.

What is Dr. Egg and the Man with No Ear all about?

It’s a story about a man with only one ear who longs for another. He finds a doctor who offers to try to make a new one for him, but it requires a piece of flesh from his daughter’s ear. The man refuses, but his daughter, eager to mend his constant sadness, sneaks into the lab and offers her cell to make the ear. But once they get started on the science, things get out of hand and they create something they had not expected.  It’s a dark fable that explores many things – ethics in new advancements in science, the loss of innocence, human desire and kinship.

How did you end up directing Dr. Egg? What intrigued you about this particular story?

(more…)

Building a greener future: Plans are made for a living wall at The Cultch

planting the green wall with members of The Cultch's Youth Panel

The final configuration of the green wall

It’s alive! Next spring, a living green wall is making its way to The Cultch with the help of the Environmental Youth Alliance and our very own Youth Panel.  Selected by the Environmental Youth Alliance, The Cultch will be one of four buildings scheduled to have a living wall installed by gsky. Hoping to engage local citizens in the green building movement, the Alliance will partner with a number of Vancouver organisations to increase the awareness of green wall technologies and add a touch more green space to our city. Rooted in our commitment to be on top of the latest in environmental engineering, we were thrilled to be a part of this project!

Construction is planned for the south facing side of The Cultch with completion aimed for spring. Seeing as this is no ordinary wall, following a special installation process is a must. So first things first, the seeds must be planted! Like any garden (vertical or horizontal) healthy plants come from carefully cultivated seedlings, so last week our wall vegetation was planted and then will be cared for at a nursery in anticipation of next spring’s installation.  And with our soon-to-be wall fostering evergreens and flowering plants, what a beautiful spring it will be!

Consisting of a complex plant system, the 120 square foot wall garden will be built and maintained with gravity in mind. Essentially a hanging garden, the wall is made up of specially designed 12″ x 12″ plant boxes that are hung from a railing installed on the side of The Cultch.  Irrigation pipes are then placed between each row to administer water and fertilizer as needed. Our Youth Panel, guided by the Environmental Youth Alliance, will then maintain and monitor the plant system to ensure its health. All in all, it’s a fairly intricate system and possibly explained better by the professionals at http://gsky.com/green-walls/panels/.

(more…)

Rumble Productions and Pi Theatre bring Murakami’s magic to The Cultch

Prepare yourself to enter the disrupted reality of after the quake. Based on Haruki Murakami’s short stories “Honey Pie” and “Superfrog Saves Tokyo”, Rumble Productions and Pi Theatre bring to The Cultch a remarkable production full of wonder. Touching on traumatic historical events in Tokyo, fantastic characters explore hope and healing while sweeping you into a world of super frogs and talking bears. This dream-like production will leave you in awe of the power of imagination and the strength of the human spirit. Running from October 13th to October 23rd, The Cultch is in full swing preparing for after the quake’s opening night tomorrow. Taking a little time off from rehearsal, Richard Wolfe (Artistic Director of Pi) and Craig Hall (Artistic Producer of Rumble) answered a few questions for us about their upcoming production.

Can you describe after the quake?   How did the production get started ?

Richard Wolfe [RW]: after the quake is a theatrical adaptation of two short stories (“Superfrog Saves Tokyo” and “Honey Pie”) by Haruki Murakami. They are both from the collection entitled after the quake and are set in the months that fell between the Kobe earthquake and the Sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway. They present a world marked by despair, hope, and human instinct for transformation. The adaptation was done by Frank Galati of Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, but we had the original Japanese short stories in our rehearsal room which could be read by several people on our team.

Richard Wolfe Artistic Director of Pi Theatre

How did Rumble Productions and Pi Theatre end up collaborating on after the quake? Had you worked together before?

RW: Craig Hall and I had wanted to collaborate on a project for quite some time. We’d talked about doing an original adaptation of Murakami’s work, but when the rights for this adaptation were released, we decided to obtain them for the Canadian premiere production.

Craig Hall [CH]: Rumble and Pi have collaborated on several projects and initiatives in the past, but this is the first time the companies have worked together since Richard took over Pi and I became the Artistic Producer of Rumble.

What was the most exciting/ difficult part of collaborating with another theatre company?

(more…)