Reviews are in for The Fighting Season…and they are Great!

Reviews are in for The Fighting Season…and they are Great!

Photo by Javier R. Sotres

Last Wednesday we opened The Fighting Season, our first show of 2017, and the winner of the 2015 Cultchivating the Fringe Award. What a way to start!  We are SO happy with the response it has been getting.

The Fighting Season is a deeply poignant play that delves into the heart of the Afghan war through the perspective of three Canadian medical personnel. The play examines the experiences of an OR surgeon, a medic, and a nurse as they deal with their experiences in Afghanistan. The Fighting Season addresses three of the many ways people deal with PTSD, and is partially based on the experiences of local playwright Sean Harris Oliver’s father who was an OR surgeon  in Afghanistan.

The reviews are unanimous, The Fighting Season is not to miss!

“Theatrical make-believe has rarely felt more VISCERAL.” – Jerry Wasserman, The Vancouver Sun

“The performances under the direction of Evan Frayne are uniformly TERRIFIC.”- Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

“The play feels excruciatingly real and scrupulously HONEST…it’s a powerful piece of theatre made even more potent by three SUPERB performances.” – Jo Ledingham, joledingham.ca

“Visceral and MOVING, The Fighting Season shines as a FASCINATING study of war medics.” – Lauren Chancellor, TheReviewweekly

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The Fighting Season is selling fast! Don’t miss it, get your tickets.

The Fighting Season runs until Jan 21, 2016 in the Vancity Culture Lab. Tickets are $35. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

Femme February at The Cultch

Femme February at The Cultch

This February, The Cultch presents a showcase of powerful work by trailblazing female artists. Celebrate the strength and power of the female experience with an amazing line-up of live performances created and performed by women:

Mouthpiece  | Jan 31 – Feb 5  | Tickets from $20!

MouthpieceMouthpiece follows one woman, for one day, as she tries to find her voice. The push and the pull, the past and the present, the progress and the regression: this is the inner conflict that exists within a modern woman’s head. Interweaving a cappella harmony, text, and movement – Mouthpiece is a harrowing, humourous, and heart-wrenching journey into the female psyche.

THE DRAW: After a critically acclaimed, sold-out Toronto run, six Dora nominations and two wins, Mouthpiece comes to The Cultch as part of a national tour.

BUY TICKETS 

Girl Positive Book Launch & Panel |  Feb 9  | Free event! 

Join us for the Vancouver launch of the groundbreaking book, Girl Positive, and a panel discussion on Women in the Arts.

Co-authors Fraser and Hagel will facilitate a panel discussion that will uncover the innovative ways in which women artists are disrupting and innovating culture. Featuring prominent women in the arts including author, actor, and playwright Carmen Aguirre, this discussion will provoke and inspire through an exploration of hidden power and wild possibility!

ABOUT THE BOOK
Showcasing diverse voices of girls and young women from North America, Tatiana Fraser and Caia Hagel shift the focus from media’s sensationalist stories to highlight real-life accounts of how girls are making positive change and shaping a new world. Girl Positive offers stories of struggle and victory, and brings to light where today’s girls are finding new paths to empowerment.

RSVP HERE

NeoIndigenA | Feb 15 – 19  | Tickets from $20!

A full-length solo performance from award-winning artistic director, choreographer, and performer Santee Smith (TransMigration), exploring our relationship to ancestors, the living universe, and renewal. The spellbinding score features elemental voices of Inuit singers Tanya Tagaq and Nelson Tagoona with musical composition by Cris Derksen, Jesse Zubot, Michael Red, and Adrian Harjo.

THE DRAW: “[Smith’s] highly charged, traditional/ contemporary/ballet fusion eats up the stage” — The Globe and Mail

BUY TICKETS

am a  |  Feb 21 – Mar 4  |  All tickets just $25!

am a explores identity through the lens of neuroplasticity, a science that examines the brain’s capacity for change. But how do we change our brains? And if we can change, how far can we go? Using personal text, scientific writings, dance, song, and frivolity to explore personal confrontation, am a is a celebration of being human. Of daring to succeed. Of daring to fail.

BUY TICKETS

East Van creative culture thrives in a new way

Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly teaches swordplay and other modern armed and unarmed martial arts in East Vancouver. While their focus is more practical than theatrical, Valkyrie WMAA shares a love of innovation, inclusion, and community engagement with The Cultch, and the two organizations also have a shared history.

Jordan Both, who has been a regular technician at the Cultch for over a decade, was one of the driving forces behind the creation of Valkyrie. Back in 2012, Jordan was looking for a way to expand his martial arts training. He reached out to David Packer, a swordplay expert and martial artist with over 35 years of experience, who he had met the year before. David had been teaching for decades, and had run a few schools, but at the time didn’t have any ongoing practice. Jordan talked him into a weekly private session that they held outdoors —  in their backyards, in parks, and under bridges.

Their partners, Kaja Sadowski and Courtney Rice, quickly jumped into the sessions as well. Then a few more friends joined in, and soon they had a regular group of people waving swords around in parks. When fall hit, David and Courtney decided to formalize things and find a rental space to move the practice indoors, and Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly was born.

Kaja joined Valkyrie’s teaching staff in December 2013 and created a beginner program to shepherd new students into the regular curriculum. By the end of 2014, Valkyrie was running four classes a week out of two rented locations and a park, and was running out of places to put new people. It was time to get serious. Courtney and Kaja started building the business infrastructure to make a permanent location viable, and the teaching team recruited three new coaches from the school’s senior students, including Jordan.

The permanent Valkyrie WMAA space opened in October 2015. The school is bright, colourful, and friendly — an intentional rejection of the typical macho environment of most martial arts spaces, from their serious, black-dominated colour schemes, to their heavy emphasis on competition or climbing ranks as the goal of martial practice. Much like the Cultch, Valkyrie instead aims to be a creative space that cultivates an adventurous approach to the arts by an engaged clientele.

“For me it’s about exploration and experimentation. Exploring what my body can do, how it can move through the world, and how it can affect my opponent. From there, we take what we discover and experiment with/on each other to see what works. What works for me, might not work for my opponent and that’s also interesting. We’re collaborating to build/discover better humans through the affectionate medium of stabbing, slashing, squeezing, throwing, punching, kicking, and generally bludgeoning each other. What’s not to love?”

Philip Persad

Jordan loves his students’ reactions to Valkyrie’s approach. People who had never considered themselves capable of any violence delight in a well thrown punch, or discover a love of wrestling. People with experience in more traditional, rigid martial arts suddenly find their own style.

“Valkyrie’s approach brings in aspects of a wide array of martial arts, not only drawing on the best techniques and approaches from a variety of disciplines, but encouraging students to be creative. It’s okay to be new or novel in your approach, and wanting to find out if something works is a good enough reason to try it (safely).”

-Sarah Campbell

Jordan’s search for personal improvement has opened the door for many other people to discover their own potential in ways they didn’t think was possible. What began in a cold Vancouver backyard now has a warm home to thrive in, and a community of dedicated students. If you are interested in seeing what Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly might do for your own creativity and physical expression, check out their programs at valkyriemartialarts.com, and save 15% with the discount code I<3thecultch.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned from both my own experience, and from that of the people I’ve seen at Valkyrie, is that anything’s possible. That sense of possibility is one of the coolest parts of training there.”

            –Zach Doyle

Great Reviews for East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood!

Great Reviews for East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood!

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Theatre Replacement’s East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood opened Friday, November 25. What fun! There is nothing like the Panto to get us in the mood for the holidays, and it seems we aren’t the only ones that feel that way. The reviews have been rolling in, and the verdict across the board is that East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood is the best kind of holiday fun!

“The East Van Panto is now officially the BEST HOLIDAY TRADITION in Vancouver…I could happily see this show again and probably will” —Colin Thomas, colinthomas.ca

“Thank you, Theatre Replacement and The Cultch, for the lovely Christmas present….I LOVED IT. I really, really did. Best present ever” —Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier

“A genuine local HOLIDAY CLASSIC back for its fourth nutty season…this incarnation of the East Van Panto retains all its JOYOUS HUMOUR and characteristic pizzazz” —Jerry Wasserman, Vancouver Sun

“As FRESH, IRREVERENT, and FUN as its predecessors…If the East Van Panto isn’t part of your holiday tradition yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” —Kathleen Oliver, Georgia Straight

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East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood runs from Nov 23 – Dec 31, 2016 in the York Theatre. Best prices Family Packs available! 4 premium tickets for just $120! *A Family Pack includes 2 adult + 2 child tickets (Sec A). Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

Want to see Veda Hille perform? Make sure to book your tickets between Nov 23 and Dec 4! Music man extraordinaire Benjamin Elliott (Are We Cool Now?, Broken Sex Doll) will perform Veda’s signature spins on contemporary and classic tunes beginning Dec 5!

CREEPS is “…ferociously funny”

CREEPS is “…ferociously funny”

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Winner of the Chalmers Award and the New York Drama Desk Award, David Freeman’s savage wit and uncompromising dialogue will hold you spellbound!

What 1971 play is recognized among theatre insiders to have changed Canadian theatre forever?  If you guessed David Freeman’s CREEPS, you’re right!

Realwheels Theatre, the company that brought you the Jessie Award-winning production of “Whose Life is it Anyway?” (The Cultch 2014 season), and winner of the City of Vancouver’s 2015 Award of Excellence, returns to the Cultch Historic Stage with this outstanding new production of CREEPS.

Running Dec 1- 10, 2016, CREEPS tells the story of four disabled men hiding out in the toilet of a ‘sheltered workshop for cerebral palsy victims’.  There to dodge their condescending supervisor, the men escape the mundane activities (folding boxes, sanding blocks), designed to ‘occupy their idle hours, and vent their disdain for their institutionalized environment and the charities that support it.  

While sheltered workshops were a progressive idea at the time, with the intention to rotate people through as they increased skill levels, many participants – like the characters in CREEPS – ended up spending most of their adult lives in the programs.

Freeman was one of the first writers to put his own voice – a Canadian voice – on the stage in the early 70’s.  Freeman lived with cerebral palsy and wrote CREEPS on a typewriter that he operated with a mouth-held stylus.

Reviews of the play were unanimously electrifying:

ferociously funny,

“...Freeman treats his people as people, showing how in their world there is humour in abundance, and things can be hugely comic.”

…Freeman handles his material triumphantly.”

May all playwrights be as talented as Freeman.”

For the first time in the play’s history, CREEPS is being performed by an integrated cast.  Of the seven professional actors, three are actors who live with disability.  Realwheels’ production of  CREEPS will give audiences a rare glimpse into the lived experience of disability, filtered through a 1970’s lens.   Don’t miss it!

Creeps runs from Nov 30– Dec 10, 2016 in the Historic Theatre. Two-for-One special ticket price for International Day of Disability on Sat. Dec 3 at 8 pm. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

*Please call box office to book if seating accommodation is needed (Wheelchair, PCA, ASL, audio description)

Panto Season is Upon us Again! -East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood

Panto Season is Upon us Again! – East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood

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It’s that time of year again! It’s time for another great Panto presented by Theatre Replacement’s East Van Panto! Now in its  fourth year, the Panto is one of our favourite traditions here at The Cultch. If you have never been to the Panto, this is your chance to start your own holiday tradition!

But what is Panto, you say?

We are so glad you asked! 

East Van Panto says it best:

Panto (another name for Pantomime) is a tradition of holiday musical comedy theatre. Popularized in England in the early 19thCentury, Pantomime takes familiar fairy tales and injects music, contemporary references, and audience participation to create raucous, noisy entertainment that’s fun for everyone in the family. Our Panto takes inspiration from this classic form, but adds a uniquely East Van twist; a new, local tradition you and your family are invited to make your own!

The story in the spotlight this year is Little Red Riding Hood. Join Little Red for a wacky and wild ride down the Adanac bike trail. All your favourite characters are here -Little Red, Granny, The Big Bad Wolf…even a few you won’t expect. Recommended as one of the 10 Vancouver comedy events to check out in November, The East Van Panto promises big laughs for the whole family. For a taste of the fun, check out Mark Chavez’ video interview with Vancouver Sun’s Frances Georgian.

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East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood is written by Mark Chavez, directed by Anita Rochon, with music by Veda Hille. Read a great piece on Mark Chavez by Westender writer Kelsey Klassen here, or listen to an interview with Mark and Anita on Roundhouse Radio‘s Janice & Cory show. And for our Francophone fans, Anita Rochon on ICI Radio-Canada, Phare Ouest with Marie Villeneuve.

East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood runs from Nov 23 – Dec 31, 2016 in the York Theatre. Best prices Family Packs available! 4 premium tickets for just $120! *A Family Pack includes 2 adult + 2 child tickets (Sec A). Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

Want to see Veda Hille perform? Make sure to book your tickets between Nov 23 and Dec 4! Music man extraordinaire Benjamin Elliott (Are We Cool Now?, Broken Sex Doll) will perform Veda’s signature spins on contemporary and classic tunes beginning Dec 5!

East Van Panto song list | Iron Maiden, Queen, Beyonce & More!

Theatre Replacement’s has certainly built it’s own warped holiday tradition with the East Van Panto with a mix of pop parodies and nods to its neighborhood! Check out the song list of the show below ( in order of appearance)

  1. Boys in the Bright White Sports Car by Trooper
  2. Bad Girls by MIA
  3. Mr. Brightside by The Killers
  4. Work by Rihanna
  5. Bicycle Race by Queen
  6. Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder
  7. Electric Love by BØRNS
  8. Monster by Kanye West
  9. Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
  10. Don’t Cry Out Loud by Melissa Manchester
  11. Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden
  12. Rock You Like a Hurricane by Scorpions
  13. Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran
  14. You Spin Me Right Round by Dead or Alive
  15. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
  16. Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
  17. Sorry by Justin Bieber
  18. No by Meghan Trainor
  19. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
  20. Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne
  21. We Belong Together by Pat Benatar
  22. Formation by Beyonce

East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood runs from Nov 23 – Dec 31, 2016 in the York Theatre. Best prices Family Packs available! 4 premium tickets for just $120! *A Family Pack includes 2 adult + 2 child tickets (Sec A). Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

Want to see Veda Hille perform? Make sure to book your tickets between Nov 23 and Dec 4! Music man extraordinaire Benjamin Elliott (Are We Cool Now?, Broken Sex Doll) will perform Veda’s signature spins on contemporary and classic tunes beginning Dec 5!

Not Your Average Dance Show: All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey

Not Your Average Dance Show: All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey

Photo credit: Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup

Photo credit: Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup

If you come to see All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey, be prepared to leave with lots to think about. This is not your average dance show. When it played in Ottawa, the Globe and Mail reported that, “Audience members lingered so long in the theatre, discussing the work that the… ushers, who wanted to lockup, had to ask them to leave.”

Created by Frédérick Gravel, All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey is a tale of distraught men, the ordinary run-of-the-mill North American male – beer, T-shirts, baseball caps, cowboy boots, beer bellies and their hesitations, outbursts of violence, confusion, brusque changes of mood, right left, front and back, lurching in a drunken haze of beer and powerlessness.

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Frédérick Gravel has been active in the Montreal scene for over 10 years and graduated from the dance faculty of Université du Québec à Montréal in 2009. An interdisciplinary artist with experience as a choreographer, dancer, musician and a lighting designer; it is no surprise that Frédérick Gravel’s work embraces a mixture of styles and disciplines. He has become known for pushing the boundaries of dance choreography and turning it on its head. Says the Ottawa Citizen, “Gravel’s work dances the fine line between rock concert, trailer park party and dance performance. He certainly likes to push the boundaries of what dance can be – taking pleasure in obliterating stereotypes.”

Merging rock music and performance art into his dance performance, Frédérick Gravel’s work is emotionally gripping and hard hitting.  All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey is described as being part dance, part performance art, and part rock show. Be prepared to leave this show feeling as though you have just experienced a particularly exhilarating rock concert.

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But don’t be scared away.  Just because All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey deals with some heavy things, doesn’t mean it isn’t accessible. In fact it is known for skirting the line between the serious and the comic. This is dark comedy at its best. In an interview with The Dance Current Philip Szporer says, “Gravel has good patter… with wicked timing. He doesn’t hesitate to reinforce, constantly, the idea that contemporary dance is “waaay” too serious, and why not have a good laugh?”

Check out the trailer.

All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey runs Nov 8 – 12, 2016 in the Historic Theatre. Tickets from $20 are available online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

Name The New Cultch Cocktail! Our new cocktail with Odds Society needs a name! Share your best idea!

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Name our mouth-watering cocktail– A delicious twist on the classic Gimlet: Wallflower gin, sage syrup, lime juice and orange – for a chance to win an evening of pre-drinks at Odd Society Spirits, two tickets to an upcoming Cultch production, and naming rights to the new beverage that will be sold at The Cultch AND Odds Society Spirits (1725 Powell Street)!

How to enter:

There are several ways to enter. To enter through the blog simply leave a comment with your drink name and a brief explanation. To enter through Facebook, comment on the contest announcement with your drink name in quotes. On Twitter, reply to our post with your drink name and the hashtag #CultchxOdd. By email, send your drink name to ricky@thecultch.com.

The Rules:

  1. Enter anytime between Nov 4 – 10,
  1. Suggest a fun, creative, and evocative name for this recipe. If possible, explain why you chose the name in a sentence or two.
  1. The winning recipe name (and your name, if you wish) will be featured in our bar for the remainder of our 16/17 season as well as at Odd Society Spirits.

 

TWO SOLD OUT OPENINGS! Thank you to our AMAZING Supporters and Partners!

TWO SOLD OUT OPENINGS! Thank you to our AMAZING Supporters and Partners! 

Yesterday (November 1) was one of the most exciting days of The Cultch’s 16/17 season! We were supremely lucky to have two amazing shows open on the same night –The Elephant Wrestler, co-presented with Diwali Fest, and Empire of the Son, Tetsuro Shigematsu’s smash hit presented by VACT.  Both of these shows are big hits: Empire of the Son has already SOLD OUT its run, and The Elephant Wrestler is very close behind.

We are so lucky to live in Vancouver and have access to great performing arts from a diverse and culturally rich background.  The Cultch is happy to co-present with Diwali Fest, and to have the chance to present shows from great local companies like VACT.  We want to take this opportunity to highlight them and the wonderful work they do.

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As many of you will know, Diwali is a South Asian festival known around the world as the festival of lights. Diwali brings people together to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.  Vancouver is lucky to have Diwali Fest, to bring us all the fun and joy of Diwali in an nearly month long festival. Their mission is, “To break cultural barriers and celebrate the spirit of Diwali by embracing diverse art forms to build a sense of community across the Greater Vancouver Lower Mainland.” This year’s festival started Oct 11 with the opening of Piya Behrupiya in the York Theatre, and will run until Nov 30.

Get out and enjoy as many of the Diwali Fest events as possible.

PHOTO: RAY SHUM | PHOTO DESIGN: TERRY WONG

Photo: Ray Shum/Photo Design: Terry Wong

We also encourage you to check out VACT as they highlight and promote Asian-Canadian stories like Empire of the Son. VACT was created in 2000 in order to produce and promote professional Asian-Canadian shows. They have has gained an amazing reputation in the arts community for presenting powerful and engaging stories from an Asian-Canadian perspective. The Cultch has been lucky enough to be a part of a couple of these productions. We are especially thrilled to have Empire of the Son back in The Vancity Culture Lab before it goes on tour in eastern Canada.

The Elephant Wrestler runs from Nov 1 – Nov 5, 2016 in the Historic Theatre.  Empire of the Son runs from Nov 1-13 in the Vancity Culture Lab. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

 

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