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.

CADRE Opening Night Photos + Reviews!


Richard Jordan, Fezile Mpela, Criss Henderson, Omphile Molusi, Lillian Tshabalala, Rick Boynton, Barbra Gaines

Last Tuesday, The Cultch hosted the Canadian premiere of Cadre, presented with Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd in association with the Market Theatre of Johannesburg.

This story of a South African freedom fighter during apartheid is extremely powerful and is blowing audiences and critics away.

Fezile Mpela, Lillian Tshabalala, and Omphile Molusi

Fezile Mpela, Lillian Tshabalala, and Omphile Molusi

Check out some of the reviews here:

If you want theatre that grabs you by the throat, brain and/or balls – if you want theatre that shows you a life and world that is likely beyond your imagining – if you like to feel things and be moved by live performance, then you should see this play!” — David C. Jones, OUT TV

Scars of apartheid offer intense audience experience” —Erika Thorklenson, The Vancouver Sun

Hits home because it’s so relevant in Canada…skilled and important. It’s a postcard we should be grateful to receive” —Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

A devastatingly powerful piece. Cadre reminds us of the real price of freedom” —Mark Robins, Vancouver Present

Be sure to see this powerful and emotional performance before it closes! Here are some photos of our opening night reception. All photos were taken by our volunteer photographer, WendyD.

Omphile Molusi and Heather Redfern

Omphile Molusi and Heather Redfern

Guest enjoy drinking in the Founders' Lounge

Guests enjoy drinking in the Founders’ Lounge


Criss Henderson, Barbara Gaines, Richard Jordan, Rick Boynton, Borja Brown, Heather Redfern, Nicole McLuckie, Cindy Reid

Cadre runs until March 8 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets start from $19 and are available on our website or by calling the box office at 604-251-1363.

CADRE: A Brief Timeline of South Africa from 1652 – 1994

With the opening of Cadre tomorrow night, and to help celebrate Black History Month, we here at The Cultch wanted to show you a more in depth back story of Cadre and the history of apartheid. This is a timeline of events in South Africa originally published by Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, where Cadre made its world premiere two years ago.

The Dutch East India Company established a permanent settlement. Initially intending only to create a base camp for sailors going around the Cape for the spice trade, they gradually establish farms to grow produce and move inland. The expansion creates a labor shortage, and they begin to import slaves from West Africa, Madagascar, Malaysia and India.

Some Dutch farmers, the “Trekboers” (meaning “Wandering Farmers”), later shortened to Boers, migrate into territories inhabited by Bantu and Khoi peoples, and seize lands, which the indigenous tribes had used for cattle grazing. The Boers live isolated lives, independent of official controls, with intermittent warfare against the chiefdoms. In the 1820s, the Zulu leader Shaka gains dominance over vast areas of southeast Africa. But the Zulu nation splinters, facilitating the expansion of the Boer settlers.

In 1806, when the British conquered the Cape, the colony includes 20,000 white colonists, 25,000 slaves, 15,000 native black Africans, and 1,000 freed black slaves, with Boers and Africans in small farms and communities in the hinterlands. The British are critical of the racist practices of the white elite of Cape Town. As the colony prospers, the British guarantee the political rights of the various races, and slavery is abolished in 1838. European influence spreads east and northward. Some Boers leave the Cape Colony and coalesce in two landlocked, white-ruled republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State.

The discovery of diamonds and gold starts the “Mineral Revolution” and fuels a new economy. To meet the need for labor, the British subjugate the neighboring areas, and institute discriminatory racial practices. Africans are allowed only the most dangerous jobs, housed in fenced barracks and kept under constant surveillance. The diverging fortunes of the mine-owning British and the Boers, who are mostly farmers or urban workers, also cause competition and conflict.

The South African War, sometimes referred to as the Boer War, 1899–1902, ends with the British victory over the Boers and the annexation by the Empire of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State.

The Union of South Africa, a British dominion, is created in 1910 from the Cape and Natal colonies, the Orange Free State and South African Republic. The constitution reflects a society where wealth and power are controlled by whites. Three of the four states strip Africans of all political rights. The 1913 Native Lands Act gives Africans, who made up 80% of the population, only 7.3% of the country’s land. Africans are allowed on white land only if they are working for whites.

In 1948, the National Party, representing Afrikaner nationalists, is elected to power and institutionalized segregationist policies under the name “apartheid.” Laws include the Population Registration Act, which classified people into three racial groups: white, colored (mixed race or Asian), and native (black African), and outlaws marriages between races. The Group Areas Act creates communities for each race, with the majority of the land, including the best areas, reserved for whites. Non-whites are relocated into “reserves.” The Bantu Homelands Acts designates the lands that reserved for black Africans as independent nations, stripping millions of their South African citizenship. Blacks are required to carry passes to enter white South Africa, and are only allowed to enter to work menial jobs.

The African National Congress (ANC) is founded in 1912 in response to the oppression of blacks, institutionalized in the formation of the Union of South Africa. In the 1950s, under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, the ANC begins civil disobedience campaigns. In the 1960s, ANC’s new military wing, headed by Mandela, launches sabotage campaigns. In 1964, Mandela is sentenced to life imprisonment.

A major turning point in the struggle to end apartheid was the 1976 Soweto Uprising, triggered by a regulation that students be taught in Afrikaans. Police respond to the massive student protests with gunfire, and an estimated 600 people were killed in the ensuing riots.
In the 1980s, international boycotts of South African products and governmental pressures to end apartheid, coupled with civil disobedience and escalating violence, undermine the government and damage the economy. In an effort to maintain control, the government repeals some of the laws.

When F.W. de Klerk replaced P.W. Botha as president in 1989, he and Mandela meet and many ANC activists are freed. The following year, the ban against the ANC is lifted and, after twenty-seven years in prison, Mandela is released.
In 1991 de Klerk calls for the repeal of the apartheid laws and the drafting of a new constitution. South Africa holds its first multiracial democratic elections in 1994, bringing the ANC to power. Nelson Mandela is elected president.

–Courtesy of Chicago Shakespeare Theater


Cadre runs from February 24 – March 8 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets start from $19 and are available on our website or by calling the box office at 604-251-1363.

Motherload Opening Night Photos and Reviews

Motherload made its world premiere last week to great acclaim! This witty, clever, and touching show focuses on the challenges of mothering in the twenty-first century. Audiences and critics are laughing, crying, and sharing the joys and pains of motherhood.

Here are some of the critic and audience reviews:

“Motherload is an intimate gift” – Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“This social media generation are able to do something that the similarly themed Mom’s The Word was not able to do 15 years ago, as we not only hear the stories but we also get to see the pictures and videos that will make you either squeal with laughter or sigh in recognition” – David C Jones, Vancouver Presents

“Personal photos and videos combined with raw emotion, and unfiltered truth will leave you feeling connected … I laughed (a lot), I cried, and I saw a lot of myself as a mother reflected throughout the show” – Urbanbaby & Toddler Magazine

“Funny, incredibly moving… raw and honest” – yoyomama

“Hey! YOU! Vancouver! Go get your Mom & take her to see Motherload at The Cultch. It’s funny, smart, brave & you’ll cry like a g’damn infant” – Chelah Horsdal @Chelahorsdal

“The writing, the acting (which couldn’t have been easy!), the audiovisuals, the directing – all fantastic! Funny and moving, sad and uplifting. There’s an honesty and a rawness in the autobiographical stories that reveal so much of the complex and contradictory and painful and joyful facets of parenting!” – Jackie

Don’t miss your chance to see this brilliant and touching new production!

Here are some photos from our opening night reception on. All photos were taken by volunteer photographer, Edward Juo.


Enjoying the post-show reception


Emelia Symington Fedy chatting with some guests


Juno Rinaldi spotting the camera


Star Moms Jody-Kay Marklew & Juno Rinaldi


Star Moms Sonja Bennet & Emelia Symington Fedy

Motherload runs until February 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.

24 HOUR CONTEST: Motherload Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! Congratulations to winner Barb W!

Last week Motherload opened and received fantastic praise from audiences and critics. With Valentine’s Day this weekend, we wanted to spread the love by giving away two tickets to see the show on February 14!

All you need to do is leave a comment below with a story about your experience as a parent, or about your own parents! The good, the bad, or the messy; just like the show, no story is off limits!

This excerpt from co-creator Emelia Symington Fedy’s blog might help give you some ideas:

“My husband and I don’t spoon. We hit the sack and don’t move till morning (except for the ups and downs with the kids).”

We will pick our favourite on Friday, Febuary 13 at 11 am and the winner will receive two tickets to the performance of Motherload the following evening on Saturday, Febuary 14!

We look forward to reading your great stories!

Motherload runs until February 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.