A Q&A with Kevin McKendrick and Lindsey Angell about BUTCHER

A Q&A with Kevin McKendrick and Lindsey Angell about BUTCHER

Butcher, an edge-of-your-seat thriller from award-winning Canadian playwright, Nicolas Billon, opens March 21 at the Historic Theatre, and runs until March 31.

Early Christmas morning, on the doorsteps of a Toronto police station, Inspector Lamb discovers an unlikely bundle; a drugged and abandoned old man, who doesn’t speak any English, dressed in a strange military uniform. Atop his head a Santa hat, and around his neck a business card impaled on a butchers hook with the words, “Arrest me,” scrawled on it. Inspector Lamb begins an investigation into the identity of the stranger that will forever tie together the lives of four people: a lawyer, a translator, the stranger and the inspector.


We connected with Director, Kevin Mckendrick, and performer, Lindsey Angell, to ask them a few questions about bringing the hit show to The Cultch stage.

What excites you most about bringing Butcher to The Cultch stage?

Lindsey — Butcher has managed to get under my skin and I think it will truly draw our audiences in as well. It is deceptive and sneaky and even oddly charming at times, but be careful, you might get *hooked*…hehehe.

The Cultch has partnered with Amnesty International as a Community Partner for Butcher. Our Community Partners offer us the opportunity to spread the word about important issues at the same time as helping us spread the word about our shows. Knowing what you do about Amnesty International, do you feel that it is a good fit? Why?

Kevin — I think it’s an excellent partnership because Amnesty International wrestles with the issues in Butcher every single day. In her forward to the play Louise Arbour, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice, and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda said, “When can victims find peace when justice is elusive?” and  “Can offenders find closure if punishment is not extended to them?” Are these not huge questions for our time? Real peace and closure, it is often said, can only come from forgiveness. It falls to organizations like A.I to help us find our way through these tangled questions.

Why do you think Butcher has hit such a chord across Canada since its debut?

Lindsey — Butcher is brave. It does not choose sides or lead its audience in any way. That kind of experience in live theatre is rare and exhilarating.

In an ideal world, what would you like audiences to take away with them after seeing Butcher?

Kevin — One of my mentors, the playwright  John Murrell, impressed upon me the idea that theatre must be provocative, yet entertaining. It’s a maxim I try to apply to every play I work on. I want audiences leaving Butcher at The Cultch to feel we exceeded their expectations. I want them to be  thrilled and moved by the experience. To be glad they left the comfort of their home to take in a play. And I want them to leave the theatre arguing about the themes of justice and revenge. The best theatre serves to help us strengthen our society by spurring us to make changes.

You have put together an all-star cast of performers and creators for this production. Lindsey, what do you think Butcher offers actors that other plays may not?

Lindsey — Butcher is unlike any show I have done before. I have spoken in dialects and even other languages but never have I been given the gift of learning an invented language (playwright, Nicolas Billon, had two linquistics professors from the University of Toronto invent the language of ‘Lavinian’ specifically for this play). This story is incredibly mysterious and the characters are fighting fiercely for what they need, creating a tension I have yet to experience on stage. That’s about all I can say without spilling any spoilers.

Butcher has some very serious themes — justice, revenge, forgiveness — Have there been many discussions during rehearsals? Do you think it will stir up debate with audiences?

Lindsey — Of course! We have turned this play over and over, hashing out the ideas and the arc of the story. It is our hope that the audience will discuss the piece passionately afterwards, not only the themes but their own personal response to the ride.

Is there anything else about putting on Butcher that you would like to say a few words about?

Kevin — I have been so fortunate to have this opportunity. To work on this fine Canadian play with this outstanding team of collaborators. And it is very gratifying to us to have The Cultch recognize the importance of Nicolas Billon’s play and afford us the opportunity to share it with Vancouver audiences.

Thank you Kevin and Lindsey!

To read more about Butcher check out this great article from the Vancouver Sun, a Q&A with Peter Anderson.

Butcher runs March 20-31 at the Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Written by: Nicolas Billon

Starring: Peter Anderson, Lindsey Angell, Noel Johansen, and Daryl Shuttleworth

Director: Kevin McKendrick

Artistic Associate: Christy Webb, Set Designer: David Roberts, Costume Designer: Jenifer Darbellay, Assistant Costume Designer: Alaia Hamer, Lighting Designer: Michael Hewitt, Original Music and Sound Design: Keith Thomas, Stage Manager: Joanne P.B. Smith, Makeup Consultant: Miss Nikki Ying, Student Apprentice: Leah Read

Official Website: www.butcherplay.com 

Behind-the-scenes of Jabberwocky and No Foreigners!

Behind-the-scenes of Jabberwocky and No Foreigners!

It is an exciting week here at The Cultch – we have TWO shows opening! At the York Theatre, Jabberwocky runs Feb 6-17 (Opening Feb 7), and at the Vancity Culture Lab, we have No Foreigners playing Feb 7-17 (Opening Feb 8).

In this exciting blog post we reveal a few behind-the-scenes images for both of these amazing shows – A sneak peek just for you!


Inspired by Lewis Carrol’s famous nonsense poem, Jabberwocky explores the things that keep us awake at night. What will it take to slay our own Jabberwock? Take a look at some of the behind-the-scene images from The Old Trout Puppet Workshop:

For an exciting behind-the-scenes look at Jabberwocky, check out this great video from Vancouver Presents!

No Foreigners:

An interdisciplinary collaboration (co-presented with Theatre Conspiracy) from Hong Kong Exile and fu-GEN Theatre (Toronto), two leading Asian-Canadian performing arts companies, No Foreigners takes a unique look at Chinese malls, through live performance, micro-to macro video, text, miniatures, and media design in this exciting world premiere. Check out these images from their time creating at Carleton University:

Jabberwocky runs at the York Theatre Feb 6-17. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

No Foreigners runs at the Vancity Culture Lab Feb 7-17. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.


Meet the Honeys!

Meet the Honeys!

Hot Brown Honey opens at the York Theatre January 10. This fierce patriarch-smashing show has been shaking things up on its #WorldPollinationTour, and the buzz is palpable. We couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to the amazing women that will be taking over the York stage for most of January (Jan 9-27).

It’s time to get sticky!

Lisa Fa’alafi by Dylan Evans

(Creator | Writer | Director | Choreographer | Designer)
Definition: Innovator of an event, idea, or procedure that significantly alters in the
current way of doing or thinking. Shake’Em Up Woman. Defies the
Norm. Shifts the Paradigm. Rocks The Boat.

In The Words Of Dr Angela Davis:
‘You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world.
And you have to do it all the time.’

Ofa Fotu by Dylan Evans

Definition: Defeats a fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an
ideology. She slays. Staff Holder. Soothsayer. Smashes Stereotypes.

In The Words Of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that
they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.
They make one story become the only story.”

Hope Haami by Dylan Evans

HOPE HAAMI aka HOPE ONE (Beatboxer)
Definition: Advocates a joyful of mindset of positive outcomes for the world at
large via rhythmic beats made with the mouth. Music Maker.
Collaborator. Decolonise and Moisturise.

In The Words Of Maryann Talia Pau:
“We ARE light. We ARE love. And love, is everything.”

Crystal Stacey by Dylan Evans

Definition: She who brings about a sense of unity through truth. Poet. Mover.
Embodies the change she wants to see. Future Sculptor. Radical
Fierce Love.

In The Words Of Audre Lorde:
“We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”

Elena Wangurra

Definition: Originator or pioneer that leads to/makes possible further growth. Risk
Taker. The Fierce Awakens. Makes Noise.

In The Words Of Dr Lilla Watson:
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because
your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Busty Beatz by Dylan Evans

Creator | Writer | Musical Director | Composer | Sound Designer
Definition: So Boss. Vessel for The Word of The Mother. Divine Feminine Power.
Hip Hop Wrath. Filled with joyous rage. Protector of the Hive.
Nurturer. See Matriarchy. Fights The Power.

In The Words Of Busty Beatz:
“Fighting The Power Never Tasted So Sweet.”


The Mother- The Hive- By Dylan Evans

Want a taste of the show? Meet the Honeys up close and personal in this live facebook interview with Vancouver Presents:

Live in the hive with the company of Hot Brown Honey

Hot Brown Honey runs at the York Theatre Jan 9-27. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Hot Brown Honey is heating up Manchester!

Hot Brown Honey is heating up Manchester!

We are getting so excited! Hot Brown Honey has begun their #WorldPollinationTour, and Vancouver is on the flight path! From Jan 9-27, these fierce females will be taking over the York Theatre with their fun, fabulous, and patriarch-smashing hit!

As we speak Hot Brown Honey is heating up Manchester. The reviews are buzzing in and they are GREAT! Take a look:

— Make Noise! —

Hair Image By Dylan Evans

★★★★★ “Unlike anything you will have seen before… Smoking hot. If fighting the power is this much fun, we should all get on board and rock the boat a little bit.” – Frankly My Dear

★★★★★ “Busty Beatz [and] Lisa Fa’alafi have created a truly ground-breaking production unlike anything you’ve ever seen before – but will definitely want to see again… An empowering must-see performance full of laughter, joy and truth that is entirely faultless.” – Upstaged Manchester

★★★★★“The Honeys force us on this side of the world to think about the impact of our colonial past that is still having an impact today, centuries after the first colonialists spread their poison across the Pacific region.” – North West End

★★★★★ “A triumph of a show… Fast-paced, sexy, hilarious, and the all-female cast are a seriously talented and fierce bunch… But it’s more than just good entertainment value, behind the glitz of the huge golden beehive and the sassy dance routines there’s an important message which seeks to confront and challenge our perceptions of racial stereotypes and sexism.” – Northern Soul

★★★★ “A brave, and thought-provoking show… If you fancy something a little different this festive season: a show with plenty of attitude and sass then Hot Brown Honey is the show for you.” – The Reviews Hub

“Fearless, resolute and downright entertaining… The women of Hot Brown Honey simultaneously raise the roof and your consciousness.” – Circles & Stalls

“The[se] luscious ladies leave the audience on their feet shaking their booties to some sweet tunes… It creates such a party atmosphere… A celebration… The exact type of excitement and energy that could begin a revolution.” – Culturebean

Hot Brown Honey is not trying to encourage or give space for reflection and debate, but rather to utterly subvert the patriarchal world view and to urge action. Subtlety is not the path to revolution.” – Unrestricted Views

“A flamboyant evening of cabaret entertainment… Fighting the power never tasted so sweet… Just brilliant, a complete blast from start to finish.” – The Greater Manchester Reviewer

Hot Brown Honey runs at the York Theatre Jan 9-27. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Little Dickens — An (adults-only!) holiday hit!

Little Dickens —  An (adult!) holiday hit!

Vancouver, don’t miss this one — Ronnie Burkett has created a show just for us! Little Dickens: the Daisy Theatre opened to a packed out house Dec 5. If you have been dreaming of a Christmas show without an audience full of kiddos, then this is the show for you! Here is one of the characters prepping back stage for her opening striptease number!!!

As usual Ronnie Burkett’s is wowing the crowds! On opening night he had everyone in stitches and singing along to holiday songs!

The Georgia Straight posted a great review 

We thought you may want to see some of the buzz surrounding this amazing Cutlch exclusive.

Check out the new curtain!

Little Dickens:The Daisy Theatre runs from Dec 5 – 22 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets are from $22 and can be found here.

Vancouver is excited for East Van Panto: Snow White & the Seven Dwarves!

Vancouver is excited for East Van Panto: Snow White & the Seven Dwarves!

Ming Hudson plays Snow White in East Van Panto: Snow White & the Seven Dwarves. Photo by Tim Matheson

It’s almost here! Theatre Replacement’s East Van Panto: Snow White & the Seven Dwarves opens Friday, December 1 in the York Theatre! We can hardly wait!

Vancouver is buzzing with Panto fever! Check out some of the amazing press coverage to answer all of your Panto questions:

  • Have you ever wanted to know how Theatre Replacement decided to start doing the East Van Panto? 

“The whole thing came from wanting to make something our kids would want to watch,” say James Long. You can read more about it in his interview with Artslandia. 

  • Have you ever wondered how they come up with the quirky music?

In this Georgia Straight Interview, Veda Hille say, “It has to be a song everybody knows and loves; it has to fit in the right place in the arc of the piece; it has to have a good pun in the main title or chorus of the song that suits the script.”

Allan Zinyk plays the Queen in East Van Panto: Snow White & the Seven Dwarves. Photo by Tim Matheson

  • Have you ever wondered why it is so gosh darned hilarious to make fun of East Van?

“What is theatre but a mirror – a magic mirror on the wall, if you will…We go to the theatre to learn about ourselves and laugh at ourselves. When you have a place as unique and as interesting as East Vancouver, or Vancouver proper, there’s so much material there to draw upon.” Says Ming Hudson, in this Westender article. Hudson plays Snow White in this latest installment of East Van Panto: Snow White & the Seven Dwarves

“Snow White gets Panto treatment” – The Province

  • Have you ever wanted to know how they keep coming up with such great shows?

Writer, Mark Chavez, says, “…Anita and I are surrounded by very a very smart, creative group of people who all want to make this show as funny and ridiculous and beautiful as it can be.

You may have seen this article in either the The Vancouver Sun or The Province!

  • Or, have you ever wondered what the writer of the Panto’s dream job was as a child?

I think you might be surprised! Read all about it in this Vancouver Presents piece:

20 questions with Mark Chavez

Doesn’t that just wet your appetite for Panto fun!?


East Van Panto; Snow White & the Seven Dwarves runs from Nov 29 – Jan 6 at the York Theatre. Tickets are from $22 and can be found here.

A message from the creators of Hot Brown Honey:

A message from the creators of Hot Brown Honey:


The Arts have the capacity to shift culture.
We live in a culture that needs change urgently.
Not tomorrow. Right Here. Right Now. We stand in the Creative Revolution.

At the forefront we give Love and Respect to the First Nations People of this land.
We give Love and Respect to those who have come before us.

To the Game Changers
Myth Slayers
Poets, Movers
Music Makers
Ground Breakers
Truth Sayers
Shake em up Women
Queens, Queers and Risk Takers
We are the Change Creators.


We are the Latest Models of our Ancestry.
Our Stories. Our Voices. Our Bodies.
We will not apologise for who we are.

Photo credit: Dylan Evans

Hot Brown Honey give our Love and Respect to the Ancestral, Traditional and Sovereign Aboriginal territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, and in particular, the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh Nations on whose territory we perform.

In an act of Radical Fierce Love, we at Hot Brown Honey lay it on the table. We invite you into our world where we stand centre stage shining brightly for all to see. Too often we are portrayed as the savage, the maid, the victim, the perpetrator, but tonight we defy these labels. We ask you to celebrate with us.
Celebrate all that we are.

Our Truth. Our Courage. Our Complexities. Our Resilience. Join us as we take back our stories and explode the stereotypes that follow us. Together let us laugh at them, dismantle them and re-write them with open arms and middle finger raised.

We welcome you into a world where for a moment, where the paradigm shifts, where we strut as the Latest Models of Our Ancestry, where people cheer and dance, where hearts become open even when confronting truths that are painful.

Even when the lives reflected back may not be a shared experience. You might say well it’s just a 75min show. Maybe it is. Or maybe it’s a moment in time that can be harnessed to create ripples of change.
Some say art has the capacity to make change in the world, to shift culture, so for us this is our call – to dance, to shout, to laugh, to cry, to rise up and transform current conversations.

It will get sticky but we promise, it is totally worth it.

Welcome to the Hive. Welcome to Hot Brown Honey. We are here.


Hot Brown Honey runs at the York Theatre Jan 9-27. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Q&A with Governor General award-winning playwright, Colleen Murphy!

Q&A with Governor General award-winning playwright, Colleen Murphy!

Photo by Heidi Hamilton

How did the idea to adapt a Shakespearean text incorporating Bouffon come about?

When Stephen [Drover] asked me to write an adaptation of Titus Andronicus I wondered how to connect with a play I felt was emotionally vacant but intriguing.  “What makes people so angry they kill children?  What is under such rage? Terrible hurt probably, and terrible grief.”

While adapting the play I was the Lee Playwright in Residence at the University of Alberta, working in the same department as Professor Michael Kennard, aka Mump from the incredible duo Mump & Smoot.  Michael teaches clown there and I was inspired by the rigor and the fearlessness he used in his hilarious student presentations.  I felt that given the blood-bath of the 21st century, Bouffon were more suitable to my adaptation because they bring a primal urgency to a story that both begs to be taken seriously and begs not to be taken seriously.

Can you tell us a little bit about the effect that the Bouffon style has on the piece?

The Bouffon style opens up both the emotional and the farcical aspects that are already in Shakespeare’s play.  He must have enjoyed writing it, and there are some beautiful passages, as fine as any he wrote.  The murders and the outrage might even be funny…and the funny is sometimes sad.  The world of revenge is an over-the-top world driven by sad, angry people.

What is something about the show that audiences may be surprised to learn?

Perhaps members of the audience might be surprised to discover that nothing is sacred, that everything is human, including the worse things people do to each other.

Can you describe the show in 3 words?

Fun Meets Death.

What most excites you about bringing this piece to the stage?

Marrying Shakespeare with Bouffon offers another perspective on Titus Andronicus in the 21st century.

Peter Anderson in “The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius”. Photo by Stephen Drover

The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius runs from Nov 22 – Dec 3 at the Cultch’s Historic Theatre. Tickets are from $22 and can be found here.

Everything you never knew about Titus Bouffonius!

Photo of Peter Anderson by Tim Matheson

We’re getting excited about the world premiere of The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius, by Rumble Theatre opening on Nov 23.

This production is a brand-new play from Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Colleen Murphy and it’s a grotesque “bouffon” re-telling of Shakespeare’s most gruesome tragedy, Titus Andronicus.

Now, if you’re familiar with the original play, it won’t surprise you to learn that this version is also full of murder and other dastardly deeds.

Here’s a brief (tongue-in-cheek) synopsis of the play:

Pretty much sums it up!

About her play, Colleen Murphy says, “In the cack-up of the 21st century, clowns are more suitable to my adaptation of Titus Andronicus because they bring a primal urgency to a story that both begs to be taken seriously and begs not to be taken seriously. A bunch of poverty stricken clowns from the gutters acting out their grief and rage at the world; mocking everyone else at the same time”.

“Bouffon”  is a modern French theatre term that was re-coined in the early 1960s by Jacques Lecoq at his L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris to describe a specific style of performance work that has a main focus in the art of mockery.

“The difference between the clown and the bouffon is that while the clown is alone, the bouffon is part of a gang; while we make fun of the clown, the bouffon makes fun of us. At the heart of the bouffon is mockery pushed to the point of parody. The parody isn’t directly offensive with regard to the public; there is no deliberate intention to mock. Bouffons come from elsewhere.”- Jacques LeCoq

We can’t wait to see what Rumble is cooking up. It’s sure to be a provocative and boundary-pushing night at the theatre!

The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius runs from Nov 22 – Dec 3 at the Cultch’s Historic Theatre. Tickets are from $22 and can be found here.

FLASHBACK: It has been an exciting month at The Cultch!

FLASHBACK: It has been an exciting month at The Cultch!

October flew by! The start to our 17/18 season was a huge success and a real blast! We opened four shows: The Goblin Market, 1 Hour Photo, Encounter, and HONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan. Thank you so much to all of you who attended one (or several) of these amazing shows! We are feeling nostalgic already, so here is a little flashback!

Here are some shots from a few of our opening nights:

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THE GOBLIN MARKET was the very first show of our season, and a big hit with our audiences!

“Breathtakingly beautiful. Heart-stoppingly romantic. Stirringly erotic” — Jo Ledingham, joledingham.ca

The Goblin Market dazzles”- Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

1 HOUR PHOTO was a beautiful tribute to the life Mas Yamamoto

The world will soon know this man story. #1hourphoto @vact @thecultch

A post shared by Tetsuro Shigematsu (@bigshiggy) on

“Wrestling with questions of life and death, 1 Hour Photo is most heartfelt in its exploration of Yamamoto’s life. Ultimately, we are all a little better off for his willingness to share it through Shigematsu” — Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

1 Hour Photo animates an extraordinary life with vivid props and projections…the play is a buffet of sensory textures” — Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

ENCOUNTER was an amazing way to kick off Diwali in BC; a tribute to indigenous peoples history around the world.

“It is no wonder they have gained their reputation as the best physical theatre out of India—the clarity of the physical storytelling from this accomplished company is absolutely expert” — Elizabeth Holliday, SAD MAG

“The show is affecting” — Lincoln Kaye, Vancouver Observer

HONOUR: CONFESSIONS OF A MUMBAI COURTESAN, also a part of Diwali in BC, is a one woman show raising money and awareness for women and children trapped in cycles of sex trafficking.

“I don’t often stay for the talkback sessions after a show but this one was fascinating and added immeasurably to the tremendous pleasure I got from the performance…Dipti Mehta is, as well as a scientist and a social activist, a very fine storyteller” — Jo Ledingham, joledingham.ca

Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan, is ambitious, smart, and a masterclass in character work” — Andrea Warner, The Georgia Straight


There are more than 18 shows remaining in our 17/18 season — Don’t miss them!