Hello my name is… Oliver McTavish: Gallery Coordinator and Rentals Assistant

‘Hello My Name Is…’ is a new profile series on The Cultch blog.  Each post will feature a staff member, volunteer, subscriber, or community mover and shaker. Stay tuned for upcoming photos and interviews and drop us a line at ricky@thecultch.com if you have a burning question for one of our staff members or volunteers!

With only two weeks left until The Cultch’s Gallery Launch Part ( happening August 1st) we thought it would be fitting to interview Oliver McTavish-Wisden (The Cultch’s Gallery coordinator) about this year’s gallery season.

Hi! What’s your name and what do you do at The Cultch?

My name is Oliver McTavish-Wisden, and I am the Gallery Coordinator and Rentals Assistant at The Cultch

Tell us about The Cultch gallery.

The Cultch Gallery is a community focused space dedicated to providing progressive art to the residents of the East Side of Vancouver. It consists of two spaces, the cafe hallway and lobby, and exhibits 20 – 30 artists every year. Our goal is to create a strong artistic presence in the area and to engage the community with new contemporary art.

What was the selection process like?

Tough! We send out a call to artists every spring to gather as many exhibition proposals as possible, and we were blown away this year by the number of talented artists interested in exhibiting in our space. This year we received over 70 submissions, which left us feeling quite pleased with the growth of our gallery.

You mentioned that there is a theme this year in terms of the artists you’ve curated. Can you elaborate on this?

Not quite  a theme as a whole, but rather we’ve partnered artists together in exhibitions that have unifying themes, such as travel, symmetry, urban signage, the natural world, abstraction, etc. It’s really exciting to see our artists matching up so well!

What happens at a gallery opening?

A gallery opening at The Cultch is a good chance to discover new art you haven’t seen before, meet the artists behind the exhibition, and meet new people over a nice drink. The great thing about an art opening is all the dialogue that occurs around the art. If you don’t share your interpretation of the work with others, it’s quite possible you’re only seeing one side of a three dimensional object.

What is the criterion for choosing an artist? Is there some quality in the work that you’re specifically looking for that leads you to gravitate towards certain works?

The exhibitions are selected by a triumvirate of curators, so there’s no select criterion. However, I can say that we have no preferred genre or style, no specific medium. We select artists based on the skill level they possess and the projects they propose. We have a deep appreciation for those who exhibit their own style and possess unique ideas.

What can patrons expect this season in terms of the work of art?

An incredible variety. We have more artists this season than every before, and almost every single one of them is new! You can expect life size wooden figures, natural Rorschach tests, decomposing couches, huge abstract paintings, interactive design, international photography, woodcut prints, giant textiles and more.

Make sure to join us for the Gallery Launch Party on August 1st. For more information, visit: The Cultch Gallery Online. All art displayed in The Cultch gallery is available for sale and may be purchased through The Cultch. If interested, please contact us at gallery@thecultch.com.


By Jenn Graham, Head Front of House Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

Our annual Volunteer Appreciation BBQ

Christie (Volunteer Usher) and Nathalia (Volunteer Receptionist)

The end of the season brings a mix of emotions: Relief that we made it through another busy season. Sadness that it’s all over and we’ll not see our cracker-jack volunteers for a few months. But perhaps most importantly…that happy-happy-joy-joy feeling that comes from knowing it’s time for the annual Volunteer Appreciation BBQ!!

Karen Shimokura (Volunteer Usher) Jenn Graham (Head FOH Manager and Volunteer Coordinator) & Nena Pierre (Volunteer Usher and Receptionist)

This year, the sun smiled on us & the BBQ fairy graced us with a brand new grill to help celebrate the end of the season!

‘Griller-in-training’ Nicole (Director of Patron Development)

'Grill Master' Kathryn Kirkpatrick (FOH)

Once again, Choices Markets generously donated the BBQ spread and a gaggle of gifts were donated by local businesses and Cultch supporters.

Wonderful BBQ spread provided by Choices

We’d like to thank The Georgia Straight, Mogiana Coffee, Grandview Lanes, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Science World, Vancouver Aquarium, Long Live Cats & Dogs, The Reef Restaurant, the Arts Club, Bard on the Beach, Safeway on E. Broadway,  Red Bug Bijoux, Kris Boyd & Isa Szeto for their wonderful prize donations. We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers & we couldn’t show them sufficient appreciation without you!



GIANTS: Six late night comedy events at The Cultch

In anticipation of the inaugural performance of GIANTS: Six late night comedy events at The Cultch this coming Saturday, we thought we’d hand the mic over to one of the four artistic directors to this new series, Tom Hill.

Hey there,

My name is Tom Hill, and I am one of four Artistic Directors of the new, big-thinking comedy project that is coming to The Cultch as part of their 2011-2012 season.  We’re thrilled—elated even—to be bringing the best of the Vancouver comedy scene to the Vancity Culture Lab for six special events this season, the first of which is this Saturday, October 8 at 10PM. Buy your tickets now!

GIANTS ComedyGIANTS I, our debut, is going to be fantastic.  It will feature a brand new major project from Kevin Lee and Sean Devlin (ShitHarperDid.com, CTV’s The Party) and segments showcasing talent from all across Vancouver’s tremendous comedy community, including performances by members of the Sunday Service, Graham Clark, and Andrew Barber.  You can read all about the particular guests, their bios, and what you can expect from them and the rest of the show on our website, www.GIANTSComedy.com.

Even before we take the stage for our first show of the season, this project has already been exceptionally rewarding.  We brought together two of the finest video collectives, Weekend Leisure and The Shots along with over 40 actors to create the GIANTS Theme, a short video that encapsulates the collaborative spirit and hilarious exuberance that has been commonplace with this project.  It was a joy to create and we’re grateful to all our collaborators for their input on this fun-filled piece.

GIANTS ComedyFor us, this is the opportunity of a generation, and we’d love to have you there for our start. We’re thrilled to offer these hilarious, hard-working comedians a world-class facility to perform in, while at the same time exposing the amazing quality of their work to audiences that may not have seem them (that means you!).  With our debut only days away we are well on our way to announcing the line up for GIANTS II, and have some very exciting collaborators lined up for the rest of the season.

GIANTS is a big dream, and we are deeply thankful to The Cultch for believing in us and the caliber of comedy in this city.  GIANTS I, here we come!

Tom Hill

Co-Creator, Co-Artistic Director


A look at the life of a theatre technician with The Cultch’s Jordan Both

Jordan BothWhen we think about artists working in the performing arts, the first thing that comes to mind are the actors, dancers and musicians that steal the spotlight. But what about the hand that holds the spotlight? Or the eye that makes sure everything is put together just right? That job falls to the theatre technicians working tirelessly behind the scenes, who are just as integral to the success of a show as the performers. They’re the ones who help transform a performance from a piece of art into an experience. So who are these technicians and what exactly do they do?

Lucky for us, we have some pretty talented people working behind the scenes on our stages. Jordan Both, theatre technician at The Cultch is one such individual. Just like the actors, dancers and musicians working today, he caught the theatre bug early. From a young age, Jordan knew lighting and sound design were what he wanted to do.

First introduced to stagecraft at his Vancouver high school, Jordan quickly realized that he had found something he really enjoyed. When he was just 14, he jumped at the chance to work under professional technicians at The Cultch’s Youth Week Program, now known as the IGNITE! Youth Festival. According to Jordan, “it just caught my interest. I was lucky and found something I was good at and enjoyed doing.”

Jordan Both

So what does being a stage technician mean exactly? Well, as Jordan says, in a nutshell the job’s about “helping the people who come into the space to put on the best show they can .” Sometimes, performers who come in know exactly what they want. Other times, they need a bit of help putting together the finished product. And for Jordan, “those are the fun gigs” because it means flexing those creative muscles to come up with sound and lighting to best complement the performance.

But it’s not all fun and games. When asked about a typical work day, Jordan replies “I don’t know that such a thing exists!” Although he does acknowledge that there are generally three different kinds of days in the life (more…)

Cultch Intern Corner – Meet Noémie Vigier

Cultch Marketing Intern Noémie Vigier

Internships at The Cultch offer more than just skill-building opportunities, they offer the chance to be directly involved in our creative process. Contributing to everything from marketing plans to theatre strategy, interns have a hand in almost everything. We are pleased to introduce Noémie Vigier, an intern who has come all the way from France to join our marketing department. Besides packing the necessary Vancouver carry-ons (raincoat, umbrella) she has brought her quick thinking and cheery attitude. Noémie has proven to be an invaluable addition to the marketing team and a driving force behind The Cultch’s success. We caught up with her to see how she has been enjoying her time at The Cultch and how her Canadian experience has been so far.

Where is your Hometown? How long have you been in Canada?

I come from a city in the south of France called Narbonne and I study in the north of France. I have been in Vancouver for three months.

What do you at The Cultch?  What did you do at home?

I’m an intern in the marketing and communications department at The Cultch. At home, I have just finished the first year of my master’s degree in communications and marketing. In addition to my studies, I’m also involved in an arts organisation that puts on arts festivals in France.

Why did you want to intern for The Cultch? What have you learned about yourself through this experience?

Last year, it was my dream to come to Canada and I wanted to do my internship in a theatre marketing or education department. In February, I got the opportunity to come to The Cultch. By coming here, I have become aware of a different way of life. While working at The Cultch I’ve been exposed to a different organisational structure: horizontal instead of vertical. It’s a democratic work environment and has made me certain that I want to continue to work in organisations devoted to the arts.

What do you hope to do with the experience you have gained at The Cultch?

Eventually, I hope to work with the public through schools and a variety of other groups, as well as work in communications. I was inspired after seeing The Cultch’s “IGNITE! Youth Festival” as  it was completely organised and run by youth. I’ve decided for my second year of my master’s program that I would like to compare systems of art education and develop one with a group of young people.

What has been your favourite/most unique/bizarre experience so far? (more…)

Volunteer Profile: Meet Kiki Hastings

Cultch Volunteer

Cultch Volunteer Kiki Hastings

If you have attended a show at The Cultch, most likely you have been greeted by a volunteer. Handed a program? Guided to your seat? Yes, you guessed it, another volunteer! At The Cultch, our volunteers are important to us and Kiki Hastings is no exception. Kiki is a relatively new volunteer to The Cultch and has recently joined our Café and Wine Bar staff. Without the efforts of volunteers like Kiki, the show would not go on!

Full name: Kirsi ‘Kiki’ Hastings

How long have you been a volunteer at The Cultch?

Since the completion of last year’s renovation.

What motivates you to volunteer at The Cultch?

I love the energy at The Cultch. The atmosphere before a show is full of anticipation! I work all day in a shop and even though I’m in a Cultch shirt when I volunteer, it’s a welcome chance to dress up and have a night out.

What makes The Cultch unique?

It’s a big little theatre! It feels small and has a great community following. I see many of my neighbours in the audience and the programming is professional and diverse. I would travel across town to see many of the shows in the program, but it’s right down the street from me!

What is the funniest/most amazing /weird experience you’ve had while volunteering at The Cultch? (more…)

Cultch Intern Corner: Meet Daniela Núñez

Cultch marketing intern Daniela Núñez

Bustling with staff, interns, volunteers and the occasional dog, The Cultch is a busy place. Everyone is working hard to keep on top of things and our interns are right in there, collaborating on ideas and working on various projects. Usually a semester long, Cultch internships offer valuable work experience with positions ranging from marketing to videography. Many of our interns are from Vancouver, but a few lucky ones are from places a bit warmer. Take Daniela Núñez for instance. She is a marketing intern at The Cultch and has recently moved here from Mexico. Daniela has become a key player in the marketing department and we wanted to check in with her to find out her impressions of The Cultch and her experience so far living in Canada.

Where is your Hometown? How long have you been in Canada?

I’ve lived my whole life in Mexico City and it’s been one year since I arrived in Canada.

What do you do at The Cultch?  What did you do at home?

At The Cultch I’m working in the marketing department with Rebecca, Denise and Noemie. In Mexico, I worked as a radio producer at a cultural radio broadcast station for two programs. One show promoted the artistic and cultural events happening in the national and international arena and the other was created by my best friend and me; It was about mythology, literature and music. After The Cultch, I will start exploring marketing agencies in Mexico that promote social campaigns sponsored by private companies.

Why did you want to intern for The Cultch and what have you learned about yourself through this experience?

I was invited a couple of times by a friend to come and see a show at The Cultch. I felt immediately engaged by the quality of the shows, the low price and the environment.  This experience has been meaningful to me because I wanted to experience being immersed in a company that focuses on dance, theatre and music events, which are my main interests at the moment. I also realized that I would like to continue working in the cultural field in combination with social welfare development.

What do you hope to do with the experience you have gained at The Cultch?

I want to apply what I have learned when I go back home. Having worked abroad will be useful when applying for a master’s degree in cultural management or another related field.

What has been your most favorite/unique/bizarre experience so far? (more…)

Volunteer Profile: Introducing Vicki McCullough

Vicki McCullough has donated her time to The Cultch for the past 28 years!

At The Cultch, volunteers are an integral part of our well-oiled theatre machine. From ushering to distributing programs, the volunteers make it happen. We are proud to introduce one of our longest-serving volunteers, Vicki McCullough. Having graciously donated her time for the past 28 years, Vicki’s invaluable support has seen us through many a performance!

Full name: Vicki McCullough

How long have you been a volunteer at The Cultch?

I’ve lost track, but it’s about 28 years.

What motivates you to volunteer at The Cultch?

The Cultch’s diverse offerings, the high quality of shows, and the friendly environment. After all these years, I feel very at home here. My association with The Cultch goes back to the ’70s, when, as a theatre student, I attended every show the resident company, Tamahnous Theatre, produced. I’ve performed here, and I’ve co-hosted a private Christmas party here.

What makes The Cultch unique?

Its location on the East Side, its evolution from church to performance venue, its intimate feel, Len Gardiner’s incredible floral arrangements.

What is the funniest/most amazing/weird experience you’ve had while volunteering at The Cultch?


The Cultch’s Volunteer Appreciation Party: Food, Friends, Fun and Prizes!

The Cultch Volunteer Party

Photo by Denis Jockmans

Last week, our annual volunteer barbeque was held to celebrate (and reward) all those folks who have enthusiastically donated their time over the past year. Basking in the much-awaited summer sun, volunteers were treated to burgers, beers and a multitude of prizes generously donated by businesses on The Drive. After some mingling, a few theatrical games and a little bit of ice cream, we asked the volunteers to share with us some of their all-time favourite memories of working at The Cultch.

“The first year I volunteered at The Cultch was 2009 and I’m still a newbie! My favourite memory of The Cultch? The Hoedown!  It was so much fun.”         – Anna Wynveen

“I started volunteering at The Cultch in 1998, although I’d been attending three or four times a month for years. I came especially for the Masterpiece Music and Jazz. It was such an elegant way to enjoy an afternoon of great music with Turkish carpets, candelabra and the wonderful outfits Linda Lee and Gwenwore, especially those shoes!” – Betty Lou Phillips

The Cultch volunteer party

Photo by Denis Jockmans

“I have no particular favourite memory, but I do love how welcome I feel when I volunteer.” – Astarte


Volunteer Profile: Meet Mihai Ciotinga

Cultch Volunteer Mihai Ciotinga

Mihai has volunteered over 120 hours at The Cultch

A key to The Cultch’s success is the support we receive from our volunteers. Assisting us with everything from greeting and seating patrons to preparing and distributing programs, volunteers play a critical role in ensuring our season runs smoothly. Meet Mihai, one of these aforementioned volunteers. He has volunteered over 120 hours during the 2009-10 season and with his enthusiastic support continues to be an asset to The Cultch!

Full name: Mihai Ciotinga

How long have you been a volunteer at The Cultch?

I am junior volunteer at The Cultch, with only 8 years under my belt.

What motivates you to volunteer at The Cultch?

It is a great honour and a privilege to be able to serve as part of an incredible team of artists and art professionals. These days, more than ever, volunteering at The Cultch is enlightening, exciting, intriguing and rewarding.

What makes The Cultch unique?

Show me another theatre with a brand new building that’s 100 years old, with a 21st century management team fit to operate in Shakespeare’s time, that runs shows out of this world and is humbly put together around The Drive!  The Cultch has established itself on the artistic and cultural map of Canada as a bastion of civic and artistic consciousness, wit, creativity and beauty.

Most anticipated show of the 10/11 Season:


Your childhood nickname:

Jordache, after Rudy Jordache, the main character of  the American series “Rich Man, Poor Man” (played by Peter Strauss).

Photo by Denise Higginson

Your hobby: