Rentals Roundup: Heathers: The Musical and Blackbird’s The Rivals excelling at The Cultch and York


It has been a busy month at The Cultch with Blackbird Theatre’s presentation of The Rivals and …Gently with a Chainsaw Artists Collective’s Heathers: The Musical at the York. Both of these shows are playing to wildly appreciative audiences and we love having these high-calibre rentals buzzing in our buildings!

What people are saying:

“Just got home from opening night…You guys were amazing!! This is my all-time favorite 80’s movie and you were on point!
Thank you so much for your hard work and allllll the laughs! Well done!” – Melissa McPherson, Audience Member

“Whether you’re a fan of the movie or not, you will still enjoy this energetic show with it’s strong-voiced cast” – Cassady Ranfordt, – Vancity Buzz


Emma Slipp: photo by Tim Matheson

“This is an excellent production. On the night we went most of the audience were in fits of laughter throughout the play, and I seriously thought the lady in front of me would fall out of her seat, she was laughing so hard. So if you enjoy light hearted comedies, don’t miss this professional production of one of Richard Sheridan’s masterpiece comedy of manners” –  Gillian Lockitch, – Review From The House

“Love, money, language: The Rivals may be over 200 years old, but its concerns are still relevant—and very entertaining” – Kathleen Oliver – The Georgia Straight

Have a show or event and need a venue? If you have that eureka moment or if your company needs an outstanding venue, look no further than The Cultch and York Theatre. Get more info online at


Opening Night Photos of Blackbird Theatre’s All That Fall!

The Canadian premiere of Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall opened last week at the Historic Theatre! The entertaining, existential masterpiece has captivated audiences and critics alike, who are asking for more.

This is what some of the critics are saying:
“A masterpiece…might contain the funniest existential despair you’ll ever experience”
Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“A perfect, polished jewel of a play…I wished it would never end” – Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier

“For lovers of language though this is another exquisite theatrical treat from Blackbird Theatre…lean back and be engulfed in the lavishness of its interchange” – David C. Jones, Vancouver Presents

“Beautifully crafted performances” – Jerry Wasserman, Vancouverplays

“The play’s dark humour and Mrs. Rooney’s bleak outlook is what makes this classic both entertaining and profound” – Tessa Perkins, The Peak

Make sure you get your tickets to see this funny and intoxicating production before it’s too late!

Here are some photos from our opening night on December 30. All photos were taken by one of our fantastic volunteer photographers, Wendy D.

The audience eagerly awaits the start of the performance!

The audience eagerly awaits the start of the performance!


A patron speaking with Graham and Paddy Macleod (Blackbird Theatre General Manager)


Some of our guests enjoying the reception


Jenn McGinn in a discussion about the show


Two patrons being entertained by Paddy Macleod (Blackbird Theatre General Manager)


A couple of guests enjoying the reception


Sandra Wright, Jenn Graham (Head FOH Manager at the Cultch), John Wright (Blackbird Theatre Artistic Director) and Graham Macleod


All That Fall runs until January 24 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets start from $19 and are available on our website or by calling the box office at 604-251-1363.

Uncle Vanya From All Sides

Just when you thought The Cultch’s Historic Theatre couldn’t get any more intimate, it does.

While every performance is a new and exciting adventure, Blackbird Theatre’s upcoming production Uncle Vanya invites the audience to take a step closer to the action with an up-close-and-personal staging of Chekhov’s famous play – performed in the round.

“In the round” refers to a show at which the audience sits on all four sides of the actors, musicians, or dancers on stage. It’s not a new concept, but it’s not typically very common to see a production this way, even for regular theatre-goers.

This production will mark the first time The Cultch’s Historic Theatre – a traditional proscenium stage – has ever been reconfigured to adapt to this rarely-seen style of performance.


Audience members will be close enough to the actors to have an unusually intimate view, thanks to two rows of seating added on the wings and three rows against the theatre’s back wall. The performers will then take up the centre of the space, as seen in these Uncle Vanya production sketches:




For the actors, performing in-the-round requires a heightened sense of awareness and stage presence. They must make constant adjustments to ensure each member of the audience has an exciting view of the action, regardless of where they’re seated.

For the audience, it means their fellow theatre-goers constitute a part of the set and backdrop- creating a very palpable sense of a shared, communal experience.

This Uncle Vanya mock-up of the stage demonstrates how even the sets need to be intricately arranged to incorporate an audience from all sides.


Don’t miss this chance to see Uncle Vanya, an incredible production in its own right, made even more so by this rare and exceptional in-the-round staging.

Blackbird Theatre’s Uncle Vanya runs at The Cultch from Dec. 23 to Jan. 18 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets are from $18 and can be purchased at

Staging Chekhov: Inside the Playwright’s Work & World

On Monday, December 9, three trailblazers in the Vancouver theatre community are doing the unthinkable: They’re spilling their secrets – the vexing challenges and vivid “ah ha!” moments behind staging the works of one of history’s most beloved and celebrated playwrights, Anton Chekhov.a_3

Staging Chekhov is an extra special event; it’s a behind-the-process panel discussion at the Vancouver Public Library, Central Library, moderated by Vancouver theatre heavyweight Jerry Wasserman. Presenters include Blackbird Theatre, Artistic Director John Wright, Kathleen Duborg of Theatre at UBC , and Richard Newman, actor with The Only Child Collective.
All panel members will dive into the inner mechanics of what it really takes to stage a Chekhov play.

For John, this panel discussion comes in lead-up to Uncle Vanya opening at The Cultch on December 23. As the director, John knows about bringing Chekhov’s work to life in the theatre – he’s working through this process right now! Uncle Vanya tells the story of Vanya, a man whose monotonous country estate existence is thrust into chaos when his finicky, aging brother-in-law returns with a new young wife – the beautiful and irresistible Yelena.

Photo taken by Tim Matheson of  Anthony F. Ingram & Robert Moloney.

Photo taken by Tim Matheson of Anthony F. Ingram & Robert Moloney.

Over at Theatre at UBC, Kathleen is in preparation for another Chekhov play– The Seagul  – which she will be directing. This darkly comic tale of unrequited love is set to open on January 23, 2014.

Richard, a celebrated Vancouver actor, has great experience with classical theatre. In addition to roles in Twelfth Night and Hamlet at Bard on the Beach this past summer, Richard played the old and often drunk doctor in Chekhov’s Three Sisters from The Only Child Collective, which ran at The Cultch’s Vancity Culture Lab in April 2013.

Photo of Three Sisters taken by Emily Cooper of Luc Roderique, Rachel Aberle, Richard Newman and Brahm Taylor

Photo of Three Sisters taken by Emily Cooper of Luc Roderique, Rachel Aberle, Richard Newman and Brahm Taylor

The insight that these three bring to the table can only come from the practical experience of bringing Chekhov’s works to life in front of an audience.

Of the hundreds and thousands of plays that have been written and produced throughout the years, there are only a handful that have really stood the test of time. Chekhov has not one, but four plays that are considered among the classics. These plays are still relevant and hugely popular today and have outlived their first cast, their first audience, and even the playwright himself!

But Chekhov’s influence extends well beyond his own writing. Even after his early death at age 44, Chekhov’s works went on to inspire other writers throughout history: George Bernard Shaw, Tennessee Williams, and Ernest Hemmingway – just to name a few.

With such an incredible legacy, how then does an actor or director rise to the challenge of mounting a production that has been staged and re staged countless times throughout a hundred-year lifespan? How do they breathe fresh life into stories that are so widely known?

Luckily, we have experienced members of the Vancouver theatre community to spill these secrets!

Staging Chekhov takes place in the Alma VanDusen and Peter Kaye Rooms at the Vancouver Public Library, Central Library on December 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Blackbird Theatre’s Uncle Vanya runs at The Cultch from Dec. 23 to Jan. 18 inside the Historic Theatre. Tickets can be purchased from $30 and can be purchased at