Thank you to our Cultch audiences for a triumphant close to our 16/17 Season!

Thank you for a wonderful 16/17 season!

What an amazing year it has been! The 16/17 Season was one of The Cultch’s most successful thanks to the continued patronage of all of our amazing supporters!

With 21 theatrical shows in our three venues, as well as countless amazing rental and festival shows; 11 Gallery shows; plus three nights of great music including, The Sicilian Project, DakhaBrakha, and the inaugural East Side Live, 16/17 was a great season for us, and we are so glad that you joined us for it!

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We had many grand adventures together; here is a look back at a few of the many highlights:

We joined together to watch a version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night completely in Hindi (Piya Behrupiya).

Piya Behrupiya

Photo by Company Theatre

We saw paper fights break out between audience members and bendy contortionist performers (The Pianist)…maybe we threw a few pieces ourselves…

‘The Pianist.’ Photo by Roaming the Planet

We saw the dawn (dusk?) of a new era in US politics ushered in as we sat in the dark Historic Theatre and did a little voting of our own (Fight Night).

Cast of Fight Night

Together we raised money for Cultch Connects, bringing over 1,200 people into the theatre who might not be able to attend otherwise; including families who are struggling to make ends meet, caring for a child with a serious illness, or who are new to Canada.

Cultch Connects brought over 1,200 people to the theatre with your help!

We joined together with our friends and families to make the fourth installment of East Van’s favourite holiday tradition the biggest selling show in The Cultch’s history! (East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood) Go Panto Go!

YAY Panto! Photo by Emily Cooper

We celebrated the powerful work of creative women for an entire month during Femme February!

Femme February included Mouthpiece, NeoIndigenA, am a, and the book launch of Girl Positive

We chuckled, chortled, and cackled together as we paid tribute to the 30+ year legacy of a local restaurant with a big heart, while singing along to catchy hits like ‘Testosterone’ and ‘Let a Girl Eat’ (Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical).

Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical cast members sing ‘Testosterone’. Photo by Tina Krueger Kulic

We spent time with old and new friends as we gathered to watch some of The Cultch’s favourite performers like: Esme Massengill, Mrs. Edna Rural and everyone’s favourite flightless fairy -Schnitzel (The Daisy Theatre).

No one is immune to the cuteness of Schnitzel! Photo by Alejandro Santiago

We felt the spray of ice on our faces as we gathered on the ice of Britannia Ice Rink to see Vertical Influences.

Audience members sit on the ice during Vertical Influences. Photo by Roaming the Planet

We mourned together as we watched heartbreaking and poignant Children of God, and then we sat together in the theatre to discuss how to respond to the dark legacy of residential schools.

Children of God cast members lead a discussion after the opening night performance. Photo by Roaming the Planet

And, after so many shows and fabulous events – we joined together to share meaningful conversation over many a glass of wine!

Sharing a drink with friends in the York Theatre. Photo by Roaming the Planet

We would love to hear some of your favourite memories of the 16/17 season; what are your favourite moments? 

Don’t forget to buy your subscription for our 17/18 Season soon. Shows are already filling up, get the best seating while you can! Click here for the full lineup.

Thank you for choosing to make The Cultch and the arts a part of your life!

Box Office Summer Hours:

Monday- Saturday: 12-4pm

Sunday: Closed

Also, open 2 hour prior to all performances

Veda Hille Launches Love Waves at the York Theatre on May 28!

veda_hille_love_waves (1)Fresh from creating and performing in the homegrown hit musical Onegin, our favourite Vhine Und Szong  and East Van Panto songstress is back to celebrate the release of her new album: Love Waves.

We were lucky enough to chat with Veda about her album and upcoming concert!

Hi Veda! Many Cultch audience members were first introduced to your work and style through the clever musical mash-ups that characterize The East Van Panto. You are also well known in Vancouver for productions such as Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata and Onegin. Would you say that your work in the theatre has influenced this album?

Veda Hille: I have loved becoming part of Vancouver’s theatre scene over the last 10 years. I do think that work has influenced my personal songwriting. I have way more vocal things going on in the songs, and I often take on characters in a way that I never did before. For example, in Eurydice I sing the parts of both Orpheus and Eurydice. I also took more time with this album; in theatre you often work on a show for 3 years or more before it is ready. I decided to try that with Love Waves, and I think the album benefited from a really long slow process.

What can long-time fans of your music expect from this album? Are there any new elements that you were particularly excited to explore?
VH: I wrote these songs with producer John Collins in mind. He’s great on synths and beats and all these pop elements, and so I wrote songs that would work with that kind of treatment. I would say that the production feels like a pretty new kind of sound for me, but I think the songs at their core are still in the realm that I’ve inhabited all my life.

Can you tell us a little bit about the meaning behind the title of this album?
VH: Love Waves are a certain kind of seismic activity, discovered by the scientist Arthur Love. They ripple sideways through the ground, and are really good at knocking down buildings. I couldn’t resist that name, of course.

You have credited a number of artistic influences ranging from Bowie to Eno to The Carpenters to Eisler and Brecht. I have to ask – which artists are you currently listening to?
VH: I always love that question. It is what I ask other people all the time. I move pretty slowly on albums. Right now the ones I turn to most are Bowie’s Blackstar, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, and Sufjan Steven’s Carrie and Lowell.

Anything else you would like to share about this album or the concert at The York on May 28?
VH: I’m so excited about this show. The band is sounding great. I feel like I haven’t done a major concert in Vancouver in years; maybe that’s true. I keep doing all these other things! Which are also fun, but still. I am very keen to have the chance to be deeply and happily myself onstage with so many friends around.

Want a sneak peek of Veda’s fabulous new album?
Check out this review by Andrea Warner for CBC music
Keep up-to-date with the latest news on Veda Hille’s website
Love Waves: Veda Hille Album Release Concert
May 28, 2016 at 8PM
York Theatre
19+ Event

Century Song: Five reasons you need to see this groundbreaking show

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 Century Song, presented with the PuSh Performing Arts Festival, is one of the most unique shows of The Cultch’s 15/16 season! The multimedia show provides a thrilling look at 100 years in black  history from a women`s perspective. The piece, a “music recital” study of ephemeral aspects of the Black Canadian experience over the past century, is completely wordless. The story is a survey from servitude to sexuality; pop culture to protest. Here are five reasons you should watch this groundbreaking piece of art. For an interactive experience click here.

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  1. Black History Month:  With February being Black History Month, Century Song provides a great opportunity for  Vancouver audiences to educate themselves, from a Black woman’s perspective, about Canadian Black history. Here’s what Ross Manson, Director of Century Song, says about this dynamic, “I learned the distinction between white and black feminism in my research into the 1970s. White feminism called for equality. Black feminism called for justice. The difference is vast. In short – I learned that as a country there is much under the surface of our history that most of us aren’t aware of. And so the question formed: why does what is taught in our schools omit so much?_MG_7652
  2.  Modern Dance: Neema Bickersteth and choreographer Kate Alton (Dora Award winner and K. M. Hunter award winner) co-created a unique body of modern dance movement featured heavily in Century Song. Alton creates thought-provoking, emotionally engaging theatrical dances that are as much explorations of the mind as of the body, working with writers, directors, and vocal coaches to develop inter-disciplinary performance works that pack an intellectual and emotional punch._MG_7774C
  3. Classical Music: The performance utilizes the UBC Opera-trained and Dora Nominated Neema Bickersteth on vocalise (wordless vocals) and music by some of the past 100 years’ most adventurous composers– 1912: Sergei Rachmaninoff (Russia); 1935: Olivier Messaien (France); 1950: John Cage (USA); 1978: Georges Aperghis (Greece); 2012: Reza Jacobs (Canada); 2016: Piano, Gregory Oh (Canada) and 2016: Percussion, Computers, Composition, Music Co-Direction, Debashis Sinha (Canada)._MG_6798C2
  4.  Innovative Video: The show’s projections were made by Germany’s fettFilm known for their innovative video production. By combining video with other media the video artists Momme Hinrichs and Torge Möller primarily create multifaceted works of art which do not merely decorate the stage or coexist with it but instead blend various artistic levels.They develop and realise their ideas, from the initial stage to the final presentation, in close cooperation with directors and artists. For amazing video of the performance click here. _MG_7291 - Copy
  5. Internationally Acclaimed Theatre Company:  Century Song has been developed by the Toronto-based, international award-winning performance company, Volcano Theatre, in partnership with Crooked Figure Dances, and the Moveable Beast Collective with direction by Dora Award-winning director Ross Manson. “One of those companies that every great theatre city needs – bold, experimental, and bubbling with ideas.” – Toronto Star

Century Song is at The Cultch’s  Historic Theatre until February 6. Tickets are from $20. Get your tickets here.

Images:  Photos of Neema Bickersteth by John Lauener

Are We Cool Now? An Interview with Director Amiel Gladstone!

Are We Cool Now? An Interview with
Director Amiel Gladstone!

We are so excited to start our new season with Are We Cool Now?, a musical featuring the songs of Dan Mangan. The show is directed by the fabulous Amiel Gladstone, who was also the director of the hit Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata and both of our East Van Pantos (Jack & the Beanstalk and Cinderella). We chatted with Amiel about kicking off the new season.

Hey Amiel! Are you excited to be back at The Cultch?

AG: Of course! The Cultch is the neighbourhood theatre, and I have so many memories of being there. Amazing things happen there – there’s a great vibe and it feels homey. So many different things happen on The Cultch stages and so it feels like the perfect place to host this hybrid indie-rock musical.

Can you tell us a little bit about the show?

AG: Well, I’ve always been curious about how to get the music we listen to every day on to the stage. Dan (Mangan) and I knew each other, he had seen Craigslist Cantata and I really liked his music. It seemed like a natural fit for both of us. We looked for a narrative in Dan’s music and found themes of love, longing, nostalgia, and road trips and Are We Cool Now? was born!

What can subscribers expect from Are We Cool Now?

AG: It’s an indie-rock musical about life and love in your 20s and Dan Mangan’s music provides the backdrop. It’s songs we all recognize and Dan wrote one new song for the show which hasn’t been heard anywhere else.

Is Dan Mangan coming to Opening Night at The Cultch?

AG: Yes! And Dan hasn’t seen it yet! Anton Lipovetsky is playing guitar, and Spencer Schoening from Said The Whale is on drums.

We can’t wait! Thanks Amiel! Tickets to Are We Cool Now? (and all the shows in our 15/16 season) are on sale now!

Five things you (probably) didn’t know about L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres!

They’re back! Following the success of LODHO Performs Tom Waits in 2011 the idiosyncratic Quebec City musical collective – L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres(LODHO) – return to The Cultch to perform their newest show Cabaret Brise-Jour (playing until Sunday, April 6). Set in a high-society salon of the early 20th century, eight musicians borrow from the repertoire of Kurt Weill to sing about the best and worst of the human condition. To celebrate their return, we’ve compiled five facts you (probably) didn’t know about this critically acclaimed company and their run here at The Cultch.

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LODHO Performs Tom Waits in 2011

1. As we’ve previously mentioned, this is not L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres first time at The Cultch. The company was part of our 11/12 season with their show L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres Performs Tom Waits which received unanimous praise! LODHO’s newest show, Cabaret Brise-Jour, is much darker in tone, taking place on a set that resembles a post-apocalyptic thrift store. Check out our blog article from their first time at The Cultch here.

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Heather Redfern, Executive Director at The Cultch, in front of the York Theatre

2. This time around, L’orchestre d’homme-orchestres will perform at our newest venue – the York Theatre! Something you may not have known is that the York was once a thriving music venue. During its punk rock days the venue hosted bands such as Nirvana and Sonic Youth! The York’s rich history as a music venue will certainly add a bit of edge to Cabaret Brise-Jour as they borrow from the repertoire of Kurt Weill!

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Robert Lepage

3. In the beginning of 2014, L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres was chosen by Robert Lepage to receive the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize! They are only the eighth recipient ever to receive this prestigous award. Have a look at this video extract from their new show to see why they deserved the prize.

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Simon Drouin – L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres

4. LODHO is known for creating unique musical instruments from everyday life objects. In their new show one of their masterpieces is a giant chandelier made up of turkey basters!

Instead of putting candles and crystals on it, we put recorder flutes, with turkey basters on the end. Every time you pump the turkey baster, there’s a little bit of air going through the flute, and that’s how we play one of the songs” – Danya Ortmann, L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres

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Kurt Weill

5. Cabaret Brise-Jour is inspired by the music of Kurt Weill, the great composer who collaborated with Bertolt Brecht on the Threepenny Opera! In a Franco-German-English mix, the eight musicians-singers-actors explore the horrors of war and the lights of Broadway, both part of Kurt Weill’s tumultuous life.  Here’s a video extract from oneof Weill’s work, Tschaikowsky from Lady in the Dark (1940), words Ira Gershwin.

Cabaret Brise-Jour runs until April 6, 2014 at the York Theatre. Tickets starts at $18 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363.

Coming to a Theatre Near You… 18 Productions Live Across Two Stages! Ladies & Gentleman, Welcome to The Brand Spanking New Season at The Cultch!

By Roanne Ward

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart


Well, June-uary is here folks and with the rains falling upon us, we bid farewell to our 2011/2012 season of shows here at The Cultch and look ahead to our fast approaching sunny 2012/2013 season – and what a season it is! Performers from across Canada and the globe will grace the stages of our Historic Theatre and the Vancity Culture Lab proving once again the diverse and dynamic programming that The Cultch consistently aims to present. Contemporary performers, dancers, playwrights, directors, choreographers, musicians, and theatre collectives from Berlin to London, Montreal to Vancouver and Glasgow to Portland will bring their unique approaches to live performance to our cozy corner of Venables and Victoria.

Die Roten Punkte - Eurosmash!

Die Roten Punkte - Eurosmash!

Opening the season, we’re thrilled to bring back the utterly dysfunctional and hilarious siblings Astrid and Otto – Die Roten Punkte – Eurosmash! Fans of Spinal Tap and Flight of The Conchords say ‘HALLO!’ to your new favourite band. Also returning are the hilariously macabre Mump & Smoot with their fantastic new show as well as the festive favourite The Christmas Carol Project. Our friends from Blackbird Theatre also return with the sensually seductive Don Juan following their sellout run of Waiting for Godot.

Other highlights include award-winning actress Miriam Margolyes’ Dickens’ Women, a tour-de-force portrayal of over 23 of Dickens’ best-loved characters revealing the life and character of Dickens himself. Hot off the heels of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot Rumble Productions bring us another gem Cozy Catastrophe asking us “What would you do with what could be your final hours?”. We’re thrilled also to be presenting from Berlin, LEO, an enchanting, mind-boggling piece of physical and multimedia theatre that will leave you rubbing your eyes in disbelief. And this is just a taste! If you’re looking for full face masks (Grim & Fischer), musical cycling journeys (Spin), Reimagined Shakespeare (I, Malvolio), Glaswegian karaoke (The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart) or a Blind Date, then The Cultch has got you covered!

LEO

LEO


Check out the complete show list and video of our exciting new 2012/2013 Season, choose your shows and snag a subscription today!

Christine Fellows Writes Songs About Strong Women: Mermaids, Runaways and Nuns of Franco-Manitoba

By Amanda Ash originally published in Exclaim!

Christine Fellows at the Piano: Live Music in Vancouver, March 8 at The CultchTake a black-and-white photograph and bring it to life — that’s what Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Christine Fellows did with her fifth and most innovative release, Femmes de chez nous. The 13-track record and accompanying DVD, Reliquary/Reliquaire, were written during, and inspired by, Fellows’ six-month residency at Le Musée de Saint-Boniface. Femmes de chez nous, which translates to “our gals,” celebrates Franco-Manitoban history, delving into the lives of nuns, a mermaid, a troubled runaway and a small-town stenographer crowned beauty queen. Some characters are real, some imagined, but all are connected through their experiences. Fellows memorializes her characters, telling their stories of strength and fortitude via brilliant theatrical instrumentals. The lyrics of “Dragonfly” unsettle the soul, while the title track announces Fellows’ sympathy; she holds these women close to her, as if they’ve been placed in a locket and worn around her neck. On “Reversed Arrow,” Fellows sings: “We trip and cringe and cry/We hold our hands up to the light/We speak in languages and gestures just like yours.” Her loving voice rises above the background gang vocals and serenading violin, bringing together two languages and listeners through songs of decidedly different natures yet universally similar sentiments.

Who are the femmes de chez nous?

Christine Fellows: Femmes de Chez Nous Album Cover

Femmes de Chez Nous Album Cover

That’s why I wrote the record: to express these people, real and imagined, in song instead of writing stories about each or making up people. Femmes de chez nous is actually based on a book of the same name, published by a small house here in Manitoba. It’s this fantastic book; it’s basically a photograph, with a little caption and a brief history on all of these women from the French community here. I just took that format and borrowed some of the real women’s names and captions that went with them.

What kind of connection did you feel with these characters?
The museum [I spent a six-month residency at] used to be a convent. It was the home of these incredibly strong women. The first four nuns came by canoe from Montreal in the 1800s, so I felt the spirit of that building was very female and I wanted to locate the work right from that point — from those first four nuns. It’s funny because my last record was all about solitary characters and playing on the word “spinster”. This was a happy accident, coming upon the idea of working on the history of nuns. I’m a completely secular person. I wanted to memorialize these women before we forget.
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Calvin Johnson and The Hive Dwellers Rock The Cultch

Calvin Johnson

This fall, get ready to dance! On September 8th, Calvin Johnson and The Hive Dwellers along with Garatos Suecas will be rockin’ The Cultch for one non-stop dance party. Garatos Suecas will be bringing their nu-tropicalia, psychedelic sounds all the way from São Paolo, Brazil to celebrate the release of their debut US full length album, ESCALDANTE BANDA. Headlining the party will be former Beat Happening front man and K Records head honcho Calvin Johnson with his new project, The Hive Dwellers. Calvin and his band will be pumping out some truly danceable underground pop for some move-your-body music that will really get you going. To get the latest on Calvin’s newest project we checked in with him at K Records in Olympia, Washington for an offbeat, but rather sweet interview.

How did you start playing with the Hive Dwellers?

The Hive Dwellers began to record and perform in the summer of 2008. It was time to start rockin’, as summer is “rockin’ time”. The current line-up of Gabriel Will, Spencer Kelley and I, has been at it since the beginning of 2010. Joyous.

The Hive Dwellers had their first official release last year with a cover of Chunk’s “My Noise”. Are you working on any other releases?

We have recorded many songs and will have our first 12-inch single “Get In” out on K Records in the autumn. Excitement.

Calvin Johnson and The Hive Dwellers

What has been your most memorable show with The Hive Dwellers?

The Hive Dwellers have played all over the U.S. and some parts of Canada, though nothing too out of the ordinary (yet). My favourite show of the last year was playing at the old firehouse in Thorp, Washington. There was no fire pole, though. We made do. Before we arrive in B.C., we will play a retirement party for Gabriel Will’s step father. He was a longshoreman for 30 years. Now it is time for him to devote himself to listening to his jazz collection.

You seem to play mostly all-ages shows, any reason?

I make it a habit to only play at venues that are accessible to all audience members. There is no reason that art should not be accessible.

The Cultch has hosted many a performance with the majority of it being theatre. Have you had any theatre experience in the past? Ever been in a play?

I was once cast in a theatrical production of The Miracle Worker as the little black boy who played with Helen Keller. I wore overalls. I usually wore overalls anyway, so it was not a big leap, artistically.

Garotas Suecas

B.C. has recently started using the slogan “the best place on earth”. What did you think of  Vancouver?

B.C.may be the best place on earth, but Saskatchewan just is, naturally.

With the unrelenting rhythm of both bands, this event promises to be one heck of a party. We dare you not to dance! Tickets can be purchased online at tickets.thecultch.com, or by phone (604.251.1363) or in person one hour prior to show time.