Staff Picks – TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival Edition!

The Cultch staff are excited for TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival!

It is that time of year again! Time for you to hear from a few of our staff about some of the shows they are excited for in our 19/20 Season. This year we are featuring shows from our inaugural TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival!

Louise Chapman, Development Manager

Louise Chapman cannot wait for Steph Tisdell!

FESTIVAL PICK: Steph Tisdell: Identity Steft (Oct 5 and 6, 4 pm, Historic Theatre)

I am a huge stand-up comedy fan, and I’m really excited about Steph Tisdell’s show Identity Steft. She recently took the Edinburgh Fringe by storm, and has been named the rising star of Australian comedy.

It really makes my heart sing to see artists from diverse backgrounds using laughter to stand up to white supremacy and the patriarchy. That takes incredible courage and awe-inspiring skill.  I can’t wait!

Paul Phalen, Business Development & Hospitality Manager.

FESTIVAL PICKS: The Women of Comedy (Oct 4 and 5, 7:30PM, York Theatre), Family Drag Brunch and Dress up (Oct 6, 11AM, Vancity Culture Lab).

There is so much to see in the festival, but these two shows, I will not miss!

I can’t wait to see The Women of Comedy! These amazing funny women are the best in the country, and it also features the smart and funny Steph Tisdall of Australia.

Martha Chavez, the “Grand Dame” of Canadian comedy, who is featured on CBC`s Debaters and Because News, is hilarious and makes me howl with laughter. Nour Hadidi‘s dry sense of humour makes me wish I was her best friend, so I could laugh with her everyday!

Local comedy writer and performer Erica Sigurdson, has become a favourite on CBC`s the Debaters and will have us all laughing all the way to the bathroom!

Peach Cobblah & Isolde N. Barron are hosting Family Drag Brunch and Dress Up!

Our Sunday morning Family Drag Brunch and Dress up, is a chance for parents and kids to have dress-up fun together, and learn that there is nothing too silly or fun when it comes to drag.

Parents and kids will have lessons in fashion, make up and presentation, and be a part of a family drag runway show judged by kids. Enjoy a great breakfast and have fun with the whole family!

This show is so exciting to me because every child is an individual, and allowing them to express themselves in their own way opens the doors to so many amazing adventures in learning, for both the child and the parent.

Lisa Mennell, Communications Associate.

Lisa Mennell is excited to hear great music!

FESTIVAL PICKS: Leela Gilday Featuring Sandy Scofield and M’Girl (Oct 10, 7:30PM, York Theatre), Silla and Rise Featuring JB the First Lady (Oct Oct 10, 9:15PM).

It goes without saying that I am very excited about the entire festival, but two shows that I am particularly stoked for are Silla and Rise Featuring JB the First Lady, and Leela Gilday Featuring Sandy Scofield and M’Girl.

We don’t often present music as part of our season, and though theatre is usually my art of choice, I am really excited to hear some incredible music on our stages.

Leela Gilday is a Dene artists from NWT, and she has recently release a new album, North Star Calling, which she says is about “facing your fears, standing in the pain, and living with courage, boldness and joy.” I have been listening to it, and it is incredible! PLUS – she is performing Sandy Scofield and M’Girl – whose performance at Main St. Car Free Day was one of the highlights of my summer!

I have always been so in love with throat singing, and Silla and Rise combine throat singing with dance floor beats. From what I have seen, they are incredible live performers, and their music is so amazing, that I just know their show with JB the First Lady is going to be sooo fun!

PLUS – Silla and Rise are releasing their new album, Galactic Gala, on Oct 5, five days before they hit our Historic stage. Talk about timing!


TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival will be nine days of performance of all types in all three Cultch stages (Historic Theatre, York Theatre, Vancity Culture Lab). For full festival details check out www.transformcabaret.com

Introducing the Comedians of TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival!

Comedians poised to take over the York stage – with laughter!

We are so excited to launch our 2019/20 season with a brand new festival to enliven all of our venues every fall. This inaugural year of TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival will bring together over 50 Indigenous and non-indigenous performers—comedians, musicians, burlesque performers, drag artists, and more.

On Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5, some of the funniest comedians we know are taking over the York in a side-splitting night of comedy – BONUS – they are all kick-ass women!

Hosts of The Women in Comedy, Katey Hoffman and Cheyenne Rouleau

Hosted by Cheyenne Rouleau and Katey Hoffman (familiar to Cultch audiences from sold-out Cultchivating the Fringe hit, The After After Party), and featuring Canadian Comedy Award winner Martha Chaves, Australia’s rising Indigenous comedy star Steph Tisdell, Toronto-based comedian Nour Hadidi, and beloved local comedian Erica Sigurdson, we just know The Women of Comedy will be filled with fun and fierce belly-aching laughter.

Need a good laugh before the festival starts? We have your hook up here!

MARTHA CHAVES

Martha Chaves is a busy comic! She is a Nicaraguan-Canadian, fluent in FOUR languages (English, Spanish, French, and Italian), and does stand-up in all four! Chaves came out publicly in 2009, and has since been very outspoken in her comedy around the realities facing LGBTQ+ people of colour. Her infectious candid style, her captivating stage presence, and her gift to relate to a wide range of audiences grant her numerous presentations at comedy festivals around the world. www.marthachaves.com

PLUS – Martha Chaves is also performing in both Opening Night Bash performances!

NOUR HADIDI

Nour Hadidi is a Toronto-based standup comic and writer, born and raised in Jordan. She has appeared at Just For Laughs, Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Kevin Hart’s LOL Network, and CBC’s The Debaters. Last year she filmed a half hour comedy special for Comedy Central in the Middle East. Nour has written for CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and Comedy Network’s The Beaverton.  www.nourhadidi.com

PLUS – Nour Hadidi is also part of the two Opening Night Bash performances!

STEPH TISDELL

Steph Tisdell is steadily becoming one of the biggest names in the Australian Comedy Scene and has been collecting awards, rave reviews, and critical acclaim while selling out runs at the Sydney Comedy Festival and Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Steph is a proud Indigenous woman and is making a fast rise as one of Australia’s funniest Indigenous comedians, putting her in a unique position to encourage other Indigenous artists to come forward and showcase why they’re the funniest race in the world. www.stephtisdell.com

PLUS – In addition to being a part of The Women in Comedy show, Steph Tisdell is also presenting her show Steph Tisdell: Identity Sheft, is going to be a part of the Opening Night Bash performances, AND is offering a workshop on Oct 3 (3 pm) for people to learn how to use comedy as a coping mechanism and a diplomacy tool. 

ERICA SIGURDSON

Local Vancouver comedy gem, Erica Sigurdson is best known for her rapier wit on CBC Radio’s smash hit The Debaters, as well as her numerous television appearances on both CBC and CTV. She is one of Canada’s most beloved comedians, but also beloved around the world, having performed in Iceland, Singapore, Thailand, England, The Philippines, Afghanistan.

As a story-editor Erica has written for CBC’s Mr. D and CTV’s Corner Gas Animated as well as numerous pilots. Erica won a Leo Award for co-writing the 21st Annual Gemini Awards. www.ericasigurdson.com


TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival runs in all three Cultch venues, Oct 2-12, 2019. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Karaoke favourites from the Cultch staff!

In preparations for Feminist Karaoke, Cultch staff dish about their karaoke favourites!

Julia Croft wants you to sing along!

Power Ballad, from New Zealand’s Julia Croft and Nisha Madhan (Jan 22-26), is part performance piece, part feminist rant, AND part karaoke party! On Friday, Jan 25, the party will continue after the show, when Julia invites Cultch patrons to join her for Feminist Karaoke — a completely free Femme Series event!

The buzz in the Cultch office is palpable—we are a karaoke loving bunch! Here are a few karaoke favourites—and a couple karaoke memories—from some of the staff, to help you get in the mood for Jan 25.

Chelsea Isenor, Marketing Manager

Favourite Karaoke Song: Total Eclipse of the Heart. I don’t really have the vocal chops to sing it well, but it is so fun to belt out. It’s even better if you have a duet partner, but I have been know to sing both parts!

Kelly Barker, Artistic Associate

Karaoke Memory: I sang “I Love Rock and Roll”, by Joan Jett, at my sister-in-law’s wedding, and it was so terrible that the host of the wedding (it was at a small inn in the Okanagan) told me, the next morning, that it was, “the worst thing he’d ever heard”. My mother-in-law apparently has it on video—and I’ve refused to watch it.

Louise Chapman, Development Associate

Karaoke Memory: It’s not a particularly interesting story, but it’s my only personal karaoke experience!

I do not have a good singing voice, so I have only done karaoke once in my life! I was 19 and travelling in Japan with my friend Mariesha. We went along to a karaoke place and got a little room with some people from out hostel. I drank a lot of plum wine (delicious!) and sang Umbrella by Rihanna. A good memory.

Another time, I was staying in a village on a tiny island in the Philippines, where the local fishermen would gather at night to drink rum and sing karaoke. Their singing filled the tropical night air.

Leslie Dos Remedios, Sales Associate

Favourite Karaoke Song: I actually have a running list of karaoke songs on my phone – like when I’m in a store and hear a song I love, I put it in my phone just so I’m not at a loss in those times I’m flipping through a karaoke binder, not at my full capacity and about to make a questionable adult decision.

Some of my faves to sing are:

I Love Rock and Roll by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
Wannabe by The Spice Girls
Since You’ve Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson

Very eclectic, I know, but such good guilty pleasures!

We wanna know your karaoke favourites—come sing with us!! Feminist Karaoke with Julia Croft is a FREE Femme Series event on January 25, 2019, at 9PM.


Power Ballad runs until Jan 26 at the Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or call The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

The Femme Series is generously supported by the Charlotte and Sonya Wall Arts Fund.

A chat with Gravity & Other Myths acrobat, Lachlan Binns

A chat with Gravity & Other Myths acrobat, Lachlan Binns!

Gravity & Other Myths member, Lachlan Binns. Photo by Darcy Grant

Backbone opens October 30, 2018 at the Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton Street), and we are beyond thrilled to have Gravity &Other Myths back in the city once again! We caught up with Lachlan Binns, one of the key members of the award-winning, world-renowned Australian acrobat company, for a quick chat.

We are so excited to have Gravity & Other Myths back in Vancouver. What are you looking forward to doing while you are here in the city?

Last time we were here we had a lot of great opportunities to explore the city. We rode bikes around the city, explored nearby national parks and saw an ice hockey game. It was a fair while ago, so we’re all really excited to re-familiarise ourselves with the city and explore again! Plus, obviously we’re keen to show our audiences what we have been doing since we were there last; Backbone is much bigger and more spectacular show than A Simple Space.

How do you prepare to get on stage each night—warm ups, stretches—what is the process like?

We will spend around three hours warming up before each show. The first section will be stretching, using foam rollers and thera-bands; doing rehab and general body maintenance. This will last for around 45 minutes, and we will use this time to relax and joke around with each other, and get “socially warm”. Then when we are feeling good, and the sweat has started flowing, we will start to practice some of the skills from the show, anything that needs maintenance or adjustment. We will also spend a lot of time training new skills, and experimenting with new material for this show, or future projects. The last 30 minutes of the time is spent focusing, and preparing the stage for the show.

What is the craziest stunt Gravity & Other Myths has ever attempted?

“Craziest” is a strange term for us—a lot of the things we try are considered crazy! The two most difficult stunts we do are in Backbone; one is called the Four High, it is four people standing on top of each others shoulders in a straight column. It is an incredibly rare and difficult skill in the acrobatic world, and we’re really proud of it!

Four High! Photo by Carnival Cinema

What safety measures do you take to keep everyone safe? Have there been any injuries?

There are always injuries when you practice acrobatics; its impossible to avoid completely. A combination of smart body management, and trust in each other to catch and support one another, is the best way to manage injuries.

Gravity & Other Myths has toured all over the world—what is the wildest experience you have ever had touring with this show?

The literal wildest experience would be performing and going on a safari tour in Zimbabwe, Africa. Being in a totally different culture, and experiencing both the natural beauty, and the amazing tradition, is something we will remember for a long time!

Backbone looks like so much fun! Are you having as much fun on stage as it looks?

Definitely. The fun we have on stage is not pretend. Our job is to do what we love with a group of our best friends, and it’s hard not to smile!

Photo of Gravity & Other Myths by Darcy Grant


Backbone runs Oct 30-Nov 4 at the Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton St). Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Gala prize winners wined and dined by Bahareh and Tetsuro Shigematsu!

Gala prize winners wined and dined by Bahareh and Tetsuro Shigematsu!

The Cultch’s amazing and talented friends, Tetsuro and Bahareh Shigematsu, were kind enough to offer an amazing dinner for eight guests as a live auction item for our 2018 Gala, “Persia, Celebrating 2500 Years of West Asian Culture”.

The evening, hosted by Bahareh and Tetsuro, saw the lucky bidders gathered this past weekend to enjoy an amazing Persian dinner!

Prepared by Bahareh and her sister, Banafsheh Givargis, at the home of their friends, Aranka Anema and her partner renowned Tibetan artist, Kalsang Dawa.

With a tour of the artist’s studio and an amazing authentic Persian dinner; wine by our sponsors Hester Creek Estate Winery, and transportation by Star Limousine; a beautiful evening was had by all.

We are so grateful for our kind friends and supporters who made this possible; thank you for supporting The Cultch!

YOUTH TAKEOVER! A Guest post with our Youth Program Manager!

Youth Takeover! A guest post  from our Youth program Manager, Ariel Martz-Oberlander, about IGNITE! Youth Driven Arts Festival!

Youth Program Manager, Ariel Martz-Oberlander. Photo by Trey Le

Every year, for one week in May, The Cultch is taken over and transformed by young people for the IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival, run by our Youth Program. Hundreds of young people are involved in what has grown to be Western Canada’s largest youth-driven arts festival. The festival includes showcases in music, dance, and spoken word, the world premiere of 4 one-act plays, a visual arts exhibit, variety shows featuring music, circus arts, and much more. All of this is created by local artists between the ages of 13-26.

As the Youth Program Manager, it has been my great pleasure to support this festival as a learning opportunity and as the main project of our program. Putting on a festival of this size, with nine nights of programming, is no small task! It is such a joy to work with young people dedicated to learning the skills necessary for a life-long pursuit of the arts in a variety of fields.

Kevin Matthew Wong in The Chemical Valley Project. Photo by Julia Howman

This year, I am thrilled to be bringing in a touring show for the first time as part of the festival. The Chemical Valley Project was created by youth-run Toronto theatre company, Broadleaf Theatre, through conversations with activists from Aamjiwnaang, near Sarnia, Ontario. Through a unique blend of documentary-theatre, projections design, object puppetry, and solo-performance, the show sparks conversations on Canadian environmental policy, treaty rights and Indigenous relations, as well as the current nature of Canadian identity and values. I am excited for these cross-country conversations, and about connecting youth based on important topics about the country they will inherit.

Youth Panel Member, Anna Matthews, hard at work!

Literally every aspect of the IGNITE!Festival is produced by the youth. From media relations and promotion, to stage managing and running the lighting and sound boards, to curating and hanging the gallery show, there are countless ways to become involved, whether on stage or behind the scenes, and it’s not too late for this year! If there is a young person in your life who wants to lend a hand with this eclectic and ambitious festival, please drop me a line at ypm@thecultch.com.

IGNITE! Gallery Opening: May 2nd, 6 pm
Special Presentation of The Chemical Valley Project in the Vancity Culture Lab: May 8, 7:30 pm
IGNITE! Mainstage Week at the Historic Theatre: May 15-19, 7:30 pm
One Act Plays at the Vancity Culture Lab: May 11-12, 7:30 pm
Visual Arts Gallery Exhibit: May 2-19, Opening night May 2, 6-8 pm – FREE!

The Chemical Valley Project ticket pricing: 

Youth (26 and Under) / Senior (65+):  $15.00

Adult: $20.00

IGNITE! One Act Plays, and Mainstage week ticket pricing:

Youth (26 and Under) / Senior (65+): $2 (in advance); $4(at the door)

Adult: $10 (in advance); $12 (at the door)

IGNITE! Mainstage Week Festival Passes :
Select a pass to see every show in the festival.
Youth: $8.00 
Senior: $8.00 
Adult: $40.00

Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

Some of the Youth Panel Members!

Great storytelling is coming to the York Theatre September 27!

Great storytelling is coming to the York Theatre September 27!

Vancouver’s preeminent True Storytelling series THE FLAME returns to the York Theatre for an unforgettable evening of poignant and hilarious true tales told live on stage. Inspired by storytelling juggernaut The Moth, THE FLAME is now in its 9th season and boasts over 700 stories told at its sold-out monthly shows and concert events. Join Flame host Joel Wirkkunen and a brilliant roster of risky raconteurs as they boldly step in front of the microphone to share their most personal true life stories!

If you are wondering what kind of things you might hear at this event, here is a hilarious example from The Flame’s 2014 season; Charlie Demers shares the story of the birth of his child.

You can also LISTEN to some audio recordings from THE FLAME a few years ago on Soundcloud or check out some of the stories from THE MOTH here.

The event at the York on September 27 features musical guests Sarah Wheeler and Hannah Epperson.

The Flame: York Theatre 2017 Edition plays at the York Theatre September 27, 2017. TICKETS ONLY $20! Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Vancouver Pride – a great time to celebrate diversity in the arts!

Vancouver Pride – a great time to celebrate diversity in the arts!

It’s that time of year again! Time to dig our your favourite rainbow wear; time to embrace sparkles, sequins and feathers; time to celebrate diversity with friends and family  – IT’S PRIDE!

Although there have been Pride events happening all month,  Vancouver Pride Society has lots of great events planned for the next couple weeks leading up to the Pride Parade on August 6th. Check out their event page here.

The Cultch is proud to be an accepting and open place to work and play for people of all identities and orientations. Over the years we have been honoured to present many LGTBQ2+ performances that have been enjoyed  by all.

Here is a look at a few of the shows in our 17/18 season that celebrate diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities:

Hot Brown Honey – January 9 – 20, York Theatre, Briefs Factory (Australia)

Hot Brown Honey turns up the heat, delivering lashings of sass and a hot pinch of empowerment in the smash-hit that packs a punch of Hip Hop politics. The Honeys will make you laugh, cry, clap and shake what your mama gave you.This stellar posse of phenomenal women make noise as they defiantly smash stereotypes and remix the system.

“Subverting sexual politics is a recurring motif, from a literal “pussy power” routine to a spot of raunchy lesbian beat-boxing.”The Sydney Morning Herald

Black Boys – January 16- 20, Historic Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre/ Saga Collectif (Toronto)

A raw, intimate, and timely exploration of queer male Blackness. Three individuals seek a deeper understanding of themselves, of each other, and of how they encounter the world, subverting the ways in which gender, sexuality, and race are performed.

The Explanation – April 17 – 29, Vancity Culture Lab, the frank theatre company (Vancouver)

Two heterosexual men – one of whom likes to dress in women’s clothes – just happen to fall in love with one another. An exploration of the constructs we adopt to make our own realities and ways of imagining a life that’s not only endurable but quite possibly magical.

We hope you will join us for these, and more fantastic shows, coming up this season. Purchase a subscription to save up to 25%. Single tickets go on sale August 8!


This week  in the news: President Trump tries to rolls out a new ban on transgender people in the military.

…This week  at The Cultch: Our venues roll out newer and more inclusive bathroom signage!

 We think everyone wins when everyone is included!

CONTEST: Win a night at the theatre with a $200 prize pack from The Cultch!

CONTEST: Win a night at the theatre with a $200 prize pack from The Cultch!

Single tickets for our 17/18 season go on sale on August 8th! We just cannot wait for you to see all of the wonderful shows that we have in store for you this coming season!

A little summer celebration is in order – LETS HAVE A CONTEST!

PRIZE

FOUR seats to any performance in our 17/18 season ($192 value) and four drink tickets ($36 Value)

CONTEST

One winner will receive FOUR seats to any performance in our 17/18 season ($192 value) and four drink tickets ($36 Value).

TO ENTER, for your chance to win a $200 prize pack from The Cultch, do at least one of the following – one entry per action!

  1. WATCH our season trailer (below) and leave a COMMENT on this blog-post telling us what show you’re most excited to see this season (1 entry)
  2. SHARE our season video https://youtu.be/OREBFrVwraE on Facebook (1 entry) with the hashtag #CULTCHCONTEST
  3. TWEET the following (1 entry)

Contest entries will be accepted from the time and date of publishing until 11:59 pm on August 8, 2017 (when Cultch single tickets go on sale). One winner will be chosen at random and contacted through the platform they used to enter.

Join us for a FREE pancake breakfast July 30!

Join us for a FREE pancake breakfast July 30!

We want to have breakfast with you!

It’s summer time (Yipee!) – a time for getting outside, meeting with friends and exploring the city with those you love.

Here at The Cultch we are all hard at work getting ready for the upcoming season (our first shows, Goblin Market  and 1 Hour Photo start October 3rd).  We are all enjoying the sunny summer we have been having, but summers are quieter at The Cultch and we miss you all!

Come hang out with us this Sunday, July 30th and share a few laughs and some delicious grub! We will be flipping pancakes from 10:30 am-1:30 pm. The Pancake Flip-out is a Cultch Community eventeveryone is invited!

Mmmmm, piping hot pancakes slathered in ooey, gooey syrup!

This is an opportunity to meet some of the people in the community, those physically close and those close at heart. Good food, good friends, good community!

Let us know if you can make it – RSVP here!