The world premiere of CHILDREN OF GOD!

The world premiere of Children of God!

May 19th is a very special night for The Cultch. It is our immense honor and privilege to present Children of God in collaboration with Urban Ink Productions, National Arts Centre English Theatre, and Raven Theatre! After two amazingly received preview presentations (May 17-18) it is finally time to present this timely and urgent musical to the world.

The cast of Children of God | Photo credit: Emily Cooper

In this powerful musical, the children of an Oji-Cree family, Tommy and Julia are sent to a residential school in Northern Ontario. Children of God is a story of redemption: for their mother Rita, who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, who never knew she came.

Brother and sister, Tommy (Herbie Barnes) and Julia (Cheyenne Scott) in Children of God. Photo by Emily Cooper

It may seem like dark subject matter for a musical, but as Writer/Director Corey Payette says in The Georgia Straight“How I understand musicals to work best is they express emotions that are beyond words, so when characters can no longer speak, they sing. This felt like a perfect fit.” In fact, when you hear Corey speak about it, the more and more a musical seems like the clear choice to start a conversation about residential schools. “What I’ve been taught from the elders I’ve worked with” Corey says in an interview with The Vancouver Sun,  “is that you cannot tell a story without that story having a song. You cannot sing a song without that song having a dance. And you cannot dance without that dance telling a story. So for me, the musical form really lends itself to indigenous performance.”

Watch this video with Corey Payette as he describes the story of Children of God.

Residential schools are a dark part of Canadian history. According to Reconciliation Canada, over the course of roughly 130 years, over 150, 000 children were forcefully removed from their family homes and taken to residential schools to be re-educated and converted. Today, it is estimated that there are over 80,000 residential school survivors living in Canada. This isn’t ancient history, this is our current reality; the last residential school didn’t close it’s doors until 1996.

Study time at Native residential school, (Fort) Resolution, NWT © Public Domain Credit: Library and Archives Canada, PA-042133

Children of God demonstrates the intergeneration impact of a cultural genocide,” says Payette. “It shows how this chapter in Canadian history changed the course of lives. We hope that it will help people understand what happened. We hope that people will enter the theatre one way and leave it changed” states Corey  in an interview with BeatRoute Magazine. As Colin Thomas says in his blog, Fresh Sheet,“As Canadians, all of us are connected in some way to the legacy of residential schools. Corey Payette’s new musical, Children of God, which addresses that legacy… may be one of the most important openings we’ve seen in years.”

Cast of Children of God. Photo by Emily Cooper

Children of God may have dark and triggering subject matter, but it offers moments of hope, and it is a true celebration of the strength of our indigenous peoples.“When I spent the years meeting with survivors and their families talking about the story I wanted to tell, the thing that I wasn’t prepared for and that I didn’t fully understand was the strength it took for survivors to forgive” says Corey in a Q&A with Artslandia. “I felt those conversations changed the direction of the show to be about celebrating the strength of Indigenous peoples to overcome this tragic part of our history, and this strength is not widely reported in the media; it’s powerful and a kind of resilience that is overwhelming to imagine.”

The response we have been getting at our previews has been overwhelming. This is a powerful piece of theatre. Here is what one audience member had to say: “Last night, Brent and I went to Children of God. I was astounded by the message, the play, the actors, the lyrics, the music and the incredible way it was all combined so completely. Corey Payette and the team did an amazing job. It was so thought provoking, disturbing, shocking, and beautiful , and I left the theatre full of emotion, guilt, strength, and sadness from the resonating messages. We need to get PM Trudeau in to see it on Friday when he is in Vancouver!”

Watch this great video with Corey Payette (Meet the Creator) describing the journey of creating Children of God.

If you want to know more about Children of God you can listen to Corey Payette and Kim Harvey on Roundhouse Radio speaking with Kirk LaPointe. And dont miss this great interview with Corey Payette on The Early Edition with Rick Cluff (interview starts at 2:39:57).

Children of God runs at the York Theatre, May 17-Jun 3. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Contains swearing, sexual content, and haze.
Due to the triggering content of the performance, Emotional Support Workers will be available to provide support to audience members who may require it.

Rave Reviews for Vertical Influences!

Rave Reviews for Vertical Influences!

The cast of Vertical Influences take a bow! Photo Credit: Roaming the Planet

The Cultch celebrated the opening of a very special show on April 18. Montreal’s Le Patin Libre brought down Britannia Ice Rink with an unprecedented performance – unlike any ice dancing you are likely to have seen! No sparkles, no fuzzy costumes, just pure and beautiful skating!

Check out some of these AMAZING REVIEWS for Vertical Influences:

“Do your body a favour: GO SEE Vertical Influences” – Colin Thomas

“In Vertical Influences, we get five young dancers on skates, wearing ponytails, dreads, and baggy street clothes, VIRTUOSICALLY reinventing the form and PLAYFULLY using it to upend notions of time, space, and physics. With equal amounts of sass and technique, THEY TEAR UP THE SHEET OF ICE” – Janet Smith, The Georgia Straight

Vertical Influences is a STUNNING combination of figure skating and dance” – Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

Vertical Influences is a BEAUTIFUL MASH-UP of sophisticated figure skating with contemporary street dance” – Carly Whetter, Vancouver Magazine

“Five Performers…DAZZLED us with straight ice skating with no tu-tus, or schmaltzy music” – Alex Waterhouse Hayward

VERTICAL INFLUENCES runs at Britannia Ice Rink, April 18-30. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Vertical Influences offers FREE workshop at Britannia Ice Rink

Vertical Influences offers FREE workshop at Britannia Ice Rink!

We are so EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE that Le Patin Libre – creators of VERTICAL INLFUENCES – will be hosting an amazing FREE Workshop on April 27 1-3pm at Britannia Ice Rink – for ALL AGES and ALL SKILL LEVELS! This is a great event to take the whole family to!

Photo credit: Rolline Laporte

Led by the artists and company choreographers, these playful activities can be enjoyed by all skaters. Through choreographic games and simple teachings, the artists will convince participants that anybody can feel the magic of glide and enjoy the freedom and liberation of ice-dancing. It’s optional to bring your own skates and helmets. There will be FREE rentals for workshop participants.
 
Please RSVP to communications@thecultch.com if you are interested in joining the workshop.

Photo Credit: Alicia Clarke

Wanna know more about Vertical Influences? Check out these great interviews in The Georgia Straight, The Vancouver Sun, and Vancouver Presents!

 

“We are able to bring together groups that wouldn’t otherwise come together and have an opportunity to introduce them to this contemporary performing art. IT REALLY IS QUITE EXCITING.” – Alexandre Hamel in interview with Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

VERTICAL INFLUENCES runs at Britannia Ice Rink, April 18-30. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.
This event is generously supported by
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We are so excited to announce our 2017/2018 Season!

We are so excited to announce our 2017/2018 Season!

We had a blast at our season launch announcement party – thank you to everyone who joined us!

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We are so excited to announce our 2017/2018 season! Check out this fun video announcing the 22 amazing new shows coming to The Cultch in 2017 and 2018!

Subscriptions go on sale today! Browse our Spectacular 17/18 Season Overview. Save 20% with our Choose 5 subscription package or 25% with our Choose 8 subscription package! This season, the more you see, the more save. You’ll enjoy an exciting roster of artists and programs, from the best seats in the house. Order today: TICKETS.THECULTCH.COM

Single tickets go on sale August 8. Call The Cultch’s Box Office at 604-251-1363 or go online at tickets.thecultch.com.

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

Wondering what to see at the 2016 rEvolver Festival?

Opening this week, the fourth annual rEvolver Theatre Festival will offer 11 days of performances from multi-disciplined theatre artists currently breaking on the local and national scene. All events will be held at The Cultch from May 11 to 22. If you are wondering what to see, here’s a few hints and tips to stoke your interest…..

Diversity:

Not only is the festival focused on providing a platform for emerging artists, this year’s line-up reflects the exciting diversity in our theatre community:

  • Seven shows have been created or directed by women: Beowulf, Charisma Furs, Happiness™, Kolejka, I Want to Tell You Something, Never the Last, and Silenced.
  • Seven shows have been created by or with artists of colour in a significant leadership role: Beowulf, Booth Connection, Mis Papás, Never the Last, The New Conformity, odd., and Silenced.
  • The festival continues its history of supporting innovative work by artists from the LGBTQ community (having premiered shows such as Tucked and Plucked: Vancouver’s HERstory Live on Stage and Cocktales with Maria) with Charisma Furs, by Toronto artist Katie Sly.

Award winning performances:

Two critically acclaimed shows will be presented in the Cultch’s Culture Lab, both wielding a wildly comedic approach to intelligent social commentary:

  • Happiness™, by Ottawa-based May Can Theatre, was nominated for four 2015 Prix Rideau Awards for Outstanding Direction, Lighting Design, Performance and Production.
  • Cause & Effects Circus’ The New Conformity received the Joanna Murata Award in 2015 (Vancouver Fringe Festival) and took home Victoria’s Pick of the Fringe Award in 2014.

The same but different….

Two distinct one woman shows in the Founders’ Lounge—I Want to Tell You Something and Charisma Furs—are equally intimate and engaging, and both incorporate origami lessons. Other than that, they couldn’t be more different….

A little Eastern European Culture
There are two music-heavy shows with European backdrops—puppetry, physical theatre and punk music combine to tell the story of a Babushka’s Soviet Russia in Kolejka,  and Never the Last, the latest from Delinquent Theatre, creators of Stationary: A Recession Era Musical  tells the true story of the early centry composer Sophie Carmen Friedman using live classical music, movement and text.

FESTIVAL BOX OFFICE INFORMATION:
Full Tickets: $17 ($20 with service charges) | Self Identified Low Income Tickets: $12 ($15 with service charges)
3-show pass: $40/$36 | Available at www.tickets.thecultch.com or 604.251.1363
6-show pass: $84 | Available at www.upintheairtheatre.com/buy-tickets
For full festival schedule: www.revolverfestival.ca

ABOUT REVOLVER THEATRE FESTIVAL:
Under the artistic direction of Daniel Martin and David Mott, the rEvolver Theatre Festival presents high energy and adventurous new works with a focus on supporting local talent since 2013. The festival provides professional presenting opportunities in Vancouver and offers a unique platform to present contemporary cutting-edge script-based theatre, devised works, and site-specific performances by artists ranging from recent graduates to more experienced professionals attempting to grow or transform their practice significantly.

Website: www.upintheairtheatre.com/revolver-festival   |  www.revolverfestival.ca
Facebook: www.facebook.com/UpintheairTheatre
YouTube: www.youtube.com/UpintheairTheatre
Twitter: www.twitter.com/UITATheatre

Announcing the 2016 rEvolver Festival Mainstage!

1617_RevolverThe Cultch is thrilled to welcome back Upintheair Theatre for the fourth annual rEvolver Festival.

The rEvolver Festival runs from May 11-22, and is dedicated to providing presenting opportunities to emerging professional theatre makers both locally and nationally. Past rEvolver Festivals have included world premieres of hit shows as Jordan Hall’s Kayak, Delinquent Theatre’s Stationary: A Recession-Era Musical (which featured as part of The Cultch’s 2014/15 season) and Mind of a Snail’s Caws and Effect, the shadow puppet hit of the 2015 festival.

This year’s programming represents the rich diversity of voices, aesthetics, and styles among Vancouver and Canadian emerging professional theatre makers. From immigrant stories as a live boxing match to technologically guided meditation to mesmerizing narrative juggling, 2016 is a high-water mark for stylistic exploration at rEvolver. Join Upintheair Theatre in seeing all that this incredible community of artists has to offer.

MAINSTAGE SHOWS:

* Happiness TM (May Can Theatre, Ottawa)

* Kolejka (star star theatre, Vancouver)

* Mis Papas (rice & beans theatre, Vancouver)

* Never the Last (Delinquent Theatre, Vancouver)

* The New Conformity (Cause and Effects Circus, Vancouver)

* okay.odd. (Hong Kong Exile, Vancouver)

* Silenced (Urban Ink Emerging Artists’ Collective, Vancouver)

SITE-SPECIFIC EVENTS:

* Beowulf, Marc Castellini (Vancouver)

* Booth Connection, The Biting School (Vancouver)

FOUNDER’S LOUNGE CABARET EVENTS:

* Charisma Furs, Katie Sly (Toronto)

* I want to tell you something, Caroline Sniatynski (Vancouver)

* Storytelling, Riel Hahn Presents, Riel Hahn (Vancouver)

* Demostage Upintheair Theatre (Vancouver) – FREE

* Ta Gueule Translation and Workshop Series, BoucheWHACKED! Theatre Collective & Ruby Slippers Theatre (Vancouver) – BY DONATION

* The Updrafts Reading Series – BY DONATION

Excited by what you see? There are a number of different ways you can purchase tickets!

  1. With the 6-show flex pass, the passholder can see up to six individual shows, take five friends to one show, or any combination in between!
  2. If you can’t see 6 shows, you can still save by purchasing a 3-show pass instead!
  3.  And of course individual tickets are available both through The Cultch’s Box Office and at the door.

Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly`s special offer to The Cultch subscribers

Valkyrie_Logo_Horizontal

Jordan Both has been a regular technician at The Cultch for nearly a decade, and got his start in theatre through our youth program. He’s recently embarked on an exciting new business venture that brings a new twist on fitness to East Vancouver. Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly held its grand opening in October 2015, and has been keeping busy establishing itself as an important community space for martial arts and fitness in the Collingwood neighbourhood.

Valkyrie WMAA1                                                 “A rare pause in boxing class.” (Photo Credit: Courtney Rice)

Valkyrie WMAA is co-owned by Kaja Sadowski and Courtney Rice, and is the first female-owned and operated Western Martial Arts school in Canada. Jordan and his fellow instructors teach swordplay, boxing, and wrestling six days per week, and offer a unique training program that combines historical knowledge with modern sport science to turn even the most dedicated couch potato into a fit and happy fighter. Their classes range from 2-hour evening martial arts sessions, to day-long workshops, and quick and cheap 1-hour drop-in fitness classes. There’s something for everybody, regardless of their interests and schedule.

Valkyrie WMAA2                                              “Student Kat Yoshida spars with a rapier.” (Photo Credit: Courtney Rice)

The school was recently named a Top 5 Finalist in the “Best Emerging Entrepreneur” category of the Small Business BC Awards, which recognizes a new business that “contributes to the social, cultural and economic well-being of their communities [and] has demonstrated community leadership and entrepreneurial initiative”. The Valkyrie WMAA team sees fitness and martial arts training as an important path to personal transformation, self-esteem, self-reliance, and lifelong health. Unfortunately, this path is closed to many women, older or unfit people, and members of the LGBT community due to hostile environments and poor training models that cater predominantly to fit, straight, men. In the macho, competitive world of mixed martial arts training and high-end fitness, Valkyrie WMAA’s colourful, welcoming space, strict anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, and wealth of strong female role models stand out.

Valkyrie WMAA3                                               “Focusing on swordplay drills.” (Photo Credit: Courtney Rice)

Like The Cultch, Valkyrie WMAA is committed to supporting diversity and community engagement within its field. In martial arts, that means maintaining a safe space for students of all backgrounds, offering excellent training for every body type, and educating the general public through free online tutorials and low-cost community lectures and workshops.

Valkyrie WMAA4                                            “The Valkyrie WMAA founders at the school grand opening. Left to Right: Courtney Rice, David Packer,

Jordan Both, Kaja Sadowski.” (Photo credit: Carol Both)

They’ve also got a special offer for supporters of The Cultch who want to get in on the swordfighting fun. From now until March 4th, all of our subscribers will receive a free Valkyrie Base 4-class introductory program ($120 value) with the purchase of any credit package. Credits are redeemable for group classes, private lessons, and workshops, can be transferred or shared between multiple students, and never expire. We wish Jordan and his co-workers success with their new business, and look forward to trying out a class for ourselves!

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

The Cultch receives $130,000 grant from Vancouver Foundation for “Democratizing our Stages” Project

The Cultch and Diwali Fest staff at Nirbhaya Community Engagement meeting1Left to Right, Rohit Chokani & Vineeta Minhas Co-Producers of Diwali Fest, Heather Redfern – Executive Director, Nicole McLuckie – Director of Patron Development, Kim Harvey – Youth Program Manager, Abdel Naroth – Marketing Intern, Ricky Choi – Marketing Coordinator

 

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve received a significant three-year $130,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation for our “Democratizing our Stages” Project! While The Cultch has a long history of diversity, community inclusion, and pushing the boundaries of art to benefit society, this grant will allow us to go even further, challenging the status quo by prioritizing community development and presentation with groups and communities that have not yet engaged with us.

“We are delighted and grateful for Vancouver Foundation’s support,” says executive director Heather Redfern. “I truly believe this is a game-changer. The confidence the Vancouver Foundation has shown in our ability to make significant change is heartening and meaningful not only to The Cultch but to the community partners we will work with on this project over the next three years.”

The project began in earnest this past November when we partnered with Diwali Fest, Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW), and Amnesty International to present and engage in community dialogue around Nirbhaya, the internationally acclaimed play inspired by the 2012 rape and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey in Delhi and featuring the real life testimonials of sexual violence survivors. This was the first year in what will now be an ongoing partnership with Diwali Fest. Other Democratizing our Stages partners include Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT), Dancers of Damelahamid, Neworld Theatre, Neworld Theatre, and Urban Ink, with plans to bring others on board over the course of the project and into the future.

“There is increasing diversity in professional arts practices in Canada, however there are still very few venues that present this work in a mainstage context throughout a season of programming,” says Redfern. “We are interested in talking to people who are not coming to The Cultch. We’ll be partnering with like-minded organizations from the community to diversify the audience that attends these productions, finding innovative ways to provide access to communities. Social exclusion is systemic and can only be reversed by conscious and proactive efforts. The democratization of our stages will happen when cross-cultural communication takes place between artists and communities over and over again, until we reach the point that it feels ordinary, as though it’s always been that way.”

Read more:
The Georgia Straight
Vancouver Presents