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

_MG_7774C

 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.

_MG_7085

  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

It’s the York Theatre’s two-year anniversary! Share your York story!

YorkBlogThe two-year anniversary of the York Theatre is this Sunday, December 6! To celebrate we’re sending the call out to you – our friends and supporters – to submit your personal York story. Tell us about a gig you saw back when it was a concert venue, or a show you saw when it was known as the Little Theatre, or any other story –past or present – about the York. If you submit a story, you will be invited to an exclusive Cultch Rental’s Department and Heritage Vancouver Society event this February! Plus, submit your story by Dec 11 and you’ll be entered to win two tickets to the opening night of Leftovers at the York Theatre on Jan 26.

To submit your story please email marketing@thecultch.com with the subject line ‘York Memory’ or leave a comment below. Your personal story may be used in future promotional materials. Please be assured, that we would only list your first name and omit any identifying details. Do let us know if you don’t want yours included!

OUR ANNUAL VOLUNTEER BBQ: Celebrating an amazing year!

The end of the season is a special time here at The Cultch. It’s a time where we can reflect on all the amazing events that happened in our venues, and it’s also the time where we can express thanks to the people that helped make it happen – our volunteers.

On July 9, we honoured the 130+ volunteers who gave their time this past year by throwing a Volunteer Appreciation Barbecue. More than 4253 volunteer hours were contributed in total for the 14/15 season.With mother nature providing some amazing set dressing, we set up the BBQ out front of The Cultch and kicked back in the courtyard. After the ‘Name Tag Follies’, some mingling, and some fun with our makeshift photo booth, everybody enjoyed some delicious food graciously provided by Choices Market.

Check out these wonderful photos from the event below and if you or someone you know is interested in volunteering at The Cultch please contact zoe@thecultch.com.

PhotoBooth5

(L to R) Elaine, Sharron, Betty Lou, Selma, & Cora strike a pose in our photo booth

_MG_6112

Heather & Mihai enjoying some delectable food provided by Choices

IMG_1254

Heather Redfern (Executive Director) giving the troops her thanks!

AwardNena

Nena contributed over 280 hours!

AwardAnnalies

Annalies contributed over 100 hours!

Award_Mona

Mona contributed over 100 hours!

Award_David

David contributed over 100 hours!

Award

Emma contributed over 100 hours

IMG_1186

(Left to Right) Jane, Kathy, Kris, Gail, and Beverly

IMG_1230

Just kicking back and relaxing on the courtyard

IMG_1177_web

Lyle and Heather

IMG_1176

Margaret has recently been volunteering upstairs in our admin office as volunteer receptionist

IMG_1175

June and Lisa!

IMG_1166

Jenn, Ed, and Moira

IMG_1163

Annalies & Frank (Cultch Board Members) raise a glass!

IMG_1160

Graham and Nena!

Success! Community Day at the York Theatre

18470255793_6fbc677be3_zOn June 21, we proudly opened the doors of the York Theatre for The Cultch’s first ever community day! Hundreds of guests of all ages came to celebrate with us! The day was filled with good food, live music courtesy of Britannia Marimba Ensemble, a craft station for families, a smudging ceremony by Bruce Robinson to commemorate National Aboriginal Day, and a live stream of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 16 match! Here are some photos from the event taken by Roaming the Planet.

Many thanks to our performers, staff, volunteers, and YOU for making this event a big success. We couldn’t have done it without you! Please  visit the York Theatre’s page for more info and email rentals@thecultch.com for inquiries about renting the venue.

If you would like a photo of yourself or a loved one removed from this webpage, please feel free to contact ricky@thecultch.com.

Next week: rEvolver Theatre Festival hits The Cultch!

2015_revolver_bannerNext week, we’re thrilled to welcome back Upintheair Theatre for the third annual rEvolver Theatre Festival. The rEvolver Festival runs from May 20-31, and is dedicated to providing presenting opportunities to emerging theatre companies both locally and nationally. Past rEvolver Festivals have included such shows as Kayak (seen at the Firehall Arts Centre in January) and Stationary: A Recession-Era Musical which played last month at The Cultch!

This year’s festival line-up reflects the dynamic and distinct work being created in the theatre community on a national level. From the comedic to the confounding, the festival will present works that explore the dynamics of human relationships, classical myth with a musical twist, modern fable, new world orders, historic journeys and elements of risk taking.

The 2015 rEvolver Festival Mainstage is:

Excited by what you see? There are a number of different ways you can purchase tickets! 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! If you can’t see 6 shows, you can still save by purchasing a 3-show pass instead! And of course, individual tickets are available both through The Cultch’s Box Office and at the door.

March Mayhem: A month in photos

We’re only a quarter of the way through 2015 and it’s already been a VERY busy year. We’ve barely had a moment’s rest in March, there was so much happening! Here’s just some of what went on:

The biggest event we had this month was our annual fundraising gala, in which we celebrated the Celtic Spirit of Ireland!

Temp

Heather Redfern rocking out with auctioneer David C. Jones

Temp

MCs Margaret Gallagher and Fred Lee addressing the attendees

There was some great entertainment throughout the evening

_WDP5092

_WDP5161

You couldn’t turn around without seeing someone doing something!

_WDP5456

_WDP5169

We had two great openings, first with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s TransMigration:

Temp

Kaha:wi Dance Theatre Artistic Director Santee Smith with Heather Redfern

Temp

Cultch Ladies: Caitrin Innis (Development Coordinator), Zoe Forsyth (Concierge and Volunteer Coordinator), Nicole McLuckie (Director of Patron Development) and Cindy Reid (Managing Director)

Temp

Members of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre giving us a smile

Temp

Kaha:wi Dance Theatre giving us… something else

And then we had Obaaberima from Buddies in Bad Times, which the audience enjoyed talking about post-show

Kaha:wi Dance also hosted a Pow Wow Boot Camp:

Temp

Kaha:wi Artistic Director leads the participants

Temp

It wasn’t all fun though, as we said farewell to our fantastic Senior Design and Web Coordinator, Isa Chernets

B6

We did get a lot of puppy love though, as we welcomed Murphy to The Cultch family!

And to end March, we have a little tease for what’s coming up in April, as the Famous Puppet Death Scenes set was loaded in yesterday!

Temp

There are so many crates, they’re not only over flowing outside…

Temp

But even into the lobby as well!

Temp

It’s a lot of work, putting a set together

Temp

The view from above

Temp

Temp

The set is starting to rise!

Temp

Do you perfer the orchestra view

Temp

Or looking down from the balcony?

It was a pretty packed month, and we can’t wait for what’s next! Remeber you can always check out our Flickr page for more great photos! Be sure you come down and join us so you don’t miss any of the fun!

This week: The 6th Annual Community Square Dance!

 

Howdy Folks,

We would like to invite you to our 6th Annual Community Square Dance on Friday, October 17 at The Cultch! Featuring live music by Shout! White Dragon, and Paul Silveria. Dancing is suitable for all ages, no experience necessary. Admission is by donation so grab your cowboy boots and mosey on over to the Historic Theatre!

Here is a little more information about the fun we have planned!

Photo booth in the Vancity Culture Lab – We are launching a Cultch Instagram account and would love to use your best pictures from tonight to kick it off. Hashtag: #TheCultch

Kid’s activities in the C-lab – Cowboy drawings, crafts, and much more!

Food, wine and beer – In the Founder’s Lounge we will be serving hot dogs, snacks, and popcorn, as well as a selection of wine and beer

Bar in the lobby – Drinks will be available for sale in the Lobby.

The Square Dance – Live music in the Historic Theatre and dancing will run from 7-10 PM. Don’t forget your cowboy hat!

Legendary ‘Kids in the Hall’ Bruce McCulloch is performing live at the York Theatre!

Bruce McCulloch, Canadian actor, writer, comedian, and film director.  Photo by Nader Khouri

Bruce McCulloch, Canadian actor, writer, comedian, and film director. Photo by Nader Khouri

The Cultch is thrilled to co-present, for the first time ever, with the Firehall Arts Centre Young Drunk Punk featuring Canadian comedy icon, Bruce McCulloch (Kids in the Hall)! This unprecedented co-presentation will be happening at the the York Theatre on October 27!

Young Drunk Punk chronicles Bruce’s journey from his wild early days as a ‘young punk’ in 80’s Alberta, to his flannel plaid days in 90’s Toronto, to becoming a ‘pajama-clad dad’ in the Hollywood Hills. This hilarious evening of stand-up, live music and assorted autobiographical insights peppered with moments of surprising poignancy, proves that although this infamous Kid may be all grown up, his singular brand of humour and signature wit remain firmly intact.

Here’s a snippet of what the Firehall has to say about this exciting show:

 “To celebrate the launch of the new book, McCulloch is appearing for a special one-night-only performance of Young Drunk Punk, which sold out its entire run and attracted wildly enthusiastic standing ovations and rave reviews in January. It seems fitting that the two East Van cultural institutions are working together to ensure that as many fans as possible can check out this biting, hilarious and darkly surreal night of comedy in the more roomy York Theatre.” 

Bruce McCulloch during his one-man play, Young Drunk Punk, at the Firehall Arts Centre.  Photograph by: Ameen Belbahri

Bruce McCulloch during his one-man play, Young Drunk Punk, at the Firehall Arts Centre.
Photograph by: Ameen Belbahri

 

book cover

Bruce McCulloch’s new book Let’s Start a Riot (HarperCollins) is out in October and he will be signing copies following the show. Tickets are $42 for regular admission or $65 for a book/ticket/beer package and is available online, or by phone at 604.251.1363. Note, tickets are NOT for sale through the Firehall box office and you cannot use a Firehall pass to book tickets for this show. *You must be 19 or older to attend this event.