A Chiseled-out Guide to Neanderthal Arts Festival

The second annual Neanderthal Arts Festival once again brings an eclectic range of cutting edge theatre to the stages at The Cultch. We offer you this guide to the inventive and original shows of the sophomore installment of Neanderthal.


Inspired by Samuel Beckett’s absurdist existentialism, Chairs follows the actions of three men in a barren wasteland. Their existence of “equality and boredom” is interrupted when one claims authority by building a giant chair.

“It’s a simple story about a chair but it definitely explores big ideas,” said Chelsea Haberlin, the play’s director and co-artistic producer of ITSAZOO Productions.


The Cultch Welcomes the Neanderthal Festival

The Cultch is excited to welcome the Neanderthal Festival into the Historic Theatre and Vancity Culture Lab from July 21th to 31st, 2011. The festival, currently in its second year, is a partnership between Left Right Minds and Upintheair Theatre and brings “work that takes risks, is creative and has a clear artistic vision”. We talked to Executive Director Daniel Martin to learn a little more about the vision for Neanderthal.

How did the idea for the festival come about?

We have always been interested in providing opportunities for artists that don’t exist elsewhere. With the growth of festivals like PuSh here in Vancouver and Magnetic North nationally, there is a real movement towards touring productions. But what was missing was a chance for younger companies to be presented in a professional festival setting, and get their foot in that door – a place for young companies who had outgrown the Fringe but maybe weren’t being invited to Magnetic North yet.

At the same time, after seven years of producing the Walking Fish Festival, it needed an injection of new ideas – like many companies, we lost our gaming funding [Government of BC Community Gaming Grants] last year, so we had to broaden our base – audience, funders and sponsorships – in order to be able to keep operating. Our partners, LeftRightMinds, had recently been out to Summerworks in Toronto and were really excited by what they saw there, so together we sat down and put together a model to achieve these goals – a Vancouver based summer theatre festival of exciting new work by younger companies, that would draw in new audiences and support to the company, and that would give local artists a place to have their work presented in a professional context.

What is the mandate for Neanderthal? What do you hope to bring to the Vancouver theatre community through this festival?


Closing the Door on Home Sweet Home

On Saturday June 11, Home Sweet Home closed with a “Residents Block Party”. Homeowners were invited back to The Cultch to meet their neighbours and tour the completed city. Residents FM highlighted some of the more memorable features of the town in their final address to the crowd:

Welcome back to Home Sweet Home
We’ve all come together to celebrate the town in which we roam!

There has been action and drama, politics and more.
Candy stores, volcanoes and zombies galore!

Now residents FM will take you on a guided tour,
through the streets, roads, alleys and more… (more…)

Home Sweet Home Takes Over The Cultch!

When you visit Home Sweet Home, you’re not just walking into the Historic Theatre, you’re walking into an entirely new community of cardboard dream homes, shops and hotels. It’s a place where anything goes. You may turn around only to find a toxic spill in your yard or have city council on your case about the extreme colour of your blinds. And it’s all broadcast on the live, on-site radio station “Residents FM”, which provides the soundtrack to all the action in the Home Sweet Home community.

First to catch your eye are the many colourful houses that take over the streets. Feathers, tissue paper and sequins are all normal building materials when it comes to the houses of Home Sweet Home.

However, there aren’t just houses available to build. There are also a few houseboats in the community, not to mention a pirate ship!

There are also budding business opportunities. You don’t have to build a house, but instead you could start up the business you’ve always wanted. Don’t forget to announce your grand opening on the radio so others from the community can come take a look! (more…)

The Cultch’s 11/12 Season Announced: “Hottest live-arts venue on the West Coast”

On Tuesday, April 19, patrons and friends of The Cultch gathered in the Vancity Culture Lab for the official announcement of the 2011/12 Season. The Cultch’s Executive Director Heather Redfern spoke to the audience about the upcoming season — a stellar line-up of productions featuring a large number of Cultch favourites. With the announcement of the new season, The Vancouver Sun declared The Cultch the “hottest live-arts venue on the West Coast.” Here are some highlights:

Die Roten Punkte - live theatre and music at The Cultch

Die Roten Punkte

New this year, The Cultch presents its first-ever summer blockbuster, with the utterly dysfunctional siblings Astrid and Otto who make up Die Roten Punkte – one of the most irreverent and hilarious gigs you are ever likely to see.

Nina Arsenault in Silicone Diaries - Vancouver live theatre

Nina Arsenault in "Silicone Diaries"

Then, to kick off the season, The Cultch presents Touchstone Theatre’s production of the internationally recognized playwright Brad Fraser with an outrageous comedy of family dysfunction —True Love Lies. The Cultch is also thrilled to announce its presentation of Ronnie Burkett’s latest work Penny Plain; Buddies in Bad Times’ critically acclaimed production The Silicone Diaries — the transformation of an awkward man into a bombshell woman; and Hunchback, the latest work by Catalyst Theatre and a musical interpretation of Victor Hugo’s classic, endearing story presented with and at the Vancouver Playhouse.

Ronnie Burkett in "Penny Plain" - Vancouver live theatre

Ronnie Burkett

Please check out the complete list of 2011/12 presentations here [with photos here!]. We think you will agree with theatre critic Peter Birnie when he says that “the performers coming to the corner of Victoria and Venables in East Vancouver are collectively the top ticket in town for 2011-2012.” [Complete review here]

Subscriptions for the 11/12 Season are on sale now! Single tickets go on sale August 1st (single tickets for Die Roten Punkte go on sale June 1st). Call The Cultch’s Box Office at 604-251-1363 or go online at tickets.thecultch.com.

With five presentations sold out before they opened in The Cultch’s 2010/11 Season, the best way to ensure you see the shows you want in the seats you want is by becoming a subscriber at The Cultch today.

Hunchback ensemble, dancing and singing: Vancouver live theatre

"Hunchback" by Catalyst Theatre

Escape to Paris – If only for just one night!

By Kate Minson

On Monday, April 4th, The Cultch will celebrate mid-20th century Paris and all its decadence, with a special fundraising gala, Paris, in love. Inspired by Barbara-jo McIntosh’s cookbook Cooking for Me and Sometimes You – A Parisienne Romance with Recipes, this sumptuous evening of French food, wine and auction packages will tap into your inner bon vivant.

Featuring a reading by Barbara-jo, music from Jessie-Award winner Joëlle Rabu, and a performance by Django Reinhardt-inspired gypsy jazz ensemble Dinette, there will be plenty of opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy the cocktail maison (a bubbly pink drink!). Of equal interest will be the auction, which is full to the brim with the most divine indulgences.  Here are a few of our favourite auction packages up for grabs:

La Joie de Vivre. Relax during a one week reprieve at the Painted Boat Resort on the Sunshine Coast in your very own private villa with views of the water. Indulge at the resort’s spa and dine at the restaurant. Also, enjoy an exclusive mushroom-picking adventure in the wilds of the Sunshine Coast!

Chanel et Couture. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind makeover for you and your friends at Chanel, followed by lunch or dinner on Joe Fortes’ famous rooftop patio. Then, as if you haven’t had enough of a treat, take advantage of two all-inclusive VIP passes to Vancouver Fashion Week where you will enjoy access to all the shows and parties.

Vancouver live theatre gala fundraiser

1950s Paris

And there’s much more: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sit with hockey greats in the Canucks’ alumni suite, personal tours of a chocolate factory (yes, with sampling!) and the Bill Reid Gallery, a robust wine collection, countless opportunities to eat, to learn to cook, and to see some of the best and most exclusive entertainment Vancouver has to offer.

And what’s more, tickets are only $125 (standard seating) and $250 (intimate floor seating) and include the performance and party, with food by Pied à Terre, West, and Benton Brothers, as well our signature Paris, in love cocktail maison.

Buy tickets: call 778.709.0323 or email gala@thecultch.com.