IGNITE! Festival: An interview with Chalene Scott, director of ‘Mighty Qualified, Plenty Smote’

Every year in May, The Cultch hands over its facilities to young artists in town to bring you the IGNITE! Festival. Chalene Scott is one of the three emerging directors selected from an application process this fall to participate in the IGNITE! Mentorship Program and direct the three new plays presented in the festival.

For the mentorship Scott was paired with director Stephen Drover (Penelope, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot) for guidance along the way. Chalene is directing Mighty Qualified, Plenty Smote written by emerging playwright Ronan K. Nanning Watson (also a participant, paired with mentor David Geary). The directors cast their own shows, found a crew to produce them, and will debut these brand new scripts starting next Monday in the Vancity Culture Lab. We had a chance to chat with Chalene about the play she is directing and the process she went through.


Sean Fabisch, Deanna Rayne, and Chalene Scott – Photos by Maurice Tsai

Can you tell us a little bit about the play?

Mighty Qualified, Plenty Smote is a sort of surreal look at right and wrong. The main action revolves around a devil-figure, Staniel, trying to obtain a woman’s soul, but the woman, Liona, doesn’t believe in souls or the devil. We have a hero whose good intentions may have led her to do “wrong” things, and we have a classic villain who may be motivated by the purest ideals. So who’s right if everyone is wrong? On top of that, there’s a chorus of amoral and philosophizing child-mystics with no clear agenda, helping and hindering at will. The play explores themes of morality through blues music and sensationalism.


Shon Burnett, Keren Katz, and Chalene Scott – Photos by Maurice Tsai

What drew you to this script?

The first immediate draw was that the script terrified me artistically. I had never done a show so incorporeal and transient in terms of setting and character. So, obviously, I had to direct it! Then there’s the lovely way Ronan (the playwright) plays with language and themes. I just sort of fell in love with it after the first reading.


Keren Katz, Shon Burnett, and Chalene Scott – Photos by Maurice Tsai

What is something that surprised you about the IGNITE experience?

There have been many pleasant surprises thrown my way by IGNITE. I really had no idea what I was signing up for when I submitted my application. IGNITE takes  such good care of its participants! When I got the full schedule, I was surprised to see so many workshops aimed at forging the skills that young artists need to forward their projects, companies, or individual art. I think it’s amazing that the participants are supported not only in creating the art they were accepted into the program to create, but are also given the skill to continue creating afterwards.
Rob (Robert Leveroos, Youth Program Manager) has done an amazing job keeping everyone organized, but I was so pleased to see how much the youth panel is responsible for. I’m a huge advocate for giving youth the opportunity to experience responsibility in a safe environment before they have to deal with high stakes responsibility in the “real world”.


Photos by Maurice Tsai

Tell us about working with your mentor Stephen Drover. Is there something you’ve learned that you can share with us?

Stephen’s been great to work with. He’s supportive in a very constructive way. If I come in with an idea and ask it it’s crazy, he won’t tell me what he thinks. Instead, he’ll give me a few more tools so I can decide for myself. I think the biggest lesson has been that there are no absolutes and when in doubt, I should trust my instincts. We have instincts for a reason and to ignore them is to spit in the face of artistic expression.


Keren Katz, Beni Spieler , and Shon Burnett – Photos by Maurice Tsai

Your production marks a first in the IGNITE! Program, you’re working with three youth aged 10-11, tell us about that decision to work with such young performers.

After I got the script, I spent some time with it, as one does, and fairly immediately realized that the chorus could not have the same effect (in fact, their effectiveness would be significantly diminished) were I to cast adults, or even teenagers. There’s something weirdly gripping about seeing the devil pandering to a posse of preteens. I knew there would be extra challenges in casting kids so young, but ultimately, I knew it would be worth the effort. So far, I think I’m right.



Sean Fabisch, Gauri Roy, Shon Burnett, Deanna Rayne, and Keren Katz – Photos by Maurice Tsai

How has it been to work with them? What can audiences expect when they come see your show?

They’re all wonderful to work with. The trickiest thing about the kid’s roles is that they really aren’t written for children. Audiences should not come in expecting to see a children’s show. The themes are mature and the young ones rarely get to say anything they’d be likely to say outside of the show. They’ve risen to the occasion beautifully, expounding strings of large, complicated ideas that I think, would sound weird coming out of anyone, let alone a ten-year-old.
There’s also some blues music and shadow-play in the show. Something for everyone! (Except small children. Don’t bring the kids. We have a few foul words.)


The show is part of the IGNITE! Theatre Festival, May 5-10.
Monday, May 5: Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote and The Lies We Tell 6 pm
Tuesday, May 6: Party Princess No. Five and Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote 6 pm
Wednesday, May 7: The Lies We Tell and Party Princess Rule No. Five 6 pm
Thursday, May 8: The Lies We Tell and Party Princess Rule No. Five 6 pm
Friday, May 9: The Lies We Tell and Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote 6pm
Saturday, May 10: Party Princess Rule No. Five, Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote and The Lies We Tell 2 pm
Saturday, May 10: Party princess No. Five and Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote 6 pm

Tickets start at just $2 and can be purchased online.
Full festival information at igniteyouthfest.ca

‘Connect the Plots’: Gardening the Stage

The Cultch, in conjunction with the Environmental Youth Alliance, IGNITE!, Strathcona Community Gardens, and Theatre on Earth is proud to present Connect the Plots, an exciting youth program that has blossomed thanks to the nurturing hand of Rob Leveroos. This summer, the youth environmentalists/artists underwent a truly comprehensive experience, as they not only worked on the art of performance and acting, but cultivated their own ecological theatre/performance space.

Young actors giving the garden some TLC with spunky paint

An actor sporting a spooky mask, made by a member of Theatre on Earth

The garden boasts impressive local superlatives. It contains BC’s largest public heritage apple espalier and it’s the first public building in Vancouver to be granted a permit for the use of environmentally sustainable energy and waste treatment systems (the Eco-pavilion).

Vancouver's first Eco-pavilion

Refreshments will be prepared using the garden’s abundant harvest, coming from an orchard with 30 different kinds of fruit trees, a corn stalk wall, an herb garden, and a greenhouse. The seasonal pond and native trees are extra bonuses as they render the garden a friendly spot for wildlife. The theatre lobby includes a lovely lavender promenade and a spot with an upright ‘planted’ piano.

The orchard containing 30 different kinds of fruit trees

The Environmental Youth Alliance greenhouse

The seasonal pond

'Planting' the piano!

Connect the Plots has also received wide media coverage for its wholly unique and environmentally sound approach to theatre. The experience was learning about sustainability and local food sourcing as much as it was about improving the young artists’ craft in acting, music, and puppetry.

Read about the preview of Connect the Plots as covered by the Vancouver Sun here.

Check out the detailed review by the Georgia Straight here.

Check out the awesome work done by the Environmental Youth Alliance here.

Connect the Plots is ready for its sprightly unveiling on August 16 at 7pm.  It is running until Sunday (only three performances from Aug 16 – 18) so come on down to enjoy some theatre, outdoor fun, and lovingly-cultivated treats! Admission is by donation.

The Cultch wants YOUth!

The 2012/13 season of The Cultch’s Youth Panel kicks off this coming Monday, October 15th from 6-8pm in The Cultch’s board room. The Youth Panel is a programme where 25-30 young people from across the Lower Mainland will gather and start the think-tank that will become the 2013 IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival, showcasing the talents of hundreds of Vancouver youth. At its core, The Youth Panel is about leadership, mentorship, relationships, skill building, and the arts.

At The Cultch we believe in our community’s youth and we know they are our future active citizens. We believe in their abilities to create, to be self-empowered, to be leaders, and to build the best Youth-Driven Arts Festival imaginable!

To equip our youth panel members with the skills to turn the festival of their dreams into a reality, The Cultch hosts workshops throughout the year. The content of these workshops and activities are largely youth-driven and all activities are 100% free of charge.

The first workshop available only to Youth Panel members will be held on November 3, and will focus on facilitation.

Entre… Anna Soole

Anna is a professional seasoned facilitator, public speaker, child and youth worker and sexual health educator with over fourteen years of experience in individual and group development. She has been working in professional youth leadership since she was 18-years-old and, not only is she incredibly talented at working with youth in arts-based leadership and skill-building environments, she’s ridiculously fun too.

We had the opportunity to talk with Anna about her experiences working with the Youth Panel and here’s some of what she had to say:

There are four main values which I strive to foster amongst the youth that I work with: belonging, generosity, independence and mastery. These values make up The Circle of Courage which is a model of Indigenous youth empowerment. I am inspired by how the Ignite youth panel provides opportunities for youth to experience a sense of belonging and personal value as part of a team.”

By giving back to the community through artistic self expression and collaboration, Anna believes that this program incites a culture of generosity and that by providing a venue for youth to take the reins on creating a festival of their own – inside a context where mentorship and guidance is offered rather than enforced, they have the opportunity to foster a sense of independence and ultimately mastery in both the creative and technical aspects of artistic modalities.

Anna also feels that young people are the experts on their own lives and don’t need someone to tell them what to do but rather a gentle hand to offer guidance and mentorship when it is appropriate and otherwise to provide welcoming and accepting ears, eyes and a warm heart. This is an environment the Youth Panel strives to maintain and one that supports the youth to gain independence and to solidify important life skills.

Anna sees the Youth Panel as an invaluable pre-curser to all of life’s possible future endeavors because of the social, organizational, self-esteem and leadership skill building that intuitively happens while they’re having all that fun. She is a product of this kind of youth-driven programming so she knows the positive, long-term power that it can have on young lives. She also truly values the youth as equals and engages them in authentic participation throughout her workshops, enabling the youth to take an active role in leading a group of their peers in a game or on a specific topic of their expertise.

The last question we asked Anna was what she would say to herself if she could go back in time to her 15-year-old self and her answer was, “Trust yourself.” Very powerful words indeed.

The Youth Panel shows us their amazing talent every year with examples like the 2012 olivia Night Introductory Workshop. The Youth Panel organized and lead a full workshop, inviting youth from outside the Panel, facilitating meet and greets, team-building games, and ultimately pairing youth from different disciplines to work together and share experiences.
If you are a youth or you know a youth interested in the arts and in having a blast, you’re invited to join some of the coolest teens in the city this coming Monday, October 15th from 6-8pm in The Cultch’s board room.

Click here for more information or contact our Youth Program Manager, Robert Leveroos at robert@thecultch.com

Two Participants Spill the Beans On Their Life-Changing Experiences at The Cultch’s Summer Youth Camp

By Anna Kallage, Youth Program Intern

Summer Youth Camp

Ready for a life-changing summer camp experience?

Our summer camp is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to spend two weeks of the summer surrounded by other arts-engaged youth and professional artists from all over Vancouver to create a unique performance.

Howard Dai and Clare Atkinson, participants of last year’s summer camp, talk about their experiences and give you a peek at what to expect.

The Cultch: If The Cultch’s Summer Camp was a beverage, what would it be and why?

Howard Dai

Howard Dai, 2011 Summer Camp Participant

Howard Dai: It was like root beer to me, extremely addicting.

Clare Atkinson: If The Cultch’s Summer Camp was a beverage, it would be hot chocolate with cinnamon because it is comforting and sweet but has an unexpected spice that is exciting and new.

TC: So you drank the Kool-Aid; how was it? Describe in two sentences or less your experience at The Cultch’s Summer Camp.

HD: The environment [was] safe and creative. It was life-changing and inspiring.

CA: The Cultch’s Summer Camp was a transformative experience that opened me up to the joy of self expression and the thrill of sharing it with other young artists.

Clare Atkinson

Clare Atkinson, 2011 Summer Camp Participant

TC: What (or who!) made you sign up for the camp?

HD: I was doing research online to find the cheapest summer camp by a professional or reputable venue/company. The Cultch’s Summer Camp was the cheapest amongst them all!

CA: I signed up because I wanted to do a theatre program to see how I liked it and my mum suggested it because she saw it online and it is one of the only summer theatre programs for youth in Vancouver.

TC: Did the experience meet your expectations or blow them out of the water?

HD: It was out of the park. Totally exceeded my expectations.

CA: Blew them out of the water! I had expected it to be a program where we worked on a script for a final performance but it was much more. It wasn’t just about acting, it was about performing and all the different parts of you that go into making art. Also, making our own original work was really challenging and exciting.

TC: What’s your favourite ‘A-ha!’ moment from the camp?

HD: When we finished our final dress rehearsal and had a discussion in a circle. When I realized how much we could do when we came together and devoted ourselves into creating art.

CA: I think the morning after the showcase because I had felt a lot of anxiety over performing our work and then the morning after, I had a performance hangover but I realized that the showcase wasn’t about being a really amazing, entertaining show, it was about it representing the process to getting there and the experience itself.

TC: Do you have an outstanding memory or experience you would like to share?

HD: The physical theatre experience on the second day with Eric Miller from The Only Animal, the Suzuki Method Training and Composition site-specific theatre work was super useful.

CA: I really loved when we just sat in a circle and talked about art and performance and identity. Everyone shared their view and it was so interesting and fun.

TC: How has the camp influenced your life?

HD: It has inspired me to be not only a performer, but a better artist. I’ve learned how to express my ideas in the manner of creative arts, and I met many new friends who I can potentially work with in the field of art.

CA: I am definitely a lot more fearless when it comes to performance and I have a completely different view on art and acting that is incredibly valuable to me.

TC: Why should young people attend The Cultch’s Summer Youth Camp this coming August?

HD: It provides you an excellent opportunity to train and experiment with your creative ideas. It gives you workshops of all elements essential for a theatre project. It gives you full access to the venue. And you are guaranteed to create the best art work ever!

CA: Young people should attend the camp because it is an environment where you are allowed to completely explore yourself and your identity with performing arts, which is an opportunity which we don’t actually get that often.

The Summer Camp runs from August 13th – 24th at The Cultch. The regular tuition fee is $600 including all taxes and service charges. But if you register before June 30, you will get the early-bird discount and will save $100!

The Cultch is also making a small number of bursaries available to Summer Camp participants that demonstrate a need for support. If you are interested in obtaining a bursary please email our Youth Program Intern Anna Kallage at youth_intern@thecultch.com with the following information:

Why do you want to attend this year’s Summer Camp and what do you hope to get out of the experience?

In most cases, The Cultch is only able to offer partial support towards the Summer Camp’s tuition fee. Please indicate if you are able to contribute a portion of the fee and what that amount would be.

More Summer Youth Camp information can be found here.

Interview with Eric Miller of The Only Animal, Company in Residence for The Cultch’s Youth Summer Camp 2012

Here at The Cultch’s Youth Program headquarters, we are hard at work putting together one of the most ambitious programs we’ve ever created: The Cultch Summer Camp for high school-aged youth. The program, which runs August 13 – 24, brings together the artistic directors of one of Vancouver’s most respected independent performing arts companies (The Only Animal) to work as mentors for groups of youth putting together their own multi-disciplinary performance project. We sat down Artistic Director Eric Miller of The Only Animal to find out more.

The Cultch: Tell us about the history of The Only Animal’s involvement in The Cultch’s Summer Camp 2012.

Sea of Sand

Matt Palmer and Billy Marchenski in The Only Animal's Sea of Sand photo by Michael Sider

Eric Miller: This is our third year in residence. In 2010 Kendra Fanconi worked with Marcus Youseff of Neworld Theatre and Tara Cheyenne Freidenberg to create an original one act play written by the participants. In the second, as the sole company in residence, we explored the theme of growing up and growing older for a multimedia storytelling project in development called Out On A Limb. This year we are again inviting youth to work with us developing a project we plan to fully produce. Always, we emphasize the creation of original work: we are interested in collaborative explorations that give our young artists a set of tools and a chance to try them out.

TC: This year’s summer camp is a bit different than years past in that you’re working with a script (Lord of the Flies). How will this year’s summer camp be different because of this and why the change?

EM: Since last year’s exploration of a work in progress was fun and fruitful, we decided to try again. It gets us even more excited about doing it, and it gets the participants involved in a real-world project. Every project has its givens. This year’s focus on Lord of the Flies will be a chance to use a given text as a starting point. We’ll teach movement, voice, ensemble creation skills…and this year add a site-specific component where we go and see what its like to create outside the black box of the conventional playhouse.

TC: Why Lord of the Flies? What’s the advantage of telling this story with a bunch of teenagers?

EM: We are interested in why people fall into violence, and why they choose to be good human beings. Does that learning to be good come from outside or from within? The story is about young people dealing with catastrophe, what choices they make when they don’t have adults looking over their shoulders. We think this is something teenagers can really understand. LOTF was a forerunner of the post-apocalyptic fiction that is so big right now (like “The Hunger Games“) and we think it could speak again in today’s world, with today’s kids.

TC: Your company, The Only Animal, has always been known for their inventive site-specific theatre work. For those of us that don’t know, can you explain what site-specific theatre is and what is it about this type of creation that excites you?

EM: Site-specific theatre is theatre of place. There’s a wide variety of work that gets called site-specific, but generally it comes out of a deep exploration of a place that is interesting to the artist. To us it means looking at the physical and natural world as a source of inspiration. We look at the materials at hand, like water and sand, and imagine what metaphors they suggest, like snow and ice suggest a thaw, both physical and psychological, and that was the seed of NiX. The story then emerges from that central metaphor and the characters that might inhabit the site. We love the adventure of working outside the black box. It sometimes requires a magnified and very physical performance style, which I personally enjoy. It stretches our artistic teams to invent and solve big creative challenges!


Andy Kimber, Rocardo Fonseca, Rylan Wilkie in NiX created by The Only Animal. Trudie Lee Photography


Lucia Frangione in NiX created by The Only Animal. Trudie Lee Photography

TC: We’ve heard that this year you will be taking the summer camp participants to the water park on Granville Island. What do you hope to achieve from a day at the water park?

Granville Island Waterpark

Granville Island Waterpark

EM: In using a waterpark as the site we enter a special place with special rules, where the role of ‘play’ in forming our identities, relationships, and moral choices is right there: it’s a part of the place itself. The day at the water park will be a chance to touch on the possibilities and challenges of taking theatre work outdoors. We’ll get to experiment with staging using the existing structures, how it feels to perform outside, and of course, how much fun it is to use water!

TC: You’ll be bringing in an all-star team of guest instructors to lead specific training workshops. Can you give us a sneak peek of who might be joining you?

EM: Top Secret: Access Denied. Well, maybe one. David Jordan brought us the idea of doing Lord of the Flies in a waterpark, and he’s my co-director on the project. He’s going to take time off from running the Vancouver International Fringe Festival to do scene work with us.

TC: Past summer campers have said it’s an experience like none-other. What do you think makes this process camp so unique?

EM: I’m not sure exactly. Maybe it’s the combination of really rigorous theatre training with the freedom to collaborate with each other. I won’t be sitting behind a table moving actors around like chess pieces. We insist that our participants bring everything they’ve got, no matter what age or experience, and we trust that the collaborative work will generate surprising, powerful, and personal expression. So far, that has been true. And the success so far has been in large part due to The Cultch and the trust they have invested in the process. We are grateful, and stoked for August!

So what will happen this summer when groups of youth are given full access to our theatres, are paired with some of the most creative minds in the country, and told that the sky is limit? We are expecting that it will result in a one-of-a-kind, life changing, and inspirational experience for the youth involved. Other than that… we’ll have to wait and see!

Register before June 30 for The Cultch’s 2012 Summer Camp and save $100. Register now through The Cultch Box Office by phone at 604.251.1363, in person at 1895 Venables Street or online at tickets.thecultch.com.

IGNITE! Youth Festival’s Visual Arts Exhibition now in the Gallery until June 3rd, 2012

IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival 2012

IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival 2012

Once again, the Cultch Gallery presents the IGNITE! Youth Festival’s Visual Arts Exhibition in the month of May.

Every year, for one week, The Cultch is taken over and transformed by young people. Hundreds of youth are involved in what has grown to be Vancouver’s largest youth-driven arts festival: IGNITE! This festival includes showcases in music, dance, and spoken word, the world premiere of three one-act plays, a visual arts exhibit, variety shows featuring diverse forms of entertainment, and much more. All of this is created by local artists between the ages of 13-24. During the festival, these events take place in our Historic Theatre, the Vancity Culture Lab, the main lobby and the café galleries.

In the gallery, the theme of the show revolves around change, and presents some of the best young talent Vancouver has to offer. We are proud to showcase this next generation of visual artists and we hope you come enjoy them too!

The Cultch’s Summer Camp and The Only Animal: A Collaboration Between Emerging and Experienced Performers

When 16 high-school aged youth signed up for The Cultch Summer Camp, they were promised the opportunity to collaborate with real-world mentors currently working in the arts. Over the course of the next two weeks, our summer campers will learn all the necessary skills to put a production together from the group up. Our company-in-residence this year is The Only Animal, whose work exemplifies a modern and innovative approach to theatre. Their plays have involved animation and interactive video and have been staged in warehouses, on the beach, and in snow and ice.

The Only Animal's "NiX, Theatre of Snow and Ice"

The Only Animal's "NiX, Theatre of Snow and Ice"

The Only Animal co-artistic director Kendra Fanconi was involved in last year’s summer camp. The company is returning because, according to Fanconi’s Only Animal partner Eric Rhys Miller, “We love to work with young and emerging artists.” Both Miller and Fanconi are veterans of summer theatre camps and are excited to work with such a diverse group of Vancouver youth. The experience is a bit like preparation for one of The Only Animal’s new projects-entitled Out on a Limb – which “brings youth and elders together to question assumptions about each other,” says Miller. “We’re interested in what it’s like to grow up and grow older, and in a collaboration between these two communities of young people and older people.” The resulting conversations will be recorded and used for a multimedia installation that will be projected onto trees in a park. Says Miller, “Trees, growth, community, old and young: we’re putting them all together in a new way that will hopefully spark some insights and strengthen connections.”

For The Cultch Summer Camp, The Only Animal will be bringing a varied set of talent to help lead the participants. Among this talented bunch is Vanessa Richards, a Caribbean-Canadian artist with a background in music, art making, and community engaged projects. Keith Murray is a multimedia and performance artist who has also worked in theatre. David Roche is a storyteller and teacher who leads workshops and performs all over North America. “It’s a fantastic team,” says Miller. “The participants can expect to learn a huge amount about various approaches to creating performance – including storytelling, multimedia, writing, musical theatre and devising – and will apply those lessons directly to creating their own live and multimedia performance in The Cultch on August 26th!”

The concluding evening of The Cultch’s summer camp, Friday August 26th presenting the production created in collaboration with the summer camp participants and The Only Animal, is open to the public, starts at 8pm, and admission is by donation. We hope to see you there!

The Cultch Summer Camp 2010 image

Image from the final performance of The Cultch's 2010 Summer Camp

Young Playwright Chris Nyarady talks about seeing his play performed on The Cultch stage at the 2011 IGNITE! Youth Festival

From April 25 to 30, The Cultch was taken over by eager and energetic youth for the IGNITE! Youth Festival. Hundreds of youth from across the Lower Mainland came together for a week of amazing performances. We caught up with youth playwright Chris Nyarady about the experience of seeing his play Hide and Go Sell performed on The Cultch stage. Check out what he had to say about the process of writing, re-writing and finally seeing nearly four years of work come together for the first time.

Photograph from Hide and Go Sell

"Hide and Go Sell" was part of the IGNITE! Youth Festival at The Cultch that ran April 25-30, 2011.

By Chris Nyarady

I don’t claim to know everything about writing, but from what I’ve experienced so far, writing is like hunting a giant mythological creature.  You want to believe you’re after something amazing and one of a kind. You might have an idea of what you’re after, but you don’t know for sure. It’s all purely speculation. Hell, what you’re after might not even exist at all, but damn it, you’ve got your mission, and you’re going to see it through. As you write/hunt, you begin to find out more about your prey. Perhaps it confirms what you already thought, but sometimes you make some startling discoveries. This creature that you thought had a horn, actually had two. And wings powerful enough to create localized tornadoes! Damn! Didn’t see that one coming. A big change, but nevertheless, the hunt must continue.

I had been hunting my script, Hide and Go Sell, since 2008, and believe me, it went through some radical metamorphoses. What started as a simple examination of the power of advertisements turned into a semi-spy thriller/comedy with a rather sombre ending. All of this even before I heard of IGNITE! and The Cultch.

At one point, the trail had gotten cold on my mythological creature hunt. I was close, so close, but somehow that tricky devil had eluded me.  Luckily, I happened to be part of an organization called PARC (Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre) that sent a weekly newsletter. I owe a lot to them for helping me further my career as a young playwright, and for alerting me of IGNITE! and The Cultch. The hunt was back on. (more…)

Announcing the 2011 IGNITE! Mentorship Program

IGNITE! Mentorship Program poster 2011

IGNITE! Mentorship Program poster 2011

By Corbin Murdoch, Cultch Youth Program Manager

The Cultch’s Youth Program is proud to present the fourth season of our IGNITE! Mentorship Program. IGNITE! is designed to offer youth in Vancouver unprecedented access to professional artists and to demystify what it takes to build a career in the arts. In 2011 we will be offering mentorship programs in songwriting, spoken word, dance, directing and playwriting.

“Not only has the program allowed me to meet and work with a professional playwright that I admire, it also introduced me to a group of like-minded youth who share my love of the theatre. The program has made me want to continue to be active in the theatre even more, and all in all, has been one of the best experiences of my life.” – Jennifer Bednard, 2010 Playwriting Mentorship participant

The program is free for young artists between the ages of 13-24 who want to pursue a career in the arts. Each participant is paired with a professional for a series of participant-driven one-on-one workshops. In addition, the youth receive skill-building workshops with industry professionals in areas such as grant writing and media relations, an opportunity to document their work in a professional studio environment, and a showcase performance on The Cultch’s stage.

IGNITE! Mentorships - dance workshop with Ron Stewart

2009 Dance Mentorship with Ron Stewart

The Cultch has recruited an amazing roster of mentors for the 2010/2011 Season. They are:


Building a greener future: Plans are made for a living wall at The Cultch

planting the green wall with members of The Cultch's Youth Panel

The final configuration of the green wall

It’s alive! Next spring, a living green wall is making its way to The Cultch with the help of the Environmental Youth Alliance and our very own Youth Panel.  Selected by the Environmental Youth Alliance, The Cultch will be one of four buildings scheduled to have a living wall installed by gsky. Hoping to engage local citizens in the green building movement, the Alliance will partner with a number of Vancouver organisations to increase the awareness of green wall technologies and add a touch more green space to our city. Rooted in our commitment to be on top of the latest in environmental engineering, we were thrilled to be a part of this project!

Construction is planned for the south facing side of The Cultch with completion aimed for spring. Seeing as this is no ordinary wall, following a special installation process is a must. So first things first, the seeds must be planted! Like any garden (vertical or horizontal) healthy plants come from carefully cultivated seedlings, so last week our wall vegetation was planted and then will be cared for at a nursery in anticipation of next spring’s installation.  And with our soon-to-be wall fostering evergreens and flowering plants, what a beautiful spring it will be!

Consisting of a complex plant system, the 120 square foot wall garden will be built and maintained with gravity in mind. Essentially a hanging garden, the wall is made up of specially designed 12″ x 12″ plant boxes that are hung from a railing installed on the side of The Cultch.  Irrigation pipes are then placed between each row to administer water and fertilizer as needed. Our Youth Panel, guided by the Environmental Youth Alliance, will then maintain and monitor the plant system to ensure its health. All in all, it’s a fairly intricate system and possibly explained better by the professionals at http://gsky.com/green-walls/panels/.