A time for Remembrance: Women in War

A time for Remembrance: Women in War

This month, The Cultch is presenting the Ceasefire Series: an exploration of war to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice of WWI. The series features three unique shows that explore the causes, effects, and traumas of war from different lenses; one taking place during WWI (SmallWaR), one taking place during WWII (Three Winters), and one taking place in contemporary times (The Believers Are But Brothers). We hope you will come and enjoy all three!

Inspired by Amiel Gladstone’s fictional recontextualization of his grandfather’s war experience in Three Winters, Outreach Intern, Charlotte Wright, wanted to share the story of her own grandmother’s heroic journey in WWII.

After seeing any of the shows in this series, if you would like to share your reflections, memories, or stories, please email us at outreach@thecultch.com


As we approach a very special Remembrance Day we are flooded with images and stories of the incredible and heroic soldiers that gave their lives. But, as important as it is to remember the two generations of men that were ravaged by two world wars, it’s also important not to forget the women – who weren’t just left behind, but who were fighting battles of their own.

Marija Rudzites, my Grandmother, was imprisoned in a Nazi labour camp at the age of 17 near Riga, Latvia. When she spoke about her time there, which wasn’t often, she remembered pushing what little food she had through a barbed wire fence into the hands of the starving children in the concentration camp on the other side.

Upon her release, when Latvia was “liberated” from Nazi rule by the Soviets, she was given a choice: stay or leave. She, alone, chose to leave. She walked across war ridden Eastern Europe, leaving her entire family behind. She spent her days trekking across the continent for months on end; she spent her nights sleeping in fields and barns in the dead of winter, avoiding air raids that lit up the night sky like fireworks. I don’t know much about what else she faced on this journey, as she didn’t speak about it much, but I’m sure the horrors that I can picture don’t even begin to come close.

When she finally arrived at her destination, England, she was alone in a country where the language was not one of the three others that she spoke. After securing a job working in a hospital kitchen, she began to study. Before long, she hadn’t just mastered this new language; she had also been appointed one of the top nurses in the hospital. She returned to Latvia once, just before I was born. I am told that as soon as she got off of the plane, she knelt on the floor and kissed the ground – so grateful to have finally come home.

Photo by Emily Cooper

It’s not often that we hear the stories of the women that lived through these wars. We often forget to consider our grandmothers just as deserving of hero status as our grandfathers. People find it unusual that the events that take place in Three Winters are being told by women, when all the experiences were had by men. But the women were there too. Women lived and died too. Besides, at the end of the day when all the men were gone, who was left behind to tell their stories?

A time for Remembrance: Three Winters captures the defiance of the human spirit

A time for Remembrance: Three Winters captures the defiance of the human spirit

Louise Chapman, Cultch Development Associate

This November The Cultch is presenting the Ceasefire Series: an exploration of war to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice of WWI. The series features three unique shows that explore the causes, effects, and traumas of war from different lenses; one taking place during WWI (SmallWaR), one taking place during WWII (Three Winters), and one taking place in contemporary times (The Believers Are But Brothers). We hope you will come and enjoy all three!

Our Development Associate, Louise Chapman, had the opportunity to hear the early read through of Three Winters. She responded by writing this post.

After seeing any of the shows in this series, if you would like to share your reflections, memories, or stories, please email us at outreach@thecultch.com


 

Playwright, Amiel Gladstone revisits the site of his Grandfather’s internment

Part of the Ceasefire Series, Three Winters is a based on the true-life experiences of Playwright and Director Amiel Gladstone’s Grandfather in Stalag Luft III, a World War Two Prisoner of War (POW) Camp. Stalag Luft has become one of the most infamous POW camps of the war, mostly due to the escapes engineered by the Canadian, US and British soldiers held there.

Three Winters is set against the backdrop of the famous escape, but the real focus is the plays that the soldiers perform in the camp. Men in Stalag Luft were sent plays by the Red Cross which they staged in the camp, providing a creative space to escape to during the long months of incarceration.

The 1963 film with Steve McQueen immortalized the escape efforts of the prisoners in Stalag Luft III

 

I’m from the UK and growing up, every Christmas I would sit down with my Grandpa and watch the The Great Escape, an iconic 1960s movie based on the Stalag Luft story. We’d laugh at the jokes, whoop at Steve Mcqueen’s motorbike stunts, and hum the theme song for days afterwards.

My Grandpa was in his early twenties when World War Two started. He lost his best friend, watched his city turn to rubble in the Blitz, and experienced the brutality of the army. Like many people who have experienced war, he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and had nightmares into his nineties. Yet he found humour in the darkest of memories and would wistfully recall dances, dates with barmaids in towns he was stationed in, and one boozy night when he slept through a bomb blowing the roof off the house was staying in.

I’ve found this same humour in other people of my Grandpa’s generation. My friend Helma, now in her nineties, lost both her brother’s in the conflict. She still cries with laughter when telling stories of how, in occupied Holland, she would win local potato peeling competitions. Even friends who lived through the more recent Gulf War in Kuwait will share hilarious anecdotes of people escaping whilst hidden in boxes of underwear drenched in pungent fish sauce.

The characters in Three Winters, performed by an all-female cast, have the golden glow of youth that tinged my own Grandpa’s memories. They banter, they joke, they dream of the future and their sweethearts back home. In a world where millions are suffering and dying and their own fates are so uncertain, they explore morality and humanity in the form of theatre. Three Winters captures this defiance – to laugh and dream and live in the face of hopelessness.


Three Winters runs Nov 7-17 at the Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363. See all three Ceasefire Series shows for as low as $65 with The Cultch’s Choose 3 Subscription package.

Javaad Alipoor: The Believers Are But Brothers looks at the shape of contemporary violence

Javaad Alipoor: The Believers Are But Brothers looks at the shape of contemporary violence

The Believers Are But Brothers (part of our Ceasefire Series) is in full swing in our Vancity Culture Lab (runs until Nov 10), and it has been getting amazing reviews!

“The textural variety of the show is rich…There’s more to take in than a single viewing affords; that’s an enormous achievement.”— Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

“The Believers Are But Brothers is about the internet and it’s like the internet: it’s bursting with information and I’m not sure how to make sense of it, but I find it really f**king stimulating.”— Colin Thomas

“It’s an impressive and important show.”—Lincoln Kaye, Vancouver Observer

We had a chat with the writer/director/performer, Javaad Alipoor about creating the show that The Georgia Straight said “clicks all the links”:

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a mixed race writer, director, poet, and political/social activist from a city in northern England called Bradford. I tend to make work that tries to encode the questions it asks about the world in the form of the play; whether my own writing like this play or my versions of classic plays. I also do a lot of community and participatory art works, and try to keep my hand in some other stuff too; I helped to set up a campaigning group that defends migrants in the UK, and write about politics and social theory occasionally.

What inspired the creation of The Believers Are But Brothers?

Really, I wanted to decanter the Islamophobic and racist narratives around the war on terror. So if you look at a lot of the ways that so-called “Muslim radicalisation” is talked about its as if we are told there is a problem with Muslim young men. To be slightly tongue in cheek, there’s just a problem with men; and that’s what this play explores.

We are so excited to have you here as part of our Ceasefire Series: An exploration of war to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice of WWI. With this series we set out to start conversations around the cause and effects of war; in what way does this show add to that conversation?

I think there are some ideas in the play that will help people to think about (and ask questions about) the shape of contemporary violence, and in particular how it exists as a sort of fantasy that helps to order a masculinity that finds itself in crisis. From Brexit to Trump, Modi to Bolsonaro, a revanchist and vicious right wing masculinity is ripping through the world. We need to think about what it is, if we are ever going to stop it.

The Believers Are But Brothers is also a co-production with Diwali in BC, and part of this year’s Diwali celebration. We understand that Diwali celebrates “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”; how do you think that your show brings light and knowledge to issues we are often ignorant of?

I think a lot of the show is about things that people sort of know exist, or have heard of, but that exist just at the corner of vision. The bits of the internet just below the surface, or the young man in the room in the corner of your eye. Hopefully, we turn the light from the centre onto the fringe for a moment or two.

The Believers are but Brothers
Credit: The Other Richard

The Believers Are But Brothers utilizes the app Whatsapp—it is a rare show that people are encouraged to keep their phones on for! How does having people actively engaging via the app change the relationship between you, as the performer, and the audience?

A lot of my work, especially the stuff I write myself, tends to be work that responds to the physical reality of performers and audience being a room together, so in one sense its not all that different. I suppose what this extra level of interactivity brings out is a sense of liveness (weirdly, given that the audience engage through a screen!) that helps me to tell a little bit of the story about the way that we can often be over faces or consumed by the velocity of digital media.

Have you been to Vancouver before? What are you most excited to see or do while you are in town?

I haven’t been here before. I’m really looking forward to seeing some theatre and film here, as well as seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I’ve heard pretty great things about BC wine and seafood too.

The Believers Are But Brothers runs in the Vancity Culture Lab until Nov 10. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363. See all three Ceasefire Series shows for as low as $65 with The Cultch’s Choose 3 Subscription package.

Staff Picks #3: don’t miss these highly recommended shows!

Don’t miss these highly recommended shows!

Jamie King, Box Office Attendant, recommends Kamloopa, Sept 25-Oct 6, 2018 AND New Cackle Sisters: Kitchen Chicken, April 2-6, 2019

Jamie King, Box Office Staff, couldn’t pick just one show from our 2018/19 Season!

Kamloopa – This is a brand new show from Kim Harvey who is one of the coolest people on the planet. Not only does it have some incredible Indigenous women onstage, but there is “no crying and no dying”. These women are badass, hilarious and in for an awesome adventure story . Beside writing and directing, Kim is facilitating the most incredible process in the rehearsal room, in talks with the community; this is more than a show – it’s medicine. I cannot wait to see it.

New Cackle Sisters: Kitchen Chicken – I think I cried out with joy when I saw we were bringing l’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres back this season. Think of performance art meets incredible Appalachian bluegrass, meets weirdly funny and sometimes erotic performers. After two amazing shows featuring Tom Waits & Kurt Weill’s music, I am PUMPED they are focusing on female voices and getting weird with some chicken.


Andrew McCaw, Production Manager, recommends A Brief History of Human Extinction, Oct 10-20, 2018

Andrew McCaw, Production Manager

 

 

Some of the artists involved in A Brief History of Human Extinction worked on the show in our studio earlier this summer. It was fascinating to see artists from very different disciplines develop a language to work with each other. The term “Puppeturgy” was jokingly coined. I am excited to see how it all comes together.


Cindy Reid, Managing Director, recommends Testosterone, Oct 2-13, 2018

Cindy Reid, Managing Director, a big fan of nudity!

 

 

 

I am really looking forward to Testosterone. I am interested in personal stories of transformation, and it looks like it’s going to be an interesting ride! Plus, nudity and strong language—should be a good night out!


Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363 | Save 20% with our Choose 5 subscription package or 25% with our Choose 8 subscription package! This year we also have a Choose 3 package—see three different shows for as little as $65!

We party because we are grateful!

July 12 was our annual Volunteer Appreciation BBQ!

Over the course of the 2017/18 season, over 5000 hours were contributed by Cultch volunteers! Every time you attend a Cultch or rental presentation, our wonderful team of volunteers is there to greet you, answer questions and guide you to your seats. Volunteers also help us as event photographers, office receptionists and assist with a variety of administrative jobs.
We are so very grateful to have this amazing group of over 200 people as a part of The Cultch family, and we had a blast partying with them earlier this month!
If you, or someone you know, would be interested in volunteering at The Cultch this season, please contact Lee Newman, Volunteer Coordinator, at volunteer@thecultch.com

Staff Picks #2: 2018/19 Season shows that we don’t want you to miss!

2018/19 Season shows that we don’t want you to miss!

The second blog post in a summer series featuring some of the 2018/19 shows that our staff just cant wait for! Read the first post here!


Lee Newman, Assistant to Head Front of House Manager / Volunteer Coordinator. Still photo from Parlour Panther music video by Grace Gadston at Jaunty Media

Lee Newman, Assistant to Head Front of House Manager/ Volunteer Coordinator, Dakh Daughters, Jan 15- 19, 2019

I am so excited for Dakh Daughters, starting January 15th at The York Theatre, part of the Femme Series. They bring this thrilling and captivating power to their performance that I LOVE. I am fascinated by how modern musicians perform, because these days the performance component is often much more than just people with their instruments. The Dakh Daughters use theatrical elements with their bodies, their voices, their instruments, their costumes, and the lighting, all in a uniquely bold and gritty style to create an unforgettable performance! And this I just got from the youtube clip on The Cultch’s website! I cannot WAIT for the live version.


Natalie Schneck, Development Associate. Photo by Tiana He

Natalie Schneck, Development Associate, This Duet We’ve Already Done (so many times), Nov 27 – Dec 1, 2018

I am excited for This Duet We’ve Already Done (so many times). For me, Frédérick Gravel’s work always feels like a sexy rock show with sophisticated themes woven throughout. I often sense a tension between power/persona and vulnerability. Both Frédérick and Brianna are charismatic performers and I am curious to see the energy that’s created when they work together.

 

 

 


Meghan Robinson, Rentals Sales Manager. Photo by Tiana He

Meghan Robinson, Rentals Sales Manager, NASSIM, May 7 – 19, 2019

I can’t begin to describe how excited I am to have Nassim Soleimanpour at The Cultch. His production “White Rabbit, Red Rabbit” was one of the most powerful pieces of theatre I have ever seen. It established my passion and adoration for the theatre. I have faith that “Nassim” will have a similar affect. I have no doubt that it will both connect audiences, and blow them away, from the moment the script is taken out of its envelope.

 

 


Leslie Dos Remedios, Sales Associate. Photo by Tiana He

Leslie Dos Remedios, Sales Associate, The Ones We Leave Behind, Oct 24- Nov 3, 2018

I’m excited to see The Ones We Leave Behind. It’s been so rewarding seeing VACT, Loretta and the entire creative team develop this show for over a year. It’s also great to have an ensemble show from VACT on The Cultch stage – we get to be a place where underrepresented voices have a platform to tell our stories.

 

 

 


Single tickets go on sale July 16, but you can purchase a subscription today to save! 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.

DONOR SPOTLIGHT: Jim Miller

DONOR SPOTLIGHT: Jim Miller

Jim Miller loves The Cultch!

Jim, you have been a subscriber to The Cultch for many years. Can you tell us what first attracted you?
I don’t know if my memory goes back 30 years! But I’d guess it must have been a totally unique, singular presentation of some sort…like theatre-for-one, or something set inside a neighbourhood home.
Perhaps a performance without words or presented in total darkness. I think the Cultch should use as their slogan: “Why Be Normal?”.

What do you think is distinctive about The Cultch and our programming?
Well, carrying on with that thought, Cultch programming always piques my interest and curiosity, as in: “What the heck is going on here?…this is crazy!” There are a bunch of places I can go to be “entertained”, but I also want to be challenged. Or perhaps be exposed to a new form of artistic expression I had never previously experienced. Like the “Bouffon Comedy” on display with The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius last November. I didn’t know much about it going in, but after the show I was all over Google to learn more about Bouffon! Simply put, the Cultch programs performances that just aren’t found anywhere else in town!

What has surprised you most about The Cultch?
Surprised me? That goes back 20 years or more. Nothing at The Cultch surprises me anymore; indeed, I’ve grown to expect it.

Last Season’s The After After Party, Hot Brown Honey, Goblin Market and Bears…that’s what I EXPECT from the Cultch. Next year it’ll be Backbone, Mrs. Krishnan’s Party, and Dakh Daughters that will be invading your stage from some other planet. If the Cultch were to present a gay, all-nude staging of Romeo & Juliette I don’t think I would be surprised…I’d be intrigued, and would want to check it out!
Let me revise my suggested slogan…make it: “Expect The Unexpected!”

Can you tell us what you wish other people knew about The Cultch?
First, what a terrific value it is. With subscription seats for less than 20 bucks, you are paying about the same as what it would cost to see Spiderman 8 or the pre-prequel of Star Wars. And second…it is an opportunity to learn, not just be entertained. That’s why I tend to always go on the Talkback nights. These artists’ brains are wired completely differently than me, and I want to find out about their vision, what they are trying to achieve, and perhaps about the unorthodox route they took getting there.
Sometimes I’ve had mixed feeling about a show I just witnessed, but when I stay for the Talkback and get to hear from the director and cast what they were trying to achieve, or perhaps the rich tradition that the particular performance style drew upon, it casts a whole new light on the show and gives me deeper appreciation for it.

What would you tell someone is thinking about subscribing and/or donating to The Cultch but hasn’t made the move yet?
Take A Chance! That’s how you discover a new live musical genre or perhaps a great new restaurant or cuisine. When you discover something that is right up your alley but you never knew existed it is like an Epiphany.

Not every show at the Cultch will resonate with you, but Wow, once you’ve discovered the East Van Panto or Ronnie Burkett’s puppetry there is no turning back; you’re hooked and end up going every year out of tradition! You don’t even have to think about it!

The same holds true for plays put on by United Players, E.T.C., PuSh and Studio 58, plus performances by Winter Harp, our Chamber Music Societies, ScotiaBank Dance Theatre, Cinema Salon, etc…they might be a step outside of a person’s comfort zone but often a very affordable step in an entirely new direction. Slogan?: “Broaden Your Perspective”…hmm, probably already taken!

What inspires your love of the performing arts?

Well, everybody has their “Escape”. It might be reading books, or cycling 20 km’s, or taking pottery classes… and they are all good. But for me, I’m passionate about all forms of the performing Arts…theatre, dance, music… from Jazz to Chamber to Symphonic. The Cultch played a big part in cultivating that interest, starting more than 3 decades ago, and I am blessed to be in a city with so much tremendous talent to sustain my passion…far more talent than you would normally expect from a city of this size.

But it can’t be taken for granted…our artists have mortgages, household budgets and pay a buck-fifty per litre of gas, just like everyone else, but they usually don’t enjoy an income commensurate with their training and ability. I see as much as I do, and as much as I can, 150 performances or more per year, in part to support the artists and to help ensure an ongoing vibrant arts scene here in Vancouver. That’s also why I donate to the Cultch. It gives them the ability to provide an ever increasing number of shows (count ’em, 23 next season!), and sustain our artists rather than having them give-up on their passion and go back to some boring day job!

Keep up the good work Cultch!


As a registered Canadian charity, The Cultch relies on the support of the community to operate as a cultural hub; bringing diverse and engaging live performance to the stage.
Please consider making a donation today! Contact Natalie Schneck, Development Associate: natalie@thecultch.com; 604.251.1766 x.121
Charitable registration # 11928 1574 RR0001

2018/19 Season staff picks!

2018/19 Season staff picks!

As you can imagine, all of the staff here at The Cultch are getting very excited to share the 2018/19 Season with you! We asked a few of our staff members what show they just cannot wait for, and here are the first few staff picks:


Elysse Cheadle, Head Front of House Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, SmallWaR, Nov 6-16, 2018

Elysse Cheadle, Head Front of House Manager and Volunteer Coordinator.

SmallWaR entices me because it is the follow-up to one of my favorite shows we have had here at The Cultch: BigMouth. Valentijn Dhaenens is an extremely powerful performer, who displayed a totally magnetic kind of controlled weight and erratic; as if he was at any moment going to burst in any direction. In addition to Valentijn’s performance, it was the beautiful execution of a simple concept that drew me to BigMouth (one man performs a series of famous speeches made by over 25 000 years of human history). Similarly, SmallWaR is focusing its attention in on one moment: a dying soldier reflecting on the impact of the cyclical trauma of war on his life and the history of humanity. In BigMouth, Valentijn made use of 5 microphones in a wildly creative and impactful manner. I can’t wait to see how the same experimentation is applied to the use of five projectors in SmallWaR.


Paul Phalen, Business Development & Hospitality Manager. Photo by Tiana He

Paul Phalen, Business Development & Hospitality Manager, Testosterone, Oct 2- 13, 2018

I am so excited to see Testoserone, and to open the discussion about masculinity. How masculine do you have to be, to be a “man”? This amazing production explores a character’s journey into the unknown spectrum that is masculinity, having just transitioned from female to male. “Do you think you’re man enough?”


Kelly Barker, Artistic Associate, Power Ballad, Jan 22-26, 2019

I’m really excited about Power Ballad which is going to be part of our Femme Series in January. This one-woman show, from New Zealand, is a feminist, performance-art, karaoke party – what could be better?! The imagery I’ve seen is striking and the reviews are great. I think it’s going to be an awesome night which will have you singing along while deconstructing the patriarchy and examining the way we use language. A unique show not to be missed!


Single tickets go on sale July 16, but you can purchase a subscription today to save! 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.

Corporate Sponsor Spotlight: Giulio Recchioni from the Italian Cultural Centre

Corporate Sponsor Spotlight: Giulio Recchioni from the Italian Cultural Centre

Giulio Recchioni

Can you tell us how the Italian Cultural Centre first got involved with The Cultch?

Our very first time at The Cultch was in March 2012 with FRESCO, a play the Italian Cultural Centre commissioned from Lucia Frangione and BellaLuna Productions, telling the lesser known story of the internment of Italian citizens in Canada during WW2.

However the first proper partnership with The Cultch was in May 2017 with LA MERDA, featuring a naked Silvia Gallerano sitting on a stool on a dark stage… what a tough show that was!

What has surprised you and your colleagues most about partnering with The Cultch?

I was surprised by the richness and diversification of the shows offered at The Cultch, and also by the number of people that created a community around this historical institution in Vancouver;  some of the audience changes according to what’s playing, but there is also a hard core audience that comes to every show. I think that’s great. They trust The Cultch, they know whatever gets put on stage will be good and will have an impact on them, and they come with an open mind.

Over the years, the Italian Cultural Centre has supported several Cultch shows. Are there any highlights or memorable moments?

I still can’t help but smile when I think of Pss Pss and what they did with the ladder. Pss Pss was a funny show by Compagnia Baccalà that made adults and children laugh with non-verbal humour. In our line of work, cross-generational and cross-cultural are adjectives we use constantly, but this show brilliantly embodied both concepts.

How important do you think it is that the arts organizations continue to cultivate and sustain partnerships with corporate sponsors and local businesses?

It’s of paramount importance. The population is growing in this expensive city, and we are also seeing the consequential multiplication of cultural and artistic organizations. Often putting up cultural activities costs more money than ticket sales can generate, and government grants (municipal, provincial, federal) do not always keep up with the growing demand for funds. I hope more and more thriving businesses will want to share some of their wealth with the local community to keep this city interesting and interested.

What are you curious about right now?

I am curious about the new Creative City Strategy that the City will be rolling out – hopefully soon. There have been a number of explorative meetings to get an idea of what is needed in the arts and culture sector, and I can’t wait to see how all that knowledge will convert into an action plan.

Do you have a favorite show?

This is always such an unfair question… I see a decent number of shows throughout the year, and I have to constantly update my list of favourites. If I had to single out something I saw recently, though – I am a jazz fan, and I was lucky enough to go to Pyatt Hall for the live concert of the great baritone sax player, Gary Smulyan, with strings. He is a powerhouse!


As a registered Canadian charity, The Cultch relies on the support of the community to operate as a cultural hub; bringing diverse and engaging live performance to the stage.
Please consider making a donation today! Contact Natalie Schneck, Development Associate: natalie@thecultch.com; 604.251.1766 x.121
Charitable registration # 11928 1574 RR0001

Donor Spotlight: Lynda Stokes

Donor Spotlight: Lynda Stokes

Lynda, can you tell us about how you first got involved with The Cultch?

I first got involved with The Vancouver East Cultural Centre as an audience member. The first show I recall was the Holy Body Tattoo’s Circa in 2000, shortly after I moved to Vancouver. It was a remarkable, tango-influenced duet between Dina Gingras and Noam Gagnon with film and a live band, the Tiger Lilies. I became a regular season subscriber and then a donor and a few years ago I was asked if I would be interested in joining the Board.

What has surprised you most about volunteering with The Cultch? 

As an audience member who is also on the Board and therefore privy to the financials, it is amazing how subsidized tickets are! We think of artists and venues benefitting from government grants and sponsorships, but really it is the audience who benefits. Accessibility is a priority for The Cultch and staff work hard to keep ticket prices low and pay it forward by making tickets available for free through the Cultch Connects Program. Regular monthly donations really help with cash flow, I recently learned (although this should not have surprised me). 

Your legal practice spans several years – can you tell us how this skill set intersects with your involvement at The Cultch?

My practice consists predominantly of solicitor and advisory work on behalf of local governments. Basically, I practice municipal law and I do not go to court. There was a vetting process when I looked into joining the Board and for whatever reason I was feeling pretty flat and lacklustre when I was interviewed but I sold myself by expressing an interest in being the Board Secretary and preparing  meeting minutes. I read, write and think for a living and while I really enjoy my work, I also recognize that most people would find a lot of what I do very tedious. I do not act as a lawyer for The Cultch, but because of my legal skills and experience, I understand Board governance and I am happy to help with important but boring bits like minutes, bylaws and contract negotiations.

Can you tell us what you wish other people knew about The Cultch?

I suspect that many people know more about The Cultch than I do! It has such a long history as an important performing arts institution in Vancouver, and I know that Cultch staff engage, and are connected with many, many people locally, nationally and internationally. If I have to wish, though, I wish more people knew that it is worth the risk. Get a subscription. Invite your friends. The upcoming season looks fantastic, and it’s easy to book a whole year’s worth of entertainment and take care of birthday and other presents. You will be grateful you did when rainy winter inertia takes hold. And you can always change the dates of your tickets if something comes up. 

Is there a Cultch show that has really inspired/stayed with you? 

I just saw The Explanation and really enjoyed it. It reminded me of some of the shows that influenced me in when I was in high school – like Michel Tremblay’s Hosanna and Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls (shout out to the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, particularly its experimental Under Grand series). The Explanation is a really lovely, empathetic exploration of a relationship and a reconciliation of self.

I am partial to dance and I really loved Company 605’s The Sensationalists from 2015 (full disclosure – I recently joined the 605 Board) and Frédérick Gravel’s All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey from 2016. Wow those were great shows.

What are you curious about right now?

I am curious about engaging with others in The Cultch, so I am trying to start up a Cultch Club. I see it as a kind of book club alternative for theatre and theatre adjacent nerds by theatre and theatre adjacent nerds, without a lot of rules or terrible attitudes. I am curious about how can we use The Cultch to connect with other people. The potential of theatre many of us recognized at a young age: “Wherever you are from, welcome home.”

  • If you are interested in joining The Cultch Club please email Georgia Beaty, Patron Development Associate (georgia@theculch.com ) and she will put you in touch with Lynda Stokes

As a registered Canadian charity, The Cultch relies on the support of the community to operate as a cultural hub; bringing diverse and engaging live performance to the stage.
Please consider making a donation today! Contact Natalie Schneck, Development Associate: natalie@thecultch.com; 604.251.1766 x.121
Charitable registration # 11928 1574 RR0001