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

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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!

Are We Cool Now? An Interview with Director Amiel Gladstone!

Are We Cool Now? An Interview with
Director Amiel Gladstone!

We are so excited to start our new season with Are We Cool Now?, a musical featuring the songs of Dan Mangan. The show is directed by the fabulous Amiel Gladstone, who was also the director of the hit Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata and both of our East Van Pantos (Jack & the Beanstalk and Cinderella). We chatted with Amiel about kicking off the new season.

Hey Amiel! Are you excited to be back at The Cultch?

AG: Of course! The Cultch is the neighbourhood theatre, and I have so many memories of being there. Amazing things happen there – there’s a great vibe and it feels homey. So many different things happen on The Cultch stages and so it feels like the perfect place to host this hybrid indie-rock musical.

Can you tell us a little bit about the show?

AG: Well, I’ve always been curious about how to get the music we listen to every day on to the stage. Dan (Mangan) and I knew each other, he had seen Craigslist Cantata and I really liked his music. It seemed like a natural fit for both of us. We looked for a narrative in Dan’s music and found themes of love, longing, nostalgia, and road trips and Are We Cool Now? was born!

What can subscribers expect from Are We Cool Now?

AG: It’s an indie-rock musical about life and love in your 20s and Dan Mangan’s music provides the backdrop. It’s songs we all recognize and Dan wrote one new song for the show which hasn’t been heard anywhere else.

Is Dan Mangan coming to Opening Night at The Cultch?

AG: Yes! And Dan hasn’t seen it yet! Anton Lipovetsky is playing guitar, and Spencer Schoening from Said The Whale is on drums.

We can’t wait! Thanks Amiel! Tickets to Are We Cool Now? (and all the shows in our 15/16 season) are on sale now!

The rEvolver Festival Opens This Week!

The 2015 rEvolver Festival kicks off on Wednesday, May 20 with three local performances on the opening night of the Festival:

7.00PM Caws and Effect (Mind of a Snail, Vancouver)
Historic Theatre

Crows are re-dreaming the world. Is the future all it’s cracked up to be?

Mind of a Snail’s large scale shadow theatre production is an exploration of survival and extinction from a bird’s eye view. Funny, beautiful and unique, with handmade layered projections, puppetry, masks, and an original musical score. The story can be seen as a modern fable, a tongue-in-cheek nature documentary, or the animated dream of a sleeping bird. In 2014, Caws & Effect won Patrons Pick at the Winnipeg Fringe and Pick of the Fringe at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. More info

8.00PM Double Recessive (Jordan Lloyd Watkins, Vancouver)
Culture Lab

A blessing. A curse. A one in four chance. A people on the brink of extinction. What would you do if you were the last of your kind?
Double Recessive. “Opression. Genocide. Comedy.” is a savage comedy about an eerily familiar dystopia. Double Recessive shows us the history of the Ginger crisis, and how society reacts when a lone Red is born, years after their extinction. A nasty, seemingly extreme, look at how society deals with “the other”, everything in Double Recessive is based on real events. Double Recessive is the multi-media brain-child of creator/performer Jordan Lloyd Watkins, working with award-winning director David Bloom. More info

9.15PM Hell of a Girl (Jeff Gladstone & The Bad Ideas, Vancouver)
Historic Theatre

Hell of a Girl is a unique musical theatre experience. The story is loosely based on the myth Orpheus and Eurydice, set in a timeless world with cowboys, nymphs & demons, and told through 26 original songs. Musically it weaves together gothic country with rockabilly and swing, into a visual style drawn from German expressionism and French absurdism, and taking the audience to Hell and back again. More info

Be sure to join us in between shows for an Opening Night Reception! For more festival programming visit Upintheair’s website or The Cultch’s Online Box Office.

Hello my name is Kathy Battye: Box Office Manager at The Cultch

On this week’s ‘Hello My Name Is…’ we’ve interviewed a sparkling addition to our staff: Kathy Battye, our new Box Office Manager. We’ve whipped up these seven jazzy questions to acquaint The Cultch supporters with new staff members. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

Q: Hi, what’s your name and what do you do at The Cultch?

Hello blog readers! My name is Kathy Battye and I am excited to say that I’m the Box Office Manager at The Cultch!

Q: Why did you decide to work at The Cultch?

Well I was definitely looking for change when I decided to apply to The Cultch. I had been to various Cultch shows in the past and have always been really impressed by not only the calibre of the performances, but also the range and variety of shows that are offered here. I just had a gut feeling that The Cultch would be a great place to work and would definitely provide me with the challenges that would help me grow personally and professionally.

Q: Favourite place to eat on the Drive?

Hmmm…that is definitely a tough one…a person can really eat their way around the Globe in this neighbourhood…but I’d have to say Five Elements. My first visit there was with Gosia, the previous Box Office Manager and Lisa, our Design and Web Coordinator, during my training week and it was love at first bite. I highly recommend the vegetarian hot and sour soup and garlic pork sub…oooh or a sizzling plate…ooh or a noodle bowl…oh man…now I’m hungry.

Q: What show from the 14/15 season are you looking forward to seeing the most?

I’m a musical fan myself, so I was thrilled to hear that Stationary: A recession era musical was part of The Cultch’s presentation season for 14/15. Unfortunately I missed seeing the show when it played a couple years ago, but I worked with its creator, Christine Quintana, at the Arts Club Box Office and I remember her doing her research and sharing with us all the great articles and post recession statistics she’d find. Also, our very own Box Office agent Brian Cochrane was involved in creating the rap for the show and is in the cast. If the show is even a fraction of how clever and talented they both are I’m positive it will be one to watch next season.

Q: Were there any performances that you’ve enjoyed as an audience member at The Cultch?

Absolutely! Last Christmas I went to Jack and the Beanstalk: An East Van Panto and what a holiday treat! I won tickets at the Arts Club staff Christmas Party and took some friends with me. I loved the audience participation. Any chance that I can yell “Oh no it isn’t!” at the top of my lungs always makes for a good time. I love that it was fun for the kiddies, but the humour was just cheeky enough to keep the adults laughing. I had the great pleasure this summer to sit in on a table read of next year’s Panto, and I can say without a doubt it’s going to be great fun for all!

Q: What’s your favourite thing about the theatre scene in Vancouver?

My absolute favourite thing about the theatre scene in Vancouver is that it is a community in every sense of the word. There is a mutual love, respect, and support among all the theatre companies in this city and all that good stuff contributes to the amazing shows that grace the stages in this city.

Q: It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon and you’re stuck indoors, what do you do?

A typical rainy Sunday for me involves throwing something in a slow-cooker, doing laundry and firing up the Netflix! I’m currently addicted to the show (can’t believe I’m actually admitting this…) NASHVILLE. It has become my guilty pleasure. I’m not a fan of country music, but nothing can tear me away from the rhinestones, cowboy boots and soap opera – like drama!

Q&A with David Pay, creator of The Orpheus Project

The Orpheus Project by Music on Main starts tomorrow at The Cultch! This musical adventure will take you to every corner of The Cultch for an immersive, site-specific experience. The fantastic creator of this unique piece, David Pay, shared with us his inspirations, the context of the show, as well as his own experience working on it.

What was the inspiration for The Orpheus Project?

The idea first came about when, at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, I saw dreamthinkspeak’s Before I sleep, which was inspired by Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. You explore an entire building and see theatrical installations and interact with actors. I thought it was totally magical, and when I fall in love with art I want to possess it. When I see exceptional visual art I want to see it all the time. When I see amazing music I want to figure out how to present it. So when I saw Before I sleep, I thought, “How could this work, using music as the basis of an immersive experience rather than theatre?” Once I decided I wanted to develop an immersive musical experience, I really focused on seeing as much of that kind of work as I could, including large-scale works like Sleep No More, and smaller scale works that are more in line with The Orpheus Project.

How does that kind of experience translate into a musical one?

I explored a whole bunch of different ways to create an immersive musical experience, and with our ace creativity team, led by theatrical consultant Amiel Gladstone, we have landed on what theatre calls a “promenade experience.” Audiences are led on a path through the theatre discovering different rooms; different pieces of music inspired by Orpheus; installations and sets created by Naomi Sider; video, both with music and on its own; lighting by Adrian Muir; and new and existing compositions performed in surprising environments.

Can you give us a little hint of what people will see and where they’ll go?

We’re using both the Culture Lab and Historic Theatre at The Cultch; we’re exploring dressing rooms and stairwells; filling passageways with surprises, lounges with live performance. It is a show where the audience is on its feet, climbing stairs, stopping to listen. Keep an eye out for oracles, who might foretell your future as well. People should make sure to wear comfortable shoes! We’re asking people with mobility or other issues to let us know in advance, so we can create a special journey just for them.

What have you learned by being involved in the creative process for The Orpheus Project?

Conceiving The Orpheus Project is a natural progression for me. I’ve never been the kind of music presenter who simply chooses great artists and puts them on stage. I’ve always taken a hands-on approach to the performance environment, the relationship between artists and audiences, and how repertoire can speak to us across time periods and genres. Developing The Orpheus Project as a more theatrical music experience has allowed me to work with theatre experts who are helping me shape what feels like a new, but really authentic way of interacting with live music.

What do you hope people will take away from this experience?

I hope this will be a fun, intriguing, and new experience for every audience member. My ultimate goal is that we each see ourselves in the myths and stories and ideas presented by the composers. I think if you approach the show with an intellectual or analytical bent, you’ll have a really rich experience imbued with music and art history. But the creative team and I also want this to be a really fun, sexy date night, so you can just immerse yourself in the sights and sounds at the theatre, and that will be a fantastic experience, too.

The Orpheus Project runs from July 16 – 20 at The Cultch. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased online or by calling the Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Q&A with Peter Chu:
Cultch Artist-in-Residence

Right now Peter Chu can be found completing an artistic residency at The Cultch for his new solo work. We caught up with him to find out a bit more about his project and how he feels about completing an artistic residency with us here at The Cultch!

For those of us who don’t know, can you tell us what a residency is?

A residency can be approached in many different ways. Artists can use a residency to explore movement ideas, themes, or simply to better understand subject matter they would like to explore. I have chosen to use this 12-day residency at The Cultch as a technical residency – a place to dive into exploration of the lighting, sound, and multimedia elements that will be incorporated into this work. Stepping into this space last Wednesday, the first few days were spent with projection and lighting designer Eric Chad, and production manager Lois Dawson to introduce them to the movement vocabulary and themes involved in this piece. Next it was on to the technical side of this residency – getting into the nitty gritty details as to where and how we want to incorporate all the technical elements. I am extremely grateful to Heather Redfern and The Cultch to have been given this amazing opportunity to explore, discover, and research themes technically without the expectation of a final products – something that’s often expected of artists during a residency.

Photo by Lisa Wu

What does a Cultch residency mean to you as a choreographer?

One of the first shows that I saw at The Cultch was Crystal Pite’s Uncollected Work. Many years later, I was fortunate enough to actually perform here with Kidd Pivot. I have always adored this theatre and the range of dynamic shows they present in their seasons. The Historic Theatre has big personality and a beautiful energy, and I feel so honoured to have been given the opportunity to dig deeper into the themes of this new work in such a significant space.

What are your thoughts on the importance of organizations helping out the artistic community though programs such as this?

Support from community organizations is absolutely crucial in allowing for the growth and development of creativity, regardless of the art form. This kind of backing is what allows artists to thrive and flourish, and produce significant lasting works. Without this assistance, there would be countless ‘hidden gems’ – beautiful works of art that would remain as the seed of an idea, never making it through to creation.

Can you talk a bit about your creative process when creating new works?

It’s hard for me to speak on my creative process – like all things in life it’s constantly in flux, changing and mutating depending on the work and the circumstance. I hold my creative process for this specific project very near and dear to my heart: I have been trying to better understand my process while I develop this movement vocabulary for the past several years.

Photo by Lisa Wu

Where do you look for inspiration when creating choreography?

For this specific show, the word ‘ community’ continued to present itself at the forefront of my mind. I was on the road constantly for roughly five years, living out of two storage units until I made the choice to move back to Las Vegas last July. I fell in love all over again with that city and the rich range of art and entertainment it has to offer. Inspired by the opulent history of Las Vegas lounge act artists and sounds from the 1960 s, I chose to use my new home and community as the focus and starting point for this new work. This is why The Cultch is the perfect theatre to develop this performance – it has the same intimate, charming personality as many of the Las Vegas venues that have been my inspiration.

Can you tell us a bit about the work you are currently rehearsing and what your hopes are for it in the future?

I can tell you as much as I can – as this is still a work in progress, things are constantly evolving and changing. This work revolves around themes of obsession, perfection, control, and doubt. It runs with the dangers of glorifying false appearances, and pulls back the curtain to expose the truths behind the “put on” smile. The character I have developed listens to what doubt has to say, almost befriending it in a way to truly understand why doubt has such a driving force in his life. On top of all of this, we’re blending cutting edge multimedia with these deep-rooted concepts and ideas. It is incredibly exciting stuff!

The Orpheus Project: a groundbreaking musical event!

blogAttention Music lovers!

The Orpheus Project by Music on Main is coming to The Cultch from July 16 – 20! This immersive journey is filled with musical and theatrical intrigue and will absorb you into the life of Orpheus: a poet, musician, and prophet in ancient Greek mythology who inspired generations of artists such as Jean Cocteau, Tennessee Williams, and Albert Camus.

The myth of Orpheus is centered around his ability to charm all living things even inanimate stones with his music; his attempt to retrieve his wife, Eurydice, from the underworld; and his death at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music.

Imagine roaming an entire theatre, discovering rooms filled with mysterious music and surprising interactions. Through creations by Jocelyn Morlock, Veda Hille, Cassandra Miller, James Maxwell, Barry Truax, Alfredo Santa Ana, Colin Browne, George Frideric Handel and others, you’ll explore The Cultch’s Historic Theatre, Culture Lab, as well as the dressing rooms and backstage and lobby areas. You might even break a sweat as you climb stairs and roam around! Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and prepare to jump into this unique and fascinating adventure!

Music on Main have developed a growing local, national, and international reputation as tremendous storytellers for a post-classical age, creating music to bring people together. Their aim is to always create shows which give people the opportunity to make new friends, meet the artists, and to escape their to-do list for an hour or two.

Now in its eighth season, Music on Main has produced more than 180 events featuring nearly 500 musicians, creating music that has touched the souls of thousands of listeners, and helping artists around the world connect with each other and The Vancouver community.

The Orpheus Project starts on July 16 and runs until July 20 at The Cultch. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased online or by calling the Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Recap: The 32nd Annual Jessie Awards!

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The 32nd Jessie Award Nominees!

The Commodore Ballroom was filled with theatre folk on Monday, June 23 to celebrate the end of another fantastic Vancouver theatre season at this year’s Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. The room was loaded with beautiful people, great speeches, and drinks!

A huge congratulations goes out to all the winners and nominees. Some of these people may seem like familiar faces from our 13/14 season! Here’s a quick recap.

The photos are provided by @JessieAwards and @UITATheatre

LARGE THEATRE

Floyd Collins by Patrick Street Production
Jeff Harrison – Outstanding Lighting Design (This is also the first Jessie received by a show at our York Theatre)

SMALL THEATRE

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James Sanders receiving the award on behalf of his dear friend Bob Frazer!

Whose Life Is It Anyway? by Realwheels Theatre
Bob Frazer – Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role
Adrian Muir – Outstanding Lighting Design

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Drew Facey giving his speech after receiving an award

Penelope by Rumble Theatre
Drew Facey – Outstanding Set Design

Uncle Vanya by Blackbird Theatre
Marti Wright – Outstanding Costume Design

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Patrick Sabongui accepting the award on behalf of his Jason Rothery

Inside The Seed by Upintheair Theatre
Richard Wolfe – Outstanding Direction
Jason Patrick Rothery – Outstanding Original Script

Philip Birkby (one of our fantastic on-call electricians!) – Significant Artistic Achievement

THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES

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The outstanding design team from Jack and the Bean

Jack and the Bean by Presentation House Theatre
Graham Ockley (one of our regular on-call electricians) – Outstanding Design

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The fantastic Brian Cochrane receiving his award

One of our box office staff members Brian Cochrane received the Ray Michal Prize for Most Promising New Director!

Our Executive Director, Heather Redfern, gathered with other members from the arts community attending the Magnetic North Festival in Halifax to cheer for The Jessies

Our Executive Director, Heather Redfern gathered with other members from the arts community attending the Magnetic North Festival in Halifax to cheer for the Jessies

The Cultch’s Annual Volunteer Appreciation BBQ!

On June 16, we honoured the 110+ volunteers who gave their time this past year by throwing a Volunteer Appreciation Barbecue. More than 5537 volunteer hours were contributed in total for the 13/14 season.  This year mother nature was on our side and sent us some much needed sunshine so everybody could sit back and relax on our patio.  After the ‘Name Tag Follies’, some mingling, and some fun with our make shift photo booth, everybody enjoyed some delicious food.

A big thank you to Choices Market who, once again, generously donated the food and fixings!

We’d also like to thank The Georgia Straight, Mogiana Coffee, Science World, Vancouver Aquarium, the Arts Club, Bard on the Beach, Famoso Pizzeria, and The Vancouver Art Gallery for their wonderful prize donations. We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers who graciously give their time and energy to make The Cultch such a vibrant community venue. Now enjoy the photos below!

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Isa & Zoe’s rap band!

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Debbie & Karen enjoying some delicious burgers on the patio

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Borja, the BBQ Queen!

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Borja, Jenn G, Cindy, photo-bombed by Bob!

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Betty-Lou, Marc and Debbie the cowgirl

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Annalies looking glamorous!

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Double-hatted Brian

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Lois and Cindy looking fabulous with their boas!

Kathryn

Another BBQ queen, Kathryn!

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Len, Cindy and Harm having fun with the props!

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Marcus and Astarte chilling on the patio

MariaAndRicky

Maria and Ricky the Frenchie!

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Whose hiding behind that cute and classy dog? Wendy of course!

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Isa posing with her cute little boy, Etienne!

Jonathan, Nena, Kelly and Mona, our wonderful receptionists volunteers!

Jonathan, Nena, Kelly and Mona, our wonderful receptionists volunteers!

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A big thank you to all our wonderful volunteers!

Photo scrapbook of our 40th season!

The Cultch closed its 40th season on May 31 and we decided it was the perfect time to do a little recap! This season was such an important one and it’s hard to believe all the major events that happened over the past year! We celebrated our 40th anniversary, opened the York Theatre, received a $2 million gift from West Coast Reduction, produced Jack and The Beanstalk: An East Van Panto with Theatre Replacement, organized our New Orleans and All That Jazz Gala, and so much more! Here’s our photo recap of the last year!

ThenAndNow

The Cultch then and now

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Friends, donors, subscribers, and staff members at our 40th anniversary photo shoot

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Left: Jennifer Spry and Chris Macdonald excited about the kickoff of the Vancouver Fringe Festival, our first year as a venue/Right: Robert Leveroos and Cindy Reid awarding Deanna Fleysher with the Cultchivating the Fringe Award for her show Butt Kapinski

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Heather Redfern, Executive Director of The Cultch, on the cover of The Georgia Straight for a feature story about the opening of the York Theatre!

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The York Theatre officially opened its doors on December 6! Here’s a beautiful shot taken of the venue before the grand opening!

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We received our largest donation in Cultch history, a $2 million gift, from our longest standing corporate partner, West Coast Reduction! Here’s a photo of West Coast Reduction Ltd.’s Barry Glotman, Gordon Diamond, and staff from the Grandview-Woodland community with The Cultch’s Executive Director, Heather Redfern at the York!

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The cast of An East Van Panto: Patti Allan, Maiko Bae Yamamato, Raugi Yu, Allan Zinyk, and Dawn Petten

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Allan Zinyk, star of last year’s Jack and the Beanstalk: An East Van Panto, and young guests

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The Cultch team taking a group shot with the cast of An East Van Panto

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Guests and friends dining on the Historic stage at The Cultch’s New Orleans and All That Jazz Gala

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Subscribers and audience members during our 14/15 Season Launch on March 17

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Robert Leveroos, Youth Program Manager, with The Cultch’s Youth Panel Members celebrating the end of the IGNITE! Youth Arts Performing Festival!

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Our lovely Cultch volunteers helping out with our subscription mailing this past March!

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The Cultch’s staff members celebrating the end of a successful season with some bubbly

We hope you enjoyed these photos, this is just a small example of all the events that took place this last season. None of this would have been possible without your help, and we want to thank you – our friends, donors, and subscribers – for your support. We feel really lucky to have such a strong community behind us and we can’t wait to see you next year to share other great memories!