Mies Julie critics and audiences abuzz!

Everyone’s talking about Mies Julie by Baxter Theatre Centre (South Africa), a powerful adaptation of Strindberg’s classic Miss Julie by the internationally acclaimed director Yael Farber. This amazing production has been touring for two years now, and has moved audiences here at The Cultch during its Canadian premiere.

It’s been the perfect time to bring this show to Vancouver, with April declared South African Month by the City of Vancouver. As part of that, we’ve been thrilled to have the Vancouver South African Film Festival as our Community Partner!

The positive comments about this show have been overwhelming! If you’re still wondering if you should come see this play, check out the rave reviews below:

It’s impossible to take your eyes off of Mies Julie”
Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“Mies Julie is an absolute stunner
Jerry Wasserman, The Province

It’s not to be missed
Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier

“Mies Julie is a play that demands limitless courage
Steven Schilling, Montecristo Magazine

“Mies Julie takes us to the point where theatre stops becoming an act and truly becomes real life. In this, the play offers an entirely different theatre experience that is rare to find in Vancouver
Cecilia Lu, Vancity Buzz

“Not for the faint of heart, but South African play Mies Julie is brilliant. Disturbing, but brilliant! Go see it!”
Geraldine Eliot, @geraldineeliot

“Mies julie at The Cultch was tense, sexually charged and sad all at once
– Cindy Newman, @cindynewman

Just saw #miesjulie @TheCultch. Powerful performances
– Trina Davies, @TrinaLDavies

@yfarber @hmcronjester @TheCultch @mantsai saw the play on 27th in blore, must say…u won hearts of audiences. Too good! I came out crying”
– Pragya Prasun Singh @pragyaprasun

“Just watched Mies Julie the other day and I have to say it was AMAZING! So powerful and heart pounding. I spent the last 20 minutes on the edge of my seat pulse racing. The small cast of 4 were outstanding. I can not say enough good things about this play, you must see it”
– Kyle Pearson

Just was amazed. Beautiful production. Go see it before it’s gone. Stunning
– Michael Hedden

What a powerful show! Not an easy view but worth every second!
– Bruce McPherson

Do not miss the haunting performances and searing power in #MiesJulie @TheCultch. Go. GO
– Alexis Kellum-Creer, @AKellumCreer

“If you are fortunate enough you will go and see Mies Julie at @TheCultch before they leave us on the 19th. This is what theatre should be”
Kayvon Kelly, @KayvonKelly

Dear #YVR: You must go see Mies Julie at @TheCultch. It is absolutely superb and will take me a few days to process!
– Lois Dawson @SMLois

Just saw Mies Julie at @TheCultch @hmcronjester and @mantsai killed it. Go see it. #intense #emotional
– John deMercado @jdemo67

Many reasons to see Mies Julie at @TheCultch. One is the live saxophone – a low growl that sneaks up on your awareness like a fog. Awesome
– TJ Dawe, @TJ_Dawe

“Mies Julie is at @TheCultch until April 19. Powerful stuff, go see it! And go to one of the talk back performances it was fascinating
– Amanda Mitchell, @iheartcities

Mies Julie runs until Apr 19, 2014 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets start at $31 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604.251.1363.

Five things you (probably) didn’t know about L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres!

They’re back! Following the success of LODHO Performs Tom Waits in 2011 the idiosyncratic Quebec City musical collective – L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres(LODHO) – return to The Cultch to perform their newest show Cabaret Brise-Jour (playing until Sunday, April 6). Set in a high-society salon of the early 20th century, eight musicians borrow from the repertoire of Kurt Weill to sing about the best and worst of the human condition. To celebrate their return, we’ve compiled five facts you (probably) didn’t know about this critically acclaimed company and their run here at The Cultch.

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LODHO Performs Tom Waits in 2011

1. As we’ve previously mentioned, this is not L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres first time at The Cultch. The company was part of our 11/12 season with their show L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres Performs Tom Waits which received unanimous praise! LODHO’s newest show, Cabaret Brise-Jour, is much darker in tone, taking place on a set that resembles a post-apocalyptic thrift store. Check out our blog article from their first time at The Cultch here.

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Heather Redfern, Executive Director at The Cultch, in front of the York Theatre

2. This time around, L’orchestre d’homme-orchestres will perform at our newest venue – the York Theatre! Something you may not have known is that the York was once a thriving music venue. During its punk rock days the venue hosted bands such as Nirvana and Sonic Youth! The York’s rich history as a music venue will certainly add a bit of edge to Cabaret Brise-Jour as they borrow from the repertoire of Kurt Weill!

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Robert Lepage

3. In the beginning of 2014, L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres was chosen by Robert Lepage to receive the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize! They are only the eighth recipient ever to receive this prestigous award. Have a look at this video extract from their new show to see why they deserved the prize.

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Simon Drouin – L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres

4. LODHO is known for creating unique musical instruments from everyday life objects. In their new show one of their masterpieces is a giant chandelier made up of turkey basters!

Instead of putting candles and crystals on it, we put recorder flutes, with turkey basters on the end. Every time you pump the turkey baster, there’s a little bit of air going through the flute, and that’s how we play one of the songs” – Danya Ortmann, L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres

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Kurt Weill

5. Cabaret Brise-Jour is inspired by the music of Kurt Weill, the great composer who collaborated with Bertolt Brecht on the Threepenny Opera! In a Franco-German-English mix, the eight musicians-singers-actors explore the horrors of war and the lights of Broadway, both part of Kurt Weill’s tumultuous life.  Here’s a video extract from oneof Weill’s work, Tschaikowsky from Lady in the Dark (1940), words Ira Gershwin.

Cabaret Brise-Jour runs until April 6, 2014 at the York Theatre. Tickets starts at $18 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363.

Ten Things You Need To Know About ‘Underbelly’

Underbelly is on now at The Cultch  and to get you even more excited about this fantastic show, we have compiled a list of the ten things you need to know about Underbelly!

Award1. Underbelly is the 2012 winner of the Cultchivating the Fringe Award! Presented once a year, this award is granted to a performance from the Vancouver Fringe Festival that demonstrates a strong potential for further development by granting the performance a spot in the upcoming Cultch season. It’s no surprise Underbelly won when…

Robot12. This is Jayson McDonald’s FIFTH touring solo show. This writer and performer has made his rounds before. Underbelly is the latest in a long line of shows that also includes Giant Invisible Robot. And speaking of Giant Invisible Robot

UNderbelly23. Jayson McDonald won the Georgia Straight Critics’ Pick….two years in a row! Giant Invisible Robot took home the prize in 2011 and came back in 2012 to take the award again with Underbelly. It seems Jayson McDonald is doing something right whether he is writing about invisible friends or…

Lastfarewell5. The Beat Generation! Underbelly takes its inspiration from the literary and cultural revolution that evolved from the events before and during 1950s. Questioning the old traditions and conventions and influenced by the new jazz scene, the Beat Generation explored a new, honest way of expression. The term ‘The Beat Generation’ was coined by none other than…

jack6. Jack Kerouac, well known author of On the Road. The most well known author of the Beat Generation, Kerouac fell to the pressure of the fame and attention his one success gave him. Kerouac and his friend…

Allen7. Allen Ginsberg, one of the first Beat poets and lasting mentor, appears in Underbelly but it is the third of this circle of friends that Jayson McDonald chooses to portray…

Burroughs8. The odd man out, William S. Burroughs.  The oldest of the three and the junkie struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, Burroughs defied the linear narrative in his work, and lived recklessly in his life. Using this as inspiration Jayson McDonald creates a ‘fevered hallucination’ with…

Underbelly_Mike9. Some of the finest spoken word poetry you will hear. Fans of slam poetry and spoken word rejoice! The words in this piece are no mere reproduction from a beatnik who only dresses and looks the part. Jayson McDonald’s words evoke the poetic and bold era of the Beat Generation. And finally…

Underbelly10. If Cindy Reid, The Cultch managing director, managed to stay awake the whole time during a 10:30pm showing of Underbelly at the Vancouver Fringe in 2012, it must be an amazing show!

Underbelly runs at The Cultch until March  30, 2014 at 8pm in the Vancity Culture Lab. All tickets just $31 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363 or online.

The Inspiration Behind ‘Whose Life Is It Anyway?’: An Interview with James Sanders

The Cultch is happy to host Whose Life Is It Anyway? by Brian Clark, the latest production by Realwheels Theatre, now playing until March 22! The show has  already gotten great reviews! Fun Fun Vancouver said the play “will entertain you, but more importantly, challenge you”.  This is part two of our interview with  James Sanders, Founding Artistic Director of Realwheels Theatre, about the inspiration behind Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Your current production Whose Life Is It Anyway? is about a sculptor who, paralyzed from the neck down after a car accident, fights for the right to die. I understand that you have a personal connection to this play. Can you tell me more about why you wanted to produce it?

It was one of the pieces of film that I researched to see what stories were being told about disability. It greatly inspired me to see a high lesion quadriplegic fighting for the right to die. I cheered on his victory even though it meant his death because, to me, it was a victory about personal rights and, essentially, the right to live seemed extremely powerful at the time. At that point I was 21 years old and not age-appropriate to do the story. Flash forward to 2010 and I revisited the notion and decided that it was the right time the stage this production. Little did I know the incredible relevance that it would have this day in the community of people who are fighting for these rights on a daily basis.

Bob Frazer is playing the sculptor who is paralyzed in the play. This is also his third show with Realwheels Theatre. Could you tell me more about his connection with Realwheels Theatre?

Bob and I have been dear friends for almost 25 years. We have intimate knowledge of each other and it was a conversation on my balcony about the pursuit of excellence in theatre that would inspire us to create Skydive. Bob has been involved in every one of our professional productions and, I hope, will continue to be engaged with Realwheels Theatre for years to come in some capacity or another. I have been in many positions where I have had to trust Bob implicitly with my life. This, again, is one of those times. I trust Bob to accurately represent disability with the genuine craft of acting that will hopefully become another one of Bob’s great performances in his overall body of work.

What are you hoping audiences will take away with them after seeing Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Perhaps a moment to consider their own relationship with death, the difficult challenges facing its inevitability and the opportunity, if it presents itself, to have a choice in the last matter of time. It is hopefully going to be a conversation starter and an opportunity for people to consider their present beliefs and ways to challenge them. On a side note, I hope that the presence of the character with a disability will serve, in some capacity, to bring the audience closer to the disability experience when they encounter disability in their day-to-day lives.

Whose Life Is It Anyway? runs at The Cultch until March 22, 2014 at 8 pm in the Historic Theatre. Tickets are from $18 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363 or online.

The Best of Now: Gearing up for the Canadian premiere!

This is an exciting time here at The Cultch as we gear up for the Canadian premiere of The Best of Now by the Northwest Dance Project (Portland, Oregon) which opens on March 6! Touted as “one of the hottest dance companies in America”by Portland Stage Review, the company is ready to set the stage on fire with brand new works by Northwest Dance Project’s founder/artistic director Sarah Slipper, Chinese-born, Canadian based choreographer Wen Wei Wang, and the talented Danielle Agami!

Here’s a sneak peek at the project:

CHI choreographed by Wen Wei Wang

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CHI photo taken by Blaine Truitt Covert

This dance piece is all about energy, which is not surprising given the title. The show features nine fabulous dancers who move to Giorgio Magnanensi’s melodically restless score. The show moves like a movie as it draws from martial art and kung fu films.

Throughout, the dancers turn movements that traditional ballet might consider inelegant into moments of odd beauty: shoulder-tilts and torso-turns that emphasize the sheer physicality rather than the metaphoric possibilities of the human form. Dance is often at its best when its “meaning” is simply what it is: a particular movement through time and space, like the sound waves of music.

MEMORYHOUSE choreographed by Sarah Slipper

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Memoryhouse photo taken by Blaine Truitt Covert

The second part of the show features Franco Nieto and Andrea Parson, both winners of the Princess Grace Award, respectively 2012 and 2010. This award is one of the highest individual recognitions for dancers and for a single small company to have two winners in three years is phenomenal!

MemoryHouse is a passion drama that features Parson in an apron strewing flour on the stage, and the pair grappling sweetly, erotically and then violently in movement that literally climbs through windows to continue outside the space. Slipper’s twisting lifts are stunners, and the frisson between Parson and Nieto reveals they can act as well as dance.
On top of that, the musical background by Max Richter and Yann Tiersen is fantastic.
Yann Tiersen is a French musician who worked on a lot of film music such as Amelie and Goodbye Lenin.

This Time Tomorrow choreographed by Danielle Agami

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This Time Tomorrow photo taken by Blaine Truitt Covert

The final piece of the night features the full company of dancers and explores the delightfully unique. A practitioner of the Israeli Gaga technique, choreographer Danielle Agami works to disconnect the mind from the body to create organic movement that pushes the limits of “normal”!

This delightfully absurd piece features music from indie rock bands such as Puerto Muerto. Be prepared to see it all: collision, grinding, jiving, wiggling, and even maybe an orange or two.

The Best of Now by Northwest Dance Project runs at The Cultch from March 6- 8 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets are from $18 and can be purchased online, or by calling the box office at 604.251.1363.

Join the Volunteer Receptionist Team at The Cultch!

Want to see some of the hottest shows in Vancouver for free? Want to show your love for one of your favorite East Van arts organisations? Well what are you waiting for?!? The Cultch is looking to expand our Volunteer Receptionist Team and we want you to apply.

Our Volunteer Receptionists are often the first person people will encounter as the “face of The Cultch”! You will play a key role overseeing all aspects of administration during office hours and gain valuable administration experience. Answering phones, data entry, filing, and marketing duties are just some of the things you’ll handle. Candidates must have a good working knowledge of both spoken and written english.

Our volunteers at The Cultch see some of the best theatre, music, dance performances that Vancouver has to offer plus you get free tea/coffee, ticket discounts, and chances to win assorted door prizes.

We enlisted Mona, one of our volunteers since October 2013 to tell you why she likes to volunteer at The Cultch.

What is your favorite memory about volunteering with The Cultch?

Working on the Internship Manual for Volunteers, investigating the office processes, getting to know the admin staff and their roles, and orientating new volunteers.

What is your favorite show you have ever seen at The Cultch?

The Daisy Theatre. No, actually it was a couple of years ago-Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Why should you volunteer at The Cultch?

It’s fun. The admin staff is very appreciative so you feel like part of a “team”. You get to see what goes on in the background before a production. You get to practice your office skills. You get complimentary tickets to the Historic Theatre events and you get to work in an office with a magnificent view!

Interested? Contact Cindy Reid, Managing Director, at 604.251.1766 x 112, or email your resume to cindy@thecultch.com

Love to perform? Seeking performers for this year’s IGNITE! Youth Festival!

“You can time travel through wonderland, but you can’t wonderland through time travel…”

 
Get ready because this year, IGNITE! Youth Festival is all about wonderland! For one whole week in May (May 2nd-10th) youth will take over The Cultch and transform it into what has become Vancouver’s largest youth driven festival!
To help bring the wonderland alive, The Cultch’s Youth Panel is looking for talented performers of all kinds ages 13-24 to audition. No wonderland is complete without the wild and wacky, beautiful and graceful, bizarre and a little ugly, the amazing, the heroic, the new, the old… well really anything at all!

So if you have an idea of a real slam-bang performance, come out to the auditions. You can meet The Cultch Youth Panel, show them a little of what you can do and have a real fun time. We asked Mati, Clare and Mark of The Cultch Youth Panel for their thoughts on the upcoming auditions:

What are you excited to see at auditions?

“All the new and original acts, hopefully something that I wouldn’t have thought of, and maybe some familiar acts from previous years!”-Mati

“Everything! Last year was my first time on Panel, and while I didn’t know what to expect from the auditions, I was totally blown away. And it looks like it’ll be even better this year!”- Clare

“I’m optimistically looking forward to seeing acts I would never thought I would like, but will immediately adore. Last year, we had an acrobatic act that completely blew me away. Before that I’d never had much interest in that kind of performance. I’m excited to see what I will get introduced to this year.”-Mark

Who do you hope shows up?

“Anyone and everyone, the more the better! Some cool bands would be wicked fun!”-Mati

“Ringo Starr and David Bowie. But they’re probably a little too old…
I’m looking forward to seeing all of the auditions, but especially the people who are doing something out-of-the-box. I want to see people with acts that I’ve never even imagined seeing!”-Clare

“I’d like to see some more electronic musicians audition simply because it’s always fascinating to see how they each work their live setup, which are incredibly varied. Also: interpretive dance.”-Mark

What would be the craziest coolest act you could imagine?

“I’d love to see a Mindless Self Indulgence cover band, that performs only in their underwear”-Mati

“Something with streamers and balloons and trapezes and magic. Like if Harry Potter was riding a unicycle. With balloons.”-Clare

“A domesticated penguin improv jazz ensemble.”-Mark

Anything else you want us to know about IGNITE this year?

“Come to auditions, come to our shows, stalk our website, stalk us!”-Mati

“Just that it’s going to be super rad! I’m getting really excited — last year’s festival was great, but this year’s is going to be EVEN BETTER.”-Clare

It’s going to be rowdy. Wear protective sunscreen and make sure you have an alibi.”-Mark

To sign up for your audition, email auditions@igniteyouthfest.ca by February 24. Auditions will be held March 8 and 9 at the Russian Hall. Can’t wait to see you there!

The Cultch receives record $2 million gift!!

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Dear friends,

Today is a day to celebrate! After years of public consultation, a city-wide poll, and unanimous city council approval at last night’s extraordinary public hearing, we are thrilled to announce that our longest standing corporate partner, West Coast Reduction Ltd, has donated $2 million to The Cultch. This unprecedented gift represents the single largest corporate donation received in our organization’s history.

I want to thank you for helping us on this journey. You sent letters to the city, spread the word, and supported us in so many different ways. We couldn’t have it done it without the incredible outpouring of community support we received from you. Thank you!

Receiving a gift of this magnitude provides much needed financial stability for us during a time of organizational change and growth. Because of this gift, the future of both The Cultch and the York Theatre is sustained, thus nurturing an excitingly diverse community of artists, audiences and supporters. Because of this gift, we are able to continue providing myriad opportunities for our eclectic communities to interact in meaningful ways.

As you likely know, in recognition of this monumental occasion, the recently renovated and restored stage at the landmark York Theatre will be named in honour of its biggest supporter and fan: the West Coast Reduction Stage at the York Theatre.

West Coast Reduction is thrilled the new theatre space will provide opportunities for local arts and community groups to connect and perform, especially in East Vancouver where many of its employees live, work and play.

THANK YOU to everyone who made this vision a reality.

Sincerely,

Heather Redfern

Executive Director

The Cultch

Hello my name is Chris MacDonald: Sales Manager of The Cultch

‘Hello My Name Is…’ is a new profile series on The Cultch blog. Each post will feature a staff member, volunteer, subscriber, or community mover and shaker. Stay tuned for upcoming photos and interviews and drop us a line at ricky@thecultch.com if you have a burning question for one of our staff members or volunteers!

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Hello my name is… Oliver McTavish: Gallery Coordinator and Rentals Assistant

‘Hello My Name Is…’ is a new profile series on The Cultch blog.  Each post will feature a staff member, volunteer, subscriber, or community mover and shaker. Stay tuned for upcoming photos and interviews and drop us a line at ricky@thecultch.com if you have a burning question for one of our staff members or volunteers!

With only two weeks left until The Cultch’s Gallery Launch Part ( happening August 1st) we thought it would be fitting to interview Oliver McTavish-Wisden (The Cultch’s Gallery coordinator) about this year’s gallery season.

Hi! What’s your name and what do you do at The Cultch?

My name is Oliver McTavish-Wisden, and I am the Gallery Coordinator and Rentals Assistant at The Cultch

Tell us about The Cultch gallery.

The Cultch Gallery is a community focused space dedicated to providing progressive art to the residents of the East Side of Vancouver. It consists of two spaces, the cafe hallway and lobby, and exhibits 20 – 30 artists every year. Our goal is to create a strong artistic presence in the area and to engage the community with new contemporary art.

What was the selection process like?

Tough! We send out a call to artists every spring to gather as many exhibition proposals as possible, and we were blown away this year by the number of talented artists interested in exhibiting in our space. This year we received over 70 submissions, which left us feeling quite pleased with the growth of our gallery.

You mentioned that there is a theme this year in terms of the artists you’ve curated. Can you elaborate on this?

Not quite  a theme as a whole, but rather we’ve partnered artists together in exhibitions that have unifying themes, such as travel, symmetry, urban signage, the natural world, abstraction, etc. It’s really exciting to see our artists matching up so well!

What happens at a gallery opening?

A gallery opening at The Cultch is a good chance to discover new art you haven’t seen before, meet the artists behind the exhibition, and meet new people over a nice drink. The great thing about an art opening is all the dialogue that occurs around the art. If you don’t share your interpretation of the work with others, it’s quite possible you’re only seeing one side of a three dimensional object.

What is the criterion for choosing an artist? Is there some quality in the work that you’re specifically looking for that leads you to gravitate towards certain works?

The exhibitions are selected by a triumvirate of curators, so there’s no select criterion. However, I can say that we have no preferred genre or style, no specific medium. We select artists based on the skill level they possess and the projects they propose. We have a deep appreciation for those who exhibit their own style and possess unique ideas.

What can patrons expect this season in terms of the work of art?

An incredible variety. We have more artists this season than every before, and almost every single one of them is new! You can expect life size wooden figures, natural Rorschach tests, decomposing couches, huge abstract paintings, interactive design, international photography, woodcut prints, giant textiles and more.

Make sure to join us for the Gallery Launch Party on August 1st. For more information, visit: The Cultch Gallery Online. All art displayed in The Cultch gallery is available for sale and may be purchased through The Cultch. If interested, please contact us at gallery@thecultch.com.