“Love will keep us together”

“Love. Love will keep us together…”

It is safe to say there is a lot of bad news out there these days. And though we do not want to downplay the seriousness of this time, it is encouraging, despite the widespread international tragedy of COVID-19, just how much people are coming together to show love for each other in unique and poignant ways. From the 7 o’clock cheers for our health workers, to people helping out their neighbors, to local breweries and distilleries heeding the call for more hand sanitizer. And artists are sharing the love too! So many generous artists are taking to online platforms to share their talents with the world! We don’t know about you, but it really is love that is getting us through here at The Cultch.

We asked some staff, patrons, and artists what it was they loved about The Cultch, and we were flooded with such beautiful heartfelt responses—they just warmed our hearts! It means so much to us to hear just how much you value the work we do!

Here are some of the wonderful responses of love we have gotten this week!

Pippa Mackie as Pinocchio in East Van Panto. Photo by Tim Matheson

“I love the Cultch because it brings the community together.
I love the Cultch because the arts are an essential service.
I love the Cultch because they empower me as an artist.
I love the Cultch because they bring people together.
I love the Cultch because they provide an opportunity for local artists.
I love the Cultch because without them…East Van just wouldn’t be East Van.
I love the Cultch because I have seen the impact the Panto has on audience members.
I love the Cultch.”  – Pippa Mackie, local playwright & performer

“I love The Cultch because the shows I’ve seen at The Cultch are some of my most cherished memories. So it’s like the Cultch is this old friend who keeps surprising you.” – Veda Hille, local singer, pianist & songwriter

“I love the Cultch because …
it’s in my neighbourhood
it’s always felt like a second home
Len Gardiner is the world’s coolest Caretaker
it’s where I can see non-commercial art
it’s a not-for-profit
it connects me to the world
it’s the first place I saw a live show in vancouver
it used to be a church
it’s the theatre I’ve performed most in, in my LIFE!
I’ve seen about 200 shows there”
– Marcus Youssef, local playwright & performer

“I love The Cultch because it is a family.” –Louise Chapman, Development Manager

“I love The Cultch because it is a place of connection in a time when connection is difficult.” –Lisa Mennell, Communications Associate

“I love The Cultch because it is a gathering place where everyone is welcomed with open arms.” –Chelsea Isenor, Marketing Manager

“I love The Cultch because when I walk through the doors it feels like a very familiar place. It feels like I’m coming home.” Corey Payette, Urban Ink Artistic Director

“I love The Cultch for the bravery and innovation. The sense of community and opportunity to see performers extend their (and my) reach.” –Rick Barker, patron

Kit Redstone and the rest of the Testosterone cast. Photo by Luke Forsyth

 

“I love The Cultch because I had the great pleasure of bringing my work there all the way from London. It was and still is the most sensational venue I have ever had the privilege to work with. Located in the heart of a wonderful community, every single staff member works tirelessly to make this a really special place. I have never experienced a team so generous, fun, good natured and talented at what they do. A good venue should feel like a family working in absolute harmony, and this was my experience of working with the theatre. The work they program is bold and important – showcasing plays that entertain, delight and most importantly informs, inviting their audience into important questions raised. The theatre is in many ways the centre of a gorgeous community, it’s beating heart is a conduit to the varied voices that it brings to the stage. Without a doubt, my favourite theatre in the world.” – Kit Redstone, Testosterone writer & performer

“I love The Cultch because it’s our cultural living room where we gather and share and converse and remember. It’s this incredible gathering place for all kinds of different communities who are all passionate and devoted to the arts – patrons, volunteers, theatre makers, dance makers – it’s this amazing home for both local artists and visiting artists which is a really beautiful thing.”Dave Deveau, Playwright / Zee Zee Theatre Associate Producer

“I love The Cultch because the crowded lobby feels and smells like one big friendly Vancouver hug.” –Amiel Gladstone, local playwright & director

“I love The Cultch because East Van is my home and the Cultch helps me better feel the rhythm of its pulse. Whenever I’m there it feels like stopping by a friend’s house. Except that friend has a really big house…but lawd do they know how to share every inch of it!” –Jivesh Parasram, Rumble Theatre Artistic Director

“I love The Cultch because it’s my home away from home – where I can spend time with my neighbours, hear their stories, and celebrate our community together.” –Christine Quintana, local playwright & performer

“I love The Cultch because it’s the place where the world comes to me.
I love The Cultch because it’s where I get to see old friends and make new ones.
I love The Cultch because this is the place where my dreams came true.
I love The Cultch because it is a wormhole that transports me across time and space.
I love The Cultch because it celebrates BIPOC and LGBTQ2SIA+.
I love The Cultch because it is where my partner and I have our dates nights.
I love The Cultch because of the people who work there.
I love The Cultch because it expands my mind as an artist.
I love The Cultch because The Cultch audience has become my audience.
I love The Cultch because Heather Redfern never panders. The work she programs is challenging, beautiful and brave.
I love The Cultch because it is a place where womens’ voices are celebrated.
I love The Cultch because its commitment to reconciliation goes beyond land acknowledgments.
I love The Cultch because it is the best thing in Vancouver.
I love The Cultch because it has been the backdrop for a thousand selfies :)”
–  Tetsuro Shigematsu, local playwright & performer


Don’t those messages of love just warm your heart? Thank you for all the love you give us! With your love and support we look forward to when all of this is over, and we can come together again to sit in the dark—friends, family, colleagues, and strangers—and have our hearts and minds transformed by the arts once again.

SUPPORT THE CULTCH

Introducing East Van Panto’s new scenic illustrator: Cindy Mochizuki!

We are so excited to welcome Cindy Mochizuki to the East Van Panto team!

Theatre Replacement’s East Van Panto features the work of so many amazing artists every holiday season. Part of the magic of the Panto, is having new voices featured each year with new members of the creative team. This year, we are so excited to welcome Vancouver artist Cindy Mochizuki to the team!

Cindy Mochizuki creates multi-media installation, performance, animation, drawings, and community-engaged projects that explore the ways in which we manifest ‘story’. Her community-engaged projects explore the triangular relationship of performativity, social engagement, and magic. 

 A large body of her work investigates narratives and memories within the archive of familial architecture, including childhood spaces, home videos, photography, and oral histories.  These projects revisit the memory and history of displacement and migration of family members both within Canada and Japan.”

Check out some of her amazing work below!

Cave to Dream:

Explores the passage of time, life and death, and the power of dreams.
Image credit: www.cindymochizuki.com

Other Faces of Nihonga:

An embroidery and listening experience that brings to light remembrances of Japanese Canadian mothers and their domestic skills and artistry during the internment camps as conjured by their daughters (now in their 80’s).
Image credit: www.cindymochizuki.com

Loch:

During her residency, Mochizuki opened a fortune shop out of her studio and offered fortunes in exchange for personal monster stories.
Image credit: www.cindymochizuki.com

Check out Cindy’s amazing work on stage at East Van Panto: Pinocchio!


East Van Panto: Pinocchio runs Nov 20-Jan 5, 2020 at the York Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Introducing the Comedians of TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival!

Comedians poised to take over the York stage – with laughter!

We are so excited to launch our 2019/20 season with a brand new festival to enliven all of our venues every fall. This inaugural year of TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival will bring together over 50 Indigenous and non-indigenous performers—comedians, musicians, burlesque performers, drag artists, and more.

On Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5, some of the funniest comedians we know are taking over the York in a side-splitting night of comedy – BONUS – they are all kick-ass women!

Hosts of The Women in Comedy, Katey Hoffman and Cheyenne Rouleau

Hosted by Cheyenne Rouleau and Katey Hoffman (familiar to Cultch audiences from sold-out Cultchivating the Fringe hit, The After After Party), and featuring Canadian Comedy Award winner Martha Chaves, Australia’s rising Indigenous comedy star Steph Tisdell, Toronto-based comedian Nour Hadidi, and beloved local comedian Erica Sigurdson, we just know The Women of Comedy will be filled with fun and fierce belly-aching laughter.

Need a good laugh before the festival starts? We have your hook up here!

MARTHA CHAVES

Martha Chaves is a busy comic! She is a Nicaraguan-Canadian, fluent in FOUR languages (English, Spanish, French, and Italian), and does stand-up in all four! Chaves came out publicly in 2009, and has since been very outspoken in her comedy around the realities facing LGBTQ+ people of colour. Her infectious candid style, her captivating stage presence, and her gift to relate to a wide range of audiences grant her numerous presentations at comedy festivals around the world. www.marthachaves.com

PLUS – Martha Chaves is also performing in both Opening Night Bash performances!

NOUR HADIDI

Nour Hadidi is a Toronto-based standup comic and writer, born and raised in Jordan. She has appeared at Just For Laughs, Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Kevin Hart’s LOL Network, and CBC’s The Debaters. Last year she filmed a half hour comedy special for Comedy Central in the Middle East. Nour has written for CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and Comedy Network’s The Beaverton.  www.nourhadidi.com

PLUS – Nour Hadidi is also part of the two Opening Night Bash performances!

STEPH TISDELL

Steph Tisdell is steadily becoming one of the biggest names in the Australian Comedy Scene and has been collecting awards, rave reviews, and critical acclaim while selling out runs at the Sydney Comedy Festival and Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Steph is a proud Indigenous woman and is making a fast rise as one of Australia’s funniest Indigenous comedians, putting her in a unique position to encourage other Indigenous artists to come forward and showcase why they’re the funniest race in the world. www.stephtisdell.com

PLUS – In addition to being a part of The Women in Comedy show, Steph Tisdell is also presenting her show Steph Tisdell: Identity Sheft, is going to be a part of the Opening Night Bash performances, AND is offering a workshop on Oct 3 (3 pm) for people to learn how to use comedy as a coping mechanism and a diplomacy tool. 

ERICA SIGURDSON

Local Vancouver comedy gem, Erica Sigurdson is best known for her rapier wit on CBC Radio’s smash hit The Debaters, as well as her numerous television appearances on both CBC and CTV. She is one of Canada’s most beloved comedians, but also beloved around the world, having performed in Iceland, Singapore, Thailand, England, The Philippines, Afghanistan.

As a story-editor Erica has written for CBC’s Mr. D and CTV’s Corner Gas Animated as well as numerous pilots. Erica won a Leo Award for co-writing the 21st Annual Gemini Awards. www.ericasigurdson.com


TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival runs in all three Cultch venues, Oct 2-12, 2019. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

A look at Canada’s residential schools

Children of God is back in the York Theatre (until March 10, 2019) after a national tour, and its highly successful 2017 world premiere at The Cultch.

Children of God a new musical written and directed by Corey Payette, Production Design by Marshall McMahen, Lighting Design by Jeff Harrison, actors David Keeley, Sarah Carlé, Michelle Bardach, Kaitlyn Yott, Cheyenne Scott, Dillan Chiblow, Aaron M. Wells, Jacob MacInnis, and Michelle St. John. An Urban Ink co-production with Segal Centre (Montreal). Photo by Emily Cooper Photography.

In this powerful musical, by Corey Payette, the children of an Oji-Cree family are sent to a residential school in Northern Ontario. This is a story of redemption: for a mother who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, who never knew she came. Children of God offers a thrilling blend of ancient traditions and contemporary realities, celebrating resilience and the power of the Indigenous cultural spirit.

The history of residential schools in Canada is a dark part of this country’s history. This selection from the Children of God study guide is a good starting place for those wanting to inform themselves about Canada’s past and present.

Residential Schools In Canada (Background)

The residential school system in Canada was designed to steal Aboriginal children from their home communities and forcibly turn them into Euro-Christian citizens of Canadian society. As former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s famous epithet from his 2008 apology to residential school survivors goes, the residential schools were meant “to kill the Indian in the child.”

Set up by the federal government, and primarily run by the church, the residential schools sprawled across the nation throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The last one did not close until 1996.

The system was rooted in the idea that European civilization was superior to the diverse civilizations of the Indigenous peoples, and that it was thus Canada’s moral, and God-given, responsibility to save Aboriginal children from themselves. By isolating the children from their lands, their languages, their relations, and their traditions; and simultaneously immersing them in European customs, primarily rigid gender roles, Anglo-monolingualism, and industrial vocational training, it was thought that Aboriginal communities would die out, and that a unified Canadian nation would emerge.

Archival photo

Residential schools, at their core, were built to commit what is called ‘cultural genocide’. These schools often became places where children would do menial tasks designed to keep the schools open at low cost, rather than as sites of meaningful education. It is also widely reported that these schools were sites of brutal physical, emotional, and sexual abuse against the children, often as punishment for speaking their traditional language, or trying to escape. Many children died while at these schools.

Residential Schools—Lasting Effects

As Children of God will explore, the horrible legacy of the residential school system is still felt today by many Indigenous peoples.

Many of the youth who attended residential schools not only grew up learning to hate their culture, but also grew up not learning how to raise a family, often in an atmosphere of physical and sexual abuse. This has had disastrous impacts for Indigenous communities. For many, survivors of the schools grew into adulthood lacking parenting skills, fostering another generation of children without a nurturing family environment. In many communities today, rates of domestic abuse, alcoholism, and youth suicide are high, many cases of which observers have traced back to the residential school system and the lack of self-esteem it instilled in the students. This ongoing process of undermining community well-being and cohesion, despite the schools being closed, is often referred to as intergenerational trauma.

Healing from Residential Schools

While understanding the vile history of residential schools and the lingering ramifications of this system, it is also important to pause and recognize that this trauma does not define Indigenous peoples and their communities. Many First Nations communities today are healthy and thriving, have a strong connection to their lands and traditions, and are raising younger generations that are eager and ready to continue this process.

On a national scale, it is becoming more common to talk about the residential schools in an honest way for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike—partly in thanks to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (see below)—which sought to offer space and a platform for survivors of the schools to talk about their experiences as a means of mending relations between Canada and Indigenous nations. Reconciliation politics is by no means perfect, as many First Nations are waiting for the federal government to deliver on its promise of better futures, but we now have valuable entry points into necessary conversations around what healing can look like.

Many communities that still experience the lingering impact of residential schools are taking matters into their own hands, and are looking to break cycles of intergenerational trauma through their own community-led initiatives, such as education, residential school survivor-oriented societies, and drug and alcohol intervention programs (see below).

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Findings http://nctr.ca/reports.phph

Resources on Healing and Healing Initiatives

“Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools.” Where Are The Children http://wherearethechildren.ca/

Aboriginal Healing Foundation http://www.ahf.ca/

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society – http://www.irsss.ca/

Legacy of Hope http://legacyofhope.ca/

For more information about Children of God, and more resources, read the full study guide here.


Children of God runs until March 10, 2019, at the York Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.