Cultch Connects: making art for everyone!

Cultch Connects: making art for everyone!

A thank you note from a grateful recipient!

As Vancouver’s most diverse arts and culture hub, The Cultch brings world-class performance to our community in East Vancouver. We are a charity, and ticket income from our shows only makes up 30% of our running costs – the rest comes from the generous support of our donors, sponsors and funders. In return, we offer dynamic contemporary programming in theatre, dance, music, and the visual arts, showcasing cutting-edge national and international work.

At our core is the belief that art is for everyone, and economic background or life circumstances should never be a barrier to participation in live performance.  To this end, we set up our Cultch Connects program, so that our donors could share their love of performance with everyone in our community.

Cultch Connects provides free tickets to our holiday hit the East Van Panto and other shows throughout our season to people in need. Now in its 6th year, Cultch Connects has brought thousands of people from low-income families, mental health facilities, recovery centres, community organizations and more to our shows at no cost.

We know from the messages our Cultch Connects patrons send us that this simple act makes a real difference in the lives of people who are facing difficult times, making the holiday season a little brighter for hundreds of families.

“Christmas was going to be a hard time at the transition house, but attending the Panto helped to make the holiday season better for me and my daughter. You made our holiday season special.” — Cultch Connects patron

This year will be our most ambitious Cultch Connects fundraising campaign yet. Our anonymous match-funder has once again agreed to double any gift made to Cultch Connects between now and November 30 2018, making more tickets available than ever before to people in need.

“By giving to Cultch Connects, our donors are making our theatre accessible to everyone” says Executive Director Heather Redfern. “What I love most about the program is that it is inspiring the next generation of artists, musicians, and theatre-goers, ensuring our city remains a vibrant centre for the arts for years to come. That’s pretty amazing!”

— Louise Chapman, The Cultch’s Development Associate

Would you like to support Cultch Connects? Click here to donate now!

$150 = $300 Brings a community/school group to the Panto

$100 = $200 Brings a local youth group to a Cultch show

$50 = $100 Sends a Cultch Connects family to the Panto

Do you know an organization that would benefit from this program? Let us know!


Contact Louise Chapman, Development Associate:

louise@thecultch.com; 604 251 1766, ext. 108

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