March Mayhem: A month in photos

We’re only a quarter of the way through 2015 and it’s already been a VERY busy year. We’ve barely had a moment’s rest in March, there was so much happening! Here’s just some of what went on:

The biggest event we had this month was our annual fundraising gala, in which we celebrated the Celtic Spirit of Ireland!

Temp

Heather Redfern rocking out with auctioneer David C. Jones

Temp

MCs Margaret Gallagher and Fred Lee addressing the attendees

There was some great entertainment throughout the evening

_WDP5092

_WDP5161

You couldn’t turn around without seeing someone doing something!

_WDP5456

_WDP5169

We had two great openings, first with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s TransMigration:

Temp

Kaha:wi Dance Theatre Artistic Director Santee Smith with Heather Redfern

Temp

Cultch Ladies: Caitrin Innis (Development Coordinator), Zoe Forsyth (Concierge and Volunteer Coordinator), Nicole McLuckie (Director of Patron Development) and Cindy Reid (Managing Director)

Temp

Members of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre giving us a smile

Temp

Kaha:wi Dance Theatre giving us… something else

And then we had Obaaberima from Buddies in Bad Times, which the audience enjoyed talking about post-show

Kaha:wi Dance also hosted a Pow Wow Boot Camp:

Temp

Kaha:wi Artistic Director leads the participants

Temp

It wasn’t all fun though, as we said farewell to our fantastic Senior Design and Web Coordinator, Isa Chernets

B6

We did get a lot of puppy love though, as we welcomed Murphy to The Cultch family!

And to end March, we have a little tease for what’s coming up in April, as the Famous Puppet Death Scenes set was loaded in yesterday!

Temp

There are so many crates, they’re not only over flowing outside…

Temp

But even into the lobby as well!

Temp

It’s a lot of work, putting a set together

Temp

The view from above

Temp

Temp

The set is starting to rise!

Temp

Do you perfer the orchestra view

Temp

Or looking down from the balcony?

It was a pretty packed month, and we can’t wait for what’s next! Remeber you can always check out our Flickr page for more great photos! Be sure you come down and join us so you don’t miss any of the fun!

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.

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

chi-blog

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

memory-house-blog

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

this-time-tomorrow-blog

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.

An interview with Alvin Erasga Tolentino about ‘Shifting Geography’

From Feb 18 – 22, The Cultch is happy to present the world premiere of Shifting Geography, a new international dance creation choreographed by Alvin Erasga Tolentino (Co.ERASGA ,Vancouver) and Rafaële Giovanola (COCOONDANCE, Bonn, Germany). Using Vancouver and Bonn as inspiration, Shifting Geography  explores the body as a geographical metaphor with which to inquire about one’s origin and pathway.

In preparation for the world premiere we’ve caught up with Alvin Erasga Tolentino, Co.ERASGA’s founder and co-choreographer for Shifting Geography, to get some insight about his collaboration with COCOON DANCE and his company’s residency at The Cultch.

Q) Could you tell us how your passion for dance started?
It all started in my native land of the Philippines
when I was introduced to cultural dances in elementary school. Since then my dance journey has taken on a path beyond my imagination.

Q) We know you studied ballet in Winnipeg for two years, what made you change to modern dance?
Well in fact, I was already trained in modern dance before I entered the ballet world, but coming to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet was one of the best pieces of training I’ve had giving me a solid foundation in dance technique and it also allowed me to choose which dance form I wanted to fully dedicate myself to.

Q) Shifting Geography is a co-creation with German dance company COCOONDANCE. Could you tell us how this collaboration first came together?
My relationship with Rafaële Giovanola, Artistic Director of COCOONDANCE began through an introduction by Martin Inthamoussu – a former dance member of COCOONDANCE. Martin and I met in 2005 after meeting at a dance festival in Venezuela. We also collaborated on a piece of work for Co.ERASGA in 2011 that was featured at a festival in Bonn, Germany hosted by COCOONDANCE. Needless to say, meeting Rafaële then provided the inspiration and initiative to create Shifting Geography.

Q) What was it like working with Rafaële Giovanola on this project?
Challenging, as we both have our own aesthetics, ideas, and vision. However, we are also very generous to one another. The creative process has reminded me of the importance of working without ego. It’s integral for collaborators to meet creative challenges by building trust with fellow dancers and doing our best to create the best work possible.

Q) You and your company had a residency at The Cultch, this past July, could you describe for us this experience and how this helped develop your upcoming show?
I was thrilled to return to the historic performance space at The Cultch since I have performed in the space so many times during my years of dancing for other companies since the early 90s. The residency this past summer provided my company and the creative team of Shifting Geography a chance to have a performance space that facilitated the direction and imagination of the work that we were developing. We opened several creative processes as well to the public during the residency providing insights into the creative process and conversation with the artists.

Q) What can audience members expect from this production?
Bringing together onstage six fabulous dancers with native roots from Spain, Taiwan, Canada, Germany, Uruguay, and Romania. The debut of Spanish composer Pablo Palacio. To present dance as a sense of search where the body describes the shifts of state and feelings. Dancers observe this transformation in and out of the body in between performance mode and in the act of being presence. The body becomes the geography of states.

Q) What does it mean to you to be an active member of the Philippines community and a dancer with this heritage?
Filipinos are now the third largest minority group in the country, I am happy to represent contemporary dance to the widest community and to share my work and embrace the multi-racial that makes up diversity in Canada. I honor being Filipino to know my roots, culture, and history but I exist and practice as an artist to provide creativity for all.

Shifting Geography by Co.ERASGA and COCOONDANCE runs at The Cultch from Feb 18-22 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets are from $18 and can be purchased online at: tickets.thecultch.com, or by calling the box office at 604.251.1363.

A Global Success! Patrick Ehrenwirth shares behind-the-scenes insights into the dazzling production, LEO!

By Sarah Cruickshank

Tobias Wegner in Circle of Eleven's LEO, winner of the Best of Edinburgh Award.

LEO, the jaw-dropping, gravity-defying production from Berlin-based theatre company Circle of Eleven, is coming to The Cultch! In its last stop on a whirlwind world tour, this remarkable production of physical theatre will leave you not knowing which way is up and which way is down!

We caught up with Circle of Eleven’s Marketing and PR Manager Patrick Ehrenwirth to find out more about LEO, and how it feels to be part of a production that’s enjoying global success.

SC: As the Marketing and PR Manager at Circle of Eleven, what are some of your responsibilities when touring a show like LEO?

PE: The first step in the creation phase of a touring show is to find a show title and to develop artwork that comes with the show. We usually do this in a small team which involves the key creatives, Circle of Eleven’s artistic director, and myself. We provide a full marketing package to the venues where our productions play. This includes show texts, a press kit, photos, a trailer, and the art work for the posters, flyers and ads. So, the first round is always a busy period with photo and video shootings and a lot of copywriting. Once a show is on tour, the respective marketing and PR team and I are planning press calls, interviews, TV gigs and advertising campaigns. Every city and every venue is different when touring a show; that’s why my job never gets boring!

SC: For those who may not be familiar with this type of performance, can you explain the concept of physical theatre?

PE: Physical theatre is a broad term for performances which convey drama or an actual story by primarily physical means, that is, the body. This idea allows a variety of genres to happily mingle, from mime to contemporary dance, from circus to performance art. You will notice when watching LEO that the show requires a lot of different skills from the performer. Besides being an excellent and strong acrobat, he also has to be a good dancer, actor, mime, and he has to be able to play an instrument.

Tobias Wegner stars in Circle of Eleven's LEO, which plays at The Cultch until Dec 15.

SC: What are some of the challenges in presenting a show with no words?

PE: The beauty of a nonverbal, visually captivating production like LEO is that it leaves a lot of space for personal interpretation. But at the same time, it’s also a challenge when marketing a show because you don’t want to give too much away. My experience is that visitors see so many different things in LEO, whether it is a situation in their own life or that of a friend or something entirely different. Theatre is a universal language, but it talks to everyone in a different way, so to speak. So for me the challenge is to keep that door, that personal access open for everyone.

SC: LEO has been called the anti-gravity show. How does performer Tobias Wegner make it look as though he’s floating in the air?

PE: LEO is based on a brilliant stage concept which actually involves two scenes: A box with the performer in it, and right beside it, a projection of this room turned by 90 degrees, so what is the floor in real life becomes the wall in the projection. The illusion is even enhanced by a fantastic lighting design, surreal animations and a visionary video design. But above all, it is Tobias’s talent and stamina that make his movements seem weightless. When Tobias developed the show together with director Daniel Brière, they’d been experimenting a lot with different movements and sequences to see which would work both in the projection and on stage. But even now, Tobias and the creatives keep inventing new elements, which they add to the show. On a technical level, the show is playing with people’s perception, and at a certain point, you won’t realize which postures are actually difficult or even impossible in real life.

SC: LEO has toured all over the world including places like the USA, Poland, Germany and Iran. What does it mean to come to Vancouver and perform on The Cultch stage?

PE: The Cultch will be LEO’s last station before going on a well-deserved Christmas holiday, and it is also the last stop on this 2012 world tour, which started in New York. This run is quite special. I know that Tobias Wegner and the crew are excited to be in Vancouver, and to perform at The Cultch, especially because its programme is so varied and interdisciplinary, just as LEO is. Unfortunately, I don’t get to tour with the crew, and to be honest, I envy them a little that they are travelling to a city that has been rated among the most liveable cities in the world!

SC: LEO is so popular that you’ve had to train two additional performers for tour dates in 2013. How does it feel to be a part of a show that’s enjoying this much success?

PE: Of course, it makes us all very proud! I’ve seen the show develop from a comedy act that Tobias Wegner created for our production called myLIFE, to a touching one-hour show that won three awards and played off-Broadway. Whether it be the USA, Iran, Zimbabwe, or Canada – regardless of the cultural background, people just love the show, that’s just amazing. But it’s not only the success as such but the feedback that we get that is very rewarding. I’ve seen people crying during the show simply because they were so moved by it. Others told me with a big smile on their face that LEO was the most beautiful piece they ever saw. It is a great feeling to be part of a team that makes this happen.

SC: What can an audience member expect to take away after watching LEO?

PE: For me personally, it is the simple realization that life is full of surprises – or rather chances you can take – and the conclusion that, no matter how trapped you might feel in certain situations, there is always a way out. But as I said, I’m sure everyone will find his or her own story in LEO!

LEO runs at The Cultch December 4 – 15. Tickets start at $17 and are available online at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at 1895 Venables St

Zombie Apocalypse in Vancouver: 6 tips for survival

Theatre Melee presents a dark comedy about four strangers who make a desperate last stand as human civilization crumbles around them.

By Roanne Ward

Ah, zombies. Where would the Hollywood economy be without them? Everyone loves a good zombie flick. We know our beautiful protagonists are doomed from the start but we keep watching, flinching at every turn, anxiously awaiting the zombie to chow down on their victim’s flesh! Watching the action on film is thrilling enough, but imagine watching these events live!

Theatre Melee, with support from Rumble Productions, brings their zombie inspired production, Cozy Catastrophe, to The Cultch just in time for Halloween. Stemming from Hive 2 in 2008, Cozy Catastrophe places four young, unprepared zombie-apocalypse survivors in a tight situation, where they take shelter in an abandoned storeroom, while racking their brains on what to do.

So how does one survive a zombie invasion? Hide and hope they don’t like your particular taste of flesh? Quickly apply some make-up/dirt/blood to your face so you resemble one of them?

Here are our 6 tips for survival:

A sample zombie survival kit.

  1. Imagine a zombie invasion like you would any other big emergency– fire, earthquake, drought, floods– and get a survival kit. Please include water, dissolving hand soap sheets, beef jerky, a flash light, matches, and some reading material.
  2. Keep to the roof tops people! From there you’ll have a 75% better vantage point and everyone knows that Zombies are not very limber – heck, half of them are missing one appendage!
  3. Study zombie movies like Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead so you can pre-empt their tactics.
  4. Get a baseball bat so you can clear a path through the zombies should their numbers increase.
  5. Conserve, conserve, conserve. No one knows how long the Zombie Apocalypse will last but hey, have you EVER heard of one ENDING? I didn’t think so. Make sure you’re tight with your goods, folks. I hear Twinkies have enough preservatives to keep them “edible” for 80 years!
  6. Visit The Cultch between Oct 22 – Nov 4, check out Cozy Catastrophe, get some live advice and enjoy some fantastic local theatre!

Cozy Catastrophe runs until November 4, 2012. Tickets are $30 and are available online at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at 1895 Venables St.