A conversation with Much Ado About Nothing Director, Rebecca Patterson

A conversation with Much Ado About Nothing Director, Rebecca Patterson

Previously from New York City, Rebecca Patterson is known for her inventive classical productions featuring all-female casts for The Queen’s Company (NYC) and her advocacy for diversity and gender-blind casting. As Classic Chic Productions prepares to open Much Ado About Nothing this week, we caught up with Rebecca to chat about her work and inspirations.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Born in California and raised in Western Canada, I went to Studio 58 as an actor before beginning my ongoing journey as an auteur theatre director. For the past 20 years I have been happily living and making theatre in New York City, I moved back home to Vancouver just over a year ago and am now making theatre here in addition to my work in NYC.

Can you tell us more about your work at The Queen’s Company in NYC?
Founded in 2000, The Queen’s Company is a NYC-based theatre company dedicated to the creation of inventive productions of classical plays featuring all-female casts. My work with the company weds a love of language to a love of life, weaving inspiration from history and world cultures into the fabric of each production, and is known for its exquisite use of language, bold physicality, creative storytelling and artistic playfulness. I have also been a vocal advocate for culture change in casting practices, calling for greater opportunities for classically trained professional female actors through all-female productions and gender-blind casting.

Why is gender-blind casting important?
Because it’s about humanity. It is a true reflection of our current culture where the old divisions between men and women are falling away. It is also about social justice and equal employment opportunity for female actors.

What inspires your work?
Life, and the actors I have the pleasure and privilege to work with.

What makes you most excited about being back in Vancouver?
Vancouver has become the city I went in search of, diverse, engaged, hopeful, curious. The city and the theatre community excites me, though I love the dynamic energy and drive of NYC, I miss my culture and my people, it is wonderful being back and diving into this new experiment.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Femme Series?
It means I am claiming space onstage for women and encouraging other women to do the same. This is important, we need to have our diverse voices heard and seen. It will be the journey of multiple lifetimes to undo the untold generations of female silence, to arrive at a time where equality of expression is the norm, this is why, even as women achieve more overt equality, programs like the Femme Series remain important and relevant.

What should audiences expect from Classic Chic’s Much Ado About Nothing?
Expect to be surprised.

Tell us about a woman who has inspired you.
So many to choose from! Of all the fierce females who make my day, I have to choose the French female director Ariane Mnouchkine, within the artistry of stage direction she is considered one the best, her relentless pursuit of truth and bold theatricality has been deeply inspirational and fueled my passion to create theatre.

Photo by Emily Cooper

Much Ado About Nothing runs Feb 5 to 16 at the Historic Theatre (1895 Venables Street). Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Power Ballad Creator’s Notes

A Note from Julia Croft | Power Ballad Creator/Performer

Power Ballad is a living, breathing, and demonic little show that we are absolutely delighted to be presenting in Canada for the first time.

This work is the second in a trilogy of feminist works that we created. Power Ballad was inspired in part by the misogynistic train wreck that was the 2016 US election and the implicit gendered narratives that were played out in the politics and media of that time and continue to ripple through our lives and our culture. It was also inspired by a lifetime of personally feeling the ways in which language was used against me as a woman and the ways I felt (and still feel) that language can be an impossible bind.

Over the course of making the show, the concept of language began to also stand in for all those other seemingly immovable patriarchal structures we are all trying to live within or against. They seem permanent but they aren’t – things could be different. While making this work I thought often of the famous Ursula Le Guin quote “We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.” This work is about finding the cracks where resistance can begin.

This show started to become a small rally cry – or at least my own attempt to begin to understand what a resistance could look like and my reminding myself of the importance of being hopeful.

Then as we began rehearsals for the show millions of women around the world marched collectively as part of the Womens’ March. And then we had #metoo. And Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette. And a million other acts of resistance both big and small seem to be appearing every day. And I feel in my gut that things are shifting. Maybe the revolution has already started.

Either way, it is my great joy to be in a room with you all while we sing our hearts out.

Julia x


Power Ballad runs Jan 20-26, at the Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or call The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Thank you for making Mouthpiece a huge success!

Thank you for making Mouthpiece a huge success!

The reception that Mouthpiece has received is incredible! We were so thrilled to be able to bring Quote Unquote Collective to Vancouver to present their amazing show. Mouthpiece is a powerful piece of theatre that portrays one woman (played by two women- Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava) as she struggles to find her voice in the wake of her mother’s death. If you were lucky enough to manage to get tickets to this SOLD-OUT HIT, then we want to thank you for spreading the word and making this show the amazing success that it is.

 

We would also like to acknowledge the amazing support of our community partner for Mouthpiece, West Coast Leaf. For each show presented at The Cultch we try to find a matching community partner – A company with a similar mandate, and with similar values. West Coast Leaf has been an amazing community partner and we are so grateful for all their work helping us get the word out for Mouthpiece. If you haven’t heard about West Coast Leaf and their amazing work in the community, we recommend that you check them out. “[Their] goal is to achieve equality by changing historic patterns of systemic discrimination against women through BC-based equality rights litigation, law reform, and education.”

Our Community Partners for Mouthpiece – West Coast Leaf. Jessica Lithwick, Clea Parfitt, and Robyn Trask pose with The Cultch’s Executive Director, Heather Redfern. Photo Credit – roaming-the-planet

Mouthpiece is a part of Femme February at The Cultch. For the whole month of February we are presenting shows and events created by women. Now more than ever we think it is important to promote the things we believe in, and so all month long, events at The Cultch will highlight the strength and power of the female voice and experience. We couldn’t do these kind of things without the generous support of our sponsors, donors, community partners and our patrons. So thank you everyone -we truly couldn’t do it without you!

We especially want to thank Charlotte and Sonya Wall. It is their generous support that has made Femme February possible, and we are so grateful.

Heather Redfern poses with Femme February sponsors, The Walls, at the opening night reception for Mouthpiece. Photo Credit – Ric Lam

If you weren’t able to get tickets to Mouthpiece (and even if you were!), consider checking out some of the other events coming up for Femme February. NeoIndigenA (Feb 15-19), Women in the Arts Panel Discussion & Girl Positive Book Launch (Feb 9 – FREE EVENT), and am a (Feb 21- March 4)

Femme February runs all February long at the Historic Theatre and the Vancity Culture Lab. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363