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.

Karaoke favourites from the Cultch staff!

In preparations for Feminist Karaoke, Cultch staff dish about their karaoke favourites!

Julia Croft wants you to sing along!

Power Ballad, from New Zealand’s Julia Croft and Nisha Madhan (Jan 22-26), is part performance piece, part feminist rant, AND part karaoke party! On Friday, Jan 25, the party will continue after the show, when Julia invites Cultch patrons to join her for Feminist Karaoke — a completely free Femme Series event!

The buzz in the Cultch office is palpable—we are a karaoke loving bunch! Here are a few karaoke favourites—and a couple karaoke memories—from some of the staff, to help you get in the mood for Jan 25.

Chelsea Isenor, Marketing Manager

Favourite Karaoke Song: Total Eclipse of the Heart. I don’t really have the vocal chops to sing it well, but it is so fun to belt out. It’s even better if you have a duet partner, but I have been know to sing both parts!

Kelly Barker, Artistic Associate

Karaoke Memory: I sang “I Love Rock and Roll”, by Joan Jett, at my sister-in-law’s wedding, and it was so terrible that the host of the wedding (it was at a small inn in the Okanagan) told me, the next morning, that it was, “the worst thing he’d ever heard”. My mother-in-law apparently has it on video—and I’ve refused to watch it.

Louise Chapman, Development Associate

Karaoke Memory: It’s not a particularly interesting story, but it’s my only personal karaoke experience!

I do not have a good singing voice, so I have only done karaoke once in my life! I was 19 and travelling in Japan with my friend Mariesha. We went along to a karaoke place and got a little room with some people from out hostel. I drank a lot of plum wine (delicious!) and sang Umbrella by Rihanna. A good memory.

Another time, I was staying in a village on a tiny island in the Philippines, where the local fishermen would gather at night to drink rum and sing karaoke. Their singing filled the tropical night air.

Leslie Dos Remedios, Sales Associate

Favourite Karaoke Song: I actually have a running list of karaoke songs on my phone – like when I’m in a store and hear a song I love, I put it in my phone just so I’m not at a loss in those times I’m flipping through a karaoke binder, not at my full capacity and about to make a questionable adult decision.

Some of my faves to sing are:

I Love Rock and Roll by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
Wannabe by The Spice Girls
Since You’ve Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson

Very eclectic, I know, but such good guilty pleasures!

We wanna know your karaoke favourites—come sing with us!! Feminist Karaoke with Julia Croft is a FREE Femme Series event on January 25, 2019, at 9PM.


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

The Femme Series is generously supported by the Charlotte and Sonya Wall Arts Fund.

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.

Feminist Holiday Gift Guide!

Feminist Holiday Gift Guide!

Struggling with your holiday shopping? Need a little help getting the perfect gift for that kick-ass feminist on your list? Look no furtherour Femme Series is coming up this winter, and there are so many amazing shows and events to choose from!

For the Karaoke Loving Feminist in your life…who wants a moment in the spotlight:

Do you have anyone on your list who could use a good evening of belting out classic power ballads? Have we got the show for you!

Power Ballad is an angry, feminist, live art investigation of language and its sometimes hidden ideologies that is part performance lecture and part karaoke party. With an ‘80s soundtrack to rival any school disco, Power Ballad is anarchic and loud; filled with feminist rage and…Annie Lennox.

And, as a BONUSgrab tickets to the performance on January 25, and you can stay behind after the show for a fun evening of Feminist Karaoke with Power Ballad performer Julia Croft!

For the Shakespeare Loving Feminist in your life:

Hipster Shakespeare!

Sure he’s an old, dead, white guy, but the Bard still has some interesting things to say, and in the hands of Classic Chic Theatre Company, this February’s performance of Much Ado About Nothing won’t be your status-quo, Shakespeare!

Shakespeare loving feminists will not want to miss an all-female cast as they take on one of the most famous stage comedies in the worlda deadly serious and sublimely ridiculous story—of soldiers in love and women confined by tradition. It’s a bold and playful romp through the extremes of desire and ambition, loyalty, and redemption.

“It has been my experience that gender-blind casting speaks to a diverse audience—straight and queer, men and women—and is a true reflection of our complex contemporary community.” — Rebecca Patterson, Much Ado about Nothing Director

For the Music Loving Feminist in your life:

There are so many things to choose from for the music loving feminist on your list. From indie, to hula, to punk…and don’t forget the rock ballads, and karaoke! We have the music lover in your life covered!

Don’t miss Ukraine’s Dakh Daughters in their cross-discipline performance from Jan 15-19, at the York Theatre. Seven actresses take musical instruments into their hands in order to create a life-affirming performance about love, freedom, and beauty which at the end of the day—will save the world. Get your tickets for this one fast, because it will sell out!

On January 12, 2019, at the York Theatre, Soft Cedar Presents: Only a Visitor’s Technicolour Education album release, with special guest Wallgrin. Only A Visitor is a quintet that blurs genre boundaries by straddling the line between art music and pop. Their new album, Technicolour Education, focuses on the Chinese diasporic experience in Vancouver through generations of immigrant stories. Tickets are only $20 and can be purchased here.

Soft Cedar will be back at the end of January as well! On January 27, Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole will take the stage in a co-presentation with Capilano University as part of the CapU Global Roots Series. Kaumakaiwa brings to the stage an immense talent as a singer, chanter, and dancer as well as a deep understanding of her Hawaiian culture and her place as a modern, transgender (mahu wahine) Hawaiian in this contemporary world. She engages Indigenous thought to address today’s issues through music, chant, and sharing of spirit.

And, of course, who can forget about Power Ballad?!

For the aspiring Feminist Playwright in your life:

Do you have that one friend who always tells you their “brilliant” play ideas? Theatre creators and producers Kim Senklip Harvey and Pippa Mackie host Pitch, Bitch, or Ditch on Jan 14—an unforgettable night that puts the power in the hands of the patrons! From anonymous suggestions made by the audience, Kim and Pippa will lead patrons through a lively evening of banter and debate—no idea is off limits, no suggestions taboo or too dangerous. The bar will be open. There will be guest appearances…and loads of surprises! And with tickets for only $10, this makes the perfect stocking stuffer, or secret Santa gift!

AND THAT IS NOT EVEN ALL!
Full list of events for the Femme Series:

Jan 11: WROL (Without Rule of Law) by Michaela Jeffery—A new play reading presented by Touchstone Theatre, 8PM, Historic Theatre—FREE
Jan 12: Soft Cedar Presents: Only a Visitor album release, with special guest Wallgrin, 8PM, Historic Theatre—$20
Jan 14: Women in the Arts Mixer, 6-8PM, Historic Theatre—FREE
Jan 14: Pitch, Bitch, or Ditch, with Pippa Mackie and Kim Harvey8-9PM, Historic Theatre—$10
Jan 15 – 19: Dakh Daughters (Ukraine), York Theatre—Main Stage Season Production
Jan 22 – 26: Power Ballad, Julia Croft/Nisha Madhan (New Zealand), 8PM, Historic Theatre—Main Stage Season Production
Jan 25: Feminist Karaoke with Julia Croft, after Power Ballad, 9PM, Historic Theatre—FREE
Jan 27: Soft Cedar Presents: Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole, presented as part of CapU Global Roots Series, 8PM, York Theatre—$40
Feb 5 – 16: Much Ado About Nothing, Classic Chic Productions (Vancouver), Historic Theatre—Main Stage Season Production


Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

2018/19 Season staff picks!

2018/19 Season staff picks!

As you can imagine, all of the staff here at The Cultch are getting very excited to share the 2018/19 Season with you! We asked a few of our staff members what show they just cannot wait for, and here are the first few staff picks:


Elysse Cheadle, Head Front of House Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, SmallWaR, Nov 6-16, 2018

Elysse Cheadle, Head Front of House Manager and Volunteer Coordinator.

SmallWaR entices me because it is the follow-up to one of my favorite shows we have had here at The Cultch: BigMouth. Valentijn Dhaenens is an extremely powerful performer, who displayed a totally magnetic kind of controlled weight and erratic; as if he was at any moment going to burst in any direction. In addition to Valentijn’s performance, it was the beautiful execution of a simple concept that drew me to BigMouth (one man performs a series of famous speeches made by over 25 000 years of human history). Similarly, SmallWaR is focusing its attention in on one moment: a dying soldier reflecting on the impact of the cyclical trauma of war on his life and the history of humanity. In BigMouth, Valentijn made use of 5 microphones in a wildly creative and impactful manner. I can’t wait to see how the same experimentation is applied to the use of five projectors in SmallWaR.


Paul Phalen, Business Development & Hospitality Manager. Photo by Tiana He

Paul Phalen, Business Development & Hospitality Manager, Testosterone, Oct 2- 13, 2018

I am so excited to see Testoserone, and to open the discussion about masculinity. How masculine do you have to be, to be a “man”? This amazing production explores a character’s journey into the unknown spectrum that is masculinity, having just transitioned from female to male. “Do you think you’re man enough?”


Kelly Barker, Artistic Associate, Power Ballad, Jan 22-26, 2019

I’m really excited about Power Ballad which is going to be part of our Femme Series in January. This one-woman show, from New Zealand, is a feminist, performance-art, karaoke party – what could be better?! The imagery I’ve seen is striking and the reviews are great. I think it’s going to be an awesome night which will have you singing along while deconstructing the patriarchy and examining the way we use language. A unique show not to be missed!


Single tickets go on sale July 16, but you can purchase a subscription today to save! Save 20% with our Choose 5 subscription package or 25% with our Choose 8 subscription package! This season, the more you see, the more save. You’ll enjoy an exciting roster of artists and programs, from the best seats in the house.