DONOR SPOTLIGHT: Jim Miller
Jim, you have been a subscriber to The Cultch for many years. Can you tell us what first attracted you?
I don’t know if my memory goes back 30 years! But I’d guess it must have been a totally unique, singular presentation of some sort…like theatre-for-one, or something set inside a neighbourhood home.
Perhaps a performance without words or presented in total darkness. I think the Cultch should use as their slogan: “Why Be Normal?”.
What do you think is distinctive about The Cultch and our programming?
Well, carrying on with that thought, Cultch programming always piques my interest and curiosity, as in: “What the heck is going on here?…this is crazy!” There are a bunch of places I can go to be “entertained”, but I also want to be challenged. Or perhaps be exposed to a new form of artistic expression I had never previously experienced. Like the “Bouffon Comedy” on display with The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius last November. I didn’t know much about it going in, but after the show I was all over Google to learn more about Bouffon! Simply put, the Cultch programs performances that just aren’t found anywhere else in town!
What has surprised you most about The Cultch?
Surprised me? That goes back 20 years or more. Nothing at The Cultch surprises me anymore; indeed, I’ve grown to expect it.
Last Season’s The After After Party, Hot Brown Honey, Goblin Market and Bears…that’s what I EXPECT from the Cultch. Next year it’ll be Backbone, Mrs. Krishnan’s Party, and Dakh Daughters that will be invading your stage from some other planet. If the Cultch were to present a gay, all-nude staging of Romeo & Juliette I don’t think I would be surprised…I’d be intrigued, and would want to check it out!
Let me revise my suggested slogan…make it: “Expect The Unexpected!”
Can you tell us what you wish other people knew about The Cultch?
First, what a terrific value it is. With subscription seats for less than 20 bucks, you are paying about the same as what it would cost to see Spiderman 8 or the pre-prequel of Star Wars. And second…it is an opportunity to learn, not just be entertained. That’s why I tend to always go on the Talkback nights. These artists’ brains are wired completely differently than me, and I want to find out about their vision, what they are trying to achieve, and perhaps about the unorthodox route they took getting there.
Sometimes I’ve had mixed feeling about a show I just witnessed, but when I stay for the Talkback and get to hear from the director and cast what they were trying to achieve, or perhaps the rich tradition that the particular performance style drew upon, it casts a whole new light on the show and gives me deeper appreciation for it.
What would you tell someone is thinking about subscribing and/or donating to The Cultch but hasn’t made the move yet?
Take A Chance! That’s how you discover a new live musical genre or perhaps a great new restaurant or cuisine. When you discover something that is right up your alley but you never knew existed it is like an Epiphany.
Not every show at the Cultch will resonate with you, but Wow, once you’ve discovered the East Van Panto or Ronnie Burkett’s puppetry there is no turning back; you’re hooked and end up going every year out of tradition! You don’t even have to think about it!
The same holds true for plays put on by United Players, E.T.C., PuSh and Studio 58, plus performances by Winter Harp, our Chamber Music Societies, ScotiaBank Dance Theatre, Cinema Salon, etc…they might be a step outside of a person’s comfort zone but often a very affordable step in an entirely new direction. Slogan?: “Broaden Your Perspective”…hmm, probably already taken!
What inspires your love of the performing arts?
Well, everybody has their “Escape”. It might be reading books, or cycling 20 km’s, or taking pottery classes… and they are all good. But for me, I’m passionate about all forms of the performing Arts…theatre, dance, music… from Jazz to Chamber to Symphonic. The Cultch played a big part in cultivating that interest, starting more than 3 decades ago, and I am blessed to be in a city with so much tremendous talent to sustain my passion…far more talent than you would normally expect from a city of this size.
But it can’t be taken for granted…our artists have mortgages, household budgets and pay a buck-fifty per litre of gas, just like everyone else, but they usually don’t enjoy an income commensurate with their training and ability. I see as much as I do, and as much as I can, 150 performances or more per year, in part to support the artists and to help ensure an ongoing vibrant arts scene here in Vancouver. That’s also why I donate to the Cultch. It gives them the ability to provide an ever increasing number of shows (count ’em, 23 next season!), and sustain our artists rather than having them give-up on their passion and go back to some boring day job!
Keep up the good work Cultch!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 604.251.1766 x.121
Charitable registration # 11928 1574 RR0001