IGNITE! Festival: An interview with Chalene Scott, director of ‘Mighty Qualified, Plenty Smote’

Every year in May, The Cultch hands over its facilities to young artists in town to bring you the IGNITE! Festival. Chalene Scott is one of the three emerging directors selected from an application process this fall to participate in the IGNITE! Mentorship Program and direct the three new plays presented in the festival.

For the mentorship Scott was paired with director Stephen Drover (Penelope, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot) for guidance along the way. Chalene is directing Mighty Qualified, Plenty Smote written by emerging playwright Ronan K. Nanning Watson (also a participant, paired with mentor David Geary). The directors cast their own shows, found a crew to produce them, and will debut these brand new scripts starting next Monday in the Vancity Culture Lab. We had a chance to chat with Chalene about the play she is directing and the process she went through.

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Sean Fabisch, Deanna Rayne, and Chalene Scott – Photos by Maurice Tsai

Can you tell us a little bit about the play?

Mighty Qualified, Plenty Smote is a sort of surreal look at right and wrong. The main action revolves around a devil-figure, Staniel, trying to obtain a woman’s soul, but the woman, Liona, doesn’t believe in souls or the devil. We have a hero whose good intentions may have led her to do “wrong” things, and we have a classic villain who may be motivated by the purest ideals. So who’s right if everyone is wrong? On top of that, there’s a chorus of amoral and philosophizing child-mystics with no clear agenda, helping and hindering at will. The play explores themes of morality through blues music and sensationalism.

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Shon Burnett, Keren Katz, and Chalene Scott – Photos by Maurice Tsai

What drew you to this script?

The first immediate draw was that the script terrified me artistically. I had never done a show so incorporeal and transient in terms of setting and character. So, obviously, I had to direct it! Then there’s the lovely way Ronan (the playwright) plays with language and themes. I just sort of fell in love with it after the first reading.

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Keren Katz, Shon Burnett, and Chalene Scott – Photos by Maurice Tsai

What is something that surprised you about the IGNITE experience?

There have been many pleasant surprises thrown my way by IGNITE. I really had no idea what I was signing up for when I submitted my application. IGNITE takes  such good care of its participants! When I got the full schedule, I was surprised to see so many workshops aimed at forging the skills that young artists need to forward their projects, companies, or individual art. I think it’s amazing that the participants are supported not only in creating the art they were accepted into the program to create, but are also given the skill to continue creating afterwards.
Rob (Robert Leveroos, Youth Program Manager) has done an amazing job keeping everyone organized, but I was so pleased to see how much the youth panel is responsible for. I’m a huge advocate for giving youth the opportunity to experience responsibility in a safe environment before they have to deal with high stakes responsibility in the “real world”.

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Photos by Maurice Tsai

Tell us about working with your mentor Stephen Drover. Is there something you’ve learned that you can share with us?

Stephen’s been great to work with. He’s supportive in a very constructive way. If I come in with an idea and ask it it’s crazy, he won’t tell me what he thinks. Instead, he’ll give me a few more tools so I can decide for myself. I think the biggest lesson has been that there are no absolutes and when in doubt, I should trust my instincts. We have instincts for a reason and to ignore them is to spit in the face of artistic expression.

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Keren Katz, Beni Spieler , and Shon Burnett – Photos by Maurice Tsai

Your production marks a first in the IGNITE! Program, you’re working with three youth aged 10-11, tell us about that decision to work with such young performers.

After I got the script, I spent some time with it, as one does, and fairly immediately realized that the chorus could not have the same effect (in fact, their effectiveness would be significantly diminished) were I to cast adults, or even teenagers. There’s something weirdly gripping about seeing the devil pandering to a posse of preteens. I knew there would be extra challenges in casting kids so young, but ultimately, I knew it would be worth the effort. So far, I think I’m right.

 

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Sean Fabisch, Gauri Roy, Shon Burnett, Deanna Rayne, and Keren Katz – Photos by Maurice Tsai

How has it been to work with them? What can audiences expect when they come see your show?

They’re all wonderful to work with. The trickiest thing about the kid’s roles is that they really aren’t written for children. Audiences should not come in expecting to see a children’s show. The themes are mature and the young ones rarely get to say anything they’d be likely to say outside of the show. They’ve risen to the occasion beautifully, expounding strings of large, complicated ideas that I think, would sound weird coming out of anyone, let alone a ten-year-old.
There’s also some blues music and shadow-play in the show. Something for everyone! (Except small children. Don’t bring the kids. We have a few foul words.)

 

The show is part of the IGNITE! Theatre Festival, May 5-10.
Monday, May 5: Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote and The Lies We Tell 6 pm
Tuesday, May 6: Party Princess No. Five and Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote 6 pm
Wednesday, May 7: The Lies We Tell and Party Princess Rule No. Five 6 pm
Thursday, May 8: The Lies We Tell and Party Princess Rule No. Five 6 pm
Friday, May 9: The Lies We Tell and Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote 6pm
Saturday, May 10: Party Princess Rule No. Five, Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote and The Lies We Tell 2 pm
Saturday, May 10: Party princess No. Five and Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote 6 pm

Tickets start at just $2 and can be purchased online.
Full festival information at igniteyouthfest.ca

An interview with Heather Redfern, Executive Director at The Cultch

Mies Julie has been playing for almost three weeks and has been the breakout hit of our 13/14 season! This love/hate story between Julie, the daughter of a landowner and John, her father’s favourite black servant, in a conservative area of South Africa, is powerful and intense. Yael Farber, writer, and director of the play, is a multiple award-winning director and playwright of international acclaim.

The reviews from both patrons and critics are coming in and they are all unanimous about the show: they love it! We caught up with Heather Redfern, Executive Director at The Cultch, to get some insight about her decision to bring the show to The Cultch’s 13/14 season.

Heather RedfernWhen and where did you see Mies Julie for the first time?
Edinburg Festival Fringe 2012

7What made you pick the show for The Cultch’s 13/14 season, and how did you know it would be a good fit for audiences here in Vancouver?
It is one of the most powerful pieces of theatre I have ever seen and I knew Vancouver audiences would appreciate the quality and excellence of the artists involved and the importance of having this conversation about where we belong in our societies, how we treat each other when we do or do not have power, and how the ownership of land, or being disenfranchised from land, affects all societies everywhere causing wars and disenchantment. Because freedom was won 20 years ago it is important for people outside of South Africa to see just where the country is now. Mandela was a great man but he is only one story.

2Mies Julie is a multi award-winning show that got sensational reviews from New York to London. How does it feel to bring the Canadian premiere of the production to The Cultch?
It is a privilege for those of us who live in the Lower Mainland to have the Baxter Theatre and the wonderful artists who create this production in Vancouver. I am overwhelmed and honoured.

pic3_highres_cmykWe know that another South African play is coming to The Cultch for 14/15 season, Cadre by Chicago by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd in association with the Market Theatre of Johannesburg. Is there a reason why you’ve decided to program two South African production in two consecutive seasons?
Yes, it was very deliberate. I believe that one of the things we do here at The Cultch is stimulate dialogue over multiple seasons; that productions do not live in isolation but bounce off of each other and resonate throughout a season and across several years. Having Cadre in the season will deepen the dialogue we have with audiences that we began Mies Julie.

6How would you describe Mies Julie in three words?
STEAMY, BRAVE, STUNNING

Mies Julie runs at the The Historic Theatre from until April 19, 2014 at 8 pm. Tickets are from $31 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 604.251.1363 or online.

 

Mies Julie critics and audiences abuzz!

Everyone’s talking about Mies Julie by Baxter Theatre Centre (South Africa), a powerful adaptation of Strindberg’s classic Miss Julie by the internationally acclaimed director Yael Farber. This amazing production has been touring for two years now, and has moved audiences here at The Cultch during its Canadian premiere.

It’s been the perfect time to bring this show to Vancouver, with April declared South African Month by the City of Vancouver. As part of that, we’ve been thrilled to have the Vancouver South African Film Festival as our Community Partner!

The positive comments about this show have been overwhelming! If you’re still wondering if you should come see this play, check out the rave reviews below:

It’s impossible to take your eyes off of Mies Julie”
Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“Mies Julie is an absolute stunner
Jerry Wasserman, The Province

It’s not to be missed
Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier

“Mies Julie is a play that demands limitless courage
Steven Schilling, Montecristo Magazine

“Mies Julie takes us to the point where theatre stops becoming an act and truly becomes real life. In this, the play offers an entirely different theatre experience that is rare to find in Vancouver
Cecilia Lu, Vancity Buzz

“Not for the faint of heart, but South African play Mies Julie is brilliant. Disturbing, but brilliant! Go see it!”
Geraldine Eliot, @geraldineeliot

“Mies julie at The Cultch was tense, sexually charged and sad all at once
– Cindy Newman, @cindynewman

Just saw #miesjulie @TheCultch. Powerful performances
– Trina Davies, @TrinaLDavies

@yfarber @hmcronjester @TheCultch @mantsai saw the play on 27th in blore, must say…u won hearts of audiences. Too good! I came out crying”
– Pragya Prasun Singh @pragyaprasun

“Just watched Mies Julie the other day and I have to say it was AMAZING! So powerful and heart pounding. I spent the last 20 minutes on the edge of my seat pulse racing. The small cast of 4 were outstanding. I can not say enough good things about this play, you must see it”
– Kyle Pearson

Just was amazed. Beautiful production. Go see it before it’s gone. Stunning
– Michael Hedden

What a powerful show! Not an easy view but worth every second!
– Bruce McPherson

Do not miss the haunting performances and searing power in #MiesJulie @TheCultch. Go. GO
– Alexis Kellum-Creer, @AKellumCreer

“If you are fortunate enough you will go and see Mies Julie at @TheCultch before they leave us on the 19th. This is what theatre should be”
Kayvon Kelly, @KayvonKelly

Dear #YVR: You must go see Mies Julie at @TheCultch. It is absolutely superb and will take me a few days to process!
– Lois Dawson @SMLois

Just saw Mies Julie at @TheCultch @hmcronjester and @mantsai killed it. Go see it. #intense #emotional
– John deMercado @jdemo67

Many reasons to see Mies Julie at @TheCultch. One is the live saxophone – a low growl that sneaks up on your awareness like a fog. Awesome
– TJ Dawe, @TJ_Dawe

“Mies Julie is at @TheCultch until April 19. Powerful stuff, go see it! And go to one of the talk back performances it was fascinating
– Amanda Mitchell, @iheartcities

Mies Julie runs until Apr 19, 2014 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets start at $31 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604.251.1363.

Mies Julie opening night photos!

Last week we were proud to host the long awaited Canadian premiere of Mies Julie by Baxter Theatre Centre (South Africa). Critics and patrons didn’t take long to voice their opinion about this scintillating production. The Georgia Straight wrote that “it is impossible to take your eyes off Mies Julie” and Jo Ledingham said that “it is not to be missed”!

We hope you enjoy our opening night photos below (taken by one of our wonderful volunteers, Nena Pierre) and a big congratulations to the cast, crew, and artistic team of Mies Julie.

Maureen Flemming, our Business Development Consultant with Nicole McLuckie, our Director of Patron Development, welcoming the guests

Maureen Fleming, our Business Development Consultant with Nicole McLuckie, our Director of Patron Development, welcoming the guests

Emily Stuible with her friend Emma Wolchok

Emily Stuible with her friend Emma Wolchok

Our guest speaker David Chudnovsky with Heather Redfern, Executive Director of The Cultch and Jenn Graham, Head Front of House and Volunteer Coordinator

Our guest speaker David Chudnovsky with Heather Redfern, Executive Director of The Cultch and Jenn Graham, Head Front of House and Volunteer Coordinator

Borja Brown, our Production Manager with Nosipho Bophela, Stage Manager for 'Mies Julie'

Borja Brown, our Production Manager with Nosipho Bophela, Stage Manager for Mies Julie

Marianne Landers, Frank Constanzo, Annalies Camfferman and Dyane Lynch

Marianne Landers, Frank Costanzo, Annalies Camfferman, and Dyane Lynch

Zoleka Helesi, playing Christine, with Bongile Mantsai, playing John

Zoleka Helesi, playing Christine, with Bongile Mantsai, playing John

Mark Leiren-Young with Donna Wong Juliani

Mark Leiren-Young with Donna Wong Juliani

One of our volunteers, Bob Nath, with Hilda Cronje, playing Julie

One of our volunteers, Bob Nath, with Hilda Cronje, playing Julie

Mies Julie runs until April 19, 2014  at the Historic Theatre. Tickets starts at $31 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363.

Ten Things You Need To Know About ‘Underbelly’

Underbelly is on now at The Cultch  and to get you even more excited about this fantastic show, we have compiled a list of the ten things you need to know about Underbelly!

Award1. Underbelly is the 2012 winner of the Cultchivating the Fringe Award! Presented once a year, this award is granted to a performance from the Vancouver Fringe Festival that demonstrates a strong potential for further development by granting the performance a spot in the upcoming Cultch season. It’s no surprise Underbelly won when…

Robot12. This is Jayson McDonald’s FIFTH touring solo show. This writer and performer has made his rounds before. Underbelly is the latest in a long line of shows that also includes Giant Invisible Robot. And speaking of Giant Invisible Robot

UNderbelly23. Jayson McDonald won the Georgia Straight Critics’ Pick….two years in a row! Giant Invisible Robot took home the prize in 2011 and came back in 2012 to take the award again with Underbelly. It seems Jayson McDonald is doing something right whether he is writing about invisible friends or…

Lastfarewell5. The Beat Generation! Underbelly takes its inspiration from the literary and cultural revolution that evolved from the events before and during 1950s. Questioning the old traditions and conventions and influenced by the new jazz scene, the Beat Generation explored a new, honest way of expression. The term ‘The Beat Generation’ was coined by none other than…

jack6. Jack Kerouac, well known author of On the Road. The most well known author of the Beat Generation, Kerouac fell to the pressure of the fame and attention his one success gave him. Kerouac and his friend…

Allen7. Allen Ginsberg, one of the first Beat poets and lasting mentor, appears in Underbelly but it is the third of this circle of friends that Jayson McDonald chooses to portray…

Burroughs8. The odd man out, William S. Burroughs.  The oldest of the three and the junkie struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, Burroughs defied the linear narrative in his work, and lived recklessly in his life. Using this as inspiration Jayson McDonald creates a ‘fevered hallucination’ with…

Underbelly_Mike9. Some of the finest spoken word poetry you will hear. Fans of slam poetry and spoken word rejoice! The words in this piece are no mere reproduction from a beatnik who only dresses and looks the part. Jayson McDonald’s words evoke the poetic and bold era of the Beat Generation. And finally…

Underbelly10. If Cindy Reid, The Cultch managing director, managed to stay awake the whole time during a 10:30pm showing of Underbelly at the Vancouver Fringe in 2012, it must be an amazing show!

Underbelly runs at The Cultch until March  30, 2014 at 8pm in the Vancity Culture Lab. All tickets just $31 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363 or online.

Join the Volunteer Receptionist Team at The Cultch!

Want to see some of the hottest shows in Vancouver for free? Want to show your love for one of your favorite East Van arts organisations? Well what are you waiting for?!? The Cultch is looking to expand our Volunteer Receptionist Team and we want you to apply.

Our Volunteer Receptionists are often the first person people will encounter as the “face of The Cultch”! You will play a key role overseeing all aspects of administration during office hours and gain valuable administration experience. Answering phones, data entry, filing, and marketing duties are just some of the things you’ll handle. Candidates must have a good working knowledge of both spoken and written english.

Our volunteers at The Cultch see some of the best theatre, music, dance performances that Vancouver has to offer plus you get free tea/coffee, ticket discounts, and chances to win assorted door prizes.

We enlisted Mona, one of our volunteers since October 2013 to tell you why she likes to volunteer at The Cultch.

What is your favorite memory about volunteering with The Cultch?

Working on the Internship Manual for Volunteers, investigating the office processes, getting to know the admin staff and their roles, and orientating new volunteers.

What is your favorite show you have ever seen at The Cultch?

The Daisy Theatre. No, actually it was a couple of years ago-Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Why should you volunteer at The Cultch?

It’s fun. The admin staff is very appreciative so you feel like part of a “team”. You get to see what goes on in the background before a production. You get to practice your office skills. You get complimentary tickets to the Historic Theatre events and you get to work in an office with a magnificent view!

Interested? Contact Cindy Reid, Managing Director, at 604.251.1766 x 112, or email your resume to cindy@thecultch.com

Hello my name is Chris MacDonald: Sales Manager of The Cultch

‘Hello My Name Is…’ is a new profile series on The Cultch blog. Each post will feature a staff member, volunteer, subscriber, or community mover and shaker. Stay tuned for upcoming photos and interviews and drop us a line at ricky@thecultch.com if you have a burning question for one of our staff members or volunteers!

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Celebrating a Season of Queer “Cultch-er!”

Celebrating a season of queer “cultch-er!”

With Vancouver Pride approaching, it seems the appropriate time to take a look back at The Cultch’s colourful 12/13 season.

Many proud representatives of the LGBTQ community took to the stage last year, sharing a myriad of voices and stories. The list includes Miriam Margolyes, sole performer (of 23 characters!) in Dickens’ Women, Evalyn Parry singing tales of bicycle led revolution in SPIN, and of course Cameron Mackenzie and Dave Deveau (or, as you may know them: Isolde N. Barren and ‘The Baddest Bitch Peach’ Cobblah) took us on a wild ride through Vancouver’s Drag Herstory in Tucked and Plucked.

Miriam Margolyes, the 69-year-old British lesbian actress, starred in The Cultch's presentation of Dickens' Women

In addition, one of the best attended gallery events of the year was the opening gala of photo-based artist SD Holman’s show Butch: Not Like the Other Girls. Holman’s images, each a stunning portrait of a different self-identified butch model, decorated The Cultch’s lobby this April.

Opening night of SD Holmon's exhibition 'BUTCH: Not like Other Girls'

Not unique to this year’s IGNITE! Youth Festival was Fruit Basket, a cabaret of performances created by youth around the themes of sex, gender identity, sexuality, and sexual orientation. This year’s show was comprised of The Magic Spells, Saul Chabot, Dörothy Griffith, Ruby Slickeur, Sahara Hildebrandt and Leroy and The Lovebots. Included in the process was a workshop with Evalyn Parry, as well as the Gender Blender, a youth-led forum on sex and identity…facilitated by all the smoothies you can drink, of course (oh, and a professional facilitator from Out in Schools )!

Brendan Agnew a seasoned member of The Cultch's Youth Panel

We had the chance to talk with seasoned Youth Panel-er Brendan Agnew, to ask him a few questions about his experience on the panel, and his views on queer theatre for youth in Vancouver.

Tell me a bit about yourself and how you got involved in the IGNITE! program and Fruit Basket specifically.

I am going into my grade 12 year at Templeton Secondary and have been very involved in their Theatre program. I also play piano, but really fell in love a few years ago with the backstage side of things, particularly stage management. I hope to do a BFA in theatre.

When I was in grade 9, some of my friends in higher grades were on the Youth Panel, and told me a bit about it and encouraged me to come to the festival. So I dragged some other friends to go see it. It was a good festival, but I left thinking “it would be so much better if I helped organize it.” It also seemed like a fantastic concept, kids organizing their own arts festival. So in Grade 10, I joined the youth panel, and one committee, the one organizing The Olivia Project, which is a multi-disciplinary devised performance created by young artists. We group together youth who do different types of art (say filmmaking, dancing, visual art, etc) and give them three weeks to create an original ten minute piece combining their arts.

In grade 11, I did Youth Panel again, but also added the Fruit Basket committee to my schedule. I’d already attended two Fruit Baskets, and knew it was a great supportive environment for queer and allied youth. I identify as a gay male, so I also felt close to the subject matter that way. What I found cool about Fruit Basket is that it is a queer show geared directly towards youth. There are many queer/sex related shows in Vancouver, but very few, if any of them, are youth focused. A lot of them require you to be over a certain age.

What kinds of shows or programs would you like to see more of in Vancouver to fill this void?

I think it’s important to recognize that queer doesn’t just mean drag, sex doesn’t just mean stripping or burlesque. These are huge topics that can be explored in all kinds of ways, and it can easily be done in a way that’s accessible to youth.

Floyd Cariad Van Beek in 'Fruit Basket' 2013

So specifically, the kinds of shows I’d like to see would be featuring young people of non-straight sexual orientation in cute romances, coming out stories or other plots. It would also be fun to see adaptations of traditional plays (Shakespeare, for instance) to a queer setting.

I saw a fantastic play called The Silicone Diaries by Nina Arsenault (performed at The Cultch in February 2011). It was an autobiographical work telling the story of her transition from man to woman. It was phenomenal, and even though it wasn’t targeted at youth, didn’t feel “adult exclusive.” More programming like that (accessible to all ages) would be great-things kids can drag their parents to, which can then spark discussion. That’s what I think good art does, after all: it makes you think about things a little deeper/differently, and that thinking transforms into conversation.

Nina Arsenault, star of 'The Silicone Diaries,' meets with The Cultch's Youth Panel

It would also be nice to see more young artists use their art as a means of expressing their sexuality. A lot of Fruit Basket performers (we love them dearly) are either queer artists doing thoroughly mainstream art, or people doing sexual dancing/stripping/burlesque/drag performance. While that’s all great, I think there’s a need for content that delves a bit deeper into what it means to be queer.

I heard that part of your involvement in Fruit Basket meant you had the opportunity to take a workshop led by Evalyn Parry. What was that like?

One of the unique things about the IGNITE! Youth Festival is the workshops. We have two types: “external” workshops, which are open to the public, and geared towards youth; and “internal” workshops, which are exclusively for youth panel members. Evalyn Parry was one of our internal workshops, and was centered around writing. The first part was a Q&A discussion about her, her artistic process, and her show SPIN, which most of Youth Panel had been invited to see. The last part was an extremely compressed version of the writing workshop she does. The primary focus was on MC acts, which are for the most part written by the youth panel, although a lot of the discussion and writing exercises applied to all sorts of other things. Evalyn Parry is a very neat person, and learning from her was an amazing experience.

Evalyn Parry ,star of 'SPIN,' meets with the Youth Panel

Queer artists from many backgrounds helped make last season at The Cultch a resounding success. If you are looking for another opportunity to celebrate before next season begins, or you are looking for an event to kick-start your Pride Week, join us in the Vancity Culture Lab for the Genderfest Launch Party on Thursday, July 25 at 8 pm. Head to http://www.genderfest.ca to find information about the event, and how you can participate in the event’s photo collaboration.

Hello my name is… Oliver McTavish: Gallery Coordinator and Rentals Assistant

‘Hello My Name Is…’ is a new profile series on The Cultch blog.  Each post will feature a staff member, volunteer, subscriber, or community mover and shaker. Stay tuned for upcoming photos and interviews and drop us a line at ricky@thecultch.com if you have a burning question for one of our staff members or volunteers!

With only two weeks left until The Cultch’s Gallery Launch Part ( happening August 1st) we thought it would be fitting to interview Oliver McTavish-Wisden (The Cultch’s Gallery coordinator) about this year’s gallery season.

Hi! What’s your name and what do you do at The Cultch?

My name is Oliver McTavish-Wisden, and I am the Gallery Coordinator and Rentals Assistant at The Cultch

Tell us about The Cultch gallery.

The Cultch Gallery is a community focused space dedicated to providing progressive art to the residents of the East Side of Vancouver. It consists of two spaces, the cafe hallway and lobby, and exhibits 20 – 30 artists every year. Our goal is to create a strong artistic presence in the area and to engage the community with new contemporary art.

What was the selection process like?

Tough! We send out a call to artists every spring to gather as many exhibition proposals as possible, and we were blown away this year by the number of talented artists interested in exhibiting in our space. This year we received over 70 submissions, which left us feeling quite pleased with the growth of our gallery.

You mentioned that there is a theme this year in terms of the artists you’ve curated. Can you elaborate on this?

Not quite  a theme as a whole, but rather we’ve partnered artists together in exhibitions that have unifying themes, such as travel, symmetry, urban signage, the natural world, abstraction, etc. It’s really exciting to see our artists matching up so well!

What happens at a gallery opening?

A gallery opening at The Cultch is a good chance to discover new art you haven’t seen before, meet the artists behind the exhibition, and meet new people over a nice drink. The great thing about an art opening is all the dialogue that occurs around the art. If you don’t share your interpretation of the work with others, it’s quite possible you’re only seeing one side of a three dimensional object.

What is the criterion for choosing an artist? Is there some quality in the work that you’re specifically looking for that leads you to gravitate towards certain works?

The exhibitions are selected by a triumvirate of curators, so there’s no select criterion. However, I can say that we have no preferred genre or style, no specific medium. We select artists based on the skill level they possess and the projects they propose. We have a deep appreciation for those who exhibit their own style and possess unique ideas.

What can patrons expect this season in terms of the work of art?

An incredible variety. We have more artists this season than every before, and almost every single one of them is new! You can expect life size wooden figures, natural Rorschach tests, decomposing couches, huge abstract paintings, interactive design, international photography, woodcut prints, giant textiles and more.

Make sure to join us for the Gallery Launch Party on August 1st. For more information, visit: The Cultch Gallery Online. All art displayed in The Cultch gallery is available for sale and may be purchased through The Cultch. If interested, please contact us at gallery@thecultch.com.

Hello my name is… Nena Pierre: (Volunteer) Volunteer Coordinator and Usher

‘Hello My Name Is…’ is a new profile series on The Cultch blog.  Each month we’ll feature a staff member, volunteer, subscriber, or community mover and shaker. Stay tuned for upcoming photos and interviews and drop us a line at ricky@thecultch.com if you have a burning question for one of our staff members or volunteers!

Last year, 114 volunteers contributed over 4492 hours to The Cultch in both our theatres and admin office! Many of these amazing people have been with the theatre for years, including Nena Pierre who’s been volunteering at The Cultch for the past four years.

Nena Pierre (Volunteer Usher and Admin Assistant)

Q: Well hello there. Who are you and what do you do at The Cultch?

Hi, I’m Nena and I volunteer here as an usher and at the reception desk!

Q: What inspires you?

Anyone doing their thing with sincerity and passion.

Q: Why do you volunteer at The Cultch?

It’s part of my neighborhood, and community.  I love the closeness and immediacy of live theatre – what the performers and audience bring to any show.  Volunteering here gives me a chance to witness this all the time.  I’ve seen so many great shows here and I have loved feeling even just a small part of it all.

Nena inside the Historic Theatre

Q: Favourite show you’ve ever seen at The Cultch?

A:  So hard to pick just one… I love puppetry and feel really excited when Old Trout Puppet Workshop or Ronnie Burkett are bringing a show to The Cultch. This year I saw Loon at the Fringe, then Grim and Fischer at The Cultch by WONDERHEADS Theatre and now I’m a big fan of them too.

Q: Favourite place to eat on the Drive?

A:  Once again sooo hard to say just one place – coffee is my sustenance!  I get all my beans from Continental and like to stop in at Turks now and again.  Turks stovetop is heavenly….

Q: What’s a typical day like volunteering at the front desk?

A:  Do I dare say quiet and calm and sometimes fun…?  Jenn G ( Head FOH Manager) and Ricky ( Marketing Coordinator) will make sure I keep busy!

Nena has been volunteering at The Cultch for the past 4 years

Q: What’s a typical night like ushering at The Cultch?

A:  Depending on how many shows are going on that night it can be anywhere from fun to slightly mad!  The other volunteers are great to get to know and work with.  Then there’s always a bit of excitement getting everyone settled into the show.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about the theatre scene in Vancouver?

A:  There are so many great theatre festivals all year long and the Vancouver theatre scene is anything but dull.  There is always something to suit anyone’s tastes or sense of curiosity and adventure!

Looking to gain valuable work experience in a Historic Theatre? We’re always looking for a friendly and organized arts-loving person to manage our front desk! Click here for position details and how to apply.