Great storytelling is coming to the York Theatre September 27!

Great storytelling is coming to the York Theatre September 27!

Vancouver’s preeminent True Storytelling series THE FLAME returns to the York Theatre for an unforgettable evening of poignant and hilarious true tales told live on stage. Inspired by storytelling juggernaut The Moth, THE FLAME is now in its 9th season and boasts over 700 stories told at its sold-out monthly shows and concert events. Join Flame host Joel Wirkkunen and a brilliant roster of risky raconteurs as they boldly step in front of the microphone to share their most personal true life stories!

If you are wondering what kind of things you might hear at this event, here is a hilarious example from The Flame’s 2014 season; Charlie Demers shares the story of the birth of his child.

You can also LISTEN to some audio recordings from THE FLAME a few years ago on Soundcloud or check out some of the stories from THE MOTH here.

The event at the York on September 27 features musical guests Sarah Wheeler and Hannah Epperson.

The Flame: York Theatre 2017 Edition plays at the York Theatre September 27, 2017. TICKETS ONLY $20! Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Veda Hille Launches Love Waves at the York Theatre on May 28!

veda_hille_love_waves (1)Fresh from creating and performing in the homegrown hit musical Onegin, our favourite Vhine Und Szong  and East Van Panto songstress is back to celebrate the release of her new album: Love Waves.

We were lucky enough to chat with Veda about her album and upcoming concert!

Hi Veda! Many Cultch audience members were first introduced to your work and style through the clever musical mash-ups that characterize The East Van Panto. You are also well known in Vancouver for productions such as Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata and Onegin. Would you say that your work in the theatre has influenced this album?

Veda Hille: I have loved becoming part of Vancouver’s theatre scene over the last 10 years. I do think that work has influenced my personal songwriting. I have way more vocal things going on in the songs, and I often take on characters in a way that I never did before. For example, in Eurydice I sing the parts of both Orpheus and Eurydice. I also took more time with this album; in theatre you often work on a show for 3 years or more before it is ready. I decided to try that with Love Waves, and I think the album benefited from a really long slow process.

What can long-time fans of your music expect from this album? Are there any new elements that you were particularly excited to explore?
VH: I wrote these songs with producer John Collins in mind. He’s great on synths and beats and all these pop elements, and so I wrote songs that would work with that kind of treatment. I would say that the production feels like a pretty new kind of sound for me, but I think the songs at their core are still in the realm that I’ve inhabited all my life.

Can you tell us a little bit about the meaning behind the title of this album?
VH: Love Waves are a certain kind of seismic activity, discovered by the scientist Arthur Love. They ripple sideways through the ground, and are really good at knocking down buildings. I couldn’t resist that name, of course.

You have credited a number of artistic influences ranging from Bowie to Eno to The Carpenters to Eisler and Brecht. I have to ask – which artists are you currently listening to?
VH: I always love that question. It is what I ask other people all the time. I move pretty slowly on albums. Right now the ones I turn to most are Bowie’s Blackstar, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, and Sufjan Steven’s Carrie and Lowell.

Anything else you would like to share about this album or the concert at The York on May 28?
VH: I’m so excited about this show. The band is sounding great. I feel like I haven’t done a major concert in Vancouver in years; maybe that’s true. I keep doing all these other things! Which are also fun, but still. I am very keen to have the chance to be deeply and happily myself onstage with so many friends around.

Want a sneak peek of Veda’s fabulous new album?
Check out this review by Andrea Warner for CBC music
Keep up-to-date with the latest news on Veda Hille’s website
Love Waves: Veda Hille Album Release Concert
May 28, 2016 at 8PM
York Theatre
19+ Event

IGNITE! Youth Driven Arts Festival: An inside look with Jeanine Longley!

Cultch Youth Panel Member Jeanine Longley

Cultch Youth Panel Member Jeanine Longley

This week, the York Theatre plays host to the IGNITE! Youth Drive Arts Festival! Led, coordinated, and organized by The Cultch’s very own Youth Panel, this event is definitely not one to miss!

But first, a little background.

The Cultch’s Youth Panel is a group of approximately 20 young people aged 13-24 from all over Vancouver with a passion for the performing arts. From Sep-May, the ambitious, curious, and fun-loving group meet once a week to plan and learn about all aspects of festival organization. Everything from technical operations to marketing and media relations. The professional festival is the culmination of nine months of passion, dedication, and hard work.

We were able to catch a moment with Jeanine Longley, a Youth Panel Member, to get an inside look at this year’s festivities.

Hi Jeanine! Could you tell us a little bit about IGNITE! and the role the youth play in creating this event?

The IGNITE! Youth Festival is multifaceted. Younger and newer members on the youth panel are learning how to put on a festival, everything from advertising to operating a sound board. We are showing the community what youth are capable of, both in featuring completely youth performers, and in having the entire festival run by youth. As a collective, we are IGNITE! and we hope to ignite, inspire, and celebrate youth creativity.

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This is the first year that the IGNITE! Youth Festival is taking place at the York Theatre, down the street from The Cultch. How did this decision take place?

The IGNITE! Youth Festival has always been at the Historic Theatre. We chose to move to the York Theatre this year to explore a beautiful new space. The York has incredible options for a festival like ours, both in decorating options (that stunning lobby!) and in the theatre itself. We are definitely excited to try out our new home.

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I understand that the youth panel also creates an IGNITE! Youth Festival Zine. Could you tell us a little about it and where patrons can get a copy?

The IGNITE! Zine will be available for purchase at the Merchandise table each night of the festival. It features art and poetry and prose submitted by youth. It is hand-made and incredibly awesome!

There are quite a diverse range of themes throughout the week, how does the youth panel decide on the programming for each night? 

This year we are featuring our favourite themes from our extensive history as a festival. We have found that our audience has a variety of interests, and as we like to feature a variety of performers, a variety of themes seems to fit the bill! As a whole, our festival really has the youth aspect to tie everything together, so although our individual nights are quite varied, we hope that our audience will be keen to try out all the different flavours available!

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What are your must-see acts in this year’s IGNITE! Youth Festival?

Oh, I can’t pick favourites! Well, maybe I can. I know the performers in the band Leave, who are performing on Saturday, and psst – a bird told you (not I!) that a fantastic MC might be mastering that flawless ceremony! (OK – it’s me!).

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If there’s ONE thing you want our readers to know about this year’s festival, what would it be?

It’s going to freaking ROCK! Each night has an enthusiastic team of youth behind it, really shining the spotlight on amazing performers and creating a super fun environment for the audience to participate in. I hope to see you there!

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The IGNITE! Youth Festival runs from May 12 – 16. The festival includes showcases in music, dance, and spoken word, the world premiere of two one-act plays, a visual arts exhibit, variety shows featuring improv, circus arts, and much more! Tickets starts at only $2 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604.251.1363.

Q&A with David Pay, creator of The Orpheus Project

The Orpheus Project by Music on Main starts tomorrow at The Cultch! This musical adventure will take you to every corner of The Cultch for an immersive, site-specific experience. The fantastic creator of this unique piece, David Pay, shared with us his inspirations, the context of the show, as well as his own experience working on it.

What was the inspiration for The Orpheus Project?

The idea first came about when, at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, I saw dreamthinkspeak’s Before I sleep, which was inspired by Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. You explore an entire building and see theatrical installations and interact with actors. I thought it was totally magical, and when I fall in love with art I want to possess it. When I see exceptional visual art I want to see it all the time. When I see amazing music I want to figure out how to present it. So when I saw Before I sleep, I thought, “How could this work, using music as the basis of an immersive experience rather than theatre?” Once I decided I wanted to develop an immersive musical experience, I really focused on seeing as much of that kind of work as I could, including large-scale works like Sleep No More, and smaller scale works that are more in line with The Orpheus Project.

How does that kind of experience translate into a musical one?

I explored a whole bunch of different ways to create an immersive musical experience, and with our ace creativity team, led by theatrical consultant Amiel Gladstone, we have landed on what theatre calls a “promenade experience.” Audiences are led on a path through the theatre discovering different rooms; different pieces of music inspired by Orpheus; installations and sets created by Naomi Sider; video, both with music and on its own; lighting by Adrian Muir; and new and existing compositions performed in surprising environments.

Can you give us a little hint of what people will see and where they’ll go?

We’re using both the Culture Lab and Historic Theatre at The Cultch; we’re exploring dressing rooms and stairwells; filling passageways with surprises, lounges with live performance. It is a show where the audience is on its feet, climbing stairs, stopping to listen. Keep an eye out for oracles, who might foretell your future as well. People should make sure to wear comfortable shoes! We’re asking people with mobility or other issues to let us know in advance, so we can create a special journey just for them.

What have you learned by being involved in the creative process for The Orpheus Project?

Conceiving The Orpheus Project is a natural progression for me. I’ve never been the kind of music presenter who simply chooses great artists and puts them on stage. I’ve always taken a hands-on approach to the performance environment, the relationship between artists and audiences, and how repertoire can speak to us across time periods and genres. Developing The Orpheus Project as a more theatrical music experience has allowed me to work with theatre experts who are helping me shape what feels like a new, but really authentic way of interacting with live music.

What do you hope people will take away from this experience?

I hope this will be a fun, intriguing, and new experience for every audience member. My ultimate goal is that we each see ourselves in the myths and stories and ideas presented by the composers. I think if you approach the show with an intellectual or analytical bent, you’ll have a really rich experience imbued with music and art history. But the creative team and I also want this to be a really fun, sexy date night, so you can just immerse yourself in the sights and sounds at the theatre, and that will be a fantastic experience, too.

The Orpheus Project runs from July 16 – 20 at The Cultch. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased online or by calling the Box Office at 604.251.1363.

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.

Five things you (probably) didn’t know about L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres!

They’re back! Following the success of LODHO Performs Tom Waits in 2011 the idiosyncratic Quebec City musical collective – L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres(LODHO) – return to The Cultch to perform their newest show Cabaret Brise-Jour (playing until Sunday, April 6). Set in a high-society salon of the early 20th century, eight musicians borrow from the repertoire of Kurt Weill to sing about the best and worst of the human condition. To celebrate their return, we’ve compiled five facts you (probably) didn’t know about this critically acclaimed company and their run here at The Cultch.

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LODHO Performs Tom Waits in 2011

1. As we’ve previously mentioned, this is not L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres first time at The Cultch. The company was part of our 11/12 season with their show L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres Performs Tom Waits which received unanimous praise! LODHO’s newest show, Cabaret Brise-Jour, is much darker in tone, taking place on a set that resembles a post-apocalyptic thrift store. Check out our blog article from their first time at The Cultch here.

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Heather Redfern, Executive Director at The Cultch, in front of the York Theatre

2. This time around, L’orchestre d’homme-orchestres will perform at our newest venue – the York Theatre! Something you may not have known is that the York was once a thriving music venue. During its punk rock days the venue hosted bands such as Nirvana and Sonic Youth! The York’s rich history as a music venue will certainly add a bit of edge to Cabaret Brise-Jour as they borrow from the repertoire of Kurt Weill!

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Robert Lepage

3. In the beginning of 2014, L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres was chosen by Robert Lepage to receive the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize! They are only the eighth recipient ever to receive this prestigous award. Have a look at this video extract from their new show to see why they deserved the prize.

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Simon Drouin – L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres

4. LODHO is known for creating unique musical instruments from everyday life objects. In their new show one of their masterpieces is a giant chandelier made up of turkey basters!

Instead of putting candles and crystals on it, we put recorder flutes, with turkey basters on the end. Every time you pump the turkey baster, there’s a little bit of air going through the flute, and that’s how we play one of the songs” – Danya Ortmann, L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres

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Kurt Weill

5. Cabaret Brise-Jour is inspired by the music of Kurt Weill, the great composer who collaborated with Bertolt Brecht on the Threepenny Opera! In a Franco-German-English mix, the eight musicians-singers-actors explore the horrors of war and the lights of Broadway, both part of Kurt Weill’s tumultuous life.  Here’s a video extract from oneof Weill’s work, Tschaikowsky from Lady in the Dark (1940), words Ira Gershwin.

Cabaret Brise-Jour runs until April 6, 2014 at the York Theatre. Tickets starts at $18 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363.

Love to perform? Seeking performers for this year’s IGNITE! Youth Festival!

“You can time travel through wonderland, but you can’t wonderland through time travel…”

 
Get ready because this year, IGNITE! Youth Festival is all about wonderland! For one whole week in May (May 2nd-10th) youth will take over The Cultch and transform it into what has become Vancouver’s largest youth driven festival!
To help bring the wonderland alive, The Cultch’s Youth Panel is looking for talented performers of all kinds ages 13-24 to audition. No wonderland is complete without the wild and wacky, beautiful and graceful, bizarre and a little ugly, the amazing, the heroic, the new, the old… well really anything at all!

So if you have an idea of a real slam-bang performance, come out to the auditions. You can meet The Cultch Youth Panel, show them a little of what you can do and have a real fun time. We asked Mati, Clare and Mark of The Cultch Youth Panel for their thoughts on the upcoming auditions:

What are you excited to see at auditions?

“All the new and original acts, hopefully something that I wouldn’t have thought of, and maybe some familiar acts from previous years!”-Mati

“Everything! Last year was my first time on Panel, and while I didn’t know what to expect from the auditions, I was totally blown away. And it looks like it’ll be even better this year!”- Clare

“I’m optimistically looking forward to seeing acts I would never thought I would like, but will immediately adore. Last year, we had an acrobatic act that completely blew me away. Before that I’d never had much interest in that kind of performance. I’m excited to see what I will get introduced to this year.”-Mark

Who do you hope shows up?

“Anyone and everyone, the more the better! Some cool bands would be wicked fun!”-Mati

“Ringo Starr and David Bowie. But they’re probably a little too old…
I’m looking forward to seeing all of the auditions, but especially the people who are doing something out-of-the-box. I want to see people with acts that I’ve never even imagined seeing!”-Clare

“I’d like to see some more electronic musicians audition simply because it’s always fascinating to see how they each work their live setup, which are incredibly varied. Also: interpretive dance.”-Mark

What would be the craziest coolest act you could imagine?

“I’d love to see a Mindless Self Indulgence cover band, that performs only in their underwear”-Mati

“Something with streamers and balloons and trapezes and magic. Like if Harry Potter was riding a unicycle. With balloons.”-Clare

“A domesticated penguin improv jazz ensemble.”-Mark

Anything else you want us to know about IGNITE this year?

“Come to auditions, come to our shows, stalk our website, stalk us!”-Mati

“Just that it’s going to be super rad! I’m getting really excited — last year’s festival was great, but this year’s is going to be EVEN BETTER.”-Clare

It’s going to be rowdy. Wear protective sunscreen and make sure you have an alibi.”-Mark

To sign up for your audition, email auditions@igniteyouthfest.ca by February 24. Auditions will be held March 8 and 9 at the Russian Hall. Can’t wait to see you there!

Letter from Heather: We need your support!

Dear friend of The Cultch,

We need your support!

This December, The Cultch will open the newly renovated York Theatre. The theatre will be an invaluable community resource that will revitalize the north corridor of Commercial Drive between Venables and Hasting Streets and bring live performance to the Commerical Drive neighbourhood.

A shot from the new York Theatre. Photo taken on May 29, 2013

Following in the tradition of the naming of other heritage buildings such as the “Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage,” The Cultch would like to name the stage of the York Theatre and put signage on the exterior of the building that includes the name of its sponsor. The significant funds raised from this naming are essential in ensuring The York and The Cultch are financially healthy, stable, and sustainable both now and in the future.

About the signage:

  • Low-tech and unobtrusive
  • Will progressively dim as it gets darker; by evening the sign will only be at 30% of its brightness
  • No flash; the projecting sign will scroll and will be text
  • Controlled and monitored by The Cultch
  • On the fascia sign, the lighting will come from below the sign and point upward
  • Both signs will be turned off at 11 pm each day

We’re inviting Cultch supporters, neighbours, and artists to join us in showing your support for The Cultch, the York Theatre, and the sustainability of arts in this community!

COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE

When: Wednesday, June 19 from 5 pm – 8 pm

Where: The Cultch’s Vancity Culture Lab (1895 Venables Street)

What: An open house held by the City of Vancouver to review our signage proposal and receive community feedback.There will be pictures of the proposed signs and Cultch representatives and City staff available to answer your questions. There will also be an opportunity to fill out a survey. Please feel free to stop by any time during the course of the open house.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at 604.251.1766 or heather@thecultch.com, if you have any questions or would like to chat further.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support of The Cultch and the new York Theatre!

Heather Redfern

Executive Director

The Christmas Carol Project: a holiday production for indie-folk fans

The cast of The Christmas Carol Project

Bah Humbug! If you’ve been out shopping for Christmas presents lately you might have noticed the Christmas jingles that stores like to impose upon us at this festive time of year. Alas, although it may prove difficult to escape these aural invasions, The Cultch is here to offer some relief with the ever-charming Christmas Carol Project.

The project, conceived in 1996 by John Armstrong and a host of talented Edmonton-based musicians, intricately interprets Dickens’ classic tale by harmonizing lyrics with narration amongst a cocktail of folk, flamenco, bluegrass, rock, blues, Celtic folk and jazz. Bill Bourne leads the cast with his award-winning talent as the stingy Ebenezer Scrooge. Bill is a one-man show himself having performed at many internationally renowned music events from the Montreal Jazz Festival to the New York City Folk Festival not to mention collecting several Juno nods along the way.

Accompanying him on his transformational journey is bluegrass-Celtic-folk-country artist Maria Dunn. Originally taking the role of Scrooge’s maid, cast changes allowed Maria to step up to the challenge of playing Tiny Tim the seriously ill son of Scrooge’s underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit. Maria, a classically trained pianist, born in Scotland, immersed herself in Celtic folk and has also gained award recognition along her artistic journey both in Canada and abroad. Maria brings her enchanting vocals and accordion accompaniment to the performance and charms everyone with the show’s centerpiece ‘God Bless Us, Everyone’.

Adding to the talent pool is Albertan finger-pickin’ guitarist Kevin Cook, foot-stomping drummer Bill Hobson, soothing songstress Terry Morrison, rockabilly front-man Tom Roschkov, soulful songwriter Al Brant and Chapman Stick player Dale Ladouceur. What’s a Chapman Stick? Take a look here:

Theatre actor and producer Dave Clarke narrates us through Dickens’ dark and delightful fable. The combination of these technically skilled and creative artists, with their diverse musical influences, filtering through the lens of Dickens’ timeless prose, makes for a scrumptious evening for the entire family.

The Christmas Carol Project will run at The Cultch December 16, 17 & 18 at 8 PM. Tickets for The Christmas Carol Project start at $17 and are on sale now at tickets.thecultch.com, or by phone at 604.251.1363 and also, in person at The Cultch Box Office, 1895 Venables St.

Spotlight: Three youths expose their thoughts behind the nine months of hard work organizing the IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival

By Robert Leveroos

IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival

A few members of the Youth Panel chillin' out

Next week from May 14th to 19th, The Cultch will be taken over by young people who will lead, coordinate, and perform in the IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival. The Cultch’s Youth Panel has been working on this festival for nine month and can’t wait for it to start.

But who is the Youth Panel?

The Youth Panel, the core of The Cultch’s Youth Program, is a group of approximately 25 young, artsy people who meet once a week to plan the IGNITE! Festival. During their nine months, they are introduced to all aspects of organizing a festival, from media relations to technical workshops. All the work, effort, and enthusiasm that the youth put into the project ends with one week full of amazing performances by young artists from around the Lower Mainland.

We asked some panel members a few questions about the Youth Panel and the Festival. Emma Atkinson and David Cowling are new Panel Members this year while Delan Elliot is one of our returning veterans. Here’s what they had to say:

What made you want to be a part of The Cultch’s Youth Panel?
David Cowling: I joined the Youth Panel to meet youth excited about the art scene in Vancouver. In high school, I was always deemed “the artsy kid,” which was fine, but I had no other artsy kids to talk arts with! Joining the Youth Panel was a great way to meet fellow active youth and grow friendships and ties with people I might not ever have met otherwise.

Delan Elliot: When I was 14 years old, I was considering attempting to create a live music event centered around youth and youth involvement in the community. At the time, I had neither the resources nor the time to accomplish it. When I was searching to see if anything similar existed, I found the IGNITE! Festival, and it then led me to the Youth Panel… I became more and more excited at the prospect of having a major role in the creation of a festival. I knew that by joining a group of other enthusiastic youth, I would have a better chance of creating something that I was proud of.

Emma Atkinson: My sister, Clare, participated in The Cultch’s theatre summer camp for youth this past summer, and while there, she heard about the Youth Panel. She was intrigued, and asked me to join her at the first meeting of the year. Curious as to how it worked, I tagged along and was sold from day one. The opportunity to be the creative mind behind a festival as neat as IGNITE! was what really got me, and it hasn’t disappointed.

What’s the best part of being on the Youth Panel?
DC: The best part about Youth Panel is getting to come back, once a week, to a place where I can be with friends and collaborate on how to create something as epic and grandiose as an arts festival. It’s like in school when you get paired up with other kids you don’t know to create a project, except your friends with everyone in your group, and your project is the coolest party in town.

EA: The incredible knowledge and experience I have gained in the various facets of curating an event like IGNITE! On a very fundamental level, the maturity I’ve gained as far as communication and teamwork goes has been utterly invaluable, and is something I know without a doubt I’ll take with me to everything I do, professionally and personally. As part of the fundraising committee, learning the ropes of approaching, pitching, and maintaining good professional relationships with sponsors and supporters of our festival is something I didn’t expect to get out of my experience on Youth Panel, and I’ve learned volumes in a very short period of time.

DE: I love the experience of seeing my hard work translate directly into a successful show, and I almost enjoy seeing other people watch the show more than I enjoy watching it myself. The final week deservedly feels like the culmination of nine months’ worth of planning and careful preparation.

Out of all the shows you’ve seen at The Cultch, which one made the biggest impression on you?
EA: Without a doubt, getting to see Nina Arsenault’s performance in The Silicone Diaries was one of the most special experiences of my life. Appreciating the simple but bold set design, as well as her complete openness with her life was a moving experience further emphasized by the chance to speak with Nina on a more personal level at a workshop we did with her, facilitated through The Cultch. Definitely an experience that will stick with me.

DC: The show that has left the biggest impression on me has to be Home Sweet Home, which was put on by Subject to Change last year. It was a very fun community bonding exercise, and something about the happy energy in the room during its exhibition has never left me, and somehow now represents The Cultch for me as well.

What has been your favourite activity so far this year?
DC: As a first year Youth Panel member, auditions were such a treat. I had no idea of the caliber of talent in this city that lies almost hidden in its youth. I had seen almost none of them perform before, but I would pay to see almost all of them perform again. Luckily I don’t have to; I can just go to IGNITE!

EA: As far as sheer pleasure goes, the audition process was phenomenal! It was the first instance when the festival started to feel real, and I got a clear vision of just how special it was going to be!

DE: My favourite activity by far has been hosting auditions. For an entire weekend, members of the Youth Panel all gathered in a rehearsal space and watched approximately 80 different acts perform in a diverse range of disciplines. The feeling you get as you watch a band that you really like perform and think “I would really love to see these guys again on stage” is truly fantastic.

IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival 2012
Why is this festival important to you?
EA: It’s so important that we give youth a platform from which to promote their art. For me, that is what will make it worth all the blood, sweat, and tears everyone at our wonderful panel has put into making this the best six days it can be. I think it’s also important to give youth thought-provoking and relatable art to view from the other side of the stage, as an audience. We’ve chosen a wide selection of diverse, unique acts with the goal that our audience will appreciate the massive spectrum of stuff that falls under the label “art”.

DC: This festival is important to me because it’s so refreshing to collaborate with a group of individuals who really care about what they are creating, and want to create something great. It’s an experience I know I don’t get enough of, and the Youth Panel is the best way to get a hit of it.

What have you learned about running an arts festival?
EA: It is WAY more work than one might expect! But also that it is so rewarding when things start to pull together and everyone supports it. As previously mentioned, I’ve learned volumes as far as sponsorship and promotion goes, and this is something I know I will take with me and apply to everything else I do.

DC: I’ve learned it takes a lot of work to put on an arts festival. A lot of work. But it’s so worth it. While I haven’t experienced it yet, I can’t wait to sit back and watch the culmination of everything we’ve put together over the past many months come together. It’s going to be a blast.

Which group are you MOST excited about in this year’s festival?
EA: This year’s line up is off the chain, and I’m pretty stoked on seeing the return of a favourite, Man Chat. But I’m also getting super excited about seeing DJ Michael Fraser rock it out with his violin!

DE: The olivia Project, which is a night of interdisciplinary performance. The olivia Project Committee commissions talented young artists in all different mediums to work in small groups of three to four people who then have a month to create a 10 minute piece. It’s a very unique night that’s different every year, and the sheer number of possibilities makes it my most anticipated night.

If there’s ONE thing you want our readers to know about this year’s festival, what would it be?
DC: If there’s one thing you should know, reader (yes, I’m talking to you), it’s that you (yes, YOU!) can join our Youth Panel (granted you’re somewhere between 13-24 years old) and experience all the excitement of putting on a festival, all without any previous experience or fancy resume. Just show up, check-in, and we’ll accept you unconditionally into our wings as another amazing youth putting on a remarkable festival.

DE: I have to pick one thing? Darn. I think I would want our readers to know that this year’s Finale Night is going to be incredible. We have put extra effort in this year to guarantee that the festival goes out with a bang. If you’re gonna come out and only watch one night, this is the one to see!

EA: That no matter what floats your boat, I can guarantee that IGNITE! has something to offer everyone in the way of music, theatre, art, you name it!

For more info:
www.igniteyouthfest.ca for the full schedule
www.facebook.com/IgniteArtsFest

Come join us at The Cultch May 14th-19th and meet the Youth Panel in action. Youth Tickets starting at just $2! To buy tickets, visit tickets.thecultch.com.