The Cultch receives $130,000 grant from Vancouver Foundation for “Democratizing our Stages” Project

The Cultch and Diwali Fest staff at Nirbhaya Community Engagement meeting1Left to Right, Rohit Chokani & Vineeta Minhas Co-Producers of Diwali Fest, Heather Redfern – Executive Director, Nicole McLuckie – Director of Patron Development, Kim Harvey – Youth Program Manager, Abdel Naroth – Marketing Intern, Ricky Choi – Marketing Coordinator

 

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve received a significant three-year $130,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation for our “Democratizing our Stages” Project! While The Cultch has a long history of diversity, community inclusion, and pushing the boundaries of art to benefit society, this grant will allow us to go even further, challenging the status quo by prioritizing community development and presentation with groups and communities that have not yet engaged with us.

“We are delighted and grateful for Vancouver Foundation’s support,” says executive director Heather Redfern. “I truly believe this is a game-changer. The confidence the Vancouver Foundation has shown in our ability to make significant change is heartening and meaningful not only to The Cultch but to the community partners we will work with on this project over the next three years.”

The project began in earnest this past November when we partnered with Diwali Fest, Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW), and Amnesty International to present and engage in community dialogue around Nirbhaya, the internationally acclaimed play inspired by the 2012 rape and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey in Delhi and featuring the real life testimonials of sexual violence survivors. This was the first year in what will now be an ongoing partnership with Diwali Fest. Other Democratizing our Stages partners include Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT), Dancers of Damelahamid, Neworld Theatre, Neworld Theatre, and Urban Ink, with plans to bring others on board over the course of the project and into the future.

“There is increasing diversity in professional arts practices in Canada, however there are still very few venues that present this work in a mainstage context throughout a season of programming,” says Redfern. “We are interested in talking to people who are not coming to The Cultch. We’ll be partnering with like-minded organizations from the community to diversify the audience that attends these productions, finding innovative ways to provide access to communities. Social exclusion is systemic and can only be reversed by conscious and proactive efforts. The democratization of our stages will happen when cross-cultural communication takes place between artists and communities over and over again, until we reach the point that it feels ordinary, as though it’s always been that way.”

Read more:
The Georgia Straight
Vancouver Presents

Hansel and Gretel: An East Van Panto ends our hugely successful 2015 season!

Dawn Petten and Maiko Yamamoto (front) as Hansel and Gretel with Caitlin Goruk, Allan Zinyk, Carly Pokoradi, Josue Laboucane, and Lillian Doucet-Roche; photo Emily

Photo by Emily Cooper

Thank you to everyone who made Theatre Replacement`s Hansel and Gretel: An East Van Panto a huge success. Charlie Demers` witty script, Veda Hille`s campy songs, and the superb acting, directing, and set design, made it one of the best Pantos yet.

But there is not much that can be said that will top what loyal audience members and media outlets have been saying.

It wouldn’t be the holidays without a little pantomime. Now on its third year, East Van Panto has proven itself a seasonal tradition” — Erika Thorkelson, The Vancouver Sun

Super-silly and with more puns than Vancouver has rainy days, Hansel and Gretel: An East Van Panto shifted the Grimm’s fairytale from Germany to Vancouver East. We booed, we cheered and you can, too”-  Jo Ledingham , Vancouver Courier

Had such an amazing time at @TheCultch watching #eastvanpanto! Amazing talent from a cast who truly love what they do! Thank you to them!!!” – Lavina Goossen @lavinahgoossen

We`re thrilled that the incredible year was also recognized by the critics on their year in review lists.

1)  The Vancouver Sun (5 out of 10 picks were Cultch productions!)

2)  Westender

3)  Georgia Straight critic Colin Thomas`s blog

4)  Vancouver Courier

Thank you to all the folks that made 2015 a memorable year for The Cultch and we hope that you will allow us to make your 2016 as memorable as we navigate the Global cultural landscape to bring these gems to East Vancouver.

Nirbhaya #EndTheSilence

On December 16, 2012, a young woman boarded a bus in Delhi heading for home. What followed changed countless lives forever. People poured onto the streets in grief and rage demanding justice. Legally prevented from revealing her real name, the press named her NIRBHAYA — “Fearless”. To march beside the women on the streets of Delhi was to take back the night, to salvage being a human being.

Around the world, one in three women will experience some form of violence in their lifetime. Based on the performers’ real life experiences, Nirbhaya is a voyage into a tapestry of personal testimonies. Bear witness to these brave women’s stories and join their call to action to Raise Your Hand and help us to break the silence around the world, one voice at a time.

Nirbhaya will be playing at the York Theatre Nov 3-14. Every audience member will be invited to participate in our #EndTheSilence campaign and will be given a card that allows them to write a message, share their story, or post their reaction to the show. The cards will be displayed as an installation in the York Theatre’s lobby as part of the #EndTheSilence campaign. We hope to start a dialogue and to take away the shame that surrounds sexual violence.

The Raise Your Hand installation at the York Theatre will be on display throughout the duration of the show’s run (Nov 3-14). 

Spread the word online and tag your comments, reactions, and stories with #Nirbhaya or #EndTheSilence.  Thank you for joining us to help #EndTheSilence!

Raise Your Hand #EndTheSilence

Raise Your Hand #EndTheSilence