Music Monday: The Songs of East Van Panto

Music Monday: The Songs of East Van Panto

Check out all the songs given an East Van spin in this year’s East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz. Musical Director, and composer, Veda Hille is infamous for taking some of the most (and least) popular songs of recent decades and flipping them on their heads with new arrangements and lyrics to add a little pizzazz to Theatre Replacement’s winter tradition. Take a listen to the original songs that have inspired the music of this year’s Panto soundtrack, then come hear our versions at the York Theatre! Scroll through this awesome list of golden age videos and live performances, or check out this Spotify playlist if you’re on the go!

Gloria by Laura Branigan

Valerie by Steve Winwood

This is America by Childish Gambino

Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and The Waves

Downtown by Petula Clark

Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg

Northwest Passage by Stan Rogers

Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin

All Night by Big Boi

Ding Dong The Witch is Dead by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg

Macarena by Los del Rio

In My Feelings by Drake

Swish Swish by Katy Perry

Footloose by Kenny Loggins

Daydream Believer by The Monkees

ABC by The Jackson 5

I Want You Back by The Jackson 5

Teen Titans Go To The Movies by Lil Yachty

Ballroom Blitz by Sweet

Sweet Transvestite by Richard O’Brien

Time Warp by Richard O’Brien

East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz is onstage now at the York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive – must close Jan 6, 2019! Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Ghosts of Scrooges past!

Ghosts of Scrooges Past!

The story of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, is one of the best known and best loved Christmas stories. This beloved tale of redemption has been told and retold in many forms, from traditional tellings, to those that are down right brazen.

Esmé Massengill

Ronnie Burkett’s Little Dickens, which opened this week in the Historic Theatre falls firmly in the brazen category, with beloved Daisy Theatre character—the booze loving, faded and jaded Diva—Esmé Massengill, taking on the role of legendary miser, Scrooge.

In this role, so perfectly suited to her, Esmé Massengill joins the ranks of so many other celebrities who have taken on the challenge of playing Dickens’ Ebeneezer Scrooge (we think she does it best!).

Here is a look at a few other famous faces that have taken on this legendary role. Esmé is in good company!


Little Dickens runs Dec 4 – 22, 2018 at the Historic Theatre, 1895 Venables Street. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

 

Little Dickens: The Holiday Hit is BACK!

 

Little Dickens: The Holiday Hit is BACK!

Back by popular demand—Ronnie Burkett’s holiday hit Little Dickens: The Daisy Theatre returns to The Cultch Historic Theatre Dec 4-22, 2018.

In December 2017, Ronnie Burkett premiered this Cultch exclusive, Little Dickens—an adults-only marionette rendition of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol created specifically for the amazing Vancouver audiences who embraced The Daisy Theatre characters in five sold-out runsto the Historic Stage. It was a huge hit with fans, old and new, as well as reviewers!

Check out some of the RAVE reviews from 2017interspersed with an insider look at Ronnie Burkett’s sweet and raunchy characters, direct from his Instagram @ronnieburkett:

“The Dickens story provides a solid platform for Burkett’s high-strung irreverence, but it also has a core of sweetness and generosity that make this show a genuine gift. Enjoy it, Vancouver” — Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

“The familiar characters from his bizarre repertoire ring a showbiz variation on Dickens’ tale that’s…warmer and fuzzier in a Christmassy way, punctuated by raunchy asides and moments of sheer Burkettian brilliance”—Jerry Wasserman, The Vancouver Sun

“Puppeteer Ronnie Burkett is a genius. He just is…I would watch Schnitzel all night long anywhere” — Colin Thomas, colinthomas.ca

“Ronnie Burkett’s Little Dickens is a retelling of A Christmas Carol but with more bah-hum-buggery, fewer heartwarming lessons in morality, and a whole lot of excellent banter” — Connal Mcnamara, Vancouver Weekly

I’d recommend seeing it twice because it’s guaranteed you’ll be laughing so hard you’ll have missed some of the great lines the first time around” — Monika Forberger, EntertainmentVancouver.com

“It was a delight to see Dickens’s timeless characters given a glorious and slightly smutty twist” — Molly Gray, The Vancouver Arts Review

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In her gender defying performance as Scrooge in Little Dickens last season, Daisy Theatre superstar Esmé Massengill appeared in a stunning red redemption gown at the end of the show. It was pretty wow, but given that Mrs.Edna Rural essentially stole the show in her light up Christmas tree costume, it was decided to give Esmé a new and “WOW”ier final costume. Kim Crossley, who has made my puppet costumes for almost three decades, came to Puppetland this week, and in two days – voilà! – Miss Massengill shines anew. And in Esmé’s own words, “What tops a Christmas tree, darling? A star, that’s what!” . . #esmemassengill #thedaisytheatre #littledickens #thedaisytheatrechristmascarol #esmeplaysscrooge #costumedesign #puppetdesign #puppetbuilder #theatredesign #maketheyuletidegay #instagay #acchristmascarol #bahhumbugdarling #ronnieburketttheatreofmarionettes

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“…bold storytelling, black humour, and unscripted razor-edged dialogue” — John Jane, reviewVancouver

“I guarantee…you will not have seen anything like this before. It is visually spectacular, exceptionally well executed and truly special to behold” — Penny Warwick, Two Pence & Two Cents

“It’s foul-mouthed fun backed by artistic wizardry, and it’s entertaining as hell” —Lillian Jasper, Two Pence & Two Cents

“Burkett had the crowd laughing along heartily as his marionettes refreshed this classic with their inventive songs and quirky personalities” — Tessa Perkins Deneault, Centre Stage

Are you ready to see your favourite Daisy Theatre characters in in the merriest marionette mash-up again? It is almost time!


Little Dickens runs Dec 4 – 22, 2018 at the Historic Theatre, 1895 Venables Street. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

A chat with Gravity & Other Myths acrobat, Lachlan Binns

A chat with Gravity & Other Myths acrobat, Lachlan Binns!

Gravity & Other Myths member, Lachlan Binns. Photo by Darcy Grant

Backbone opens October 30, 2018 at the Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton Street), and we are beyond thrilled to have Gravity &Other Myths back in the city once again! We caught up with Lachlan Binns, one of the key members of the award-winning, world-renowned Australian acrobat company, for a quick chat.

We are so excited to have Gravity & Other Myths back in Vancouver. What are you looking forward to doing while you are here in the city?

Last time we were here we had a lot of great opportunities to explore the city. We rode bikes around the city, explored nearby national parks and saw an ice hockey game. It was a fair while ago, so we’re all really excited to re-familiarise ourselves with the city and explore again! Plus, obviously we’re keen to show our audiences what we have been doing since we were there last; Backbone is much bigger and more spectacular show than A Simple Space.

How do you prepare to get on stage each night—warm ups, stretches—what is the process like?

We will spend around three hours warming up before each show. The first section will be stretching, using foam rollers and thera-bands; doing rehab and general body maintenance. This will last for around 45 minutes, and we will use this time to relax and joke around with each other, and get “socially warm”. Then when we are feeling good, and the sweat has started flowing, we will start to practice some of the skills from the show, anything that needs maintenance or adjustment. We will also spend a lot of time training new skills, and experimenting with new material for this show, or future projects. The last 30 minutes of the time is spent focusing, and preparing the stage for the show.

What is the craziest stunt Gravity & Other Myths has ever attempted?

“Craziest” is a strange term for us—a lot of the things we try are considered crazy! The two most difficult stunts we do are in Backbone; one is called the Four High, it is four people standing on top of each others shoulders in a straight column. It is an incredibly rare and difficult skill in the acrobatic world, and we’re really proud of it!

Four High! Photo by Carnival Cinema

What safety measures do you take to keep everyone safe? Have there been any injuries?

There are always injuries when you practice acrobatics; its impossible to avoid completely. A combination of smart body management, and trust in each other to catch and support one another, is the best way to manage injuries.

Gravity & Other Myths has toured all over the world—what is the wildest experience you have ever had touring with this show?

The literal wildest experience would be performing and going on a safari tour in Zimbabwe, Africa. Being in a totally different culture, and experiencing both the natural beauty, and the amazing tradition, is something we will remember for a long time!

Backbone looks like so much fun! Are you having as much fun on stage as it looks?

Definitely. The fun we have on stage is not pretend. Our job is to do what we love with a group of our best friends, and it’s hard not to smile!

Photo of Gravity & Other Myths by Darcy Grant


Backbone runs Oct 30-Nov 4 at the Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton St). Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

We party because we are grateful!

July 12 was our annual Volunteer Appreciation BBQ!

Over the course of the 2017/18 season, over 5000 hours were contributed by Cultch volunteers! Every time you attend a Cultch or rental presentation, our wonderful team of volunteers is there to greet you, answer questions and guide you to your seats. Volunteers also help us as event photographers, office receptionists and assist with a variety of administrative jobs.
We are so very grateful to have this amazing group of over 200 people as a part of The Cultch family, and we had a blast partying with them earlier this month!
If you, or someone you know, would be interested in volunteering at The Cultch this season, please contact Lee Newman, Volunteer Coordinator, at volunteer@thecultch.com

The 2018 rEvolver Festival shows are getting RAVE REVIEWS!

The 2018 rEvolver Festival shows are getting RAVE REVIEWS!

Two actors perform Shakespeare’s Macbeth… without words! A dance theatre duet full of charm and laughs! An award-winning Fringe duo tackle the near-post-apocolyptic future! Week 2 of the rEvolver Festival has begun with more incredible shows!

Rave reviews are heating up the rEvolver Festival stage, with Jo Ledingham Theatre Reviews saying “See it!” for La Fille du Laitier’s Macbeth Muet and the Georgia Straight praising writer/director/actor Elysse Cheadle as “wickedly clever” for Fuchsia Future.

MACBETH MUET. Photo Credit: Sophie Gagnon-Bergeron. In Photo: Jérémie Francoeur

Macbeth Muet (La Fille du Laitier- Montreal)

“Mostly it’s the most wildly imaginative take on the Scottish play I’ve ever seen. See it!” ~ Jo Ledingham

“Macbeth Muet is one of the most innovative shows you’ll see this season” ~ Colin Thomas

“…. inventive and oxygenating tiny-cast retelling of Macbeth… sent me back onto the street refreshed, energized and pretty charmed as well” ~ New York Times

Fuchsia Future. Photo Credit: Paula Viitanen Aldazosa. In Photo Left to Right: Carmine Santavenere, Elysse Cheadle

Fuchsia Future (Elysse Cheadle, Vancouver)

Fuchsia Future is packed with these laugh-out-loud moments, and yet it never shies away from its dark side either…Unpretentious and experimental, with a huge heart and a wickedly clever brain, Cheadle is the writer, producer, and colead actor of Fuchsia Future, one of the strangest and most bizarre local plays in recent memory”  ~ Andrea Warner, Georgia Straight

KITT & JANE: : An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future.
Photo credit: Jam Hamidi. In photo: Ingrid Hansen, Rod Peter Jr

Kitt and Jane (SNAFU, Victoria)

“ABSOLUTELY GENIUS. Flawless comedic timing, dynamic physicality, and a beautiful and complex friendship.” ~ New Ottawa Critics

“THIS PLAY IS GOLD. An unexpected roller-coaster of an evening, with whimsical humour, manic energy, and intelligence. You will not leave this show in a bad mood.” ~ West of West

Wanna know more? Check out this preview from Vancouver Presents!

DISTRACTINGLY SEXY. Photo Credit: Cal Wood. In Photo: Mily Mumford

Distractingly Sexy (Nebula Theatre, Vancouver)

“Funny, smart, and, yes, sexy” ~ Meghan Bell, Room Magazine

Wanna know more? Check out this preview piece from The Georgia Straight. “Tracing history with barbed wit… Mumford intermingles tales from the past with contemporary observations from her fields” ~Janet Smith, Georgia Straight


Check out rEvolver’s FREE or BY DONATION events.

PLUNGE: Showcase of Emerging Works in Progress:

the SPEAKEASY: Friday Night cocktails, live music and conversation.


rEvolver runs at The Cultch until June 3. Buy tickets online, or call The Cultch Box Office 604 251 1363

Our 17/18 season takes its final bow – thank you for making it so much fun!

Our 17/18 season takes its final bow – thank you for making it so much fun!

With the closing of Bears we have officially finished our 17/18 season — and what a season! Thank you for taking the journey with us, and making our 17/18 season our most successful one to date.

The cast of Bears gets a well deserved standing ovation! Photo by Roaming the Planet.

With 21 theatrical shows across our three different stages, three great Soft Cedar shows (and more to come!), partnerships with some of the most amazing companies in Vancouver and around the world, and a million amazing memories, it has been a busy year, and we can’t help but get a little nostalgic. Take a peek at a few of the great curtain calls from the season — we bet you can’t help but get a little nostalgic too!

And now it is your turn — take a bow — we couldn’t do any of this without you! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!


 Don’t forget to buy your subscription for our 18/19 season soon. Shows are already filling up!

Thank you for choosing to make The Cultch, and the arts, a part of your life!

Corporate Sponsor Spotlight: Giulio Recchioni from the Italian Cultural Centre

Corporate Sponsor Spotlight: Giulio Recchioni from the Italian Cultural Centre

Giulio Recchioni

Can you tell us how the Italian Cultural Centre first got involved with The Cultch?

Our very first time at The Cultch was in March 2012 with FRESCO, a play the Italian Cultural Centre commissioned from Lucia Frangione and BellaLuna Productions, telling the lesser known story of the internment of Italian citizens in Canada during WW2.

However the first proper partnership with The Cultch was in May 2017 with LA MERDA, featuring a naked Silvia Gallerano sitting on a stool on a dark stage… what a tough show that was!

What has surprised you and your colleagues most about partnering with The Cultch?

I was surprised by the richness and diversification of the shows offered at The Cultch, and also by the number of people that created a community around this historical institution in Vancouver;  some of the audience changes according to what’s playing, but there is also a hard core audience that comes to every show. I think that’s great. They trust The Cultch, they know whatever gets put on stage will be good and will have an impact on them, and they come with an open mind.

Over the years, the Italian Cultural Centre has supported several Cultch shows. Are there any highlights or memorable moments?

I still can’t help but smile when I think of Pss Pss and what they did with the ladder. Pss Pss was a funny show by Compagnia Baccalà that made adults and children laugh with non-verbal humour. In our line of work, cross-generational and cross-cultural are adjectives we use constantly, but this show brilliantly embodied both concepts.

How important do you think it is that the arts organizations continue to cultivate and sustain partnerships with corporate sponsors and local businesses?

It’s of paramount importance. The population is growing in this expensive city, and we are also seeing the consequential multiplication of cultural and artistic organizations. Often putting up cultural activities costs more money than ticket sales can generate, and government grants (municipal, provincial, federal) do not always keep up with the growing demand for funds. I hope more and more thriving businesses will want to share some of their wealth with the local community to keep this city interesting and interested.

What are you curious about right now?

I am curious about the new Creative City Strategy that the City will be rolling out – hopefully soon. There have been a number of explorative meetings to get an idea of what is needed in the arts and culture sector, and I can’t wait to see how all that knowledge will convert into an action plan.

Do you have a favorite show?

This is always such an unfair question… I see a decent number of shows throughout the year, and I have to constantly update my list of favourites. If I had to single out something I saw recently, though – I am a jazz fan, and I was lucky enough to go to Pyatt Hall for the live concert of the great baritone sax player, Gary Smulyan, with strings. He is a powerhouse!


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: natalie@thecultch.com; 604.251.1766 x.121
Charitable registration # 11928 1574 RR0001

Donor Spotlight: Lynda Stokes

Donor Spotlight: Lynda Stokes

Lynda, can you tell us about how you first got involved with The Cultch?

I first got involved with The Vancouver East Cultural Centre as an audience member. The first show I recall was the Holy Body Tattoo’s Circa in 2000, shortly after I moved to Vancouver. It was a remarkable, tango-influenced duet between Dina Gingras and Noam Gagnon with film and a live band, the Tiger Lilies. I became a regular season subscriber and then a donor and a few years ago I was asked if I would be interested in joining the Board.

What has surprised you most about volunteering with The Cultch? 

As an audience member who is also on the Board and therefore privy to the financials, it is amazing how subsidized tickets are! We think of artists and venues benefitting from government grants and sponsorships, but really it is the audience who benefits. Accessibility is a priority for The Cultch and staff work hard to keep ticket prices low and pay it forward by making tickets available for free through the Cultch Connects Program. Regular monthly donations really help with cash flow, I recently learned (although this should not have surprised me). 

Your legal practice spans several years – can you tell us how this skill set intersects with your involvement at The Cultch?

My practice consists predominantly of solicitor and advisory work on behalf of local governments. Basically, I practice municipal law and I do not go to court. There was a vetting process when I looked into joining the Board and for whatever reason I was feeling pretty flat and lacklustre when I was interviewed but I sold myself by expressing an interest in being the Board Secretary and preparing  meeting minutes. I read, write and think for a living and while I really enjoy my work, I also recognize that most people would find a lot of what I do very tedious. I do not act as a lawyer for The Cultch, but because of my legal skills and experience, I understand Board governance and I am happy to help with important but boring bits like minutes, bylaws and contract negotiations.

Can you tell us what you wish other people knew about The Cultch?

I suspect that many people know more about The Cultch than I do! It has such a long history as an important performing arts institution in Vancouver, and I know that Cultch staff engage, and are connected with many, many people locally, nationally and internationally. If I have to wish, though, I wish more people knew that it is worth the risk. Get a subscription. Invite your friends. The upcoming season looks fantastic, and it’s easy to book a whole year’s worth of entertainment and take care of birthday and other presents. You will be grateful you did when rainy winter inertia takes hold. And you can always change the dates of your tickets if something comes up. 

Is there a Cultch show that has really inspired/stayed with you? 

I just saw The Explanation and really enjoyed it. It reminded me of some of the shows that influenced me in when I was in high school – like Michel Tremblay’s Hosanna and Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls (shout out to the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, particularly its experimental Under Grand series). The Explanation is a really lovely, empathetic exploration of a relationship and a reconciliation of self.

I am partial to dance and I really loved Company 605’s The Sensationalists from 2015 (full disclosure – I recently joined the 605 Board) and Frédérick Gravel’s All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey from 2016. Wow those were great shows.

What are you curious about right now?

I am curious about engaging with others in The Cultch, so I am trying to start up a Cultch Club. I see it as a kind of book club alternative for theatre and theatre adjacent nerds by theatre and theatre adjacent nerds, without a lot of rules or terrible attitudes. I am curious about how can we use The Cultch to connect with other people. The potential of theatre many of us recognized at a young age: “Wherever you are from, welcome home.”

  • If you are interested in joining The Cultch Club please email Georgia Beaty, Patron Development Associate (georgia@theculch.com ) and she will put you in touch with Lynda Stokes

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: natalie@thecultch.com; 604.251.1766 x.121
Charitable registration # 11928 1574 RR0001

A Q&A with Kevin McKendrick and Lindsey Angell about BUTCHER

A Q&A with Kevin McKendrick and Lindsey Angell about BUTCHER

Butcher, an edge-of-your-seat thriller from award-winning Canadian playwright, Nicolas Billon, opens March 21 at the Historic Theatre, and runs until March 31.

Early Christmas morning, on the doorsteps of a Toronto police station, Inspector Lamb discovers an unlikely bundle; a drugged and abandoned old man, who doesn’t speak any English, dressed in a strange military uniform. Atop his head a Santa hat, and around his neck a business card impaled on a butchers hook with the words, “Arrest me,” scrawled on it. Inspector Lamb begins an investigation into the identity of the stranger that will forever tie together the lives of four people: a lawyer, a translator, the stranger and the inspector.

 

We connected with Director, Kevin Mckendrick, and performer, Lindsey Angell, to ask them a few questions about bringing the hit show to The Cultch stage.

What excites you most about bringing Butcher to The Cultch stage?

Lindsey — Butcher has managed to get under my skin and I think it will truly draw our audiences in as well. It is deceptive and sneaky and even oddly charming at times, but be careful, you might get *hooked*…hehehe.

The Cultch has partnered with Amnesty International as a Community Partner for Butcher. Our Community Partners offer us the opportunity to spread the word about important issues at the same time as helping us spread the word about our shows. Knowing what you do about Amnesty International, do you feel that it is a good fit? Why?

Kevin — I think it’s an excellent partnership because Amnesty International wrestles with the issues in Butcher every single day. In her forward to the play Louise Arbour, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice, and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda said, “When can victims find peace when justice is elusive?” and  “Can offenders find closure if punishment is not extended to them?” Are these not huge questions for our time? Real peace and closure, it is often said, can only come from forgiveness. It falls to organizations like A.I to help us find our way through these tangled questions.

Why do you think Butcher has hit such a chord across Canada since its debut?

Lindsey — Butcher is brave. It does not choose sides or lead its audience in any way. That kind of experience in live theatre is rare and exhilarating.

In an ideal world, what would you like audiences to take away with them after seeing Butcher?

Kevin — One of my mentors, the playwright  John Murrell, impressed upon me the idea that theatre must be provocative, yet entertaining. It’s a maxim I try to apply to every play I work on. I want audiences leaving Butcher at The Cultch to feel we exceeded their expectations. I want them to be  thrilled and moved by the experience. To be glad they left the comfort of their home to take in a play. And I want them to leave the theatre arguing about the themes of justice and revenge. The best theatre serves to help us strengthen our society by spurring us to make changes.

You have put together an all-star cast of performers and creators for this production. Lindsey, what do you think Butcher offers actors that other plays may not?

Lindsey — Butcher is unlike any show I have done before. I have spoken in dialects and even other languages but never have I been given the gift of learning an invented language (playwright, Nicolas Billon, had two linquistics professors from the University of Toronto invent the language of ‘Lavinian’ specifically for this play). This story is incredibly mysterious and the characters are fighting fiercely for what they need, creating a tension I have yet to experience on stage. That’s about all I can say without spilling any spoilers.

Butcher has some very serious themes — justice, revenge, forgiveness — Have there been many discussions during rehearsals? Do you think it will stir up debate with audiences?

Lindsey — Of course! We have turned this play over and over, hashing out the ideas and the arc of the story. It is our hope that the audience will discuss the piece passionately afterwards, not only the themes but their own personal response to the ride.

Is there anything else about putting on Butcher that you would like to say a few words about?

Kevin — I have been so fortunate to have this opportunity. To work on this fine Canadian play with this outstanding team of collaborators. And it is very gratifying to us to have The Cultch recognize the importance of Nicolas Billon’s play and afford us the opportunity to share it with Vancouver audiences.

Thank you Kevin and Lindsey!

To read more about Butcher check out this great article from the Vancouver Sun, a Q&A with Peter Anderson.


Butcher runs March 20-31 at the Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.


Written by: Nicolas Billon

Starring: Peter Anderson, Lindsey Angell, Noel Johansen, and Daryl Shuttleworth

Director: Kevin McKendrick

Artistic Associate: Christy Webb, Set Designer: David Roberts, Costume Designer: Jenifer Darbellay, Assistant Costume Designer: Alaia Hamer, Lighting Designer: Michael Hewitt, Original Music and Sound Design: Keith Thomas, Stage Manager: Joanne P.B. Smith, Makeup Consultant: Miss Nikki Ying, Student Apprentice: Leah Read

Official Website: www.butcherplay.com