Great Reviews for Elbow Room Café: The Musical

Great Reviews for Elbow Room Café: The Musical

Zee Zee Theatre’s Elbow Room Café: The Musical celebrated its opening on March 2 and was an unqualified success! We had an amazing evening with lots of fun!  It seems we aren’t the only ones this musical has infected with joy – take a look at these reviews and get infected with the Elbow Room Café fever!

Photo credit: Tina Krueger Kulic

“Elbow Room Café: The Musical is simply the most JOYFUL, LOVING, FUNNY show to hit the York Stage.” – Jo Ledingham

“It’s a play that is endearing, heartwarming, uproariously funny, sweet, sassy and just PLAIN FUN!” – Monika Forberger, Entertainment Vancouver

“Underneath the belly laughs and social commentary, this love letter to Vancouver is FULL OH HEART” – Carly Whetter, Vancouver Magazine 

“It is tough not to adore this HEARTFELT TRIBUTE.” – Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

“Perhaps it’s the nostalgia, the familiarity, and the comfort that so touches the audience, much like Elbow Room Café itself.” – Ljudmila Petrovic, Sad Mag

“Anton Lipovetsky’s WONDERFUL MUSIC and lyrics were so memorable. I’ll be humming along for the next few days.” – Lauren Chancellor, The Reviews Weekly

“Elbow Room Café is a LITTLE PIECE OF JOY.” – Ed Vaughan-Hughes, Daily Hive

If you are interested in reading more reviews or you want to know how this show has developed, check out Broken Leg Reviews,  Review Vancouver and Artslandia.

Photo credit: Tina Krueger Kulic

Elbow Room Café: The Musical runs from Mar 1 – 12, 2017 in the York Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Get 15% off your food bill at the real Elbow Room Café (560 Davie St) when you show your Elbow Room Café: The Musical ticket stub!

Photo credit: Tina Krueger Kulic

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

Success! Community Day at the York Theatre

18470255793_6fbc677be3_zOn June 21, we proudly opened the doors of the York Theatre for The Cultch’s first ever community day! Hundreds of guests of all ages came to celebrate with us! The day was filled with good food, live music courtesy of Britannia Marimba Ensemble, a craft station for families, a smudging ceremony by Bruce Robinson to commemorate National Aboriginal Day, and a live stream of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 16 match! Here are some photos from the event taken by Roaming the Planet.

Many thanks to our performers, staff, volunteers, and YOU for making this event a big success. We couldn’t have done it without you! Please  visit the York Theatre’s page for more info and email for inquiries about renting the venue.

If you would like a photo of yourself or a loved one removed from this webpage, please feel free to contact

Community Day at The York Theatre

Bring the family! Bring friends! Bring yourself! Mark this date on your calendars everyone! The York Theatre’s first Community Day Event is happening on Sunday, June 21. Swing by anytime between 11am to 4pm for free food, prizes, activities, and a big screen viewing of FIFA Women’s Cup Soccer. Also taking place on the same day will be Commercial Drive’s Annual Car Free Day! Attracting attendees across the Lower Mainland, it will be a great time to be on the Drive with tons of exciting things happening all throughout the street.

Here are a few fun things to look forward to Community Day at The York Theatre.

Smudging Ceremony

A smudging ceremony is a practice of Indigenous peoples and cultures where sacred plants are burned to drive away negative energies, help restore balance as well as stimulate centering and healing. Plants such as tobacco, cedar, sage and sweet grass are burned and the smoke is directed with a feather or a fan of feathers.

Crafts for the Family! Prizes! Live Music! 

FIFA Women’s Cup Soccer and Free Hot Dogs, Popcorn, and Refreshments!

Soccer game starts at 1:30pm so have a break from the heat and grab a spot in our air conditioned theatre.  Exact teams to be determined. Also, enjoy some popcorn, refreshments and a dog on us!  Hot dog that is.

Community Day at the York Theatre is a free event and falls on the same day as the street-wide event, Commercial Drive Car Free Day! If there is one day of the year to be on the Drive, don’t miss Sunday, June 21.

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.


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.


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!


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!).


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!


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 | A hilarious, and slightly morbid, interview with Famous Puppet Death Scenes’ Judd Palmer!!


Judd Palmer is one of the founding co-artistic directors of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop!

After doing a lot of globe trotting, The Old Trout Puppet Workshop has returned to Vancouver bringing back their smash hit, Famous Puppet Death Scenes!

To celebrate their return, we took  time to ask The Old Trouts some questions about their renowned production. We were fortunate enough to get some very interesting answers from Co-Director Judd Palmer.

After doing a lot of travelling around the world, how does it feel to be back in Vancouver?

We’ve been to some pretty wild places over the years, places where “puppeteers” aren’t exactly “welcome,” but Vancouver is one of the places we fear most. The last time we were here the entire team was mauled badly by a guy with a beard who was freakin’ on some kind of fierce medical marijuana, and we’re haunted by that night even now. But even though we’re deeply terrified of your city, we know we’ve got a job to do, and we’re going do it, no matter what the long term emotional cost.


What should people who have never seen Famous Puppet Death Scenes be expecting?

They should expect… the unexpected. Get it? I know – how can you expect the unexpected? That doesn’t make any sense at all. And yet somehow it does. It makes so much sense. That kind of sense/nonsense thing is what we like to call the Wow Zone. Which is another thing you can expect. You can expect to get a one-way ticket to the Wow Zone.

What does that mean? The Wow Zone? I guess it’s a personal thing. Everybody’s Wow Zone is different. If your own intimately guarded secret Wow Zone involves a cavalcade of puppet demises, then you’re one of the people we’re talking about when we say that you can expect a one-way ticket to the Wow Zone (or “WZ,” as we like to call it for short, although actually when you say it out loud it takes longer than just saying Wow Zone – way too many syllables in the letter W. It’s a letter, not a word, right? Hey W: why don’t you take a cue from B? Or F? Or N? Or actually all the other letters?) – where was I? Right: if your own personal WZ involves enjoying a sophisticated evening of relentless puppet tragedy, then you’re one of the people we’re talking to when we say this show is a one-way ticket to your WZ. If your WZ is more about hot tubs and flan or whatever, fine, the show won’t get you anywhere near your stupid WZ. Get out of my face, hot tub & flan guy.

For people who are coming to see the show again, is there anything new for them?

Depends on how much they remember. For me, personally, it’s all new all the time, but generally I can’t remember what I had for breakfast. Plus, we’ve been changing the show constantly as we perform it, honing it, perfecting it, tossing our artistic integrity out the window by sycophantically changing it in hopes that people will eventually like it, going for the laugh when we should be letting the deep stuff sink in, ruthlessly replacing puppets that won’t stop crying ‘please don’t make me do this anymore.’ Point being: it’s actually changed a great deal since the last time it was in Vancouver. In fact, the very first time we did this show, it was at the PuSh Festival, and it was a total train wreck. Now we mostly get through the whole show without anybody getting hurt, at least, so that’s a pretty big leap forward right there.

How exactly can you promise to cure the fear of death?

Actually you’ll come out of the show just as terrified of death as you’ve always been. Maybe a bit more. But you just can’t sell a show by saying it’ll make you rock back and forth in a corner moaning, overwhelmed by the certainty that your unpeaceful demise is imminent. So we tell a little tiny white lie there.


 Is there one scene that you think stands above the rest?

To me, the best puppet death scene is the scene that we haven’t written yet.  Isn’t that beautiful? But also sad. I guess for now we’ll have to settle for the ones that have already been written… the second best ones. Sorry.

Are you happy/excited to be playing the show at The Cultch?

I’d say we’re both happy AND excited. So happy/excited would be a great way of putting it. The Cultch is an amazing organization; pretty much the only thing that sucks about it is that it’s in Vancouver, where none of us live. Thank you so much, Cultch, for having us.


Famous Puppet Death Scenes runs until April 19 at the York Theatre. Tickets start from $19 and are available on our website or by calling the box office at 604-251-1363.

March Mayhem: A month in photos

We’re only a quarter of the way through 2015 and it’s already been a VERY busy year. We’ve barely had a moment’s rest in March, there was so much happening! Here’s just some of what went on:

The biggest event we had this month was our annual fundraising gala, in which we celebrated the Celtic Spirit of Ireland!


Heather Redfern rocking out with auctioneer David C. Jones


MCs Margaret Gallagher and Fred Lee addressing the attendees

There was some great entertainment throughout the evening



You couldn’t turn around without seeing someone doing something!



We had two great openings, first with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s TransMigration:


Kaha:wi Dance Theatre Artistic Director Santee Smith with Heather Redfern


Cultch Ladies: Caitrin Innis (Development Coordinator), Zoe Forsyth (Concierge and Volunteer Coordinator), Nicole McLuckie (Director of Patron Development) and Cindy Reid (Managing Director)


Members of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre giving us a smile


Kaha:wi Dance Theatre giving us… something else

And then we had Obaaberima from Buddies in Bad Times, which the audience enjoyed talking about post-show

Kaha:wi Dance also hosted a Pow Wow Boot Camp:


Kaha:wi Artistic Director leads the participants


It wasn’t all fun though, as we said farewell to our fantastic Senior Design and Web Coordinator, Isa Chernets


We did get a lot of puppy love though, as we welcomed Murphy to The Cultch family!

And to end March, we have a little tease for what’s coming up in April, as the Famous Puppet Death Scenes set was loaded in yesterday!


There are so many crates, they’re not only over flowing outside…


But even into the lobby as well!


It’s a lot of work, putting a set together


The view from above



The set is starting to rise!


Do you perfer the orchestra view


Or looking down from the balcony?

It was a pretty packed month, and we can’t wait for what’s next! Remeber you can always check out our Flickr page for more great photos! Be sure you come down and join us so you don’t miss any of the fun!

The reviews for Cinderella: An East Van Panto are in!

Theatre Replacement’s Cinderella: An East Van Panto started its amazing run last week at the York Theatre. Patrons and critics are unanimous: this pantomine is a huge succes! Writer Charlie Demers and the cast are on top of their game! Read the rave reviews below:

Read in the news:

“Go. Take somebody you love. Start a holiday tradition” – The Georgia Straight

“A refreshing romp… Here’s hoping this truly is the beginning of a homegrown tradition” – The Vancouver Sun

“It’s rowdy, it’s musical, it’s a heap of fun for the kids and, best of all, writer Charlie Demers jam-packs it with so many digs at current affairs (look out, Kinder Morgan, Mike Duffy and BC Ferries) that it’s a hoot-and-a-half for grownups, too” – The Vancouver Courrier

“Zany, zany, zany is how I’d describe this year’s East Van Panto, a melange of the Disney classic, with East Vancouver characters” – Review Vancouver

“Kids & parents giggle galore at Cinderella antics” – Broken Leg Reviews

“Theatre Replacement’s Cinderella: An East Van Panto is a lively, goofy and utterly charming take on the fairy tale, packed with local references and jammed with jokes that work for children and adults.” – The Globe And Mail

“A wonderful East Van time” – The Province

 Spotted on Twitter:

“Absolutely loved the hilarious #Cinderella #eastvanpanto at the #YorkTheatre. Highly recommend EVERYONE goes to see it!” – Shona W, @Shonawer

“Congrats @charliedemers East Van Panto Cinderella completely brilliant and hysterically funny. Thanks! @TheCultch” – Lynell Anderson, @LynellAnderson

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

“@TheCultch congrats on another terrific show #eastvanpanto was amazing. Great message for the little girls (and us big girls too)” – Leanne Morgan, @leeleesayswhat

“Had way too much fun at York Theatre Cinderella tonight. Not much makes me nervous – cameo with smarty pants’ on stage does! @TheCultch” – Heather Deal, @VanRealDeal

“@TheCultch great panto this year at the York. Grab your kids, or someone else’s kids (ones you know!) and go. Great fun for all!” – Mike Forrester, @coastaljazzed

“@ILiveInEastVan @TheCultch it was amazing! You’ll love it! I think every East Vaner should see it” – Kristen Moran, @EastVanKristen


For more photos of the opening night click here

Legendary ‘Kids in the Hall’ Bruce McCulloch is performing live at the York Theatre!

Bruce McCulloch, Canadian actor, writer, comedian, and film director.  Photo by Nader Khouri

Bruce McCulloch, Canadian actor, writer, comedian, and film director. Photo by Nader Khouri

The Cultch is thrilled to co-present, for the first time ever, with the Firehall Arts Centre Young Drunk Punk featuring Canadian comedy icon, Bruce McCulloch (Kids in the Hall)! This unprecedented co-presentation will be happening at the the York Theatre on October 27!

Young Drunk Punk chronicles Bruce’s journey from his wild early days as a ‘young punk’ in 80’s Alberta, to his flannel plaid days in 90’s Toronto, to becoming a ‘pajama-clad dad’ in the Hollywood Hills. This hilarious evening of stand-up, live music and assorted autobiographical insights peppered with moments of surprising poignancy, proves that although this infamous Kid may be all grown up, his singular brand of humour and signature wit remain firmly intact.

Here’s a snippet of what the Firehall has to say about this exciting show:

 “To celebrate the launch of the new book, McCulloch is appearing for a special one-night-only performance of Young Drunk Punk, which sold out its entire run and attracted wildly enthusiastic standing ovations and rave reviews in January. It seems fitting that the two East Van cultural institutions are working together to ensure that as many fans as possible can check out this biting, hilarious and darkly surreal night of comedy in the more roomy York Theatre.” 

Bruce McCulloch during his one-man play, Young Drunk Punk, at the Firehall Arts Centre.  Photograph by: Ameen Belbahri

Bruce McCulloch during his one-man play, Young Drunk Punk, at the Firehall Arts Centre.
Photograph by: Ameen Belbahri


book cover

Bruce McCulloch’s new book Let’s Start a Riot (HarperCollins) is out in October and he will be signing copies following the show. Tickets are $42 for regular admission or $65 for a book/ticket/beer package and is available online, or by phone at 604.251.1363. Note, tickets are NOT for sale through the Firehall box office and you cannot use a Firehall pass to book tickets for this show. *You must be 19 or older to attend this event.

Photo scrapbook of our 40th season!

The Cultch closed its 40th season on May 31 and we decided it was the perfect time to do a little recap! This season was such an important one and it’s hard to believe all the major events that happened over the past year! We celebrated our 40th anniversary, opened the York Theatre, received a $2 million gift from West Coast Reduction, produced Jack and The Beanstalk: An East Van Panto with Theatre Replacement, organized our New Orleans and All That Jazz Gala, and so much more! Here’s our photo recap of the last year!


The Cultch then and now


Friends, donors, subscribers, and staff members at our 40th anniversary photo shoot


Left: Jennifer Spry and Chris Macdonald excited about the kickoff of the Vancouver Fringe Festival, our first year as a venue/Right: Robert Leveroos and Cindy Reid awarding Deanna Fleysher with the Cultchivating the Fringe Award for her show Butt Kapinski


Heather Redfern, Executive Director of The Cultch, on the cover of The Georgia Straight for a feature story about the opening of the York Theatre!


The York Theatre officially opened its doors on December 6! Here’s a beautiful shot taken of the venue before the grand opening!


We received our largest donation in Cultch history, a $2 million gift, from our longest standing corporate partner, West Coast Reduction! Here’s a photo of West Coast Reduction Ltd.’s Barry Glotman, Gordon Diamond, and staff from the Grandview-Woodland community with The Cultch’s Executive Director, Heather Redfern at the York!


The cast of An East Van Panto: Patti Allan, Maiko Bae Yamamato, Raugi Yu, Allan Zinyk, and Dawn Petten


Allan Zinyk, star of last year’s Jack and the Beanstalk: An East Van Panto, and young guests


The Cultch team taking a group shot with the cast of An East Van Panto


Guests and friends dining on the Historic stage at The Cultch’s New Orleans and All That Jazz Gala


Subscribers and audience members during our 14/15 Season Launch on March 17


Robert Leveroos, Youth Program Manager, with The Cultch’s Youth Panel Members celebrating the end of the IGNITE! Youth Arts Performing Festival!


Our lovely Cultch volunteers helping out with our subscription mailing this past March!


The Cultch’s staff members celebrating the end of a successful season with some bubbly

We hope you enjoyed these photos, this is just a small example of all the events that took place this last season. None of this would have been possible without your help, and we want to thank you – our friends, donors, and subscribers – for your support. We feel really lucky to have such a strong community behind us and we can’t wait to see you next year to share other great memories!