We are so excited to announce our 2017/2018 Season!

We are so excited to announce our 2017/2018 Season!

We had a blast at our season launch announcement party – thank you to everyone who joined us!

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We are so excited to announce our 2017/2018 season! Check out this fun video announcing the 22 amazing new shows coming to The Cultch in 2017 and 2018!

Subscriptions go on sale today! Browse our Spectacular 17/18 Season Overview. Save 20% with our Choose 5 subscription package or 25% with our Choose 8 subscription package! This season, the more you see, the more save. You’ll enjoy an exciting roster of artists and programs, from the best seats in the house. Order today: TICKETS.THECULTCH.COM

Single tickets go on sale August 8. Call The Cultch’s Box Office at 604-251-1363 or go online at tickets.thecultch.com.

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

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.


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.


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!


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.


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


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.

The Cultch receives record $2 million gift!!


Dear friends,

Today is a day to celebrate! After years of public consultation, a city-wide poll, and unanimous city council approval at last night’s extraordinary public hearing, we are thrilled to announce that our longest standing corporate partner, West Coast Reduction Ltd, has donated $2 million to The Cultch. This unprecedented gift represents the single largest corporate donation received in our organization’s history.

I want to thank you for helping us on this journey. You sent letters to the city, spread the word, and supported us in so many different ways. We couldn’t have it done it without the incredible outpouring of community support we received from you. Thank you!

Receiving a gift of this magnitude provides much needed financial stability for us during a time of organizational change and growth. Because of this gift, the future of both The Cultch and the York Theatre is sustained, thus nurturing an excitingly diverse community of artists, audiences and supporters. Because of this gift, we are able to continue providing myriad opportunities for our eclectic communities to interact in meaningful ways.

As you likely know, in recognition of this monumental occasion, the recently renovated and restored stage at the landmark York Theatre will be named in honour of its biggest supporter and fan: the West Coast Reduction Stage at the York Theatre.

West Coast Reduction is thrilled the new theatre space will provide opportunities for local arts and community groups to connect and perform, especially in East Vancouver where many of its employees live, work and play.

THANK YOU to everyone who made this vision a reality.


Heather Redfern

Executive Director

The Cultch

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!


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 York: The Little Theatre that Could

Left, November 1913, "Alcazar Theatre", only known image of the original facade; Middle, 1940s streamlined update, renamed "York Theatre""; Right, 2008 "Raja Theatre" (closed). Photo credits: (L) The Daily News Advertiser, 1913; (M) Vancouver Archives; (L) Heritage Vancouver

Vancouver has seen its fair (ok, more than fair) share of historical buildings being razed to the ground recently and an increasing loss of cultural spaces: The Pantages Theatre built in 1907, torn down in April of last year; The Ridge Theatre saw its final days last month and it’s not looking good for The Waldorf. One such building that was scheduled for the chopping block was the York Theatre; aka Alcazar Theatre, aka The Palace, aka The Little Theatre, aka the New York Theatre, aka the Raja. This place has had more names than Joan Rivers has had face-lifts.

1913 ; Early logo from the Alcazar Theatre

Built in 1913 on Commercial Drive at the corner of East Georgia Street by Vancouver architect John McCarter, the York is one of the oldest theatres in Vancouver that is still kicking. It is only one of a few purpose-built theatres in Vancouver. It’s purpose? Theatre. It has a fly tower (a space where devices for lifting and lowering elements such as scenery, curtains, people even – y’know, like in Peter Pan) and a proscenium stage.

Here’s a quick timeline of The York’s history:

  • 1913- Alcazar Theatre opens it doors, hosting plays and movies before closing down after two years of operations.
  • 1915- The Palace Theatre opens and operates as a movie theatre until 1923.
  • 1923 – The Vancouver Little Theatre Association (VLTA) purchases the space and renames it The Little Theatre.
  • 1940 – After investing a considerable amount in renovations, including a new entrance façade and marquee as well as updates to the stage and lighting; the VLTA renames the theatre The York.
  • 1978 – After more than 50 years as the home to the VTLA and due to the cost of upkeep for the aging theatre, VTLA opts to sell The York. The new owners converts it to a movie theatre and it became the home of Bollywood films.
  • 1981 – The owners decided to demolish the theatre and this is when the ‘Save the York Theatre Society’ was born. Due to community support, the York narrowly escapes the death knell, is re-purposed as a music venue, and becomes the New York Theatre.

The York Theatre before it's $14.8 Million renovation

Let’s jump to 1996. The New York was now the Raja Theatre and was once again featured Bollywood cinema. Only a few short years later, the Raja Theatre was no more. After that, various initiatives were put forth to save the York to no avail, until a 2008 City of Vancouver administrative report recommending, “that council support the ongoing efforts to retain the York Theatre”, paving the way for the Wall Financial Corporation and The Cultch to form a partnership to purchase and restore the York Theatre once and for all. This is very much a restoration and upgrade as most of the original theatre built in 1913 will remain intact

Construction work on The York theatre

As we enter 2013, one hundred years after it’s initial construction, the York is finally getting some TLC and is in the midst of a full-on makeover. This is very much a restoration and upgrade as most of the original theatre will remain intact and the exterior will reclaim its Art Deco design from the 1940s. The renovations, by Henriquez Partners Architects, will be up to the LEED Gold Standard, which takes into account sustainability, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design. A major new feature will be a two-story glass lobby to showcase the mosaic finishes inside the building.

This resilient theatre that found a place in a community’s hearts, and managed to survive against all odds, is expected to re-open in the fall and will be managed by The Cultch as a rental venue for performances and special events.

The York’s restoration, when combined with The Cultch Historic Theatre, the Vancity Culture Lab, and the clubs, restaurants and other amenities on Commercial Drive, will solidify Grandview/Strathcona as a major cultural district in East Vancouver, while revitalizing the Drive between Venables and Hastings Street. Stay tuned for more on the progress of the renovations and to find out what you really want to know – when’s the Grand opening party?