Where are they now?

What have they been up to? Follow up with your favourite artists from our 2018/19 season.

The 2018/19 season has come to an end and we’re getting pumped for our 2019/20 season. But before we dive right into it, here is a look back at some of the amazing artists we got to work with this past year. A lot of them have been up to really cool things since we saw them last!

Read to see what they have been up to, and learn where you can find out more about their upcoming projects.

Scroll through, or click on the name of one of the 23 shows, to be taken directly to that part of the post: Kamloopa, Testosterone, A Vancouver Guldasta, A Brief History of Human Extinction, The Ones We Leave Behind, The Believers are but Brothers, Backbone, SmallWar, Three Winters, This Duet That We’ve Already Done (so many times), East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz, Little Dickens, Dakh Daughters, Mrs Krishnan’s Party, Power Ballad, This is the Point, Much Ado About Nothing, Children of God, Hot Brown Honey, Multiple Organism, New Cackle Sisters: Kitchen Chicken, Act of Faith, NASSIM.


KAMLOOPA

What a way to start off our 2018/19 season! We had so much fun having Kim Senklip Harvey‘s powerful and hilarious Kamloopa in our Historic Theatre last fall. It was an honour to have such powerful matriarchs bringing down the house each night! After leaving us, Kamloopa continued its tour, heading to Saskatchewan for a run at Persephone Theatre.

What have they been up to?

If you saw Kamloopa, you will recognize Yolanda Bonnell, who played ‘Indian Friend #1’. Bonnell is a playwright, and was recently announced to be one of 50 international playwrights chosen to be part of Climate Change Theatre Action 2019 – “a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented biennially to coincide with the United Nations COP meetings.” Follow Climate Change Theatre Action on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date.

You may have seen Kamloopa Firestarter (who wrote and directed the ceremony), Kim Senklip Harvey, when she and Pippa Mackie hosted Pitch, Bitch or Ditch, a fun Femme Series event in the vein of ‘Dragons Den’, where audience members brought their ideas for a show to the expert panel.

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BIG EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT!!! Kim Senklip Harvey (writer/director of Kamloopa) and I have created and are hosting a one night only event at the Cultch Historic theatre titled : Pitch, Bitch or Ditch ! (It’s like the Dragons Den of theatre) This is going to be absolutely insane, wild and surprising! (As part of the Cultch Femme Series) @thecultch Monday January 14th 8pm Only $10 !!!!!!!! This is one of those moments you should buy a ticket in advance. Ticket link in my bio!  What is this? Have you grown bored of theatre? When was the last time a show really excited you? Do you have an idea for a show? Join theatre creators and producers Kim Senklip Harvey and Pippa Mackie for an unforgettable night that puts the power in the hands of the patrons. From anonymous suggestions made by the audience, Kim and Pippa will lead patrons through a lively evening of banter and debate—no idea is off limits, no suggestions taboo or too dangerous—let your imaginations run wild! The bar will be open, and there will be guest appearances, and loads of surprises. PITCH—Bring your ideas—pitches are anonymous, so no judgement! BITCH—Kim and Pippa discuss the pitches, and debate whether they have potential as plays or not! DITCH—The power is in your hands—audience members vote on which pitches are ditched and which ones have promise! “It’s like the Dragon’s Den of Theatre…only without the money…and ideas are anonymous!”—Pippa Mackie

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Kim Senklip Harvey

Keep your eyes out for follow up Pitch, Bitch, or Ditch events in our 2019/20 season.

If you don’t already follow Kim Senklip Harvey’s blog, check it out here. Kim is heading to Victoria to take UVIC’s Masters of Creative Writing program this autumn, and we can hardly wait to see the fruits of her time there.


TESTOSTERONE

We had so much fun having Testosterone – the incredible collaboration between Kit Redstone and Rhum and Clay Theatre Company – in our York Theatre last October.

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Testy in Canada 🇨🇦

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What have they been up to?

Rhum and Clay recently premiered a new work, War of the Worlds, a piece inspired by Orson Wells famous broadcast. They will be taking this show to Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August.

Kit Redstone has been busy with his own projects, including a brand new collaboration with Vancouver’s own Pippa Mackie, The Fucking Garden – A wickedly dark and impishly mischievous reclamation of the Adam and Eve story. That is certainly a collaboration to keep your eyes on!

He too will be bringing a show, called Passengers, to Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.

Follow Rhum and Clay on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Follow Kit Redstone on Twitter, and Instagram.


A VANCOUVER GULDASTA

At the same time as we had Kamloopa in our Historic Theatre, and Testosterone in our York theatre, our Culture Lab was transformed into a Vancouver Special, as we were swept away by Paneet Singh‘s A Vancouver Guldasta – the story of a 1980’s Sikh family confronting the tumultuous events of the invasion of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India.

Follow SACHA – South Asian Canadian Histories Association – on Instagram and Twitter to be the first to find out about any of their upcoming projects.


A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMAN EXTINCTION

Who could forget this face?!

Audiences fell in love with Stephanie Elgersma’ s Ommie the otter in Upintheair Theatre‘s dystopian environmental thriller, A Brief History of Human Extinction – a puppet and live-action smashup – created by Jordan Hall and Mind of a Snail Puppet Co.

What have they been up to?

Jordan Hall, the writer of A Brief History of Human Extinction, continues to work in support of environmental issues. Recently she was selected to be one of 50 international playwrights for Climate Change Theatre Action 2019 – “a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented biennially to coincide with the United Nations COP meetings.” Follow Climate Change Theatre Action on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date.

Meanwhile, Upintheair Theatre’s rEvolver Festival started THIS week (May 22- June 2, 2019)! We always look forward to having this fabulous festival take over our theatres, and this year’s festival is going to be incredible. Take a look here to find out more about the lineup, and follow Upintheair Theatre on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, for lots of fun content!

Mind of a Snail Puppet Co. joined us again in March, with Multiple Organism. Read below to find out more about what they are up to now.


THE ONES WE LEAVE BEHIND

We always love having VACT – Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre – with us, and last fall’s VACT show, The Ones We Leave Behind, by Loretta Seto, was such a beautiful look at the ways we isolate ourselves from those around us.

Agnes Tong and Alannah Ong in The Ones We Leave Behind. Photo by Ray Shum

What have they been up to?

We are thrilled to have VACT with us again in our 2019/20 season. This coming November, Tetsuro Shigematsu will bring us the premiere of his latest play, Kuroko, the story of a young Japanese recluse (a Hikikomori), who meets a mysterious stranger in virtual reality, and is faced with a challenge that may, or may not, draw her into the real world.

Follow Testsuro Shigematsu on Facebook and Instagram to see up to date updates on Kuroko.

Hopefully you got out to the Arts Club’s production of The Great Leap. If you did, you would have seen Agnes Tong, who played Abby in The Ones We Leave Behind, playing the character Connie. She was also in the Arts Clubs production of Shoplifters – what a busy performer!

Keep an eye on Loretta Seto‘s webpage to stay up to date with her latest projects.

Follow VACT on Facebook, and Twitter, and don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter!


THE BELIEVERS ARE BUT BROTHERS

We kicked off our Ceasefire Series – three shows that explored different aspects of war, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice of WWI – with The Believers are But Brothers, Javaad Alipoor‘s play about young men and the dark web.

What has he been up to?

After stirring up Vancouver audiences with his revealing interactive show, Javaad Alipoor’s The Believers are But Brothers was adapted for television by the BBC.

This summer Alipoor will be taking two shows to Edinburgh Fringe Festival: The Believers are But Brothers and Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran. Follow Javaad Alipoor on Twitter, and check out his website here.


BACKBONE

Gravity and Other Myths took over the Vancouver Playhouse last October with their dazzling show Backbone.

What have they been up to?

Gravity and Other Myths have been (and continue to be) VERY busy touring Backbone,and A Simple Space, as well as a brand new show, that they premiered in Adelaide this past February – Out of Chaos.

Follow Gravity and Other Myths on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up to date…AND, for lots of mind-boggling photos and videos!


SMALLWAR

The second show in our Ceasefire Series was SKaGen Theatre‘s haunting marvel from Valentijn Dhaenen. SmallWar utilized verbatim exerts from soldiers diaries, brought to life by memorizing projections, sound, and performance, to give viewers a glimpse into the experience of war. We were honored to have SmallWar in our York Theatre during Remembrance Day, and everyone who had the opportunity to see it will likely not forget it anytime soon.

What have they been up to?

SKaGen has a long list of shows that will be playing in 2019 and 2020, including Valentijn Dhaenen’s UNSUNG, and TIL IT’S OVER – “a cross-disciplinary collaboration between SKaGeN and the American visual artist Richard Jackson on the themes of civil war, tenderness and revenge.”

Follow SKaGen on Facebook, and Instagram to see what they are up to next.


THREE WINTERS

Playwright, Amiel Gladstone revisits the site of his Grandfather’s internment

Amiel Gladstone premiered Three Winters with us in 2018 – our third Ceasefire Series show. An all female cast told the story of a daring escape attempt from POW camp Stalag Luft III, inspired by the real-life experiences of Gladstone’s grandfather.

What has he been up to?

In the 2019/20 Season Gladstone will be directing Tetsuro Shigematsu’s new play, Kuroko – talk about a dream team!

Currently, Amiel Gladstone is hard at work on the recently revived Magnetic North Theatre Festival, of which he is the 2019 Producer, alongside Amy Lynn Strilchuk. For more information, and for the 2019 Magnetic North Theatre Festival lineup check out their website here.


THIS DUET THAT WE’VE ALREADY DONE (SO MANY TIMES)

For five days in late November 2018, we were lucky enough to have the incredible Frédérick Gravel and Brianna Lombardo  in our Historic Theatre with This Duet That We’ve Already Done (so many times).

What have they been up to?

Since then Gravel has been hard at work in his exciting new role as the Artistic Director of Daniel Léveillé Danse. Even more excitingly, Gravel will be premiering a new work, a solo featuring himself, called Fear and Greed, June 1-2-4, 2019, at Festival TransAmériques (Montreal). Check out the trailer for Fear and Greed here:

Follow DLD – Daniel Léveillé Danse – on Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo, to keep up to date!


EAST VAN PANTO: WIZARD OF OZ

Last years East Van Panto, from Theatre Replacement, was a record-breaking hit!

What have they been up to?

Pippa Mackie as Pinocchio

The good news is that the team that brought East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz to life are teaming up again for East Van Panto: Pinocchio (Nov 20-Jan 5). Along with taking part in Climate Change Theatre Action 2019, and also having It’s a Wonderful Christmas-ish Holiday Miracle playing at the Arts Club in 2019, Marcus Youssef will, once again, take on the role of Panto playwright (busy playwright!), while Stephen Drover will return to the directors chair once again.

East Van Panto: Pinocchio will feature the amazing Pippa Mackie as Pinocchio, and is sure to be as wacky and wonderful as Vancouver audiences have come to expect.

We are doubly lucky this coming season because we will have Theatre Replacement twice! Along with the Panto, they will be bringing Maiko Yamamoto‘s story about mothers, sons, and playing Minecraft. MINE (Mar 18-22) will be “playing” (hehehe) during spring break, and is a great opportunity for parents to bring their video game obsessed children to the theatre!

Follow Theatre Replacement on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for fun updates on both shows!


LITTLE DICKENS

We were so excited to have Ronnie Burkett’s hit, Little Dickens, back in Vancouver this past December. Ronnie is a Canadian treasure, and The Cultch brings together some of his most devoted fans year after year!

What have they been up to?

Currently Ronnie Burkett is hard at work creating his latest show, Forget Me Not, which will play in Vancouver (at a secret location!) February 4-March 1, 2020, after premiering at Luminato this summer.

We highly recommend following Ronnie Burkett on Instagram for a behind the scenes looks at all things wild and wonderfully Ronnie!


DAKH DAUGHTERS

This past January we kicked off our Femme Series with the incredibly theatrical Ukrainian musical act, Dakh Daughters!

What have they been up to?

In April, Dakh Daughters Band released a new album, called Air. Listen to Air on Spotify here.

Follow Dakh Daughters on Facebook, and Instagram for all up to date information on this “freak cabaret.”


MRS KRISHNAN’S PARTY

For three glorious weeks, in January and February 2019, our entire building was filled with the incredible scent of delicious daal. Our Culture Lab was transformed into the back room of Mrs Krishnan’s dairy (convenience store), and one hundred people at a time were invited to the surprise party of the year – Mrs Krishnan’s Party. It is no exaggeration to say that The Cultch staff still misses the leftovers!

What have they been up to?

After leaving us in February, the cast and crew of Mrs Krishnan’s Party continued their tour; bringing joy, laughter, and daal to many!

Follow Indian Ink Theatre Company on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with their adventures.


POWER BALLAD

Power Ballad, Julia Croft and Nisha Madhan‘s feminist performance piece was an essential part of our Femme Series this year. We had so much fun, laughed so hard, and sung our hearts out! The Feminist Karaoke Party is something we will remember for years to come, and it looks like we aren’t the only ones –

What have they been up to?

After leaving The Cultch, Croft and Madhan premiered a new work,Working on my Night Moves, in New Zealand. They will be taking this new show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.

Follow Zanetti Productions on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and follow Julia Croft on Instagram to keep up to date with this feminist duo!


THIS IS THE POINT

Every year we partner with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival to present some incredible work. This past January we partnered with them to bring in the fabulous This is the Point – a play about Love, Sex, and Disability – from Toronto’s Ahuri Theatre.

What have they been up to?

After leaving The Cultch, in early February, Tony, Dan, and Liz continued their tour, visiting a total of nine Canadian cities. Follow Ahuri Theatre on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with their upcoming adventures!

We will be partnering with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival again this coming season, and co-presenting Quelemia Sparrow’s O’wet (Jan 23-Feb 1, 2020), as well as The Chop Theatre’s KISMET: things have changed (Feb 4-8, 2020).

We are looking forward to working with PuSh’s new Artistic Executive Director Franco Boni.

Follow PuSh International Performing Arts Festival on Facebook, Twitter, And Instagram, and be sure to sign up for their newsletter, to hear about all the exciting things to come for the 2020 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.


MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

In February Classic Chic Productions took over our Historic Theatre with an all-female cast Much Ado About Nothing. Audiences were treated to a performance of this classic from the Bard, unlike any they have seen before.

What have they been up to?

On Mother’s Day (May 12, 2019) a group of hilarious women took over Yuk Yuks Vancouver Comedy Club in support of Classic Chic, in an event called Chicks at the Mic!

Follow Classic Chic on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram , and join their newsletter list, to keep up to date with all their fun and fabulous feminist events and productions!


CHILDREN OF GOD

What an honour it was to have Urban Ink‘s Children of God Corey Payette‘s heartbreaking and restorative musical about residential schools – back in our York Theatre this February/March.

Photo by Emily Cooper Photography

What have they been up to?

After leaving The Cultch, Children of God toured BC, opening up dialogue about Canada’s residential school system.

We are so excited to have Corey Payette again with us next season. He, and our own Heather Redfern, are co-curating Raven Transforming Cabaret Festival – a brand new festival bringing together Indigenous, and non-Indigenous performers in a multitude of disciplines to all three Cultch stages in early October 2019. Learn more about the festival here.

Corey Payette has also been selected as one of 50 international playwrights to be part of Climate Change Theatre Action 2019.

Follow Urban Ink on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up to date with their latest and greatest.


HOT BROWN HONEY

What a way to kick off spring in Vancouver – Hot Brown Honey returned to us this past March to turn up the heat and bring the noise!

What have they been doing?

After another hit run at our York Theatre, the Honey’s took off to smash the patriarchy in New York City!

You may or may not be aware, but Hot Brown Honey has a male counterpart – Briefs! We are so excited to have Briefs – “a glittery bomb of circus, cabaret, and boy-lesque” – join us at the end of our 2019/20 season (April 19-May 3, 2020). Here are the Honeys and the Briefs together as one big happy family!

Hot Brown Honey is always travelling the world, smashing the patriarchy wherever they go. They are going to be part of the National Art Centre’s Indigenous Theatre‘s inaugural season, May 5-9, 2020.

If you don’t follow these “Fierce Mamas” on social media you are MISSING OUT! Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out what they are up to next!


MULTIPLE ORGANISM

What fun we had with Mind of a Snail Puppet Co. this past March! Our Cultchivating the Fringe winner, Multiple Organism, sold out show after show.

What have they been up to?

Mind of a Snail artists, Chloé Ziner and Jessica Gabriel, don’t seem to ever sit still! Jessica Gabriel was recently part of the inaugural HUNCH Festival, and the two of them are gearing up for Fringe season once again, and heading to Montreal!

Don’t miss out, keep up to date with this daring duo by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Also, check out this amazing card they made us!


NEW CACKLE SISTERS: KITCHEN CHICKEN

New Cackle Sisters: Kitchen Chicken – a wild meal, prepared right before your eyes, by madcap company L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres , as they highlighted the songs of the famous DeZurik Sisters (also known as the Cackle Sisters) – enchanted audiences at the York this April.

What have they been up to?

Since leaving us, L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres has been touring around Canada with Kitchen Chicken. They will continue touring it, along with
Tomatoes, in the coming months.

Follow L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres on Facebook for all the madcap adventures of this daring theatrical musical troupe.


ACT OF FAITH

It was such a pleasure to have Realwheels Theatre in our Historic Theatre this April. The premiere of Janet Munsil‘s newly commissioned play, Act of Faith – inspired by the real-life experiences of a woman in the community (see below) – was a real conversation starter.

What have they been up to?

Since January this year, Realwheels Theatre have been hosting playwriting circles, facilitated by Kim Seary. Every two weeks, participants have been meeting to write, and support each other. On June 8, they will be hosting a cold reading of some of the work created during this circle. Check out the event here.

Follow Realwheels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to keep up to date with their latest events and productions.


NASSIM

What a blast it was having a different Vancouver performer take the stage in the incredible show that Vancouver Presents called a “love letter to the audience, to the performer and at its core, a love letter from Nassim to his mother.” NASSIM was a perfect way to wrap up our 2018/29 season!

What have they been up to?

After leaving The Cultch, Nassim Soleimanpour traveled with his self titled NASSIM to Carrefour international de théâtre de Québec. On May 22 it was announced that NASSIM won an 2019 Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best Unique Theatrical Experience.

Follow Nassim Soleimanpour Productions on Facebook, and Twitter to hear the latest news!


Whoa – what a season hey?! Can you believe the incredible people who come through The Cultch’s doors? There are so many incredible artists (not to mention our patrons and donors!) changing the world!

That’s a wrap! We look forward to seeing you next season. Subscriptions are already on sale – book yours today . We look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

Children of God is getting all the BUZZ!

Children of God is getting all the BUZZ! – Must close March 10!

Corey Payette’s powerful musical, from Urban Ink, about the impact of Canadian residential schools has now been witnessed by over 35,000 people on stages across the country. People can not stop raving about this play; over and over we hear, ‘must-see’, ‘essential’, and ‘vital’, being used to describe it. Check out some of the latest reviews:

Photo by Emily Cooper Photography

“Children of God truly is a must-see for all Canadians, as a lesson about the true history of our country.” —VANCOUVER PRESENTS

“A triumph of dramatic ceremony.” —BROKEN LEG REVIEWS

“Powerful, exciting and emotional.” —TWO CENTS & TWO PENCE

“If you haven’t seen Children of God yet, you should go. Yes, partly because every Canadian needs to understand the legacy of residential schools, but also because it’s an excellent script performed by top-notch double-threat actor/singers and, even when the subject matter gets dark, it’s a real treat to see them perform”—ILIVEINEASTVAN

“One of the most vital and powerful new works in Canadian musical theatre.” —MONTREAL THEATRE HUB

Social media has been lighting up with amazing personal reflections and recommendations:

“An outstanding, transformative production.” —Robert Clifton, facebook comment

“Such a powerful and absolutely moving production. A true must see!” —Joy Clifton, facebook comment

“Very powerful and effective. Bring your tissues and stay for the discussion.” —Leanne Roy, facebook comment

“A show that all Canadians should see! It is brilliant!” —Jamie Johnston, facebook comment


Children of God runs until March 10, 2019, at the York Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

A look at Canada’s residential schools

Children of God is back in the York Theatre (until March 10, 2019) after a national tour, and its highly successful 2017 world premiere at The Cultch.

Children of God a new musical written and directed by Corey Payette, Production Design by Marshall McMahen, Lighting Design by Jeff Harrison, actors David Keeley, Sarah Carlé, Michelle Bardach, Kaitlyn Yott, Cheyenne Scott, Dillan Chiblow, Aaron M. Wells, Jacob MacInnis, and Michelle St. John. An Urban Ink co-production with Segal Centre (Montreal). Photo by Emily Cooper Photography.

In this powerful musical, by Corey Payette, the children of an Oji-Cree family are sent to a residential school in Northern Ontario. This is a story of redemption: for a mother who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, who never knew she came. Children of God offers a thrilling blend of ancient traditions and contemporary realities, celebrating resilience and the power of the Indigenous cultural spirit.

The history of residential schools in Canada is a dark part of this country’s history. This selection from the Children of God study guide is a good starting place for those wanting to inform themselves about Canada’s past and present.

Residential Schools In Canada (Background)

The residential school system in Canada was designed to steal Aboriginal children from their home communities and forcibly turn them into Euro-Christian citizens of Canadian society. As former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s famous epithet from his 2008 apology to residential school survivors goes, the residential schools were meant “to kill the Indian in the child.”

Set up by the federal government, and primarily run by the church, the residential schools sprawled across the nation throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The last one did not close until 1996.

The system was rooted in the idea that European civilization was superior to the diverse civilizations of the Indigenous peoples, and that it was thus Canada’s moral, and God-given, responsibility to save Aboriginal children from themselves. By isolating the children from their lands, their languages, their relations, and their traditions; and simultaneously immersing them in European customs, primarily rigid gender roles, Anglo-monolingualism, and industrial vocational training, it was thought that Aboriginal communities would die out, and that a unified Canadian nation would emerge.

Archival photo

Residential schools, at their core, were built to commit what is called ‘cultural genocide’. These schools often became places where children would do menial tasks designed to keep the schools open at low cost, rather than as sites of meaningful education. It is also widely reported that these schools were sites of brutal physical, emotional, and sexual abuse against the children, often as punishment for speaking their traditional language, or trying to escape. Many children died while at these schools.

Residential Schools—Lasting Effects

As Children of God will explore, the horrible legacy of the residential school system is still felt today by many Indigenous peoples.

Many of the youth who attended residential schools not only grew up learning to hate their culture, but also grew up not learning how to raise a family, often in an atmosphere of physical and sexual abuse. This has had disastrous impacts for Indigenous communities. For many, survivors of the schools grew into adulthood lacking parenting skills, fostering another generation of children without a nurturing family environment. In many communities today, rates of domestic abuse, alcoholism, and youth suicide are high, many cases of which observers have traced back to the residential school system and the lack of self-esteem it instilled in the students. This ongoing process of undermining community well-being and cohesion, despite the schools being closed, is often referred to as intergenerational trauma.

Healing from Residential Schools

While understanding the vile history of residential schools and the lingering ramifications of this system, it is also important to pause and recognize that this trauma does not define Indigenous peoples and their communities. Many First Nations communities today are healthy and thriving, have a strong connection to their lands and traditions, and are raising younger generations that are eager and ready to continue this process.

On a national scale, it is becoming more common to talk about the residential schools in an honest way for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike—partly in thanks to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (see below)—which sought to offer space and a platform for survivors of the schools to talk about their experiences as a means of mending relations between Canada and Indigenous nations. Reconciliation politics is by no means perfect, as many First Nations are waiting for the federal government to deliver on its promise of better futures, but we now have valuable entry points into necessary conversations around what healing can look like.

Many communities that still experience the lingering impact of residential schools are taking matters into their own hands, and are looking to break cycles of intergenerational trauma through their own community-led initiatives, such as education, residential school survivor-oriented societies, and drug and alcohol intervention programs (see below).

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Findings http://nctr.ca/reports.phph

Resources on Healing and Healing Initiatives

“Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools.” Where Are The Children http://wherearethechildren.ca/

Aboriginal Healing Foundation http://www.ahf.ca/

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society – http://www.irsss.ca/

Legacy of Hope http://legacyofhope.ca/

For more information about Children of God, and more resources, read the full study guide here.


Children of God runs until March 10, 2019, at the York Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

LES FILLES DU ROI is “a triumph”!

LES FILLES DU ROI is “a triumph”!

We are so proud to have partnered up with Urban Ink, Fugue Theatre and Raven Theatre to present Les Fille du Roi. Les Filles du Roi runs until May 27 at the York Theatre. The amazing creators of Children of God (which is coming back to The Cultch due to popular demand, Feb 20 – Mar 10, 2019) have done it again!

Les Filles du Roi is the powerful story of Kateri, a young Mohawk girl, and her brother Jean-Baptiste whose lives are disrupted upon the arrival of les filles du roi in 1665. They forge an unlikely relationship with young fille Marie-Jeanne Lespérance – whose dreams of a new life are more complicated than she could have imagined. Over the course of a year, Mohawk, French and English journeys collide, setting the stage for the Canada we know today. 

Photo by David Cooper. Les Filles du Roi a new musical by Corey Payette & Julie McIsaac. Directed by Corey Payette, Production Design (Set/Costume/Props) by Marshall McMahen, Lighting Design by Jeff Harrison. A Fugue Theatre/RavenTheatre production in association with Urban Ink and The Cultch. Actors: Kayla Dunbar, Chelsea Rose, Cecilly Day, Julie McIsaac (in center), Lisa Goebel, Synthia Yusuf, and Merewyn Comeau.

It has been getting great REVIEWS! Check out a few of them here:

“Les Filles du Roi’s trilingual, feminist-Indigenous musical is a triumph…a work of monumental importance…Go see it” ~ Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

“Les Filles Du Roi Tells a Powerful Story of Canada’s History” ~ Connal McNamara, Vancouver Weekly

“A sumptuous reimagining of our history…It’s thrilling” ~ Colin Thomas, colinthomas.ca

“If any show deserves a standing ovation, this one does. But don’t take my word for it, see it for yourself” ~Emma Rossland, Two Cents & Two Pence

Wanna know more? Check out what Corey Payette and Julie McIsaac have to say about creating Les Filles du Roi:

Les Filles du Roi is performed in three languages, English, French, and Kanien’kéha (Mohawk). Learn more in this great video:

Les Filles du Roi runs from May 15 – 27, 2018 at York Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

RAVE REVIEWS: Children of God is the show to see this year!

RAVE REVIEWS: Children of God is the show to see this year!

The cast of Children of God | Photo credit: Emily Cooper | Production design by Marshall McMahen and lighting design by Jeff Harrison

If you haven’t yet seen Urban Ink’s Children of God, make sure you book your tickets right away. Reviews are pouring in, and everyone agrees; this is an important work that is not to be missed!

REVIEWS:

“If you see one work of theatre this year, make it this one” – Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail

“A beautiful and very powerful moment of triumphant solidarity between the stage and audience…the kind of reconciliation this country desperately needs but hasn’t yet earned”- Jerry Wasserman, The Vancouver Sun

“This is a brave work, and a starting point for important conversations …See it.” – Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

Not a dry eye in the house, as far as I could see” – Lincoln Kaye, Vancouver Observer

Children of God will stand as a catharsis for some, an introduction for others, yet a point of connection for us all” – Chelsey Stuyt, Vancouver Presents

“Julia and Tommy’s story will break your heart. Then sort of mend it.” – Jo Ledingham

 “Children of God is necessary…Go see it.” – Colin Thomas, colinthomas.ca

“Children of God is a story of redemption…Payette’s play should certainly be seen by anyone, religious or secular, who has an impassioned sense of injustice.” – John Jane, Review Vancouver

Children of God is a powerful work of living history and it should be seen by audiences across Canada.” – Peter Dickinson, Performance, Place, and Politics

“I don’t remember the last time I saw a more incredible, moving, beautiful or powerful theatrical production” – Emme Rogers, Emmerogers.ca

“[Children of God] lifts us beyond despair with a surprise ending that inspires a communal response. If that sounds vague, it’s meant to be. See it for yourself.” – Paul Durras, Vancouver Plays

“If you call yourself a Canadian then you have a duty to see this dark but illuminating work”- Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

“It was a healing, cathartic, and powerful moment that I won’t soon forget.” – Tessa Perkins Deneault, tessaperkins.ca

“It is obvious to me that this show was created and presented in a spirit of fierce compassion and hope, as is evidenced in the writing, the direction, and the provision of emotional support workers and a talkback. As such, this show is a salve. This is the kind of healing that we need and must decidedly work to carry forth.” – Sarah Thompson, Sad Mag


Children of God runs at the York Theatre, May 17-Jun 3. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

The world premiere of CHILDREN OF GOD!

The world premiere of Children of God!

May 19th is a very special night for The Cultch. It is our immense honor and privilege to present Children of God in collaboration with Urban Ink Productions, National Arts Centre English Theatre, and Raven Theatre! After two amazingly received preview presentations (May 17-18) it is finally time to present this timely and urgent musical to the world.

The cast of Children of God | Photo credit: Emily Cooper

In this powerful musical, the children of an Oji-Cree family, Tommy and Julia are sent to a residential school in Northern Ontario. Children of God is a story of redemption: for their mother Rita, who was never let past the school’s gate, and her kids, who never knew she came.

Brother and sister, Tommy (Herbie Barnes) and Julia (Cheyenne Scott) in Children of God. Photo by Emily Cooper

It may seem like dark subject matter for a musical, but as Writer/Director Corey Payette says in The Georgia Straight“How I understand musicals to work best is they express emotions that are beyond words, so when characters can no longer speak, they sing. This felt like a perfect fit.” In fact, when you hear Corey speak about it, the more and more a musical seems like the clear choice to start a conversation about residential schools. “What I’ve been taught from the elders I’ve worked with” Corey says in an interview with The Vancouver Sun,  “is that you cannot tell a story without that story having a song. You cannot sing a song without that song having a dance. And you cannot dance without that dance telling a story. So for me, the musical form really lends itself to indigenous performance.”

Watch this video with Corey Payette as he describes the story of Children of God.

Residential schools are a dark part of Canadian history. According to Reconciliation Canada, over the course of roughly 130 years, over 150, 000 children were forcefully removed from their family homes and taken to residential schools to be re-educated and converted. Today, it is estimated that there are over 80,000 residential school survivors living in Canada. This isn’t ancient history, this is our current reality; the last residential school didn’t close it’s doors until 1996.

Study time at Native residential school, (Fort) Resolution, NWT © Public Domain Credit: Library and Archives Canada, PA-042133

Children of God demonstrates the intergeneration impact of a cultural genocide,” says Payette. “It shows how this chapter in Canadian history changed the course of lives. We hope that it will help people understand what happened. We hope that people will enter the theatre one way and leave it changed” states Corey  in an interview with BeatRoute Magazine. As Colin Thomas says in his blog, Fresh Sheet,“As Canadians, all of us are connected in some way to the legacy of residential schools. Corey Payette’s new musical, Children of God, which addresses that legacy… may be one of the most important openings we’ve seen in years.”

Cast of Children of God. Photo by Emily Cooper

Children of God may have dark and triggering subject matter, but it offers moments of hope, and it is a true celebration of the strength of our indigenous peoples.“When I spent the years meeting with survivors and their families talking about the story I wanted to tell, the thing that I wasn’t prepared for and that I didn’t fully understand was the strength it took for survivors to forgive” says Corey in a Q&A with Artslandia. “I felt those conversations changed the direction of the show to be about celebrating the strength of Indigenous peoples to overcome this tragic part of our history, and this strength is not widely reported in the media; it’s powerful and a kind of resilience that is overwhelming to imagine.”

The response we have been getting at our previews has been overwhelming. This is a powerful piece of theatre. Here is what one audience member had to say: “Last night, Brent and I went to Children of God. I was astounded by the message, the play, the actors, the lyrics, the music and the incredible way it was all combined so completely. Corey Payette and the team did an amazing job. It was so thought provoking, disturbing, shocking, and beautiful , and I left the theatre full of emotion, guilt, strength, and sadness from the resonating messages. We need to get PM Trudeau in to see it on Friday when he is in Vancouver!”

Watch this great video with Corey Payette (Meet the Creator) describing the journey of creating Children of God.

If you want to know more about Children of God you can listen to Corey Payette and Kim Harvey on Roundhouse Radio speaking with Kirk LaPointe. And dont miss this great interview with Corey Payette on The Early Edition with Rick Cluff (interview starts at 2:39:57).

Children of God runs at the York Theatre, May 17-Jun 3. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Contains swearing, sexual content, and haze.
Due to the triggering content of the performance, Emotional Support Workers will be available to provide support to audience members who may require it.

BEHIND THE SCENES – Children of God in Rehearsal

BEHIND THE SCENES – Children of God in Rehearsal

The Cultch, in collaboration with Urban Ink Productions, National Arts Centre English Theatre, and Raven Theatre is thrilled to present the world premiere of Corey Payette’s powerful new musical Children of God opening May 19th at the York Theatre!

Pulling musical inspiration from Indigenous traditions as well as Broadway hits, this musical is a timely piece that tells the heartbreaking story of the residential schools through the eyes of one Oji-Cree family. Offering a thrilling blend of ancient traditions and contemporary realities, Children of God celebrates resilience and the power of the Indigenous cultural spirit.

Writer/ Director Corey Payette and Assistant Director Julie McIsaac looking over the script. Photo by Brain Chan

The creative team, along with the cast and a whole host of support personnel, have been hard at work getting ready for next weeks opening night performance. Here are some fabulous shots  by Brian Chan from the early days of rehearsals.

Actress Cathy Elliot, who plays Rita in Children of God, wrote a powerful piece about how working on the workshop of this show impacted her life; “It gets a little difficult sometimes to remember that the word “healing” had more power before it became a made-for-tv catchword, or a politician’s promise or a meme. I have difficulty saying it. Its meaning has been worn down, polished thin through constant use. But it is the only word I can use for what I wish to attempt to describe as a monumental event that has had an effect on my life.”

We love this shot of Kim Harvey (The Cultch’s own Youth Program Manager – we are so proud!) toasting the whole team on the first day of rehearsals! Kim plays Joanna in Children of God.  A huge cheers to Children of God!

Kim Harvey makes a toast to Children of God cast and crew. Photo by Brian Chan

Children of God runs at the Historic Theatre, May 17-Jun 3. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

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