Congratulations to all 2017 Jessie Richardson Theatre Award winners!

Congratulations to all 2017 Jessie Richardson Theatre Award winners!

On Monday night, June 26, the 35th Annual Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards took place at the Commodore Ballroom. To all the nominees and winners, we want to offer our sincerest congratulations. It is so wonderful to be a part of such a vibrant and diverse community of theatre professionals!

It has been noted by several, including The Georgia Straight, that this year The Jessies celebration highlighted growing inclusivity and a truer representation of the diversity of our community. Truly something to celebrate!

Read the complete list of winners here

If we were to create a list to mention all The Cultch friends and family who were honored by the awards, the list would be too long and complex, however we want to offer a special congratulations to some Cultchers who were awarded Jessies:

Jamie King (award in hand!), Brian Cochrane and Heather Redfern at the 35th Annual Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards! Candid shot captured by Bahareh Shigematsu!

  • Jamie King took home the Ray Michal Prize for Most Promising New Director.
  • Rohit Chokhani won the award for Significant Artistic Achievement – Large Theatre  for Outstanding Work in Expanding the Diversification of Vancouver Theatre through Excellence in Festival Programming for his work with Diwali Fest.
  • Leslie Dos Remedios was part of the Presentation House production of Baking Time, which took home the award for Significant Artistic Achievement – Theatre for Young Audiences  for it’s Outstanding Audience Engagement.

In addition, several shows from our 2016/2017 season had nominees in various categories: The Fighting Season, am a, and Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical. We are thrilled to be able to congratulate Kyle Jespersen for winning Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role – Small Theatre for his role in The Fighting Season.

Kyle Jespersen in The Fighting Season. Photo by Javier R. Sotres

Oh…and pssst, Quelemia Sparrow won the Sydney Risk Prize for Outstanding Original Script by an Emerging Playwright for her new play O’wet/Lost Lagoon, which is part of our upcoming 2017/2018 season! You don’t want to miss it when it plays in the Historic Theatre (May 8 -12).

Congratulations everyone!

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

TWO SOLD OUT OPENINGS! Thank you to our AMAZING Supporters and Partners!

TWO SOLD OUT OPENINGS! Thank you to our AMAZING Supporters and Partners! 

Yesterday (November 1) was one of the most exciting days of The Cultch’s 16/17 season! We were supremely lucky to have two amazing shows open on the same night –The Elephant Wrestler, co-presented with Diwali Fest, and Empire of the Son, Tetsuro Shigematsu’s smash hit presented by VACT.  Both of these shows are big hits: Empire of the Son has already SOLD OUT its run, and The Elephant Wrestler is very close behind.

We are so lucky to live in Vancouver and have access to great performing arts from a diverse and culturally rich background.  The Cultch is happy to co-present with Diwali Fest, and to have the chance to present shows from great local companies like VACT.  We want to take this opportunity to highlight them and the wonderful work they do.

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As many of you will know, Diwali is a South Asian festival known around the world as the festival of lights. Diwali brings people together to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.  Vancouver is lucky to have Diwali Fest, to bring us all the fun and joy of Diwali in an nearly month long festival. Their mission is, “To break cultural barriers and celebrate the spirit of Diwali by embracing diverse art forms to build a sense of community across the Greater Vancouver Lower Mainland.” This year’s festival started Oct 11 with the opening of Piya Behrupiya in the York Theatre, and will run until Nov 30.

Get out and enjoy as many of the Diwali Fest events as possible.

PHOTO: RAY SHUM | PHOTO DESIGN: TERRY WONG

Photo: Ray Shum/Photo Design: Terry Wong

We also encourage you to check out VACT as they highlight and promote Asian-Canadian stories like Empire of the Son. VACT was created in 2000 in order to produce and promote professional Asian-Canadian shows. They have has gained an amazing reputation in the arts community for presenting powerful and engaging stories from an Asian-Canadian perspective. The Cultch has been lucky enough to be a part of a couple of these productions. We are especially thrilled to have Empire of the Son back in The Vancity Culture Lab before it goes on tour in eastern Canada.

The Elephant Wrestler runs from Nov 1 – Nov 5, 2016 in the Historic Theatre.  Empire of the Son runs from Nov 1-13 in the Vancity Culture Lab. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

 

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EARLY REVIEWS: Fight Night is “unlike any piece of theatre I’ve ever seen”

img_7365Fight Night opened last night at The Cultch’s Historic Theatre and audience members and critics are abuzz!

Reviews

“Invigorating…it is subversive and shocking. It is also very, very real” – Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

“Cast your votes for actors in this clever deconstruction of election systems” – Georgia Straights, 6 Things To Do in Vancouver

“They were manipulating the hell out of me and I loved it…I recommend this show” – Colin Thomas, Colinthomas.ca

“Part TheatreSports and part Survivor…it offers a lot to think about.” – Jerry Wasserman, The Vancouver Sun

“The most fun I’ve had at a participatory theatre show…thrilling, innovative, and one of the most intelligent works I’ve seen in a long time.” – Tessa Perkins, Center Stage

Social Media

“It was a crazy opening night, and UNLIKE ANY PIECE OF THEATRE I HAVE EVER SEEN. This crew from Belgium have crafted an AMAZINGLY THOUGHT PROVOKING PIECE of theatre” – Tetsuro Shigematsu

“Fascinating theatrical event from Europe. LIKE NOTHING YOU HAVE EVER SEEN. Audience interaction that makes you giggle and worried at the same time” – David C Jones

“I saw Fight Night last night and it was an incredibly fun and engaging evening. And not in a 90s improv pulled up on stage to be embarrassed way.

The house lights were up for a lot of the night, people were chatting with their neighbours and the audience ultimately decides the outcome. If you’re at all curious about voting, strategy, alliances, judgement and how the power of them work alone and in combination – then go and see this show.

I was shocked, appalled and delighted so many times over and I’m definitely going to see it again.

With an 85 min running time, its definitely a punch of fun not to be missed!” – Kim Harvey

“THE MOST ENGAGING PIECE OF THEATRE I’VE SEEN. Fun as hell study on the deep dark corners of democracy” – Joel Ballard @jphballard

Fight Night plays at The Cultch (1895 Venables St, Vancouver) from October 18-29. Plus, tonight (Wednesday, October 19) a special edition of Fight Night will incorporate the US presidential debate in a pre-show debate party in the lobby. Visit https://thecultch.com for tickets and information.

The Invisible Hand: A Note From Director Richard Wolfe

Pi Theatre’s The Invisible Hand opens this week at The Cultch and we can’t wait to present this critically acclaimed production. Directed by Richard Wolfe, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar’s high-stakes thriller follows a kidnapped American trader in Pakistan playing the market for his life. In this riveting, relevant play, taut scenarios unfold as the trader works to earn his release while unwittingly handing the tools for financial chaos and political vindication to his captors. The production made The Georgia Straights ‘17 Things to Do in Vancouver’ this week as well as Vancity Buzz’s ‘6 Hottest Shows in Vancouver’.

Here are the Directors Notes from Richard Wolfe as preface for the show:

Pi is proud to be producing the Canadian premiere of Ayad Akhtar’s The Invisible Hand, presented on the Historic Theatre stage by the visionary team here at The Cultch. I knew as soon I read this script a year-and-a-half ago that it was a Pi show. Bold, smart and visceral – it’s the kind of full and rich theatre experience our audiences have come to expect from our company.

Back in 2014, US-led airstrikes on ISIS were just beginning. I wondered then how the situation would look by the time we opened Akhtar’s play in Vancouver. The naïve, hopeful part of me thought perhaps the situation would have improved. Sadly, it hasn’t.

Akhtar is a wonderful writer. His language is strong and his characters are vivid. But what I like most about The Invisible Hand is how his characters tend to be neither all good nor all bad. In my mind, ambiguous characters make the best theatre.

Akhtar has said he has a deep interest in exploring the themes of Muslim identity in the contemporary world, as well as the workings of the global financial system. Both of these themes are explored in the play you’re about to see.

How do people from different backgrounds become involved in insurgency movements? And what role does the invisible hand of the market play in today’s globalized world? Does it contribute to the general good, as Adam Smith wanted us to believe in his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (where the title of this play can be found)? Does a world full of self-interest really benefit others in the long run?

The longing for money is fairly universal. But what do we do with it when we have it? And when we have it, what will it do to us?

The Invisible Hand runs from Apr 5 – 23, 2016 in the Historic Theatre. Tickets from $20 and are available online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

First Reviews of ‘A Simple Space’ are in! Fans & Critics call it a “Must-See”

A Simple Space opened last night to thunderous applause! The seven acrobats from Australia thrilled a full house at the York Theatre with death defying feats of athleticism, artistry, and mind boggling precision.

Here are the initial reactions we’ve been receiving on social media:

“Just got home from the opening night of A Simple Space, and seriously, wow. I’m racking my brain to figure if I’ve ever seen a physical performance I enjoyed more. It was edgy and funny, and dangerous and so energized. I actually don’t know if I’ve ever had more fun in or out of a theatre.” – Jillian Christmas, Facebook

“In A Simple Space, the Australian acrobatic company Gravity & Other Myths presents an hourlong program that will leave you wrung out—and very happy… Kids will love this show. So will you.” –Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“Had the pleasure of enjoying the scintillating acrobatic party, A Simple Space, at The Cultch last night with Seb Chamney. Coolest show I have scene in a while – innovative, fun and visually stunning accompanied by energizing live percussion.” – Jason Chamney, Facebook

“Just came back from the The Cultch and A Simple Space. What a joyful ode to play! The whole show was like watching seven acrobats playing a game…and the kids loved it!” David Jordan, Facebook

“…Forget Cirque! … I dare you not to shed a few tears of ABSOLUTE JOY as you watch” – Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

“YVR: #ASimpleSpace @TheCultch’s #YorkTheatre is must-see joyful, energetic athleticism. Do yourself a favour & go!” – Kathleen B, @KathleenBee751

“A SPECTACULAR show. . anyone who has an hour should go see this at the York Theatre!! You will laugh & ooooo & clap spontaneously!” – Mary Vickars, Facebook

Want to join in on the conversation? Use hashtag #ASimpleSpace and chime in on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

A Simple Space runs until Oct 24 at the York theatre. Tickets are from $20 and are available at tickets.cultch.com or at The Cultch box office at 1895 Venabales Street.

The Faces of The Cultch: Lorin Ritchie – Volunteer, Subscriber and Donor!

LorenThe Faces of The Cultch…’ is a profile series on The Cultch blog where we  feature staff members, volunteers, subscribers, and community movers and shakers. Stay tuned for upcoming photos and interviews and drop us a line at ricky@thecultch.com if you have a burning question for one of our staff members or volunteers!

Lorin Ritchie is a volunteer, subscriber, and donor to The Cultch and we were so happy to chat with Lorin about her recent night out at the Bill Reid Gallery Dinner!

Every year, we hold a fabulous gala on the Historic Theatre of The Cultch. It’s a night to remember: dinner on the Historic stage, a silent and live auction, dancing, special performances, and live music. We also auction off a very special prize: dinner for you and nine friends in the Bill Reid Gallery, hosted by Martine Reid and our very own Managing Director Cindy Reid. Catered by an amazing chef, with wine pairings and a behind-the-scenes look at the gallery collection, it’s one of the most special nights of our year here at The Cultch. This year, featured artist Beau Dick also stopped by the gallery to perform for the party-goers. We chatted with Lorin, who attended this year’s Bill Reid Gallery Dinner.

The Cultch: What did you think of your first Gala at The Cultch?

Lorin Ritchie: It was marvelous! I’d never been to the Gala before and I loved that the event was in the theatre on the stage. Totally fabulous!

The Cultch: Can you tell us a little bit about your Bill Reid Gallery Dinner experience?

LR: It was amazing. I know a little bit about Indigenous art, not as much as I would like to, and to have Martine show us around the gallery was so special. It’s a beautiful gallery, the artist showed up and it was so much fun. Of course we were with a big group of friends (including my friend Nancy, who won the Live Auction prize of the Dinner!), so it was bound to be a marvelous evening. Oh, and the food was amazing!

The Cultch: You’re a huge supporter of The Cultch, Lorin, as a donor, subscriber and volunteer! What inspires you to be such a supporter?

LR: Well, I subscribe, and I am a volunteer usher and now I’m a Super Subscriber! When I was selecting my shows for the upcoming season, I added on the Super Subscriber donation ($125) because I want to contribute. The Cultch does such amazing work, and it feels nice to support the organization.

The Cultch: You attended a Super Subscriber event last year, our “Behind the Famous Puppet Death Scenes” event, which was a special post-show reception and talk back with the cast (and puppets) of the show. We have some really exciting Super Subscriber events coming up this season, and we are so excited to see you there! Is there a show you are particularly looking forward too?

LR: The Super Subscriber event was so much fun! It’s a lovely little bonus. I attended the Season Launch party and, well, it’s a hard question but I think Empire of the Son is the one I am looking forward to the most!

Thanks Lorin!

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 rentals@thecultch.com 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 ricky@thecultch.com.

The rEvolver Festival Opens This Week!

The 2015 rEvolver Festival kicks off on Wednesday, May 20 with three local performances on the opening night of the Festival:

7.00PM Caws and Effect (Mind of a Snail, Vancouver)
Historic Theatre

Crows are re-dreaming the world. Is the future all it’s cracked up to be?

Mind of a Snail’s large scale shadow theatre production is an exploration of survival and extinction from a bird’s eye view. Funny, beautiful and unique, with handmade layered projections, puppetry, masks, and an original musical score. The story can be seen as a modern fable, a tongue-in-cheek nature documentary, or the animated dream of a sleeping bird. In 2014, Caws & Effect won Patrons Pick at the Winnipeg Fringe and Pick of the Fringe at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. More info

8.00PM Double Recessive (Jordan Lloyd Watkins, Vancouver)
Culture Lab

A blessing. A curse. A one in four chance. A people on the brink of extinction. What would you do if you were the last of your kind?
Double Recessive. “Opression. Genocide. Comedy.” is a savage comedy about an eerily familiar dystopia. Double Recessive shows us the history of the Ginger crisis, and how society reacts when a lone Red is born, years after their extinction. A nasty, seemingly extreme, look at how society deals with “the other”, everything in Double Recessive is based on real events. Double Recessive is the multi-media brain-child of creator/performer Jordan Lloyd Watkins, working with award-winning director David Bloom. More info

9.15PM Hell of a Girl (Jeff Gladstone & The Bad Ideas, Vancouver)
Historic Theatre

Hell of a Girl is a unique musical theatre experience. The story is loosely based on the myth Orpheus and Eurydice, set in a timeless world with cowboys, nymphs & demons, and told through 26 original songs. Musically it weaves together gothic country with rockabilly and swing, into a visual style drawn from German expressionism and French absurdism, and taking the audience to Hell and back again. More info

Be sure to join us in between shows for an Opening Night Reception! For more festival programming visit Upintheair’s website or The Cultch’s Online Box Office.

The Cultch’s Not-To-Miss List: Our picks for the 2014/2015 Season (Part 2)

Last week we brought you the season highlights of three Cultch staff members: Caitrin Innis (Development Coordinator), Zoe Forsyth (Cultch Concierge), and Lisa Wu (Design and Web Coordinator). This week we continue the series by asking Ricky Choi (Marketing Coordinator), Isa Szeto (Design and Web Coordinator), and Maria Kerninon (Marketing Intern) what shows they are most excited to see next season!

IsaIsa Szeto, Design and Web Coordinator

Cadre by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd

This sounds like a very interesting story of watching someone’s life change when one governing regime falls and another takes its place. How much control does one have in a situation like this? It’s a universal story of wanting and dreaming of a better future.

Music Creates Opportunity by Bboyizm

Street dancing on the stage? Sign me up! I hardly ever get to see this kind of stuff live, living in Vancouver. Since I don’t have “the moves” myself, the next best thing is watch others popping, locking and rocking.

Famous Puppet Death Scenes by The Old Trout Puppet Workshop

I loved the Old Trout’s Ignorance, so I’m looking forward to this show, as I expect its going to make me think about my own mortality again, plus make me laugh at the same time (death and chuckles: a fine combo).

Ricky

Ricky Choi, Marketing Coordinator

Cinderella: An East Van Panto by Theatre Replacement

I got a chance to attend a reading of this production this past June and was blown away. I feel like Charles Demers did it again, creating a witty and modern adaptation of Cinderella with an East Van twist. Everything from the cultural references, casting, and music (psst they cover Sinead O’Connor) were right up my alley.

Loon by Wonderheads

What intrigues me most about LOON is that it deals with the idea of loneliness in a unique and whimsical manner – can a man really fall in love with the moon? It’s also a show that I really want to see with my parents, as english is their second language and I feel like the production’s focus on visual storytelling will make it make it accessible for all of us to enjoy.

Maria

Maria Kerninon, Marketing Intern

Broken Sex Doll by The Virtual Stage

I have read so many positive reviews about this show and it really makes me want to see it! I really like the fact that they use electronic music to portray the futuristic setting. It makes it a very modern musical. This is a new version of Broken Sex Doll so it will probably be interesting even for people who have already seen it. I also can’t wait to see the set and the costumes!

Cinderella: An East Van Panto by Theatre Replacement

I got the chance to attend a reading of Cinderella: An East Van Panto at the beginning of the summer and it made me really eager to see the show. I didn’t think it would be my kind of humour but it was really hilarious! I can’t even imagine how amazing the show will be with the songs, the costumes, and everything else! I also love the fact that it is the perfect family show for the holidays and that both kids and adults will be able to laugh together with this modern East Van adaptation of the classic tale.