Q&A with Governor General award-winning playwright, Colleen Murphy!

Q&A with Governor General award-winning playwright, Colleen Murphy!

Photo by Heidi Hamilton

How did the idea to adapt a Shakespearean text incorporating Bouffon come about?

When Stephen [Drover] asked me to write an adaptation of Titus Andronicus I wondered how to connect with a play I felt was emotionally vacant but intriguing.  “What makes people so angry they kill children?  What is under such rage? Terrible hurt probably, and terrible grief.”

While adapting the play I was the Lee Playwright in Residence at the University of Alberta, working in the same department as Professor Michael Kennard, aka Mump from the incredible duo Mump & Smoot.  Michael teaches clown there and I was inspired by the rigor and the fearlessness he used in his hilarious student presentations.  I felt that given the blood-bath of the 21st century, Bouffon were more suitable to my adaptation because they bring a primal urgency to a story that both begs to be taken seriously and begs not to be taken seriously.

Can you tell us a little bit about the effect that the Bouffon style has on the piece?

The Bouffon style opens up both the emotional and the farcical aspects that are already in Shakespeare’s play.  He must have enjoyed writing it, and there are some beautiful passages, as fine as any he wrote.  The murders and the outrage might even be funny…and the funny is sometimes sad.  The world of revenge is an over-the-top world driven by sad, angry people.

What is something about the show that audiences may be surprised to learn?

Perhaps members of the audience might be surprised to discover that nothing is sacred, that everything is human, including the worse things people do to each other.

Can you describe the show in 3 words?

Fun Meets Death.

What most excites you about bringing this piece to the stage?

Marrying Shakespeare with Bouffon offers another perspective on Titus Andronicus in the 21st century.

Peter Anderson in “The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius”. Photo by Stephen Drover


The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius runs from Nov 22 – Dec 3 at the Cultch’s Historic Theatre. Tickets are from $22 and can be found here.

Announcing the 2017 rEvolver Festival Mainstage!

A man stuck in a London train station. A live game show. A cardboard puppet sci-fi western. A live drag attari video game musical. An embarrassing birthday gift. A Spanish Vampire bar. A bespoke handmade book. The meaning of love.

Upintheair Theatre is thrilled to be back at The Cultch for the fifth annual rEvolver Theatre Festival. rEvolver runs from May 24th – June 4th, presenting new work by Vancouver and Canada’s most exciting up and coming performers and theatre creators. Past rEvolver Festivals have included world premieres of hit shows such as Jordan Hall’s ‘Kayak’, Delinquent Theatre’s ‘Stationary: A Recession-Era Musical” (which featured as part of The Cultch’s 2015/16 season) and Mind of a Snail’s gorgeous shadow puppetry in ‘Caws and Effect’.

This year’s programming represents the rich diversity of voices, aesthetics, and styles among Vancouver and Canadian emerging professional theatre makers. Join us in seeing all that this incredible community of artists has to offer.

Got to revolverfestival.ca for all the information you need!

MAINSTAGE SHOWS:

FREE EVENTS:

  • Habitats Isabelle Kirouac & Nayana Fielkov (Vancouver)
  • Plunge in collaboration with Resounding Scream Theatre (Vancouver)
  • SHINY Kelly McInnes (Vancouver)
  • UPDRAFTS Reading Series featuring new works by emerging playwrights

Excited by what you see? There are a number of different ways you can purchase tickets!

  1. With the 6-show flex pass, the passholder can see up to six individual shows, take five friends to one show, or any combination in between!
  2. If you can’t see 6 shows, you can still save by purchasing a 3-show pass instead!
  3. And of course individual tickets are available both through The Cultch’s Box Office and at the door.

Vertical Influences offers FREE workshop at Britannia Ice Rink

Vertical Influences offers FREE workshop at Britannia Ice Rink!

We are so EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE that Le Patin Libre – creators of VERTICAL INLFUENCES – will be hosting an amazing FREE Workshop on April 27 1-3pm at Britannia Ice Rink – for ALL AGES and ALL SKILL LEVELS! This is a great event to take the whole family to!

Photo credit: Rolline Laporte

Led by the artists and company choreographers, these playful activities can be enjoyed by all skaters. Through choreographic games and simple teachings, the artists will convince participants that anybody can feel the magic of glide and enjoy the freedom and liberation of ice-dancing. It’s optional to bring your own skates and helmets. There will be FREE rentals for workshop participants.
 
Please RSVP to communications@thecultch.com if you are interested in joining the workshop.

Photo Credit: Alicia Clarke

Wanna know more about Vertical Influences? Check out these great interviews in The Georgia Straight, The Vancouver Sun, and Vancouver Presents!

 

“We are able to bring together groups that wouldn’t otherwise come together and have an opportunity to introduce them to this contemporary performing art. IT REALLY IS QUITE EXCITING.” – Alexandre Hamel in interview with Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

VERTICAL INFLUENCES runs at Britannia Ice Rink, April 18-30. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.
This event is generously supported by
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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

“Elbow Room Café: The Musical” opens at the York Theatre March 2

Elbow Room Café: The Musical opens at the York Theatre March 2

Elbow Room Café: The Musical will celebrate its opening on March 2 in the York Theatre and will run until March 12.

Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical is a candid look inside Vancouver’s most iconic eatery The Elbow Room Cafe. Known for its raucous service, celebrity sightings, and hearts of gold, the musical will feature everything you love about Vancouver’s favourite “abuse restaurant.”  You can look forward to a healthy serving of beloved owners Patrice (Allan Zinyk) and Bryan (David M. Adams), the crazy antics of hung-over bachelorette-party guests, flashy drag queens, and lots and lots and lots of love.

“Playwright Dave Deveau and composer Anton Lipovetsky pay homage to downtown Vancouver’s legendary breakfast spot, famed as much for its food as for the sarcastic service.”  – The Georgia Straight

The Elbow Room Cafe on Davie St. has been an local favourite for over three decades. Opened in 1983 by Patrick Savoie and Bryan Searle, it has become know for being an “abuse restaurant” – one of those fun places to go to to get a little witty banter with your breakfast.

The real Elbow Room Cafe, 560 Davie St. – The inspiration for Zee Zee Theatre’s new musical

We are really excited, and it seems we are not the only ones! Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical is one of The Georgia Straight’s “spring picks”  featured in the Spring Arts Preview. Kathleen Oliver  says the draw of the show is it’s “Sassy irreverence, which creators [Anton] Lipovetsky, and [Dave] Deveau, and director Cameron Mackenzie have proven they can dish out in generous portions.”

Not only did Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical get a mention in the spring picks, it was also featured as the cover story! “You know, the place is chaotic and rhythmic and colourful and gaudy and loud. It immediately sort of lends itself to the form.” says Dave Deaveau in the article by Alexander Varty , stating why they chose to create a musical about the local restaurant.

A couple Cultch staff display the Georgia Straight cover featuring Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical

If you’re interested in hearing a little more about how this show has developed, check out this great interview with Dave Deveau and Cameron Mackenzie on Roundhouse Radio’s Janice and Corey. And if you’re a foodie, make sure you check out CKNW’s Food Glorious Food. The Podcast hosts Richard Wolak and Zahra Alani share their enthusiasm for Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical.

“After a remarkable 34-year run, Vancouver’s most deliciously theatrical experience is finally taking the stage.” The Georgia Straight

Zee Zee Theatre Playwright Dave Deveau, and actors Allan Zinyk and David M. Adams on the cover of The Georgia Straight

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!

Elbow Room Café: The Musical runs at The York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive, from March 1 – 12. Tickets are available online, by phone at 604.251.1361, or in person at 1895 Venables St.

The Cultch would like to thank our Production Sponsor -TD Bank, and our Community Partner – Qmunity.

Reviews are in for The Fighting Season…and they are Great!

Reviews are in for The Fighting Season…and they are Great!

Photo by Javier R. Sotres

Last Wednesday we opened The Fighting Season, our first show of 2017, and the winner of the 2015 Cultchivating the Fringe Award. What a way to start!  We are SO happy with the response it has been getting.

The Fighting Season is a deeply poignant play that delves into the heart of the Afghan war through the perspective of three Canadian medical personnel. The play examines the experiences of an OR surgeon, a medic, and a nurse as they deal with their experiences in Afghanistan. The Fighting Season addresses three of the many ways people deal with PTSD, and is partially based on the experiences of local playwright Sean Harris Oliver’s father who was an OR surgeon  in Afghanistan.

The reviews are unanimous, The Fighting Season is not to miss!

“Theatrical make-believe has rarely felt more VISCERAL.” – Jerry Wasserman, The Vancouver Sun

“The performances under the direction of Evan Frayne are uniformly TERRIFIC.”- Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

“The play feels excruciatingly real and scrupulously HONEST…it’s a powerful piece of theatre made even more potent by three SUPERB performances.” – Jo Ledingham, joledingham.ca

“Visceral and MOVING, The Fighting Season shines as a FASCINATING study of war medics.” – Lauren Chancellor, TheReviewweekly

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The Fighting Season is selling fast! Don’t miss it, get your tickets.

The Fighting Season runs until Jan 21, 2016 in the Vancity Culture Lab. Tickets are $35. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

Name The New Cultch Cocktail! Our new cocktail with Odds Society needs a name! Share your best idea!

cocktail

Name our mouth-watering cocktail– A delicious twist on the classic Gimlet: Wallflower gin, sage syrup, lime juice and orange – for a chance to win an evening of pre-drinks at Odd Society Spirits, two tickets to an upcoming Cultch production, and naming rights to the new beverage that will be sold at The Cultch AND Odds Society Spirits (1725 Powell Street)!

How to enter:

There are several ways to enter. To enter through the blog simply leave a comment with your drink name and a brief explanation. To enter through Facebook, comment on the contest announcement with your drink name in quotes. On Twitter, reply to our post with your drink name and the hashtag #CultchxOdd. By email, send your drink name to ricky@thecultch.com.

The Rules:

  1. Enter anytime between Nov 4 – 10,
  1. Suggest a fun, creative, and evocative name for this recipe. If possible, explain why you chose the name in a sentence or two.
  1. The winning recipe name (and your name, if you wish) will be featured in our bar for the remainder of our 16/17 season as well as at Odd Society Spirits.

 

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

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

An Interview with Jenn Sungshine of Our City of Colour

Jenn Sungshine

Jenn Sungshine photo by Rebecca Blisset

March is shaping up to be a colourful month here at The Cultch. We are presenting two critically acclaimed plays, The Gay Heritage Project and Ga Ting, which both deal with issues related to the QTIPOC (Queer,Transgender, Indigenous, People of Colour) community. We had a discourse with Jenn Sungshine who works for our Ga Ting Community Partner, Our City of Colour, about her involvement in various organizations and the QTIPOC community in general.

About Jenn: Jenn Sungshine  facilitates with creativity and social justice media to evolutionize and revolutionize QTIPOC visibility and community-based work through Our City of Colours ( Community Partner for Ga Ting), Love Intersections, Out in Schools and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia.

 

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1. What are your thoughts on the importance of organizations helping out the artistic community though presentations such as Ga Ting and other GLBTQ plays like The Gay Heritage Project?
Community partnership between organizations in the artistic community helps to facilitate a sense of connectedness through shared experiences. We all want to see ourselves reflected in the stories that are being told, outside of our own little silos. There is a sense of proud recognition and relatability when we can see ourselves represented in nuanced and three dimensional roles as they relate to race, gender, sexuality, culture and all of the intersecting experiences. I find this especially important through art because the ground upon which we walk and play and live our lives has the potential to be bigger and far more interconnected in an isolating city like Vancouver.

2. You mention the acronym QTIPOC. Would you mind explaining exactly what this means?
QTIPOC stands for queer, trans, indigenous people/person of colour – it’s a mouthful isn’t it? And why not? We are complex beings. We are cutie-pocs.

3. What is your involvement with The Pink Line and can you expand more on this initiative?
I’m the facilitator for The Pink Line, which is a new community-engaged theatre initiative created to foreground the stories of members in the LGBTQI+ communities, told in their own words. Our focus this year will be racism within the queer community. Participants will be drawn from the many racial and ethnic groups that make up Vancouver’s LGBTQI+ community. Chris Gatchalian, artistic producer at The Frank Theatre graciously asked if I would be interested in facilitating conversations around race and racism. It runs deep, like the microaggressions that we experience on a daily level.

4. You are a busy individual involved with many organizations that deal with important social issues. Do you think that Vancouver is more welcoming of people with alternative lifestyles than other cities around the world?
I don’t like to compare cities. It’s a dangerous road to go down on so I will only speak to my own experiences here. I think Vancouver is actually a relatively conservative city in terms of the actual minutiae of social interactions that people engage in and how they are subtly encouraged to express themselves creatively. Perhaps due to the scarcity of communal spaces and housing, Vancouver can sometimes seem quite stifling and full of unacknowledged competition.
That being said, Vancouver prides itself on embracing “diversity”. To me, the concept of “alternative lifestyle” is a relative one depending on sub/cultural connections as well as personal predilection and interests — from music to dance culture to food to activism — it’s very sceney here. Of course, like any city Vancouver has its own narrative. One that I find resonates with certain lifestyles and practices while not with others. I have my ups and downs with this city for sure but I have to remind myself everyday of how lucky I truly am to live here.
Lastly, I do think that we glorify busy-ness and quite frankly I am busy because I need to survive, not because I really want to be. Can I retire with cats yet?

5. How do you feel the Out in Schools program is succeeding in its mission? What more do you feel that our national, provincial, and local government can do more to promote the program? What can the community do?
Brandon Yan, my brilliant successor at Out in Schools can speak far more profoundly in all the ways that Out in Schools is succeeding in its mission! Personally I would love to see a SOGI policy at all levels of governance. While I do think tremendous strides have been made in classrooms here and certainly Out in Schools has played a hand in that, the work is far from over!

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The Cultch presents The Gay Heritage Project March 2 – 19 and Ga Ting March 8 – 19. To purchase tickets click here. Get your tickets before it is too late!

Ga Ting weaves a powerful and emotionally-charged story about an immigrant Chinese couple trying to come to terms with the death of their son, Kevin. When they invite Kevin’s Caucasian boyfriend for dinner after the funeral, the evening devolves into a fiery cultural and generational clash.

“Ga Ting isn’t just about being gay, but about parents getting to know your children and children sharing themselves with their parents…Go see it. Take your parents” — GayVancouver