A conversation with Isa Szeto, Web and Design coordinator for The Cultch

Isa Szeto, Design and Web Coordinator for The Cultch, on top of Cypress Mountain

The bicycle serves not only as inspiration but also as instrument in our new show  SPIN running until

April 20. Through a series of songs played live on a vintage bicycle, SPIN recounts a theatrical cycle of stories about women, cycling, and liberation.

In honour of Evalyn Parry’s SPIN, we feature one of our very own, Isa Szeto from The Cultch’s marketing team!  We were delighted to catch up with Isa – an avid bike enthusiast – to discuss her love for biking and to find out a little bit more about the Cultch’s talented designer.

Do you bike to work every day?  Rain or shine?

Yes, I bike every day, 27 kilometres roundtrip to and from work every day. The Cultch has showers and lockers for which I’m very thankful for. I ride in the rain or shine or snow (-8°c is my record).  I guess you might wonder why I would bike in such terrible conditions.  Personally, there is something appealing about prevailing against the odds and arriving at the end destination with your blood pumping in your veins. Getting to work by bus or by car is just not the same.

How did you get into biking?

I grew up in the suburbs and while in high school, I did a lot of standing around, waiting for the bus.  It dawned on me one day that the actual distance travelled was very short. So I saved up and bought myself a yellow Norco 10 speed and just started self-propelling myself to high school in Grade 11.  I was hooked: the feeling of exhilaration and self-sufficiency has never left me. I ended up trying a few cycling clubs in Vancouver to learn how to ride in a pack and now ride with Glotman Simpson. I even rode when I was eight months pregnant. My husband Michael was quite wigged out by that!

How does biking make you feel?

Biking makes me feel strong and alive! It is a part of my life. This month, Michael and I will cycle up Mount Haleakalā Maui, a 10,000 foot ascent which is one of the few paved 10,000 foot ascents that you can safely cycle up in the world.  Again, there is something about prevailing against the odds that’s very appealing to me. Biking has opened up so many worlds for me, geographically, socially, physically and mentally. I recently got the Strava app on my phone. Reading the tallies of the calculations of speed, distance, elevation gain, etc. after each ride (and my friends’ rides) is fascinating! Highly recommended for any person on two wheels.

SPIN runs at The Cultch until April 20. Tickets are available online at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at 1895 Venables St.

The Cultch Preview: FESTA!

On Saturday, April 27, The Cultch will celebrate the tradition and culture of Barcelona with FESTA, a special fundraising gala. Set around El dia de la Rosa, or the day of the Rose, FESTA promises an evening of passion, food and revelry. A tribute to Sant Jordi (St. George to anglophones), protector of Catalania and of lovers, the festival is a staple of Spanish culture and is the inspiration behind this year’s event.

Hosted by the CBC’s Margaret Gallagher and actor Jay Brazeau, arriving guests can linger, mix and mingle and enjoy sangria and tapas right off the Historic Theatre! Here’s an exclusive preview of the festivities:

Highlights:

  • FESTA will kick off the evening with a Cava Cabaret (CLab) where the Christina Barcelona Quartet will play until 8 pm.
  • There will be roving entertainment throughout the Lobby Bar & Founders Lounge. Over 60 bottles of beautiful cava is on stock so there will be copious amounts of bubbles.
  • At 8 pm guests will move to the Historic Stage for a fantastic dinner served “en familia” catered by Merchants and Cork & Fin. Long tables of 6 or 12 will fill the stage while guests quaff amazing red and white Spanish wines (or more cava).
  • While guests eat and drink – they can sit back and enjoy “pop-up” entertainment from the balcony and special stage!

Live and silent Spanish-themed auction:

  • Art by internationally known painters Jamie Evrard and Vicky Marshall,
  • Private dinner for 10 (with cocktails and wine) at the legendary Penthouse Nightclub with hosts Aaron Chapman (author of Liquor, Lust & the Law),  A burlesque show, lots of stories, an autographed copy of the book and a behind-the-scenes tour.
  • Tickets and a meet and greet with Diana Krall
  • Airfare and accommodation at a festival in Barcelona this July
  • Private dinner for 10 with Espana executive chef Neil Taylor at Barbara-Jo’s Books for Cooks

More!

Following the live auction and dessert, guests can sit back and relax with friends or head back to the Cava Cabaret for mingling, dancing or further revellry with music by one of Vancouver’s best dance bands – The Enablers.

Tickets are $200 ($150 tax receipt) or $150 ($110 tax receipt) and are available now through The Cultch Box Office by phone at 604.251.1363, in person at 1895 Venables Street or online at tickets.thecultch.com. Group tables and sponsorships are also available.

An exclusive Q+A with Tim Carlson, creator of Extraction

Tim Carlson, Theatre Conspiracy's artistic producer and show creator

There’s only one week left until the highly anticipated premiere of the bilingual, documentary-style theatre show, Extraction. Tim Carlson, Theatre Conspiracy artistic producer and show creator, is deep into rehearsals but took time to chat with us about how his childhood impacted the show, The Cultch’s involvement in making the concept a reality, and the importance of gaining a different perspective.

OH: Can you talk me through the creation of Extraction?

TC: Growing up in Alberta, I was surrounded by relatives in the oil industry. My grandfather, father, cousins and uncles were constantly exchanging tales of their experiences out in the field since the 1940s. This influenced me greatly and from then on, I always wanted to make some sort of play that spoke to my family’s heritage in the industry. The actual conceptualization for the play started in 2009, when one of my best friends from high school (Jimmy Mitchell) moved back to Vancouver after almost three decades in China and Taiwan as a teacher, journalist and diplomat.  As I listened to recollections of his time in Asia, it became apparent that there was an evolving story to tell and Jimmy’s insight became much of the starting point for Extraction. At around the same time, there was a growing interest from China in Canada’s oil sands. The two nations, which had little in common just over 30 years ago, now had a common thread in the form of oil trade. Much like the way crude oil is refined into products such as jet fuel and petroleum, we look at the way cultural nuances, history and language become intertwined and connected when people come together. There’s a symbolic and overarching theme of refinement throughout the performance.

From left: Cultch executive director Heather Redfern, Theatre Conspiracy artistic producer Tim Carlson, and Rio Tinto Alcan representative Richard Prokopanko.

OH: From concept to reality – what happened next?

TC: The Cultch’s support from early on was instrumental in our ability to receive grants from different organisations such as the BC Arts Council and Vancouver Foundation to conduct much-needed research for the play right from the start. Having The Cultch on your side means a lot – it’s well-respected and has a great reputation. With the funding we received, we were able to make a trip to Beijing in 2010 to do casting calls and conduct interviews with people such as professional interpreters and translators to form some of the content for Extraction. We were also able to make two trips to Fort McMurray to talk to a number of individuals, from new Chinese employees to union members to immigrant services.

Jimmy Mitchel, Sunny Sun and Jason Wilson play themselves in Extraction

OH: How did your background in journalism influence the style of this play?

TC: My background in journalism plays a big role in the research that I do for my productions and I wanted the play to be a documentary-style production right from the start.  Having real people on stage engages the audience in a different way. To find the cast for the play, we used social media and internet sites such as Facebook and Craigslist, Vancouver-based immigrant services S.U.C.C.E.S.S and word of mouth, through personal connections.

OH: You mentioned that having real people on stage engages the audience in a different way – what else does it achieve?

With a lot of art, there’s a heavy-handed point of view, which has its place and importance. With Extraction, however, the goal is to present the audience with a different point of view, which is to get beneath the stuff we hear in the news. What we usually see in the media is government and industry promoting the industry or conservationists protesting it. Most of us are somewhat caught in the middle. By bringing an alternate angle of real stories from people’s personal experiences, I hope to foster and encourage thought and discussion.

Extraction runs at The Cultch Mar 5 – 9, 2013. Tickets start at $17 and can be purchased at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at The Cultch Box Office, 1895 Venables St. Part of the DocuAsia Forum co-presented by Cinevolution Media Arts Society and David Lam Centre of SFU. Free DocuAsia Forum discussion: March 6 & 7. For other DocuAsia Forum events, please check www.cinevolutionmedia.com.

Part 1: Choreographer Victor Quijada shares the story behind his unique style of dance

Choreographer Victor Quijada. Photo by Roland Lorente.

Are you the type of person who likes to rock out in your bedroom to your favourite song? Or, would you rather tap your foot to a good groove?. There’s something about moving to music that just feels good.

Victor Quijada, Montreal choreographer and artistic director of RUBBERBANDance group, knows what we’re talking about. In fact, Victor’s regarded as a pioneer in the world of dance—not only has he created beautiful and inspiring dance pieces, he’s created an entirely original movement vocabulary as well! We caught up with Victor to hear more about his original style of movement and his thoughts on bringing his newest dance piece Gravity of Center, to The Cultch.

SC: Your choreography is recognized for being a fusion of hip hop, contemporary and classical styles. In your own words, how do you describe your movement vocabulary?

VQ: Actually, that description is probably the most basic, most rudimentary way to describe the movement vocabulary I use with RBDG. Why it doesn’t really work as a good description, is because it asks you to imagine these three styles—hip hop, contemporary, classical—and it forces you to think of the stereotypes that help these genres keep their labels.  Then, it demands that you imagine a fusion of these stereotypical aspects in some kind of a choreographic context.

Victor Quijada working with Company dancers. Photo by Lindsay Thomas

To be more accurate, I would say that as a choreographer, my voice and vision have been shaped by my history. At one end of the spectrum, this starts with growing up in the freestyle hip hop dance ciphers of Los Angeles, and on the other end it includes a professional career of working with postmodern, contemporary, and neo-classical choreographers in the ranks of high caliber dance companies.

I think this paragraph from my bio says it well:

A wide range of early performance experiences, from the hip hop clubs of his native Los Angeles to a performance career with internationally-acclaimed postmodern and ballet dance companies such as THARP!, Ballet Tech and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, led Victor Quijada to Montreal, a city he now calls home. By age 26, Victor had gained a rare perspective on a large spectrum of dance, possessing knowledge and experience that spanned from the street corner to the concert hall.

But even before you imagine motion or gestures or choreography, the RBDG movement vocabulary begins with the manner in which the dancer acknowledges the space and their own physical reaction to inhabiting it. RBDG movement vocabulary is actuated by the manner of muscularity the dancer adopts at the contact points with the environment. Furthermore, the RBDG movement vocabulary gains its aesthetic through the manner in which the dancer perceives his or her experience.

SC: How did you come to develop this movement style and quality?

VC: It was thanks to the different experiences I had, the different spheres I was exposed to, and to the fact that I was determined to become the best I could be in the different milieus that I found myself in. The “developing the style” part came through many years of practice, but the seeds were planted when I was still very young.

Jessica Tong, right, with Quijada in rehearsal. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

I remember that from a very young age, I already proclaimed, “I am a hip-hop artist,” except that I really didn’t know what “art” was.

But as a student at the L.A. Arts High School, I remember learning about “art” and coming upon the notion that through “art” it was possible to change the world. As a teenager, hip hop was my life, and art would change my life. I started to expand my ideas about my hip-hop. The knowledge and formal dance training I was receiving at that arts high school would mutate my relationship with hip hop forever.

And of course the professional experience that I would acquire over the next decade would further transform me. It’s not just my physical capabilities that would grow, but my mind was also growing. I was watching, learning, changing.

Once the style had developed in my body, the real challenge came in the transmission of the movement to new dancers—how to get them to understand and recreate the specific qualities I was asking for. That’s why identifying the style and developing a technique was important and necessary. And that took time. Lots of time. Lots of sweat. Lots of writing, testing, experimenting, practicing, and teaching. Lots of trial and error.

But finally, the method is all there, compact and airtight. And now we can pass the knowledge on very well, very clearly. No guesswork. Simply. Directly.

Gravity of Center runs at The Cultch February 19 – 23, 2013. Tickets start at $17 and can be purchased at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at The Cultch Box Office, 1895 Venables St.

Tim Crouch shines a light on bullying in I, Malvolio

On January 30, as part of the 2013 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, UK playwright and performer Tim Crouch brings his latest production, I, Malvolio, to The Cultch. A celebrated international performer, Crouch has developed a large following here in Vancouver, thanks to past visits performing My Arm and An Oak Tree in 2007, and ENGLAND in 2009.

I, Malvolio opens at The Cultch Jan 30

For I, Malvolio, Crouch uses humour as a means of exposing the harm caused in bullying and practical jokes in a re-imagined version of Shakespeare’s famous play Twelfth Night. In this version of the classic tale, the story is told through the eyes of the pompous steward Malvolio, a perspective rarely seen and explored in theatre.

Tim Crouch re-imagines Twelfth Night in a brilliant one-man show that unlocks Shakespeare’s play for new audiences

In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Malvolio is bullied and picked on by the other characters, ultimately winding up as the crux of a hurtful joke. In the end, poor Malvolio meets a pitiful demise when he’s written off as insane, and locked away in a dark chamber. In his final words he pledges revenge on the other characters for treating him so poorly.

I, Malvolio is a charged, hilarious and sometimes unsettling rant from a man adrift in front of a cruel audience

In this version of the play, Crouch’s clever script gives audiences a unique position from which to view the issue of bullying – from the eyes of the bully. As Crouch explains in the video below, “It’s a very funny piece. He is a clown and we often enjoy laughing at people who are going through terrible situations and circumstances. Malvolio is really at the bottom of the pile and he encourages you laughing at him, and then he challenges you for laughing at him.”

It’s a performance that makes you wonder: what’s acceptable about laughing at someone who’s been broken down and humiliated? As Crouch puts it in this interview with journalist Mark Fisher, “It [the play] is about how far one is prepared to take pleasure in somebody’s cruelty to other people.”

I, Malvolio is an entertaining production that reinforces valuable lessons along the way. Don’t miss your chance to see this contemporary spin on a classic play!

I, Malvolio runs at The Cultch January 30 – February 10, 2013. Tickets start at $17 and can be purchased at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at The Cultch Box Office, 1895 Venables St.

The Cultch Gallery: Preview Jan – Mar 2013

By Alana Husband

If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out the gallery at The Cultch yet, get on it.  This spring, we’ve got a full schedule of exhibitions by acclaimed artists for your viewing pleasure. From quirky action figures by Niklas Bergman in Action Figure Expo to the arresting portraits set during the Holocaust by Hinda Avery in The Rozen Sisterr’, to the thought provoking pieces of Transactions of the Eye & Sound Memories by Harold Coego, you won’t want to miss out on experiencing the work of these, and the other talented artists we’ve got lined up. So get out your calendar and take note of the following…

Hinda Avery – Scenes From a Resistanze
January 22 – February 17, 2013
Opening: January 23, 6 – 8pm

“What does it mean to confront an atrocity with a revenge fantasy? I argue that by depicting Holocaust subject matter in an absurd, humorous way, my work becomes satire. However, unlike most satire, my paintings do not solely aim to relieve tension. I aim to unnerve.” – Hinda Avery

Hinda Avery is a Vancouver-born artist and teacher. She attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, and Saint Martins School of Art, in London, England. She holds a BFA, a Teaching Certificate in Art Education, and an MFA. She later gained a PhD in Architecture and Planning Education and has taught Art Education and Women’s Studies for several years. Her paintings integrate political and social issues; the feminist movement of the 1970s giving her work a particular focus – that of portraying women in a non-stereotypical way.

Harold Ceogo – Transaction of the Eye & Sound Memories
January 22 – February 17, 2013
Opening: January 23rd, 6 – 8pm

“I consider myself to be an outsider of a modern panorama…images are representations of ‘reality’ through an abstract cinematographic kaleidoscope. They are visible like music to the eye telling us a story – a twisted photocopy of ourselves, or perhaps more like a dream where something is always out of place.” – Harold Coego

Harold Coego was born in Havana, Cuba in 1973 to an enthusiastic artistic family. Before moving to Vancouver in 2002, he worked as an archaeologist assistant, light designer, and scenographic co-designer at the Obstacle Theatre with Victor Varela (an internationally recognized Cuban theatre director). It was while working with Varela that Coego learned about artistic discipline, dedication, light, and composition but most importantly, about human emotions and the many ways to represent it.

Niklas Bergman – Action Figure Expo
February 19 – March 17, 2013
Opening: February 20th, 6 – 8pm

From Niklas Bergman’s long-running comic book Sproing! comes a handful of its population immortalized in this limited action figure collection by Hepkid Toys. He states, “I find that we meet the same characters no matter where we’re from. And these characters, whether they be friendly, a nuisance, or simply familiar, bring us back to the place we grew up in, places we hated and eventually loved.”

Niklas Bergman is a native of Gredeby, Sweden. His comics have been published by Rollins Comics for over 10 years. He is also the founder of Sensible Studios and other works include Smalltown Ramblings, Hobo Sports, and No, Not There!


Robin Ripley – Book Bytes

February 19 – March 17, 2013
Opening: February 20, 6 – 8pm

“The focus of my art practice has often included the re-examination of mundane objects, as they function as signifiers for sensory information, knowledge and memory. These objects also highlight the interwoven nature of our perception and the interplay between art and life.” – Robin Ripley

Robin Ripley holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. During her time working in libraries, she began collecting covers from old books as they were re-bound and has been a keen observer of how technology has informed the way we read – from books to eBooks to QR codes. The language of objects and the way people connect with the common materials that surround them have been recurring themes in her work. Her working processes are often laborious, questioning current economic models of speed and “efficiency” while suggesting that transformation is still possible through small gestures if we make time to notice the details of the world.

Alan Robbins – Making It
February 19 – March 17 2013
Opening: February 20, 6 – 8pm

Alan Robbins firmly believes that his work is better appreciated in book form. He wants viewers to have something on hand to study and manipulate. “It’s better than a gallery setting where people strain to see an image or the computer where it can easily be magnified.” Making It will feature works from across Robbins’ career. Several of his books, talking about his beginnings as an artist to his eventual disappearance from the art scene, will also be on hand for perusal.

The Christmas Carol Project: a holiday production for indie-folk fans

The cast of The Christmas Carol Project

Bah Humbug! If you’ve been out shopping for Christmas presents lately you might have noticed the Christmas jingles that stores like to impose upon us at this festive time of year. Alas, although it may prove difficult to escape these aural invasions, The Cultch is here to offer some relief with the ever-charming Christmas Carol Project.

The project, conceived in 1996 by John Armstrong and a host of talented Edmonton-based musicians, intricately interprets Dickens’ classic tale by harmonizing lyrics with narration amongst a cocktail of folk, flamenco, bluegrass, rock, blues, Celtic folk and jazz. Bill Bourne leads the cast with his award-winning talent as the stingy Ebenezer Scrooge. Bill is a one-man show himself having performed at many internationally renowned music events from the Montreal Jazz Festival to the New York City Folk Festival not to mention collecting several Juno nods along the way.

Accompanying him on his transformational journey is bluegrass-Celtic-folk-country artist Maria Dunn. Originally taking the role of Scrooge’s maid, cast changes allowed Maria to step up to the challenge of playing Tiny Tim the seriously ill son of Scrooge’s underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit. Maria, a classically trained pianist, born in Scotland, immersed herself in Celtic folk and has also gained award recognition along her artistic journey both in Canada and abroad. Maria brings her enchanting vocals and accordion accompaniment to the performance and charms everyone with the show’s centerpiece ‘God Bless Us, Everyone’.

Adding to the talent pool is Albertan finger-pickin’ guitarist Kevin Cook, foot-stomping drummer Bill Hobson, soothing songstress Terry Morrison, rockabilly front-man Tom Roschkov, soulful songwriter Al Brant and Chapman Stick player Dale Ladouceur. What’s a Chapman Stick? Take a look here:

Theatre actor and producer Dave Clarke narrates us through Dickens’ dark and delightful fable. The combination of these technically skilled and creative artists, with their diverse musical influences, filtering through the lens of Dickens’ timeless prose, makes for a scrumptious evening for the entire family.

The Christmas Carol Project will run at The Cultch December 16, 17 & 18 at 8 PM. Tickets for The Christmas Carol Project start at $17 and are on sale now at tickets.thecultch.com, or by phone at 604.251.1363 and also, in person at The Cultch Box Office, 1895 Venables St.

A Global Success! Patrick Ehrenwirth shares behind-the-scenes insights into the dazzling production, LEO!

By Sarah Cruickshank

Tobias Wegner in Circle of Eleven's LEO, winner of the Best of Edinburgh Award.

LEO, the jaw-dropping, gravity-defying production from Berlin-based theatre company Circle of Eleven, is coming to The Cultch! In its last stop on a whirlwind world tour, this remarkable production of physical theatre will leave you not knowing which way is up and which way is down!

We caught up with Circle of Eleven’s Marketing and PR Manager Patrick Ehrenwirth to find out more about LEO, and how it feels to be part of a production that’s enjoying global success.

SC: As the Marketing and PR Manager at Circle of Eleven, what are some of your responsibilities when touring a show like LEO?

PE: The first step in the creation phase of a touring show is to find a show title and to develop artwork that comes with the show. We usually do this in a small team which involves the key creatives, Circle of Eleven’s artistic director, and myself. We provide a full marketing package to the venues where our productions play. This includes show texts, a press kit, photos, a trailer, and the art work for the posters, flyers and ads. So, the first round is always a busy period with photo and video shootings and a lot of copywriting. Once a show is on tour, the respective marketing and PR team and I are planning press calls, interviews, TV gigs and advertising campaigns. Every city and every venue is different when touring a show; that’s why my job never gets boring!

SC: For those who may not be familiar with this type of performance, can you explain the concept of physical theatre?

PE: Physical theatre is a broad term for performances which convey drama or an actual story by primarily physical means, that is, the body. This idea allows a variety of genres to happily mingle, from mime to contemporary dance, from circus to performance art. You will notice when watching LEO that the show requires a lot of different skills from the performer. Besides being an excellent and strong acrobat, he also has to be a good dancer, actor, mime, and he has to be able to play an instrument.

Tobias Wegner stars in Circle of Eleven's LEO, which plays at The Cultch until Dec 15.

SC: What are some of the challenges in presenting a show with no words?

PE: The beauty of a nonverbal, visually captivating production like LEO is that it leaves a lot of space for personal interpretation. But at the same time, it’s also a challenge when marketing a show because you don’t want to give too much away. My experience is that visitors see so many different things in LEO, whether it is a situation in their own life or that of a friend or something entirely different. Theatre is a universal language, but it talks to everyone in a different way, so to speak. So for me the challenge is to keep that door, that personal access open for everyone.

SC: LEO has been called the anti-gravity show. How does performer Tobias Wegner make it look as though he’s floating in the air?

PE: LEO is based on a brilliant stage concept which actually involves two scenes: A box with the performer in it, and right beside it, a projection of this room turned by 90 degrees, so what is the floor in real life becomes the wall in the projection. The illusion is even enhanced by a fantastic lighting design, surreal animations and a visionary video design. But above all, it is Tobias’s talent and stamina that make his movements seem weightless. When Tobias developed the show together with director Daniel Brière, they’d been experimenting a lot with different movements and sequences to see which would work both in the projection and on stage. But even now, Tobias and the creatives keep inventing new elements, which they add to the show. On a technical level, the show is playing with people’s perception, and at a certain point, you won’t realize which postures are actually difficult or even impossible in real life.

SC: LEO has toured all over the world including places like the USA, Poland, Germany and Iran. What does it mean to come to Vancouver and perform on The Cultch stage?

PE: The Cultch will be LEO’s last station before going on a well-deserved Christmas holiday, and it is also the last stop on this 2012 world tour, which started in New York. This run is quite special. I know that Tobias Wegner and the crew are excited to be in Vancouver, and to perform at The Cultch, especially because its programme is so varied and interdisciplinary, just as LEO is. Unfortunately, I don’t get to tour with the crew, and to be honest, I envy them a little that they are travelling to a city that has been rated among the most liveable cities in the world!

SC: LEO is so popular that you’ve had to train two additional performers for tour dates in 2013. How does it feel to be a part of a show that’s enjoying this much success?

PE: Of course, it makes us all very proud! I’ve seen the show develop from a comedy act that Tobias Wegner created for our production called myLIFE, to a touching one-hour show that won three awards and played off-Broadway. Whether it be the USA, Iran, Zimbabwe, or Canada – regardless of the cultural background, people just love the show, that’s just amazing. But it’s not only the success as such but the feedback that we get that is very rewarding. I’ve seen people crying during the show simply because they were so moved by it. Others told me with a big smile on their face that LEO was the most beautiful piece they ever saw. It is a great feeling to be part of a team that makes this happen.

SC: What can an audience member expect to take away after watching LEO?

PE: For me personally, it is the simple realization that life is full of surprises – or rather chances you can take – and the conclusion that, no matter how trapped you might feel in certain situations, there is always a way out. But as I said, I’m sure everyone will find his or her own story in LEO!

LEO runs at The Cultch December 4 – 15. Tickets start at $17 and are available online at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at 1895 Venables St

West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) Fundraiser: Dickens’ Women

West Coast LEAF’s ‘No Means No’ program has reached over 3000 youth across BC

In partnership with The Cultch, West Coast LEAF is delighted to be offering a fundraiser performance of Miriam Margolyes’ play, Dickens’ Women on Wednesday, November 14 at 7pm.
West Coast LEAF is a BC-based non-profit society on a mission to change historic patterns of discrimination against women through three key areas: Public Legal Education, Law Reform, and Equal Rights Litigation. They offer programming in each of these key areas, including peer facilitated workshops like ‘No Means No’ , the Family Law Project, and litigation in specific cases that have the potential to affect the lives of women across BC. This really just scratches the surface of the hard work that West Coast LEAF does for women in our community and across BC. We are proud to have partnered with such an inspiring organisation!

A veteran of stage and screen, award-winning actress Miriam Margolyes has achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic

As for Miriam Margolyes, you may remember her from any one of her amazingly talented and oft hilarious performances in films, plays, and TV series’ such as The Black Adder, Little Shop of Horrors, Magnolia, The Vagina Monologues, Being Julia, Romeo + Juliet, and the list goes on! In Dickens’ Women she moves seamlessly from role to role depicting 23 of Dickens’ little to best known characters whom, full of life and layers, were shaped from women in his own life – women he knew, women he loved, and women he hated.

The Cultch is thrilled to be presenting Dickens’ Women from November 15 – December 1 (in addition to the November 14 fundraiser performance for West Coast LEAF) considering the combined talent and strength brought to this hilariously entertaining one-woman performance, co-written and performed by BAFTA and LA Critics Circle award-winner Miriam Margolyes. Equally exciting is that this performance Dickens’ Women is Margolyes’ Canadian premier on a critically acclaimed world tour where Dickens’ Women has been eliciting much praise from audience members and critics alike in countries including Australia, New Zealand, India and the USA.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to support an exceptional, BC-based organisation and see the Canadian premier of Dickens’ Women as they continue on their critically acclaimed world tour!

Tickets are available at The Cultch for both the West Coast LEAF Fundraiser and the Nov 15 – Dec 1 run of Dickens’ Women. Tickets can be purchased online at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at 1895 Venables Street.

Connect with West Coast LEAF on Facebook and Twitter or visit their website for more information.

Zombie Apocalypse in Vancouver: 6 tips for survival

Theatre Melee presents a dark comedy about four strangers who make a desperate last stand as human civilization crumbles around them.

By Roanne Ward

Ah, zombies. Where would the Hollywood economy be without them? Everyone loves a good zombie flick. We know our beautiful protagonists are doomed from the start but we keep watching, flinching at every turn, anxiously awaiting the zombie to chow down on their victim’s flesh! Watching the action on film is thrilling enough, but imagine watching these events live!

Theatre Melee, with support from Rumble Productions, brings their zombie inspired production, Cozy Catastrophe, to The Cultch just in time for Halloween. Stemming from Hive 2 in 2008, Cozy Catastrophe places four young, unprepared zombie-apocalypse survivors in a tight situation, where they take shelter in an abandoned storeroom, while racking their brains on what to do.

So how does one survive a zombie invasion? Hide and hope they don’t like your particular taste of flesh? Quickly apply some make-up/dirt/blood to your face so you resemble one of them?

Here are our 6 tips for survival:

A sample zombie survival kit.

  1. Imagine a zombie invasion like you would any other big emergency– fire, earthquake, drought, floods– and get a survival kit. Please include water, dissolving hand soap sheets, beef jerky, a flash light, matches, and some reading material.
  2. Keep to the roof tops people! From there you’ll have a 75% better vantage point and everyone knows that Zombies are not very limber – heck, half of them are missing one appendage!
  3. Study zombie movies like Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead so you can pre-empt their tactics.
  4. Get a baseball bat so you can clear a path through the zombies should their numbers increase.
  5. Conserve, conserve, conserve. No one knows how long the Zombie Apocalypse will last but hey, have you EVER heard of one ENDING? I didn’t think so. Make sure you’re tight with your goods, folks. I hear Twinkies have enough preservatives to keep them “edible” for 80 years!
  6. Visit The Cultch between Oct 22 – Nov 4, check out Cozy Catastrophe, get some live advice and enjoy some fantastic local theatre!

Cozy Catastrophe runs until November 4, 2012. Tickets are $30 and are available online at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at 1895 Venables St.