Australia’s Hot Brown Honey comes to the Cultch for Femme January

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The hottest ticket out of Australia makes its Vancouver debut. Headlining The Cultch’s Femme January — a whole month of Cultch programming celebrating the power of the female voice —Hot Brown Honey turns tradition on its head, packing a potent punch of Hip Hop politics, dance, poetry, comedy, circus, striptease and song.
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The Daisy Theatre presents A Christmas Carol in Little Dickens

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In Ronnie Burkett’s Little Dickens, the cast of The Daisy Theatre takes on the beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, in the merriest marionette mash-up ever. Faded Daisy diva, Esmé Massengill, plays the role of miserly, drunken, bitter Esmé Scrooge, in this Burkett-esque retelling of the Dickens classic.

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The Vancouver Christmas Market opens today at Jack Poole Plaza

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The city’s signature yuletide celebration returns to its expansive seaside home, November 22  December 24, 2017 at Jack Poole Plaza (at the Olympic Cauldron) offering its largest, authentic German festivities to date. The cherished holiday tradition will feature more than 75 huts stuffed with sweets, treats and treasures, coupled with a multitude of festive family activities and live entertainment. Attracting a record number of more than 215,000 visitors last season, the Vancouver Christmas Market remains one of the city’s beloved holiday experiences.  Continue reading

Vancouver’s housing featured in new play, Satellite(s)

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Interlaced with equal measures of pain and humour, Satellite(s) is set to hit the Vancouver stage on November 16, 2017. Produced by Solo Collective Theatre, the play is inspired by Caroline Adderson’s book on Vancouver’s ever-shifting housing landscape, Vancouver Vanishes. An existential exploration of relationships and real estate, Satellite(s) is directed by the award-winning Bill Dow and runs from November 16 to 26 at Performance Works on Granville Island. To book tickets, call the box office on 604-687-3020. Continue reading

New night sky festival marks MOA’s bid to become Vancouver’s first urban star park

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Next weekend, during the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, the Museum of Anthropology will welcome more than 1000 guests for a new festival of arts and astronomy.

Blackout: Night Sky Festival will take place on Saturday, August 12 and features Indigenous storytelling, an immersive art installation and interpretive stargazing set to a soundtrack of live and electronic music.  Continue reading

Mouthpiece features two strong women in this bold, dynamic performance

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Mouthpiece follows one woman, for one day, as she tries to find her voice. The push and the pull, the past and the present, the progress and the regression: this is the inner conflict that exists within a modern woman’s head. Interweaving a cappella harmony, dissonance, text and physicality – Mouthpiece is a harrowing, humourous and heart-wrenching journey into the female psyche. Continue reading

Bard on the Beach begins their 27th season on June 3rd

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Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival begins its 27th season in Vanier Park on June 3, with an exciting lineup of plays, concerts and special events. All tickets for Bard on the Beach are currently on sale for the 2016 season, which runs from June 3 to September 24.

The Festival’s summer-long celebration of Shakespeare starts with ROMEO AND JULIET on the BMO Mainstage, with Kim Collier (Hamlet, 2013) returning to Bard to direct this timeless romantic tragedy. It alternates with Bard’s Jessie Award-winning 2012 production of THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR. This huge audience favourite is full of high-spirited comedy and live performances of classic 60s popular music. Johnna Wright is back to direct, this time on the BMO Mainstage, along with many of the original actors.

On the Howard Family Stage, in the Douglas Campbell Theatre, two of Bard’s best-known and award-winning actors make their Bard directorial debuts. Bob Frazer directs the tragedy OTHELLO, setting the play’s jealousy and manipulation amidst the racism and violence of the American Civil War. Lois Anderson directs a mythical and exotic setting of PERICLESShakespeare’s adventurous tale of a hero’s quest to find love, family and the meaning of life.

Special Events for the 2016 Season:

  • Bard-B-Q & FireworksSaturday, July 23Wednesday July 27 & Saturday, July 30 @ 5pm – includes play, dinner, on-site entertainment including a world-champion pipe band, and exclusive fireworks viewing. Tickets from $95
  • Chor Leoni: Mane Stage: Mondays, June 20 & 27 @ 2pm & 7:30pm
  • Wine Wednesdays: July 13, August 10 & September 7 @ 6pm. $21 (must purchase play ticket for same evening).
  • Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at Bard: Mondays, July 11 & 18 @ 7:30pm
  • Opera & Arias: The Magic Flute: A costumed concert staging; Mondays, August 29 & September 5 @ 2pm & 7:30pm
  • Exploring Shakespeare Talks: Delve deeper into each play’s story and background with Simon Fraser University’s Paul Budra. Saturdays, June 11 and 25July 16 and August 13 @ 11am
  • Salon SeriesNew this season, behind-the-scenes panel discussions. July 18August 29 and September 5 @ 7pm
  • Talkback Tuesdays: free post-show discussions following Tuesday performances in both theatres. July 5 – August 30
  • Family Nights: Lively pre-show activities, family package pricing available: July 6, August 3 and August 31 @ 6pm

Tickets for Bard on the Beach’s 27th season are on sale starting April 6. Ticket prices for 2016 include all applicable fees and taxes and begin at $20. Early booking is recommended for best seat selection; note many performances sell out in advance. The full performance schedule, site information and play and special events details are on the Bard website at bardonthebeach.org. To book tickets, order online through the Bard website or call the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559 or (toll free) 1-877-739-0559.

Heathers the Musical comes to Vancouver

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Social commentary and psycho thriller come together in Heathers the Musical, the story of Veronica Sawyer (Christine Quintana), a teenage misfit who gets in with the most popular high school clique. She never thought she’d get in, but she did. She also never though she’d date the dark and mysterious new kid, but she did. And she certainly never dreamt of killing anyone, but she kind of did.

Based on the 1988 cult film written by Daniel Waters and starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, the musical will play at York Theatre in Vancouver, January 6th to 17th. Enjoy this funny, heartfelt, homicidal show directed by David C Jones with a diverse cast.

“When I was an elected member of Canadian Actors Equity I learned about the importance of theatre to reflect the cultural make-up of the city it is in,” admits director David C. Jones. “Theatre has the ability to transform audiences but if they do not see themselves reflected how can they connect? I became a strong advocate of fair representational casting practices. When we announced auditions I was determined that we get the cast that reflected the city of Vancouver which currently sits at 52% non-Caucasian. It just seems right, it just seems fair and it just seems important.”

Jessie Richardson Award Winning actress Christine Quintana plays Veronica Sawyer, our misfit heroine who gets in with the wrong crowd, with recent Studio 58 graduate Kamyar Pazandeh as the brooding JD. The trio of terrorizing Heathers isSynthia Yusuf, Devon Busswood and Nhi Do. Playing against type – Colin Sheen (and Hal Wesley Rogers) play the brutish and dumb football bullies, while Steffanie Davis plays one of their victims.  The adults are played by producer Lori Watt, Ken Overbey and Nelson Wong. Rounding out the cast of high school students and cliques are Quinn Cartwright, Daren Dyhengco, Vivian Full, Brent Hirose, Matt Montgomery, Deanna Rayne and Hall Wesley Rogers.

Performance details for Heathers the Musical are as follows:

  • Runs January  6  to 17 at The York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive
  • Previews: January 6 & 7, at 7:30 pm ($15)
  • OPENING NIGHT: January 8, at 7:30 pm
  • Matinees performances are at 2:00 pm January 9, 10, 16 and 17 ($25)
  • Evening performances are at 7:30 pm January 8 to 9 ($30), 12 to 16 ($40)
  • To book tickets, call the Cultch box office at 604-251-1363 or online.

Bard on the Beach Announces 2016 Season

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Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival has announced a 2016 season that will showcase the genius and popular appeal of the great English playwright, in a year of world-wide celebrations marking the 400thanniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The 27th Bard season, sponsored by Goldcorp and running from June 3 toSeptember 24, 2016, will bring two proven audience favourites to the BMO Mainstage. Opening the Festival isRomeo and Juliet, the timeless story of a pair of young star-crossed lovers whose families are bitterly divided; Bard’s powerful and sensuous new production will be directed by Siminovitch Prize winner and past Bard director Kim Collier (Hamlet, 2013). Alternating with Romeo and Juliet is the Jessie Award-winning production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, back by popular demand after a sold-out 2012 Bard run and re-imagined this season for the larger BMO Mainstage. The music-filled production is set in 1968 Windsor, Ontario and will be directed again by Johnna Wright; its production sponsor is Polygon Homes.

 

On the Howard Family Stage, veteran Bard actor Bob Frazer (Macbeth, 2012) will direct a provocative new staging ofOthello, with its action unfolding during the American Civil War. The production sponsor is Lonetree Cider. Othello will alternate with a new production of Pericles, set in an ancient, mythical pagan kingdom and directed by Lois Anderson, another award-winning veteran of Bard’s acting companies (Kate, The Taming of the Shrew, 2012). Pericles’ production sponsor is BlueShore Financial.

 

“We go into our 27th season while the world is honouring and celebrating Shakespeare, and this set of plays will showcase his genius,” says Artistic Director Christopher Gaze. “We are fortunate to have engaged such an outstanding team of theatre creators who will bring their visions of these great classics to our Vanier Park stages next season, for what I know will be a memorable year for us.”

Bard on the Beach’s 2015 Season: Reviewed

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This was an inventive and fast paced season for Bard on the Beach. With three comical, crafty plays and one major drama they were certainly off to a good start.

My experience of the season began with a steampunk Comedy of Errors. For such a convoluted play, this was the perfect vessel. The constantly moving set, outlandish costumes, and strange performances easily heightened the absurdity. It’s full of slapstick humour and silly moments, with lots of space for the embellishments that director Scott Bellis used so well. Although not one of Shakespeare’s finest works it was a good start to the season, especially for actors Sereana Malani (Adriana) and Ben Elliott (Antipholus of Syracuse). Malani captured my attention every time she was on stage. Elliott, who has proved himself musically in many other Bard plays, was uproariously funny as the confused newcomer.

King Lear was the second main stage production, and it largely fell flat. This is a massive production to put on but the script can be cumbersome to do without losing audience attention, and unfortunately for some it did just that. At the start, Benedict Campbell fell into the problem of overemphasizing every line, but by the second act he seemed passive and afraid of the madness and anger required of him. The sisters (Jennifer Lines, Regan and Colleen Wheeler, Goneril) kept too many of their Tempest mannerisms for this much more serious play, getting laughs in a play that should not provide them. Michael Blake (Edmund) and Nathan Schmidt (Edgar) had some of the most interesting moments, each providing thoroughly nuanced portraits of their characters.

On the Howard Family Stage, Love’s Labour’s Lost took us on a rollicking, musical 1920s adventure that hit the jazz classics and easily express the character’s emotions. Chicago in the Roaring Twenties bring brilliant costumes and the speakeasy vibe that pairs well with Ben Elliot’s musical direction. Josh Epstein (Berowne) stands out as the king’s friend and lover of Rosaline. His voice is beautifully rich and his emotions are immediately evident. The slight audience interaction is both funny and complementary to the 20’s style, as this play is more an adaptation than a direct reproduction of Shakespeare’s creation.

King Lear’s actors took to the Howard Family Stage for C.C. Humphries novel Shakespeare’s Rebel. Set in Elizabethan London around Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and a potential revolution, John Lawley (Benedict Campbell) must separate himself from his past on the battlefield, help his friend William Shakespeare to write the play Hamlet, and clean himself up to win back his beloved Tess and son Ned. With so many pots and subplots throughout, it was amazing to see this novel put together so masterfully on stage. Although I found Campbell too overwhelming as King Lear, he seemed to find his footing in this production. This is where Jennifer Lines (Tess) and Colleen Wheeler (Queen Elizabeth) shine. Lines is feisty and smart, a clear choice for Lawley to pursue, while Wheeler masters the drama of Elizabeth as I hoped she would have in King Lear. The Bard’s own Christopher Gaze has directed a veritable star for the 2015 season, engaging and funny without overwhelming audiences who are used to Shakespeare’s own writings.

Both of the smaller stage performances were my favourite for the year, drawing my attention back again and again.