The Cultch Announces a Dynamic 2019/2020 Season

This week, The Cultch announced its 2019/2020 season, which will welcome new initiatives, familiar faces, and as always exciting local, national, and international artists. 

Executive Director, Heather Redfern, has programmed 16 productions—plus a new festival—to fill The Cultch’s three stages from October to May, a new holiday show (Holiday at the Elbow Room Café), and three other local world premieres (KurokoKismet, things have changed; and East Van Panto: Pinocchio). “It’s all about experiments. It’s all about trying new things,” says Redfern. “And, for me, from a curatorial perspective, it’s really about how many voices we get, how many artists do we get to hear from? And there’s going to be a lot!”

The 2019/2020 season will kick off with a revolutionary new festival co-curated by Corey Payette (Writer, Director, and Lyricist for Children of God) and Heather Redfern. Raven Transforming Cabaret Festival will contain performance in a multitude of disciplines—dance, music, comedy, burlesque, theatre, etc.—and include a wide variety of Indigenous, local, and international work.

Raven Transforming – Quelemia Sparrow photo: Emily Cooper

In addition to dance performances in Raven Transforming Cabaret Festival, there will be two world-class dance productions on the Historic stage. Montreal’s’ Tentacle Tribe will redefine contemporary hip-hop in Ghost; and Dancers of Damelahamid, creators of Flicker, will return to the Historic stage with another contemporary reflection of Indigenous identity, Mînowin.

Some familiar faces return to The Cultch with their latest shows. Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT) premieres Kuroko, written by Tetsuro Shigematsu, while puppetry virtuoso Ronnie Burkett brings his newest Forget Me Not—and an opportunity for patrons to hold a one-of-a-kind hand puppet—to a secret location for an entire month in early 2020. In addition, Neworld Theatre will present The Boy in the Moon (in partnership with Rare Disease Foundation), based on Ian Brown’s memoir of life with his son Walker, and Theatre Replacement will present MINE, a collaboration between Maiko Yamamoto and her 11-year-old son. Two esteemed Canadian actors, Jonathon Young and Amy Rutherford, take the stage in Hannah Moscovitch’s Infinity (Volcano Theatre).

Back for a fourth year, the Femme Series will present shows from four fierce feminist companies throughout January and February. New Zealand’s The Dust Palace (creators of  The Goblin Market) bring The WonderWombs, which will kick off the series, followed by Musqueam playwright Quelemia Sparrow’s O’wet (directed by Kim Senklip Harvey), The Chop Theatre’s KISMET, things have changed, and 2018 Cultchivating the Fringe winner BIG Sister (Rapid Pitch Productions).

Briefs: Fez Fa’anana photo: Kate Pardey

The Cultch continues its ongoing partnerships with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and Diwali in BC. Savage Society’s O’wet and KISMET, things have changed (The Chop Theatre) will be presented in partnership with PuSh, and Jivesh Parasram’s Take d Milk, Nah? will be part of this year’s Diwali in BC. A new partnership, with DanceHouse, will bring the multi-disciplinary Unikkaaqtuat (The 7 Fingers (Montréal), Artcirq (Igloolik), Taqqut Productions (Iqaluit)) to the Vancouver Playhouse. In addition, the recurring partnership with Zee Zee Theatre will bring in Briefs (from the producers of Hot Brown Honey), as well as a wild new holiday show for adults, Holiday at the Elbow Room Café.

Theatre Replacement’s beloved holiday tradition East Van Panto is back for a seventh year. Marcus Youssef and Stephen Drover, writer and director of last year’s hit East Van Panto: The Wizard of Oz, come together again with this year’s East Van Panto: Pinocchio, starring Pippa Mackie as the title character.

With so much to see, The Cultch’s three venues (Historic Theatre, York Theatre, and Vancity Culture Lab) will be the places to be this 2019/20. Season Subscriptions are on sale now, with single show tickets to come, visit for more information

Throne and Games – The Last Laugh at VTS

This week it’s been difficult to avoid talk about the Lannisters, Starks, and Targaryens. Vancouver TheatreSports is jumping into the pop culture battle with their own unique show Throne and Games – The Last Laugh.

A satirical parody, loosely based on the wildly popular HBO’s TV series of a similar name. This instalment marks the last ‘season’ in VTS’ comedy trilogy, which began in 2015 with Throne and Games – Laughter is Coming and continued with Throne and Games – A Chance of Snow in 2016.

Starting April 26th, Throne and Games – The Last Laugh will feature some familiar characters along with a myriad of unexpected plot twists as suggested by the audience. Because of this key element, no two performances can be the same. As in its TV inspiration, the audience has no idea what to expect next…and neither do the VTS master improvisers.

With a new scenario mapped out by popular ensemble members Graeme Duffy and Denise Jones, a murderous cast of characters, an innovative set by Mo Sherwood and more plot twists than the original TV show, this all-new VTS production comes with a severe hilarity warning: attendance could lead to sore sides from laughing.

Vancouver TheatreSports’ Throne and Games – The Last Laugh runs at The Improv Centre on Granville Island every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30pm from Friday, April 26 to Saturday, June 15, 2019. Ticket prices start at $10.75 and are on sale now at

Come see for yourself which of the characters will have the last laugh and sit triumphant on the Iron Throne?

Picks Of The Week : April 17, 2019

Get a jump on an Easter holiday weekend full of entertainment picks this week!


Folk: Tonight, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC presents Portugal’s brightest star, Mariza, the internationally lauded fadista — a performer of Portugal’s traditional soul music, fado.

Kicks: Tonight, Whitecaps FC continue to look for their first win of the season as they host MLS league leaders LAFC at BC Place

Blooming: The city is in bloom as swaths of Cherry Blossoms paint the town pink, celebrate them all during the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival until April 28th.

Okanagan: On stage at The Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, until April 21, The Orchard (after Chekhov) is Chekhov’s  The Cherry Orchard, but told through the lens of a Punjabi-Sikh family in the Okanagan Valley. 

Out: Until May 4th, at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage, Bed & Breakfast is a comedy about “being out,” skeletons in the closet, and finding a place to call home.

King Richard and His Women
photo: Daniel Deorksen

Royal: King Richard and His Women are onstage at Seven Tyrants Theatre’s Tyrant Studio upstairs at The Penthouse Cabaret until April 19

Run: Hop to it and head to Jericho Beach Park for the Big Easter Fun Run and Egg Hunt, a 10k, 5k, 3k, 1k run on Saturday Apr 20th

Eggs: From Friday to Sunday bring the whole family to Van Dusen Gardens’ Eggciting Easter Hop. Hunt for eggs, take photos with the Easter Bunny and grab a bite from the food trucks on site to have a picnic on the great lawn

Never The Last – Anton Lipovetsky, Christine Quintana and Molly MacKinnon. Photo/Art by Bold Rezolution Studio.

BioDelinquent Theatre presents the emotional world premiere of Never the Last, as part of the SeeMore Theatre Series at Vancouver Civic Theatre’s Annex until April 20th.

Accessible: Until April 20th, The Cultch Historic Theatre welcomes Realwheels Theatre’s Act of Faith a multi-disciplinary premiere by one of Canada’s foremost playwrights, Janet Munsil

Photography: Look around and you’re sure to see an example of the lens based art that the Annual Capture Photography Festival brings all corners of the city throughout April.

Water: Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in downtown Vancouver presents the new exhibit, qa? y?xw – water honours us: Womxn and Waterways until October 2, 2019

The Arts Club’s Bed & Breakfast Entertains

Now onstage, The Arts Club Theatre Company presents, Bed & Breakfast by Mark Crawford at the Granville Island Stage.

The heartwarming comedy follows Brett and Drew, a 30-something couple in Toronto, struggling with typical big-city life; finding an affordable house, job prospects and progress. Their life changes when Brett inherits a family home in his small, hometown. Realizing this was their chance at home ownership, and entrepreneurship, the couple decide to stay in the small town and open the house as a Bed & Breakfast.

Mark Crawford (l) and Paul Dunn (r)
photo: Moonrider Productions

The play features just two actors; playwright Mark Crawford as Brett and Paul Dunn as Drew. In addition to the two lead characters, the play includes another dozen characters, all brilliantly played by Crawford and Dunn. While Brett and Drew are fully fleshed out characters, with emotions and a connection to their relationship, the other characters are more like caricatures. In Bed & Breakfast, Brett and Drew are telling their story to the audience. Just like someone telling a story at a party would, they pick up on key quirks and stereotypes of the other characters’ personalities to portray them within their story to comedic effect. Crawford and Dunn make the amazingly quick transitions between the characters look easy with a with a flip, a twirl or a change in body language.

The audience is sure to relate to at least a couple of the cavalcade of characters, whether it’s a parent, neighbour, co-working, family member or acquaintance. Bed & Breakfast isn’t all laughs and giggles, as the pair become more entrenched in their new small town home they also feel the insecurities of not being able to hide behind big city anonymity. The story also packs in a family secret and mystery, LGBT teen angst, sexual fluidity, small-town neighbours, Santa and much more.

With so much happening and so many characters, there’s so much happening in Bed & Breakfast that a whole series of plays could bring the story from the viewpoint of the other characters to create a comedy franchise to hit the stage year after year. Find out what the laughs are about when you book into Bed & Breakfast at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage until May 4, 2019. Find showtime and tickets on

Catch the ‘Queen of Fado’, Mariza at the Chan Centre

This Wednesday, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia presents Portugal’s brightest star, Mariza.  The internationally lauded fadista — a performer of Portugal’s traditional soul music, fado — will showcase brand new material from her latest self-titled release, her seventh album. 

“From the moment she first steps on stage until the end of the show, Mariza has a knack for creating an extraordinary connection with audiences through her stunning artistry and stage presence,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “Audiences ask us again and again to bring her back, and we can’t wait to hear the songs from her new album live in our hall.”

Born in Mozambique and raised in the historic quarters of the Mouraria neighbourhood in Lisbon, Portugal, Mariza was exposed to music from an early age, and began singing in a wide variety of musical styles, including gospel, soul, and jazz. Encouraged by her father to pursue fado for its cultural significance in the Portuguese community, the singer refined her craft at the local bars and tavernas which gave birth to the musical genre, quickly gaining a following amongst locals.

Mariza’s career took off when she gained national recognition when she performed at the televised memorial for legendary fado singer Amália Rodrigues.  Following the memorial, her first studio album, Fado em Mim, became an instant sensation, released internationally the album earned Mariza acclaim on the world stage and solidifying her role as a global phenomenon.

Fado is so integral to Portuguese culture that it is recognized as part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  Since the early 1800s, the genre has encapsulated the mystery, romance, and yearnings of the Portuguese people, balancing both resignation and hopefulness in light of the hard realities of life, love, and loss. 

Mariza returns to Vancouver in support of her seventh platinum-level studio recording, Mariza, on Wednesday, April 17th at 8pm at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC in the Chan Shun Concert Hall. For information and tickets visit

Join Tasting Plates in the Fraser-hood

Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates takes a trip over to the “Fraser-Hood” on Wednesday, May 1st. The roaming food tour, visits the diverse neighbourhood, on Fraser and Main Streets, around 18th – 26th Avenues. Tasting Plates patrons are sure to find something to suit every taste as they roam the cafes and eateries in the area. As with all Tasting Plates events, patrons will check-in at the registration location – Main Street Honey Shoppe – then head out with Tasting Plates map in-hand to try each restaurant, which will serve up a ‘tasting plate’ or ‘tasting cup’ from their menus. Nibble your way through the ‘hood, meet some new foodie friends in the line-ups or at the next table, meet the chefs, and learn about their restaurants.

Tasting Plates Fraser includes the following establishments (with more additions possible):

Registration Location: The Main Street Honey Shoppe – 4125 Main Street

Eclettico Art & Coffee, 4172 Fraser Street

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co, 4186 Main Street

Nammos Estiatorio, 3980 Fraser Street

Quesava, 4129 Main Street

Tickets for Tasting Plates Fraser-Main are on sale now from EventBrite:
Ultra-Early Bird Tickets: $30 per person until April 15, 2019.
Early-Bird Tickets: $36 per person, April 16-22.
Advance Tickets $45 per person, April 22 – 29.
Regular $60 per person after April 29, 2019

DOXA Documentary Film Festival reveals 2019 line-up.

This week, DOXA Documentary Film Festival, announced its 2019 festival line-up. Western Canada’s largest documentary Film Festival, returns to Vancouver for the 18th annual festival May 2 through May 12, 2019.  Committed to cultivating curiosity and critical thought, DOXA will bring 82 films (shorts and features) from across Canada and around the world, to Vancouver screens, representing some of the very best in contemporary documentary cinema. 

Because We Are Girls

On May 3, DOXA kicks off with Baljit Sangra’s courageous new film Because We Are Girlswhich celebrates the strength of sisterhood in the face of profound pain and trauma. Because We Are Girls tells the story of three sisters from a conservative Indo-Canadian family coming to terms with the sexual abuse they faced by an older relative beginning in their childhood years. Vancouver-based Sangra explores the impact of sexual abuse on a family, turning her empathetic lens on intimate moments as they process and heal. 

Postings From Home

On May 4, DOXA hosts a special live documentary presentation Postings From Home by Toronto-based filmmaker Kelly O’Brien. O’Brien has taken the collective sharing of one’s personal life — now habitual on social media — and combined it with the 20th-century tradition of a family slideshow to create an emotionally affecting live performance. 

nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up

The gala screening of nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up on May 8 marks the 10-year anniversary of DOXA’s Justice Forum, a series aimed at creating space for open dialogue. Few events in recent Canadian history have sparked as much media attention, outrage, and horror as the death of Colten Boushie, a young Cree man from the Red Pheasant First Nation who died after being shot in the head on Gerald Stanley’s farm. Indigenous filmmaker and scholar Tasha Hubbard goes beyond the headlines to present a detailed examination of race relations on the prairies. 

Closing the festival on May 11, Hepi Mita’s Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen is a tender posthumous tribute to his mother Merata Mita, the first M?ori woman — and one of the first Indigenous women in the world — to write and direct a narrative feature film. DOXA is exceptionally proud to close the festival with this extraordinary film about a visionary artist, activist and mother. 

Between these special features and events, DOXA 2019 packs its eleven days with curated collections, industry events, films, talk-backs, panels, parties and much more

DOXA Documentary Film Festival runs May 2–12, 2019, at The Vancouver Playhouse, VIFF’s Vancity Theatre, The Cinematheque, The Post at 750, Museum of Vancouver, SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Find the full DOXA line-up and purchase tickets online at