Spooky Action comes to Firehall Arts Centre

Vancouver-based choreographer Lesley Telford brings Spooky Action, her interdisciplinary dance project, to Firehall Arts Centre October 16th to 19th. 

Company of Spooky Action photo: David Cooper

Though appropriately titled for Halloween season, Spooky Action is actually inspired by Einstein’s theory referring to particles that are so closely linked, they share the same existence, yet they could be an entire universe apart. He called the phenomenon, “spooky action at a distance.” 

A collaboration with poet/performer Barbara Adler, this interdisciplinary work weaves together visual art, contemporary dance, poetry and original music, extending the provocative theory to human connections, exploring the mysterious ways we act on each other’s lives.

Spooky Action: Lucas Wilson-Bilbro & Eden Solomon photo: David Cooper

Firehall Arts Centre Artistic Producer Donna Spencer is thrilled to host the piece. “Firehall has been privileged to program the work of many of Vancouver’s most exciting contemporary choreographers,” she says.  “Each season when I program our dance presentations, I am looking for work that explores new ideas and challenges “status quo” themes often seen in contemporary dance. Lesley’s Inverso Dance work has a history of doing that. For Spooky Action, she has chosen very talented and accomplished creators to realize her concept and her choreography.”

The work is a combination of spoken word, group movement and duets for five dancers, as well as text performed live by Adler, portraying how we influence and affect each other in both conscious and unconscious ways. The narrative of the movement shows how we are all connected on a particle level that works magic in our everyday lives. An alumna of Nederlands Dans Theater and Madrid’s Compañía Nacional de Danza, Vancouver-born Lesley Telford’s choreography is gaining acclaim, as she tackles deep issues like quantum physics and presents them in ways that are relevant, effective, and enjoyable.  Spooky Action was first developed and premiered during an artist residency at the Scotiabank Dance Centre in 2017.

Spooky Action runs for four performances at Firehall Arts Centre from Wednesday, October 16 to Saturday, October 19, 2019.  Tickets and more information available online at firehallartscentre.ca

Picks of the Week – October 2, 2019

We move into the first week of October there’s a fest of activities in the picks.

Indie: Aussie act Boy & Bear play the Commodore Ballroom, supported by Stu Larson on Wednesday October 2

Oktoberfest at Vancouver Alpen Club

Alpen: #DasOriginal Oktoberfest gets underway this weekend, and the following three weekend’s of October at Vancouver Alpen Club

Race: Challenge your perceptions of race and culture as Speakeasy Theatre’s The Shipment wraps up its run at Firehall Arts Centre this weekend.

Pop: Multi-hyphenate pop sensation Charli XCX brings her hits to the stage at Commodore Ballroom on Saturday night

Fest: Transform: A Cabaret Festival takes over the three stages of The Cultch with a multi-disciplinary festival of indigenous, local and international works

Pigskin: BC Lions play host to Toronto Argonauts at BC Place on Saturday evening

North: Take off and see the Great White North meets the Land of Fire and Ice as Flyover Canada welcomes Flyover Iceland to the cinematic adventure until October 20


Celtic: Multi-award-winning Scottish band SKERRYVORE make their Vancouver debut: Saturday, October 5, at North Vancouver’s Centennial Theatre.

Balls: Whitecaps FC bring their season to a close playing host to Real Salt Lake at BC Place on Sunday afternoon.

BigTop: Cirque du Soleil brings their latest show, Luzia to the Big Top at Concorde Pacific Place, starting October 3rd.

Suns: The Arts Club Theatre Company season begins with A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, running until October 13th.

Bedrooms: The Arts Club Granville Island Stage opens The Birds & the Bees is a Canadian bedroom comedy about love, lust, beekeeping, and the artificial insemination of turkeys.

Focus Cia de Dança photo: Fernanda Vallois

Dance: Brazil’s Focus Cia de Dança makes its West Coast debut with Still Reich, a program of thrilling contemporary dance at The Scotiabank Dance Centre October 2 – 4

Jazz: Friday Jazz is live at Tyrant Studios, this week featuring Tiny Islands’ NOLA-style classic sounds.

Comedy: Saturday Comedy takes the stage at Tyrant Studios, this week’s stand-up finds headliner Jon Gagnon supported by Byron Bertram  and Gavin Clarkson 

Prepare for Vancouver Opera 2019-2020 Season

Verdi’s La Traviata

The Vancouver Opera 2019/2020 season gets underway with Verdi’s La Traviata opening October 17th at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The remainder of the season consists of two more full-scale opera produc­tions plus the 4th annual Vancouver Opera Festival. In addition to La Traviata, Vancouver Opera also presents Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and the West Coast premiere of Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera, based on lyrics and music of Roger Waters’ The Wall.

“Never has there been a more exciting time for Vancouver Opera as we prepare to welcome traditional and new work to our stages with two opera classics and a West Coast premiere,” said Kim Gaynor, Vancouver Opera General Director. “We will celebrate Canadian artists and emerging talent alongside international talent with our three productions and the Vancouver Opera Festival. Our 2019-2020 season will appeal to traditional audiences as well as entice and engage new audiences broadening the reach of opera’s ability to tell theatrical stories through music.”

“We will also present a new opera designed for young audiences; The Flight of the Hummingbird, which will be touring British Columbia from January to April 2020,” adds Gaynor. “Our investment in opera for young audiences is central to our mission.”

Vancouver Opera will take The Flight of the Hummingbird on a school tour between January and April 2020. Based on an indigenous parable from the Quechuan people of South America, the story of the brave hummingbird travelled through pre-contact trade routes to become well known within Haida culture. This opera is influenced by the graphic novel written by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and will include elements of his dramatic Haida-manga illustrations.

Gaynor adds, “with its 2019-2020 season, the Vancouver Opera continues to create extraordinary experiences that engage, inspire and entertain audiences. We continue to be committed to the development of young artists as they transition into their professional careers. Our Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program is a proven springboard for emerging Canadian singers and opera professionals.”

The five emerging Canadian artists participating in this year’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program are Irina Medvedeva, soprano, born in Russia (Canadian citizen) living in Toronto, Gena Van Ousten, mezzo-soprano from Montreal, Daevyd Pepper, tenor and Nicholas Borg, baritone, both from Toronto, and Andrea Van Pelt, pianist from Burlington. Performers will participate in the opening production, La Traviata, which is part of a collaboration between five Canadian opera companies.

The Vancouver Opera 2019 / 2020 Season includes:

La Traviata by Guiseppe Verdi
Thursday, October 17, Saturday, October 19,
Thursday, October 24 & Sunday, October 27, 2019 (matinée)

The Barber of Seville

The Barber of Seville By Gioachino Rossini
Thursday, February 13, Saturday, February 15,
Thursday, February 20 & Sunday, February 23, 2020 (matinée)

2020 Vancouver Opera Festival
April 23—May 3, 2020
The 4th annual Vancouver Opera Festival will include two mainstage operas, special events, speakers, family events, and more. Additional festival event details will be announced in spring 2020.

Another Brick In The Wall:The Opera

Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera Based on the lyrics and music of Roger Waters’ The Wall. Operatic version composed by Julien Bilodeau Concept & stage direction by Dominic Champagne
Thursday, April 23, Saturday, April 25 & Sunday, April 26 (matinée)
Wednesday, April 29, Thursday, April 30, & Saturday, May 2, 2020

Così fan tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Friday, April 24 & Wednesday, April 29, 2020 (matinée)
Saturday, May 2 (matinée) & Sunday, May 3,
Wednesday, May 6, Thursday, May 7, Saturday, May 9, 2020

Tickets and season subscriptions are available online from vancouveropera.ca 

Transform: A Cabaret Festival Takes Over The Cultch

The Cultch 2019/2020 season will kick off next week with a revolutionary new festival co-curated by Corey Payette (Artistic Director of Urban Ink) and Heather Redfern (Executive Director of The Cultch). Transform: A 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

This inaugural year will bring together over 50 Indigenous and non-indigenous performers—comedians, musicians, burlesque performers, drag artists, and more. This varied group of multi-disciplinary performers take over The Cultch’s three theatres, including its lounges and lobbies from October 2-12, 2019.

Around the world, cabaret festivals emerged as a raucous and exhilarating way of expressing uprising during periods of change. “It’s been a platform for political discourse and for engaging in deep conversations all around the world,” says festival co-curator, Corey Payette. “It’s also a space where people can push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in the mainstream.” Transform: A Cabaret Festival is inspired by a bold new concept to bring radical and lasting change to live performance in these unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. “I think that reconciliation is a really difficult subject matter, because we are not as far along as we should be,” says Payette. “What I know for sure, is that artists are always the ones to lead the way.

Transform: A Cabaret Festival – Virago Nationi

“You name it; it’s going to be part of the cabaret festival,” says festival co-curator Heather Redfern.  From Cirque Transforming (a night of circus performance), to Drag Transforming (a night of drag performance), to The Women of Comedy (featuring Martha Chaves, Steph Tisdell, Nour Hadidi, and Erica Sigurdson), The Cultch’s spaces will be alive with every imaginable type of show. Other not-to-be-missed events include Virago Nation: Stripping for Sovereignty (Vancouver’s all Indigenous Burlesque troupe), The Darlings (Vancouver’s multidisciplinary non-binary drag show), Journey to South Asia & Beyond (a collaboration with Diwali in BC), Family Drag Brunch and Dress Up (hosted by Peach Cobblah and Isolde N. Barron), African Village Experience (hosted by Jacky A Yenga), Where the Two-Spirit Lives (Marshall Vielle’s one-person show), and The Flame: Cabaret Edition (Vancouver’s favourite storytelling series).

Transform: A Cabaret Festival – Peach Cobblah & Isolde N Barron photo: Shimon

A cabaret festival would not be complete without plenty of great music and Transform: A Cabaret Festival will spotlight musicians such as Leela Gilday, Silla and Rise, JB the First Lady, M’Girl, Sandy Scofield, Veda Hille, and Corey Payette. In addition, festival participants are invited to join artists and VIPs each night at a festival club night, a creative space for festival artists to collaborate and test out exciting new and developing material, while enjoying the beats of DJ Kookum and DJ Skylar Love.

Transform: A Cabaret Festival takes over The Cultch Historic Theatre, York Theatre and Vancity Culture Lab October 2 to 12, 2019. Full line-up details and tickets are available online at transformcabaret.com

Picks of the Week – September 25, 2019

Summer has officially come to a close, autumn is upon us bringing cooler, wet weather and pumpkin spice…everything. Let’s see what entertainment picks the first week of fall offers us.

Speakeasy Theatre Company – The Shipment photo: Jens Kristian Balle

Opening: Firehall Arts Centre opens their season with a presentation of SpeakEasy Theatre’s powerful and provocative comedy, The Shipment

Park: The Festival Lawn at Deer Lake Park is filled with the sounds of Vampire Weekend on Wednesday night

Culture: The 10th Annual BC Culture Days celebrate arts & culture from September 27 to 29, in venues in every corner of the province.

Hub: This weekend, BC Culture Days CBC Culture Hub kicks off with Opening Ceremonies on Saturday morning followed by dozens of free events Saturday and Sunday

Plaza: Haida-Tsimshian siblings Gillian and Robert Thomson are Sister Says, a pop/indie group performing outdoors at Jack Poole Plaza on Friday September 27th, at 1130, for BC Culture Days

Date: Explore a variety of artistic endeavours when you go on a Date with Culture, a free BC Culture Day event at Chain & Forge at Granville Island.

North: Take off and see the Great White North meets the Land of Fire and Ice as Flyover Canada welcomes Flyover Iceland to the cinematic adventure until October 20

Dance: The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival continues to bring rhythm to Vancouver’s stages until Sunday September 29.

Doll: Celebrate BC Culture Days & Gateway Theatre’s upcoming production, China Doll, with a Chinese Arts & Culture Celebration at Gateway Saturday and Sunday

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company season begins with A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, running until October 13th.

Orange: BC Lions play host to Montreal Allouettes at BC Place on Saturday September 28th.

Away With Home:
L to R: Zefanya Hardhian (in front), Lucy Luo, Kevin Nguyen, Arjun Panesar and Lennox Johnston-Yu pic: Amanda Skuse Photography

Home: For two nights only, MISCELLANEOUS Productions, presents their 2018/19 new work, Away with Home at The Scotiabank Dance Centre

Film: Celebrate Culture Days and the 100th anniversary of Korean Film with four popular recently released Korean films, presented by the Korean Cultural Centre of Canada, at the Coquitlam Library Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Gallery: Transits and Returns, is an exhibition of twenty-one Indigenous artists from around the Pacific at the Vancouver Art Gallery, from September 28, 2019 until February 23, 2020.

Music: Explore the Feel-good Factor of Music at Polygon Gallery on Sunday during BC Culture Days, students and teachers will present a short informal performance featuring different styles and instruments.

VTS Back to School

Improv: Hit the books and laughs as Back to School Theatresports comes to The Improv Centre on Granville Island, Tuesdays to Saturdays until October 12.

Early Music Vancouver (EMV) launches its 50th Season

This Saturday, Early Music Vancouver (EMV) launches its 50th Anniversary Season with Le Concert Spirituel: Baroque Orchestral Suites

Victoria Baroque Players
pic: Jon-Mark Wiltshire

Inspired by the 18th-century French Le Concert Spiritual concert series, 16 members of Victoria Baroque present a lavish pairing of French Overture Suites and Italian Concerti Grossi. Canadian icon, baroque violinist, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra Musical Director Emerita Jeanne Lamon, who recently relocated to Victoria from her long-time home in Toronto, leads this celebration of the birth of the public concert in 18th-century Europe.

“This exquisite and under-appreciated repertoire is a perfect opportunity to bring together BC’s very own Victoria Baroque, with one of Canada’s internationally acknowledged musical treasures,” remarks Matthew White, Executive and Artistic Director of EMV. “Lamon brings everything she touches to life. We couldn’t be happier that she has joined the ever-growing number of gifted musicians specializing in period performance who have chosen to relocate to the West Coast.”

Victoria Baroque Players Pic: Jan Gates

Le Concert Spirituel: Baroque Orchestral Suites is a tribute to a Parisian concert series founded in 1725, under the reign of Louis XV, a time when public music performances in Paris were strictly the realm of the Royal Opera, except for the Holy Days.  The musicians gained permission to perform for the public on these days.  Le Concert Spirituel became widely popular and the most important European platform not only for the best French artists, but also for presenting and sharing the work of Europe’s most accomplished composers and musicians of the 18th century.

Be a part of this centuries old concert series when Early Music Vancouver presents Le Concert Spirituel: Baroque Orchestral Suites on September 28, 2019 at 7:30pm at Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard St. (Pre-Concert Talk with Jeanne Lamon and Matthew White at 6:45pm) Find tickets and details at earlymusic.bc.ca

Picks of the Week – September 18, 2019

As we hit the official last week of Summer 2019, we find plenty to keep the entertainment scene heated up in these picks

Shakespeare in Love Charlie Gallant & Ghazal Azarbad Image: Emily Cooper

Bard: This are your last days to catch the 30th season of Bard on the Beach before it closes at Vanier Park with mainstage shows Shakespeare in Love (closing tonight) and Taming of the Shrew as well as Coriolanus on the Howard Family Stage closing September 21st.

North: There’s just a couple of days to see the Great White North meets the Land of Fire and Ice as Flyover Canada welcomes Flyover Iceland to the cinematic adventure until October 20

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company season begins with A Thousand Splendid Suns at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, running until October 13th.

Reg: Legendary singer/songwriter Elton John brings his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour to Rogers Arena for 3 nights, Sept 21, 22, & 24.

Pitch: After a nice win last weekend, Whitecaps FC keep playing for pride as they host to Columbus Crew SC at BC Place Saturday afternoon

VTS Back to School

School: Hit the books and laughs as Back to School Theatresports comes to The Improv Centre on Granville Island, Tuesdays to Saturdays until October 12.

Puppets: Museum of Anthropology’s Shadows, Strings and Other Things features a broad array of puppets, old and new, from 15 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas until October 14

Bowl: Wrap up summer with two nights of great outdoor music in Malkin Bowl featuring Mother Mother with guests; Tokyo Police Club, The Zolas, and Sam Lynch, this Saturday and Sunday

Art:  The Vancouver Art Gallery dives into its permanent collection to present Robert Rauschenberg 1965–1980, an exhibition of important but rarely seen works by the prolific twentieth-century American artist, until October

“NRITYA” by La Caramelita Flamenco Company (France)

Dance: The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival continues to beat the stages of Vancouver until September 29.