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

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.

Vancouver Fringe Festival on stage until September 15, 2019

The 2019 Vancouver Fringe Festival takes over stages around the city starting today.  With 101 shows to choose from; comedy, drama, musicals, clowns, political satire and more themes make sure that you will find some “Theatrically Delicious” performances during the Fringe run from September 5 to 15.

Vancouver Fringe Festival’s vision is “Theatre for Everyone”, and employs an everyone is welcome selection process, drawing the mainstage performances out of a hat. Giving all artists from novice performers to veteran theatre companies, an equal chance to participate, and artists receive 100% of the box-office revenue during the festival.

The Festival program is filled with amazing shows, series and events including: 

Part of the 2019 Advance Theatre Series is playwright Taninli Wright’s Sis Ne’ Bi -Yïz: Mother Bear Speaks, which was inspired by the true story of a Wet’suwet’en artist who walked across BC to empower First Nations children.
  • Advance Theatre – New Works By Women : Ruby Slippers Theatre and Playwrights Guild of Canada partnered with the Fringe to showcase dramatic readings of five new plays by diverse Canadian women playwrights.
  • Dramatic Short Works :  This year’s Dramatic Works Series artists have been mentored by Hardline Productions’ Co-Artistic Director Raes Calvert.
  • Workshops for Artists & Aspiring Artists : a series of workshops aimed to help artists develop skills including theatre, dance, storytelling and more
  • Fringe Awards : the new TD Fringe Forward Award (for works from historically marginalized communities) joins the Public Market Pick of the Fringe Awards, the Joanna Maratta Award, the BC Touring Council Award, and the Artistic Risk Award 
Pulitzer Prize finalist Madeline George’s The Most Massive Woman Wins is part of the Dramatic Works Series this year. LA Weekly calls it “a thought-provoking glimpse at … women trying to conform to society’s often unattainable image of female beauty.”


Part theatre, part party, the Festival brings music every night to the Phillips Fringe Bar located at Ocean Art Works on Granville Island. The family friendly bar is all-ages and open Saturday and Sunday afternoons too.

Following the Fringe Awards tickets will go on sale for the Public Market Picks of the Fringe and Picks Plus program. Presented by the Granville Island Public Market the Pick is your last chance to see the hottest shows of this Fringe, while Picks Plus features top picks from festivals past.  Picks and Picks Plus run September 18 – 22, 2019.  

Vancouver Fringe Festival is on, at venues across Vancouver, until September 15, 2019. With so much to see and do, you’d better visit VancouverFringe.com for program details and tickets 

BC Culture Days Celebrates 10 Years

From September 27 to 29, 2019 take part in Canada’s largest public celebration the nation’s arts & culture, BC Culture Days.  BC Culture Days has helped facilitate a host of free engaging activities and events taking place throughout the region over the three day event. The weekend of artistic expression explores the intersection of creativity, the arts, and well-being. Featuring painting, theatre, experimental performance art, literature, design, cinema, and beyond, BC Culture Days is a family-friendly weekend that builds community, encourages exploration and discovery, and celebrates creativity in all its forms. 

Drumming at Kamloops Edition of BC Culture Days, 2015. photo: Lori Jantz

“Creative expression is vital for the health and wellness of a community,” says BC Culture Days Manager Nazanin Shoja. “We are proud to shine a light on the essential role arts and culture plays across the province to boost community engagement, foster deeper social connections, and build an understanding and appreciation for the collective artistic experience. With hundreds of engaging and exciting community events taking place across British Columbia, I have no doubt there will be an event that will cater to every taste and interest, while encouraging exploration into new artistic ventures!” 

To help celebrate its 10th anniversary, BC Culture Days has selected 10 emerging artists from across the province to act as cultural ambassadors in their respective communities, encouraging participation and presenting innovative activities across a broad spectrum of disciplines — including painting, animation, carving, poetry, theatre, and dance — as part of the weekend festivities. The 2019 BC Culture Days ambassadors are Tiffany Blaise (Vancouver), Brock Gratz (Kelowna), Molly Gray (Fort Langley), Alyssa Harms-Wiebe (Vancouver), Mundia Kabunda (West Kelowna), Julian Legere (New Westminster), Sebastian Nicholson (Prince George), Olivier Salvas (Vancouver), Emily Shin (Richmond), and Dyana Sonik-Henderson (Victoria). The artists’ biographies are available at: culturedays.ca/bc/ambassadors.

Dancing at Port Moody edition of BC Culture Days, 2015. photo: Bob Homer

BC Culture Days will officially launch with a provincial kick-off event in Mission, BC on Sunday, September 22, 2019 from 1pm–3pm at the Heritage Park Centre. Mission: A Mosaic of Cultures will showcase a broad range of cultural activities by notable and emerging artists from the Mission community. Beginning with the official opening ceremony, including a welcome by a representative of the Leq’á:mel First Nation, the public is invited to participate and experience artist demos, hands-on arts and crafts, artist talks, storytelling, workshops, and samplings from Mission’s vibrant culinary scene.

During BC Culture Days weekend, visitors are welcomed to seek out, create, participate and share the wealth of cultural activities to be found all around the region; from Music at Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver, Claymaking in West Vancouver, Bellydancing in North Vancouver, Heritage bus tours around Burnaby, Art Demonstrations in New Westminster, Art In The Park in Coquitlam, and much, much more.   Visit culturedays.ca/bc to find out how to participate and for full details about all the events. 

Picks of the Week – August 21, 2019

For kids, the last half of August is always the time to squeeze in as much fun as you can before heading back to school. As adults we can to take in as much fun as we want from these picks of the week.

Cinema: Vancouver Civic Theatres are presenting the last of the free outdoor Wednesday evening cinema screenings at šx???ex?n Xwtl’a7shn (formerly QET Plaza) outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, tonight explore a whole new world, as Aladdin (2019) starts at dusk.

Movie: Downtown Vancouver presents the final free Wednesday night film of the summer tonight, see how the other half lives when Crazy Rich Asians is on at at šx????n?q Xwtl’e7én? Square (formerly, Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza)

Waterfront: Thursday evenings, head to the North Point at Canada Place for Waterfront Cinema, this week watch Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse starting around 8:45pm

Poe: Until August 25th, Third Wheel Productions takes over The Cultch with a completely immersive theatre experience “Deep Into Darkness”, all 3 floors, 20 rooms, and 30,000 square feet of The Cultch will be transformed into a 19th-century Victorian world inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

Stars: Catch the last few performances of the 2019 season of Theatre Under The Stars presenting the entertaining musicals Mamma Mia! and Disney’s Newsies on alternating nights

PNE Summer Nights Concerts

Fair: Summer’s biggest party, The Fair at The PNE bringing amusement, entertainment and fun for the whole family, and great Summer Night Concerts, until September 2nd.

Films: The 31st Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) runs until August 25th filling theatres with LGBTQ cinema from around the globe.

FlipFlopsThe Waste to Wonder exhibit at the Grand Court of Metropolis at Metrotown, runs until September 8th, consisting of five life-size sculptures of Canadian at-risk wildlife (the narwhal, orca, bison, grizzly, and caribou), each made from more than 6,500 recycled flip flops by Ocean Sole Africa.

Shakespeare In Love l-r: Chirag Naik, Jennifer Lines & Paul Moniz de Sá | Photo: Tim Matheson

Bard: The 30th season of Bard on the Beach is underway at Vanier Park with Taming of the Shrew and Shakespeare in Love playing in repertoire through the summer on the Mainstage and Coriolanus joins the line-up on the Howard Family Stage this week.

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

Pitches: The Vancouver Canadians host Salem-Kaizer for a 3 game home stand this weekend, including another fireworks extravaganza on Saturday

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival – Dahlias

Blooms: The second Chilliwack Sunflower Festival runs until September 15th, with a total of 20 acres of flowers, bringing colour to the Fraser Valley community

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

Orange: Saturday, Hamilton Tiger-Cats make a trip West to take on BC Lions at BC Place

Richmond World Festival brings the Globe to Minoru Park

The Richmond World Festival returns to Minoru Park on August 30-31, 2018. The annual, free family-friendly pubic festival brings two days of music, arts, culture, entertainment, and food from around the globe to the heart of Richmond.

Richmond World Festival Main Stage

Everyone will find something to enjoy at Richmond World Festival. A spectacular line-up of Canadian and international music acts can be found throughout the festival site includes a wide array of musical performers from near and far.  The Main Stage is headlined August 30th by the Juno-award winning, Bedouin Soundclash and on August 31st indie-rockers The Strumbellas take the stage. 

The Global Village Zone reflects Richmond’s multiculturalism, with crafts workshops and cultural expositions. The Global Village Stages welcomes multicultural acts from the world of dance, spoken word and more. Bamboo Theatre features the Vancouver Cantonese Opera Society.  The new Cultural Pavilion Pod Pop-Ups will highlight national costumes to traditional dances of countries from around the world. Get away from the summer heat by heading to Antarctica Zone, located in Minoru Arena, to cool down with some free ice skating. 

Kids World

In Kids World young visitors with find plenty of hands-on activities. Face-painting and balloon artistry will keep things lively, plus a pop-up stage of special acts. In the nearby Richmond Public Library, there’ll also be an Imagination Stage where performers will include the popular Vancouver Puppet Theatre.

FEASTival of Flavours brings more than 60 vendors offering plenty of international flavours, in the largest gathering of food trucks in the Richmond World Festival’s history.  The Culinary Stage hosts local chefs demonstrating and introducing flavours from everywhere to your palate.  

FEASTival of Flavours

Between eating, dancing and listening to some great music, do a bit of shopping for unique and handmade wares in the Artisan Market.

For the full line-up and schedule of artists and performers, visit richmondworldfestival.com
Entry to Richmond World Festival is free of charge, with all activities taking place at Minoru Park and the adjacent Richmond Cultural Centre Plaza. The site is open Friday, August 30, 2019 from 4:00pm to 10:00pm and Saturday, August 31, 2019 from 11:00am to 10:00pm.