Ensemble Theatre Co. 7th Annual Repertory Festival

Ensemble Theatre Company Annual Summer Repertory Festival returns to Jericho Arts Centre, July 10th to August 16th. The 7th annual festival features An uplifting comedy set in a doughnut shop, a classic political satire for the age of Trump and a celebration of the power of storytelling. 

The 2019 line-up of works promise to provide with topical stories that can draw parallels from the climate of today’s news and politics. Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts, observes the relationships of the patrons and workers of different generations, races and cultures in a small Chicago donut shop. Garson Kanin’s classic Born Yesterday, follows a corrupt businessman turned politician and his naive showgirl, mistress to Washington DC. Rounding out the trio of plays, Michael Healey’s The Drawer Boy shows a young actor researching the lives of two bachelor farmers  and highlights the power of storytelling in creating and interpreting reality, and how it can transform lives. 

Ensemble’s talented group of actors, directors, and designers, bring to life this year’s selection of plays showcasing the humour, insight, and excitement that only live theatre offers. As Tariq Leslie, Artistic Director of Ensemble Theatre Company says: “Theatre brings us together to celebrate, challenge and provoke through the telling of stories. The plays we have programmed for our seventh season embrace conversations about what our culture was, is, and could be – the stories we tell ourselves and the truths we all share – each one filled with humour and with pathos.”

The Ensemble Theatre Company’s Annual Repertory Festival should be a highlight in every Vancouver theatregoers summer Arts calendar. 

The 7th Annual Summer Repertory Festival includes: 

THE DRAWER BOY
Back (R-L) Morgan (Darcey Johnson), and Angus (James Gill), seated: Miles (Chris Lam). Photo by Emily Cooper.

The Drawer Boy By Michael Healey
Directed by Alan Brodie / Asst. Director Caitlin Fysh
Featuring James Gill, Darcey Johnson, Chris Lam 

Preview Performance: Wednesday, July 10 / Opening Friday, July 12

BILLY HOLIDAY LEFT: Billie Holiday (Alexis Kellum-Creer), RIGHT: Paul Verral (Tariq Leslie). (c) Emily Cooper Photography

Born Yesterday By Garson Kanin 
Directed by Shelby Bushell and Michael Scholar Jr.
Featuring Alexis Kellum-Creer, Paul Herbert, Tariq Leslie, Kira Fondse, David Wallace, James Gill, Kenneth Tynan and Steven James

Preview Performance: Thursday, July 11 / Opening: Saturday., July 13

SUPERIOR DONUTS Back: Franco Wicks (Chris Francisque) (c) Emily Cooper Photography

Superior Donuts By Tracy Letts 
Directed by Keltie Forsyth
Featuring Ron Reed, Chris Francisque, Steve James, Darcey Johnson, Lindsay Nelson, Alexis Kellum-Creer, Anthony Santiago, Richard Meen, Kenneth Tynan

Preview Performance: Thursday, July 18 / Opening: Friday, July 19

Ensemble Theatre Company’s 7th Annual Repertory Festival runs July 10, 2019 to August 16, 2019 at Jericho Arts Centre, 1675 Discovery Street, Vancouver. Individual tickets and festival passes are available at ensembletheatrecompany.ca

The Sea comes to Jericho Arts Centre

Edward Bond’s The Sea, comes ashore at the Jericho Arts Centre, presented by The Slamming Door Artist Collective, from May 2nd to 19th.  The Sea is set in the aftermath of a tempest on the salt-sprayed shores of a quiet village, two young lovers try to make sense of chaos in an irrational society peopled by eccentric characters.

A wild storm shakes a small East Anglian seaside village, and Willy is unable to save his friend from drowning. The raving coastguard is too drunk to do anything; Hatch the draper is passing by but he believes that hovering alien spaceships are slowly replacing people’s brains and he refuses to help, while the grande dame Mrs Rafi, bastion of respectability, amateur theatricals and velvet curtains from Birmingham, sets her face against the chaos.

First produced in 1973 in London, The Sea is the work of noted but controversial English playwright Edward Bond. Bond is widely regarded but also courts controversy due to the violence depicted in his plays, and radical take on modern theatre. The Sea is no exception, where its collection of furious eccentricity, bitter collision of class, and fierce burning of grief sways between light-hearted comedy and desolate poetry, in an unapologetic examination of rural manners and humanity’s unqualified potential.

With The Sea, The Slamming Door Artist Collective returns to the Jericho Arts Centre for its third time, having previously produced critically acclaimed Guest Productions of A Doll’s House and Flare Path.  The Sea’s creative team includes director Tamara McCarthy, lighting design by Celeste English, sound design by Matthew MacDonald-Bain, set design by Sandy Margaret, costume design by Chantal Short and Cheyenne Mabberley, stage management by Nico Dicecco and Victoria Snashall, assistant direction by Laura Jaye, and dialect coaching by Ashley O’Connell.

For tickets and show details visit jerichoartscentre.com 

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 artsclub.com

Picks of the Week : April 3, 2019

No fooling, we’re already at the start of April, and of course some April showers, but not enough to dampen the entertainment found in this week’s picks.

Glory
pic: Barbara Zimonick

Hockey: Gateway Theatre finds Glory in the story of women’s hockey in the 1930’s, running April 4 – 13.

Blossoms: The city is in bloom as swaths of Cherry Blossoms paint the town pink, celebrate them all during the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival April 4th – 28th.

Nisei: Until April 13th, The Firehall Arts Centre presents the eye-opening, award-winning play The Tashme Project: The Living Archives which
tells of the lives of the Nisei (2nd generation Japanese/Canadians) from being a child of the internment camps to post-war and beyond.

Sons of Sissy

Pop: Grammy award winning PINK! brings her powerful pop and the Beautiful Trauma World Tour, with guest Julia Michaels, to Rogers Arena for two shows, Friday and Saturday nights

Dance: The Dance Centre brings Austrian choreographer Simon Mayer’s Sons of Sissy, to the stage as part of the Global Dance Connections series, April 4th to 8th

Orchestra: The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Spring Festival brings two performances to the Orpheum this week, Libration: A Midsummer Night’s Dream on April 5, and From Russia With Jazz on April 6.

Comedy: Funnyman Gerry Dee brings laughter to a pair of shows, April 5 at Bell Centre For Performing Arts in Surrey and April 6 at The Centre in Vancouver

Whitecaps

Kicks: Still looking for their first win of the season, Whitecaps FC host LA Galaxy on Friday night at BC Place

Rock: Sunday night, Rogers Arena welcomes a pair of legendary acts to the stage as Weezer and Pixies share the bill.

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. 

LateNight: Stay up later for some adults-only improv laughs at Vancouver TheatreSports presents The Late Show, Saturday nights at 11:15pm

5 Picks for PuSh Festival 2019

Every winter the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival brings together the world of Arts and Performance. This year’s 15th Annual PuSh Festival runs January 17th – February 3rd, 2019 and tickets are selling fast.  Don’t wait, check out the line-up and book your shows now.

The 15th Anniversary festival kicks off January 17th at The Beaumont Studios with a performance by D’BI, the free Opening Night Party, features djs, dancing and pop-up performances by Vancouver’s Kimmortal & Immigrant Lessons.

“We launched in 2003 as a three-show series that drew 2,500 people to 21 performances at three Vancouver venues,” says Roxanne Duncan, PuSh Festival’s Interim Executive Director. “The inaugural festival opened a short two years later in 2005. Now as we prepare to celebrate our 15th anniversary, PuSh has welcomed more than 300,000 people to 366 productions from 30 countries.”

The opening performance Attractor by DanceNorth Australia,  January 18th & 19th at Vancouver Playhouse
The show begins with two musicians and eight dancers onstage. Indonesian duo Senyawa plays music spiced with ritual and folk idioms from their native country while choreographers Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek work with Dancenorth Australia and the band to create a wild experience: as the music builds in power, the dancers increase their abandon and pre-selected members of the audience join in.

Some other highlighted picks for PuSh Festival 2019 include:

Marginal Consort by Marginal Consort (Japan) : January 20 at Performance Works
Four musicians, play a multitude of instruments, create ambient, heavily manipulated music, far apart and fully independent of each other.

PALMYRA by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas (France/UK) : January 22–24 at Performance Works
Named after a Syrian city that has changed hands several times during the current fighting, this show slowly builds to the level of violence, creating and sustaining moral ambiguity along the way.

salt. by Selina Thompson photo: Bryony Jackson

salt. by Selina Thompson (UK) : January 24–26 at Roundhouse Community Centre
In this performance Selina Thompson recounts her journey along one stretch of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle route by cargo ship.

Bicycle Thieves by Joelysa Pankanea (Canada) : January 26 & 27 at Performance Works
A special commission for Push Festival, composer and musical director Joelysa Pankanea guides a group of six musicians and four actors as they provide live musical and voice accompaniment to director Vittorio De Sica’s landmark 1948 neorealist film Bicycle Thieves.

These are but a few of the international performances scheduled for the 2019 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. Visit pushfestival.ca to find the full festival schedule and book your tickets and Push Passes now.

 

Picks of the Week – December 26, 2018

Boxing Day is filled with activity as people hit the after-Christmas sales but if you’re not ready to brave the crowds and hustle of shopping, there’s plenty of festival entertainment to wrap up your week

Hockey: the holiday hockey tradition, IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships 2019, unfolds in Vancouver and Victoria starting today, until January 5th.

Life: Look in on the life of George Bailey as Gateway Theatre presents It’s a Wonderful Life, a new musical adaptation featuring tunes from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s, running until December 31st

Pride: Catch the follow up to Pride & Prejudice with Miss Bennet : Christmas at Pemberley at The Arts Club Granville Stage until December 30

Dorothy & friends are off to see the Wizard in
East Van Panto – Wizard of Oz
photo: Emily Cooper

Wiz: Take off to see the Wizard as The Cultch and Theatre Replacement present East Van Panto: The Wizard of Oz at the York Theatre until January 6th

Date: Until December 30, spend your date night watching Blind Date at The Arts Club Goldcorp Stage, each night is a unique show as a new audience member is the date in each show.

Jazz: Tyrant Studio’s Friday Jazz  offers up Bebop Saxophone Jazz with the Sam Baglier Quartet at the Tyrant Studio Lounge upstairs from The Penthouse

Thieves: American electronic act The Thievery Corporation plays the Commodore Ballroom on Saturday

Year: Recap all the improv madcap madness of 2018 with Vancouver Theatresports Year In Review until New Year’s Eve

Aurora Winter Festival

Festival: Aurora Winter Festival, Canada’s Largest Winter Festival, brings a a skating rink, a tube park, light displays, Christmas Market, amusement rides, food gardens, and many more activities to Concord Pacific Place November 23 – December 30

Belle:  Join your favourite characters as a tale as old as time, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, returns to the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage,  until January 6, 2019

Lights: Many of the Festival light displays around the city continue to light up the nights into January like; Bright Nights, Van Dusen Festival Of Lights, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Canyon Lights, Glow Langley, Lights at Lafarge and many more

Laughs: Saturday nights Tyrant Studio’s Comic Strip brings stand-up comedy to the Studio Lounge Stage with Aaron Charles Read and Robert Peng with Headliner Ivan Decker

EDM: wrap up your year with one of the city’s biggest music festivals as Skrillex and The Chainsmokers headline the two day Contact Music Festival at BC Place Friday and Saturday.

Give A Gift Of The Arts This Christmas

As we get closer to Christmas, the hustle and bustle on the city’s sidewalks and shops gets even busier. If you’re amongst those who are still looking for the perfect present to slip under the tree why not consider the gift of an experience this year.  Tickets or gift certificates to a local Arts groups make a great gift, while supporting the Vancouver Arts scene. As an added bonus, it’s a green gift, creating memories, not garbage.

Here’s some of The Arts to check out:

The Arts Club Theatre Company: With Beauty & The Beast running into the New Year, and Redpatch, Bed & Breakfast, and Matilda The Musical still to come this season there’s plenty for the whole family.

Dorothy & friends are off to see the Wizard in
East Van Panto – Wizard of Oz
photo: Emily Cooper

The Cultch: comedy, hip hop, drama, Shakespeare, music and more, The Cultch covers a vast array of options, not including the always fabulous East Van Panto each Christmas.

Vancouver Theatresports: who wouldn’t welcome the gift of laughter, Vancouver Theatresports presents improv games and good time at the Improv Centre on Granville Island.

Gateway Theatre: Richmond’s local theatre company brings a variety of shows to the stage every season that includes something for everyone, with a great Christmas show every year, including this year’s It’s A Wonderful Life

Vancouver Symphony: from the classics to pop, the Vancouver Symphony welcomes guest Bernadette Peters, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in concert, and more to its season.

PuSh International Festival of Performing Arts: each Winter, PuSh Festival curates and amazing variety of theatre, film, music and talk from around the world.

Firehall Arts Centre: cutting edge, inclusive theatre, dance, and the visual arts come to the stage in the historic east side firehall throughout the year.

Vancouver Art Gallery: more than just a gallery, VAG brings unique exhibits and cultural events to the heart of downtown year round.

Bard on the Beach: the 2019 season brings Taming Of The Shrew, Shakespeare In Love, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Coriolanus to the summer Shakespeare festival this season

 JFL Northwest: the annual Just For Laughs festival brings the biggest names in comedy to Vancouver, this year’s comedians include; Howie Mandel, Aziz Ansari, Ken Jeong, Whitney Cummings, Michelle Wolf and many more