The Shipment opens Firehall Art Centre’s Season

The Firehall Art Centre kicked off its 37th season with Speakeasy Theatre’s production of the provocative work The Shipment by Young Jean Lee.

Omari Newton opens The Shipment photo: Ryan McDonald

The play takes a look at black cultural stereotypes and makes us examine our ingrained assumptions and perceptions of race. Starting off, the first half of the show firmly places the 5 black actors in stereotypical roles; brash comedian, wannabe rapper, drug dealer, crackhead, video vixen, and more in a variety show format.

The cast of The Shipment
photo: Ryan McDonald

The opening stand-up set by Omari Newton sets the audience up for the show that’s to follow, crass, graphic, offensive and uncomfortable, his set is equally amusing and thought-provoking. Amongst the spontaneous laughs, some of the audience’s laughter sounded awkward and forced, as though they felt like they needed to laugh along to prove they were ‘woke’. Following the stand-up set the cast; Omari Newton, Kiomi Pyke, Chris Francisque, Adrian Neblett & Andrew Creightney, whip through the previously mentioned roles in a choreographed minstrel-style review. Throughout the rest of the 75 minute play, laughter mixed with uncomfortable silence, actions, setting and dialogue designed to test our preconceptions of race, even if we didn’t think we had any.

The Shipment photo: Ryan McDonald

The simplicity of the direction by Kayvon Khoshkam and Omari Newton, plus staging keeps the focus on the actors and their actions, and of course, leaves us thinking.

Challenge your own notions about race, as The Shipment continues at The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 E Cordova, until October 5, 2019. Visit firehallartscentre.ca for more information

The Shipment Opens The Firehall Arts Centre Season.

The Firehall Arts Centre launches its 37th anniversary season with SpeakEasy Theatre’s powerful and provocative comedy, The Shipment, opening Wednesday, September 25th. 

The Shipment is written by award-winning Korean-American playwright Young Jean Lee.  The play is a subversive modern minstrel show about Black identity meant to wake the world to the ridiculous narratives in dominant media. Five Black actors – Andrew Creightney, Chris Francisque, Omari Newton, Adrian Neblett, and Kiomi Pyke – play a roster of characters that reads like a bad b-list of Black iconography: Video Ho, Crackhead John, Bad Cop, Standup Comedian, Drug Dealer Mama, Grandma from Heaven, and Record Company Executive, to name just a few. The brazen mash-up of these stereotypes with clichés, distortions, and brilliant sleights of hand all force us to go beyond the lampoon and shift the lens through which we perceive race in order to confront our own bias.

Speakeasy Theatre Company – The Shipment
photo: Jens Kristian Balle

“Young Jean Lee is one of America’s most fearless and exciting playwrights,” says Firehall Arts Centre’s Artistic Producer, Donna Spencer. “In her writing, she is not afraid to tackle difficult subject matter and does so with humour and intelligence. When SpeakEasy Theatre first produced The Shipment, I was privileged to sit in a sold-out performance and watch the audience shift in their seats, uncomfortably, and then laugh out loud a few moments later. The work engaged them and made them consider. I am proud to share this playwright’s work and this talented company of artists with Firehall audiences.”

The original production received five Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards nominations and a Best Actor win for Omari Newton, The Shipment is biting satire at its very best, and is set to shake up your perceptions of the subject matter.  The Shipment runs September 25 to October 5, 2019 at The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova Street. Tickets are available online at firehallartscentre.ca

CONTEST – This contest is now closed…thank you for entering.

The kind folks at Firehall Arts Centre want you to witness this cutting-edge comedy for yourself, so they are giving a lucky reader a pair of tickets to to join us on Opening Night of The Shipment on September 25th at 7:30pm 

To enter the contest:

Leave a comment below telling us the person who would share your Oktoberfest experience (1 entry)

Follow @jminter and Tweet the Following & Tag a Theatre Buddy (1 entry) :

#CONTEST RT to #Win a pair of tickets to @FirehallArtsCte season opening production of #TheShipment from @SETheatreCo via @jminter http://ow.ly/w9xD30pxysT #giveaway #prize #Theatre

Contest entries will be accepted until Noon on Monday, September 16, 2019. 
One winner will be chosen at random. 

Speakeasy Theatre Company – The Shipment photo: Ryan McDonald

Howard Jones brings us Life In One Day

Howard Jones – Rickshaw Theatre – June 28, 2019

British singer/songwriter, Howard Jones filled the Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver for a night filled with hits. Celebrating 35 years since the release of his debut album, Jones’ setlist varied between simple stripped-down tunes performed with a electric piano, and full-blown dance hits, with the full force of his band, keytar, synthesizers, and a great light show.

The opportunity to see the synth-pop pioneer in a small venue, brought out a wide demographic to fight the heat at the Rickshaw Theatre, and sing along to the 90+minute set. Bringing a generation of memories to the forefront as Jones stripped some songs to the barebones, No One Is To Blame and re-imagining others like Life In One Day 2.0.

On tour to support his latest album, Transform, the singer was joined for one of the new tracks, The One To Love You, by the duo of Christian Burns and BT, who helped produce the album. Closing out the set with the single that started it all, New Song. With the original video playing in the background, it really showed how well Howard Jones’ music and performing has held up over the decades, even if the 80’s new wave style hasn’t aged as well. Capping off the night with an encore of Things Can Only Get Better, left the audience feeling it would take a lot for it to get better than this.

The Cultch Welcomes IGNITE! Youth Driven Arts Festival 2019

From April 26 to May 4, The Cultch’s Youth Panel brings IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival to The Cultch’s Historic and Vancity Culture Lab. 

IGNITE! is an eclectic festival, programmed and curated entirely by members of the Youth Panel at the Cultch. IGNITE! features theatre performers, dancers, and visual artists—all aged 11-26—as well as participants in the Cultch mentorship programs. 

Now in its 19th year, the festival also includes the production of five new One Act Plays by local youth playwrights. Each night of the festival brings diverse performances in a variety-show style, with themes like Paranormal Investigation and Day At The Fair. This year’s line-up includes spoken word, contortion, live music, short plays, and original contemporary dance, among many others.

The 2019 IGNITE! program includes:

IGNITE! One-Act Plays
April 26th and 27th at 7:30, Vancity Culture Lab
See the world premiere of two one-act plays, written by young playwrights, featuring a wide range of youth talent.

“Sueño Americano” by Brenda Muñoz, directed by Stephanie Wong and Shanae Sodhi, and “The Medicine Hat Playwrights Festival” by Iain Coates, directed by Samuel Jing, will be performed in the Culture Lab.

IGNITE! Short Film Night
April 28th at 7:30 Vancity Culture Lab
Brand new films by young filmmakers. An eclectic mix of genres and styles.

IGNITE! Gallery Opening
May 1st at 7:30 The Cultch Gallery
The launch the IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival with the opening of its visual arts exhibit. Enjoy drinks and appetizers in The Cultch lobby while browsing art by the city’s finest youth artists.

IGNITE! Paranormal Investigation: Spoken Word
May 1st at 7:30 Historic Theatre
Did you know the Cultch has a resident ghost? Join the IGNITE! Festival for a night of spoken word and paranormal investigation.

IGNITE! A Day At The Fair: Dance and Circus
May 2nd at 7:30 Historic Theatre
A spectacular affair involving circus, dance and pie making!

IGNITE! Records and Old Radio: Live Music
May 3rd at 7:30 Historic Theatre
Join us for a live 1930s themed radio show!

IGNITE! Important Figures of the 20th Century: Finale Night
May 4th at 7:30 Historic Theatre
All of human history has been a tumultuous time, but no century has changed the face of Planet Earth quite as much as the 20th—and this night will definitely change you! Get ready to face the most wild, unbridled theatricality that has ever graced the Cultch as we celebrate the most famous and impactful figures of the past century such as:
-The inventor of the toaster.
-The inventor of chewing gum.
-The inventor of opening doors

The IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival  runs April 26 – May 4 2019 at The Cultch Historic Theatre and Vancity Cultural Lab, 1895 Venebles.
Tickets are Pay What You Can, suggested donation $2 for youth, $20 for adults. Single tickets on sale now by phone through The Cultch’s Box Office or online at thecultch.com

Hot Brown Honey Keeps The Hive Buzzing

Australian based Hot Brown Honey returned to The Cultch York Theatre building on the buzz from last year’s visit.

Hot Brown Honey photo: Chrissie Hall

The Honeys; Kim ‘Busty Beatz – The Queen Bee’ Bowers, Lisa Fa’alafi ‘The Game Changer’ , Ofa Fotu ‘The Myth Slayer’, Hope Haami ‘Hope One The Beatboxer’, Elena Wangurra ‘The Truth Sayer’, Crystal Stacey ‘The Peace Maker’ throwdown a one of a kind performance.

Hot Brown Honey is hard to define to one genre, The Honeys bring a hip-hop concert, burlesque, circus, theatre, comedy and politics to The Hive. Once the audience enters the theatre, it’s clear that something special is about to happen. With hip hop music playing the six performers are amongst the audience, dancing and interacting, as they take their seats. The Honeys instantly bond with the audience, easing them into what’s about to happen.

Hot Brown Honey – Childcare

Throughout the show they break the fourth wall to involve the audience, whether including them in dance or, like me, holding on to one of their ‘babies’ for the show, because a “revolution doesn’t happen without childcare”. Politics, indigenous peoples’ and women’s rights are amongst the themes but presented in such a way that doesn’t slap you in the face but gets the point across with much laughter, excitement, emotions and empowerment. Opening night, was dedicated to Christchurch, NZ which had just suffered a terror act on mosque that same day.

As Hot Brown Honey defies description so it’s best to be seen in person. You have until March 30th to catch The Honey’s in action at York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive. Visit thecultch.com for details and tickets.

Ceasefire Series at The Cultch honours the armistice anniversary

As we approach the centenary of the signing of the armistice to end WWI on November 11, 1918, The Cultch presents The Ceasefire Series.

From Oct 30 – Nov 17, The Cultch’s three venues will bring to their stages three shows that explore the causes, effects, and traumas of war from different lenses. The series features two Canadian premieres and a local world premiere from renowned playwright Amiel Gladstone:  one taking place during WWI (SmallWaR), one taking place during WWII (Three Winters), and one taking place in contemporary times (The Believers Are But Brothers).

100 years after the Allied and German forces signed the armistice ending the fighting on the battlefields of WWI, Cultch Executive Director, Heather Redfern considered how she wanted The Cultch to engage with such a significant centenary. What resulted was the programming of three distinctly different shows; a high tech and interactive show about the ways modern young men (in particular) are recruited online (The Believers Are But Brothers), verbatim reflections from soldiers and nurses in WWI, from star Belgian performer, Valentijn Dhaenens (SmallWaR), and  the world premiere of Amiel Gladstone’s Three Winters, a show with seven young women performing a play about prisoners in Stalag Luft III—the famous WWII POW camp—who put on theatre to maintain morale.

“As you watch these productions I ask you to remember, and I ask you to think about what comes next if we dare to forget. I want to thank all of the inspirational artists who have brought us this work for their roles as agitators and initiators in society. Their contributions are a political force because they speak to people’s hearts and emotions” — Heather Redfern, Cultch Executive Director

The Ceasefire Series trio of performances are:

The Believers Are But Brothers
photo: Jack Offord

THE BELIEVERS ARE BUT BROTHERS Canadian Premiere
written, performed & co-directed by Javaad Alipoor and co-director Kirsty Housley (UK) part of Diwali in BC
Oct 30 – Nov 10, 2018 at Vancity Culture Lab, 1895 Venebles Street

 

Small War
photo: Daily Dolores

SMALL WAR Canadian Premiere
directed & performed by Valentijn Dhaenens of SKaGeN Theatre Collective (Belgium), with producers Richard Jordan Productions & Theatre Royal Plymouth (UK)
Nov 6–16, 2018 at York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive

 

Three Winters
photo: Emily Cooper

THREE WINTERS World Premiere
written and directed by Amiel Gladstone (Vancouver)
Nov 7–17, 2018 at the Historic Theatre, 1895 Venables Street

Tickets for all shows are available from The Cultch’s Box Office: 604-251-1363 or tickets.thecultch.com. Individual tickets $24, or three packs for $65

The Cultch reveals its 45th Anniversary Season

The Cultch has recently announced its 45th anniversary season, with Executive Director Heather Redfern programming a 2018-19 season full of local premieres, international hits, and returning favourites.

“The Cultch is a place that people come to for community: to have their minds stimulated, to be challenged, to laugh, to discover,” says Redfern. “The Cultch is for everyone.” The season will also include several 45th anniversary initiatives including a series of work to mark the 100 year anniversary of the armistice of WWI called the Ceasefire Series, and an expanded Femme Series.

 This 45th season, which is Redfern’s 10th year of programming, continues The Cultch’s commitment to highlight local companies and artists, while presenting cutting-edge national and international work. The 2018-19 season includes ten BC productions —including four world premieres. It also features innovative works by Canadian companies, as well as international works, from New Zealand, The United Kingdom and Iran.

 The Cultch also continues it’s partnership with local festivals like Diwali in BC, in October, and PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, in January 2019.  

Fan favourites also make a return to the Cultch’s three stages; Children of God, Corey Payette’s hit musical about residential schools, returns after it successful national tour, and Australian patriarch-smashing hit Hot Brown Honey will once again decolonize and moisturize the York Theatre. Ronnie Burkett returns with his exclusive adults-only holiday hit Little Dickens.  Also joining the festive season is the holiday tradition, Theatre Replacement’s East Van Panto, is back for a sixth year with Wizard of Oz.

If all this isn’t enough The Cultch’s will also see the renewal of the Femme Series for 2018-19 with shows that celebrate the feminine experience.  During November 2018 The Cultch will present the Ceasefire Series, three shows to mark the 100 year anniversary of the armistice of WWI.

For full lineup details, tickets and subscriptions for The Cultch’s 2018-19 45th anniversary season at its three venues; Historic Theatre, York Theatre, and Vancity Culture Lab, visit thecultch.com