2019 Expressions Theatre Festival brings a quartet of shows to Arts Umbrella

Arts Umbrella brings a variety of performances to the stage this month; leading the way is the opening of its Theatre & Music Department’s 2019 Expressions Theatre Festival, followed closing by the Dance Company’s season finale BE MOVED.

Expressions Theatre Festival, running May 17-25 at Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island, features the talents of students in the Pre-Professional Program: Arts Umbrella’s Junior and Senior Musical Theatre Troupes, and its Junior and Senior Theatre Troupes. 

“I’m incredibly proud of the exceptional talent and work of these bright young minds at Arts Umbrella,” says Paul Moniz de Sá, Artistic Director of Theatre & Music at Arts Umbrella. “As we continue to develop our programs, the students and their passion never cease to amaze me. Our instructional team works to not only create an environment that nurtures creativity, but one that acts as a springboard for our students’ next steps in life—in the theatre and in the world.” 

Arts Umbrella Expressions Theatre Festival : Animal Farm
Arts Umbrella Expressions Theatre Festival : Animal Farm

Arts Umbrella Pre-Professional theatre programs offers students the training and tools needed to pursue a career in theatre. At Expressions Festival, emerging artists perform on a professional stage and learn about all of the facets and operations behind bringing works to life. 

The 2019 Expressions Theatre Festival Lineup includes the following family-friendly shows: 

Arts Umbrella Expressions Theatre Festival : Peter Pan
Arts Umbrella Expressions Theatre Festival : Peter Pan

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Performed by the Junior Theatre Troupe
Saturday May 18, & Friday May 24 at 7 pm

George Orwell’s Animal Farm
Adapted by Nelson Bond.
Performed by the Senior Theatre Troupe
Saturday May 18, & Friday May 24 at 9 pm

James and the Giant Peach
Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul.
Book by Timothy Allen McDonald
Performed by the Junior Musical Theatre Troupe
Sunday May 19 at 4 pm & Thursday May 23 at 7 pm

Into the Woods
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
Book by James Lapine
Performed by the Senior Musical Theatre Troupe
May 17, 19, 21, 22, 25 at 7 pm

Tickets for all Arts Umbrella 2019 Expressions Festival performances are available online at artsumbrella.com

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 doxafestival.ca

2019 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Blooms

CherryBlossoms

The 2019 Vancouver Cherry  Blossom Festival blossoms from April 4th to April 28th, highlighting the city’s vibrant colourful cherry trees. 

This year’s record cold February gave way to some record warmth for the start of spring and now the city’s Cherry trees are coming into bloom to welcome the new season.

Once again the Festival kicks off with the Cherry Jam, a free concert on April 4th, at the Burrard Station concourse. A festival atmosphere, the event features music by Zimbamoto, Katari Taiko, NoriNori & Kage, MNGWA as well as readings by the 2018 Haiku Invitational winners.

April 27th finds the Festival coming to a close with Big Sing, a free choral event that invites choirs and individuals to join the new free event for an uplifting and exhilarating public experience. Rehearsals for the Big Sing take place throughout the month around Metro Vancouver. 

In the midst of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, Sakura Days Japanese Fair at Van Dusen Botanical Gardens (admission ticket required) returns April 13th and 914h.  The popular event invites the public to enjoy Japanese Traditional Tea Ceremonies, Food, Sake, Haiku readings and Tree Talks and Walks through the gardens to soak up the beautiful blossoms all around the gardens.

Other community events during the Cherry Blossom Festival include; Haiku Invitational writing competition and Haiku workshop, The Big Picnic in Queen Elizabeth Park April 13th, BC Blossom Photo Watch, Bike The Blossoms on April 27th, Lantern Workshops.

Another highlight outside of the official Festival dates is the Sakura Night Gala at Stanley Park Pavilion on May 5th. The gala fundraiser celebrating Vancouver’s top chef’s with an asian influenced menu. 

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival runs all over the city from April 4th to April 28th, 2019 visit vcbf.ca for the full line-up of activities.  Follow the Festival hashtag  #vancherryblossomfest  on social media to find out what others are exploring during the Festival

PuSh Festival Introduces New Artistic Director

Having recently wrapped up a successful 15th edition, the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival has announced the appointment of Franco Boni as its new Artistic and Executive Director to lead the festival into its next chapter.

Boni steps into the role June 1st, 2019, following the resignation of Founder and Artistic and Executive Director Norman Armour in April 2018. PuSh has since been led by Interim Executive Director Roxanne Duncan and Interim Artistic Director Joyce Rosario.

Boni is a recognized cultural innovator, facilitator, and community builder with a demonstrated track record of artistic credibility and financial acumen. He has served as Artistic Director of The Theatre Centre in Toronto since 2003, and has been a fixture on Canada’s arts and festival scene for more than two decades.

Franco Boni

“I’ve long been an admirer, presenter, director, and collaborator at PuSh, and I am thrilled to be joining the organization whose meaningful impact is truly boundless,” says Boni. “I’m looking forward to working with the PuSh board and staff, building on its outstanding reputation and Norman Armour’s numerous achievements. I am also keen to meet with the people of Vancouver to learn what role the festival plays in their lives and what attracts them to PuSh’s vast and varied offerings. Civic engagement is of great importance to me; my curiosity and desire to connect with the Vancouver community comes from a deep appreciation of people, a love of this beautiful city, and an understanding of the power of the arts to connect humanity and effect change.”

Boni brings with him extensive experience and accomplishments in festival stewardship and leadership, programming, fundraising and negotiation, as well as an impressive knowledge and key relationships across the local, national, and international arts sector.

Franco Boni also served as Festival Director of the Rhubarb Festival from 1998–2000 and as Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Festival from 1999–2004.

“Following an extensive succession planning period and national search, the Board takes great pleasure in announcing the appointment of Franco Boni as the PuSh Festival’s Artistic and Executive Director,” says Mira Oreck and Jessica Bouchard, PuSh Festival co-chairs. “The festival is entering a new and exciting chapter, and we’re confident Franco’s wealth of experience, from an artistic, business, and operational standpoint, will help shape and deliver the spirit and ambition of PuSh to new creative heights. We’re eager to introduce Franco to our PuSh patrons, supporters, and the Vancouver arts community at large.”

The 16th edition of the PuSh Festival will take place January 21–February 9, 2020. Full programming will be announced in November 2019.Boni will assume the role on June 1, 2019.

Warm up to Hot Chocolate Festival 2019

Hot Chocolate Festival

Winter and Hot Chocolate are perfect match so what could be better than a whole winter month of Hot Chocolate! Presented by Cityfood Magazine, the 9th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival is now  on until February 14th, 2019.

The Festival finds 29 participants around the city creating an offering of 70+ varieties of chocolate drinks.  The Hot Chocolate Festival gives guests the chance to explore Metro Vancouver’s favourite cafes, chocolatiers, patisseries, gelaterias, and restaurants in search of a new favourite Hot Chocolate blend. Created with Milk, Dark and White Chocolates, flavours range from single origin cups, vibrant and spicy blends, liquor and floral infusions, vegan or coconut milk options.

The Festival reaches across Metro Vancouver; Temper Chocolates & Pastry in West Vancouver, to Trafiq Café and Bakery on Main Street, and Gem Chocolates in Kerrisdale or Glenburn Soda Fountain in Burnaby. Why not take in one of the Chocolate Cooking Class at the Trattoria in the Italian Cultural Centre. Visit hotchocolatefest.com to see what the participants have to offer and to download the Hot Chocolate Festival map and guide and see how Hot Chocolate Makes You Happy.

The Hot Chocolate Festival supports the PHS Community Services Society and East Van Roasters’ Downtown Eastside Women’s Job Training Program, Growing Chefs and Fresh to Families. 

Vancouver Foodster launches 1st Vancouver Soup Festival

In the midst of winter,  when nothing comforts like a bowl of soup,  Vancouver Foodster has introduced the 1st Vancouver Soup Festival.

From January 10 to 31, 2019, a different selection of soups will be featured weekly by each of the participating restaurants.

Over the three weeks, the public is invited to visit and try each of the soup entries and choose their favourites. The Vancouver Soup Festival will then have 3 sets of winners, with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place chosen each week over the 3 weeks of the festival. Week one of the festival is on now, until Jan 16, week two runs Jan 17-23, and finally week three is Jan 24-31.

When visiting the and tasting the restaurant’s soup entries, visitors are encouraged to tweet, post on Instagram or Facebook to share their favourite Festival soups, be sure to mention and tag @vanfoodster and #SoupFestYVR so others can follow along.

The weekly entries for the Vancouver Soup Festival include:

Week One:

Location: Moltaqa Restaurant, 51 W Hastings St. Vancouver
Soup: 
Harrira (Chick Pea & Lentil)

Location: Rhinofish Noodle Bar, 550 Main St. Vancouver
Soup: Hun Dun Mian (Wonton)

Location: Las Tortas, 3353 Cambie St, Vancouver
Soup: Pozole Verde (Mexican Corn Stew)

Location: Ban Chok Dee, 20563 Douglas Cr. Langley & 20395 Lougheed Hwy. Maple Ridge
Soup: Gaeng Liang Soup with Cheese Ice Cream (Kabocha Squash)

Location: Liquids + Solids, 901 East Hastings St. & 1550 West Broadway, Vancouver
Soup: The Naughty Thai (Coconut Chicken Curry)

Week Two:

Location: Moltaqa Restaurant, 51 W Hastings St. Vancouver
Soup: Bessara (Green Pea)

Location: Rhinofish Noodle Bar, 550 Main St. Vancouver
Soup: Shu Cai Mian (Vegetable Noodle)

Location: Las Tortas, 3353 Cambie St. Vancouver
Soup: Mexican Lamb Consomme

Location: Ban Chok Dee, 20563 Douglas Cr, Langley & 20395 Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge
Soup: Green Pea with Chicken Ravioli Soup

Location: Liquids + Solids, 901 East Hastings St. & 1550 West Broadway, Vancouver
Soup: Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Week Three:

Location: Moltaqa Restaurant, 51 W Hastings St.
Soup: Loubia (White Bean)

Location: Rhinofish Noodle Bar, 550 Main St.
Soup: Niu Rou Mian (Taiwanese Beef Noodle)

Location: Las Tortas, 3353 Cambie Street
Soup: Mexican Red Lentil Soup

Location: Ban Chok Dee, 20563 Douglas Cr, Langley & 20395 Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge
Soup: Tom Yum Hot House Soup (Thai Tom Yum Tomato)

Location: Liquids + Solids, 901 East Hastings St. & 1550 West Broadway, Vancouver
Soup: Garden Variety Chili (Vegan Chili)

For full details on each soup, participating restaurants and to VOTE for your favourites, visit vancouverfoodster.com.

Make a Dash for Dine Out 2019 Tickets

Since 2002 Vancouverites have been filling their winters and bellies with Dine Out Vancouver Festival’s prix fixe menu deals.  What started with just 57 restaurants has grown to become Canada’s largest food and drink festival, with 300+ restaurants, breweries, wineries, events and more to indulge.

Grand Tasting
photo: Carly Whetter

From January 18 to February 3, 2019 restaurants from South Surrey to North Vancouver welcome guests with $15, $25, $35 and $45 fixed price brunch, lunch and dinner menus.  The restaurant menus are revealed and reservations are open to the public today, January 10th,  visit dineoutvancouver.com to start your Dine Out planning.

In addition to a restaurant menus, a series of spectacular tasting events fill the days and evenings.  The events start off with The Grand Tasting, a preview launch event January 17th at Rocky Mountaineer Station. The World Chef Exchange brings chefs from San Diego, London, Sydney, Montreal and Dusseldorf to work with local chefs in their restaurants. Street Food City, the food truck fest is back for its eighth year.

Street Food City
photo: Carly Whetter

Secret Supper Soirees are are back for mysterious dinners. Food & Drink Tours of all kinds fill the festival dates. Many events are already sold out, so if you haven’t check out the Events listings and book soon.

Coming from out of town, or even if you’re local, why not make a night of it and book a night at the Dine Out Special Room Rates or a Dine & Stay package with one of the participating Dine Out Hotel Partners. 

Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2019 runs January 18 – February 3, 2019. For menu information, restaurant and hotel reservations and event tickets visit dineoutvancouver.com