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 

Head Back To School with VTS

Those three words that every student dreads…Back To School…usually mean summer fun is coming to an end. However, this season Vancouver TheatreSports (VTS) is kick starting the fun with some back to school style laughter.

Back to School Theatresports comes to The Improv Centre on Granville Island, Tuesdays to Saturdays from September 3 to October 12.

VTS Back to School

VTS helps get you over the end of summer blues with this special improv show dedicated to school days. Back to School TheatreSports takes classic TheatreSports short form improv ‘games’ and adapts them to parody classroom clichés and cliques. Instead of a traditional TheatreSports referee, the improv comedy will be overseen by a dreaded, and very strict principal. Rule infractions can spell player ‘detentions’ and the teams of mixed student stereotypes (geeks, jocks, cool kids, etc) will be awarded letter grades by a critical panel of examiners (audience members). By the end of class (the match), only one team will reach a passing grade. 

As in all VTS shows, the characters and action are interactive as the players co-developed with the audience – taking their (sometimes wildly outlandish) suggestions to create on-the-spot, unscripted, theatrically-infused comedy. In this case, the players will be improvising using the audience’s school-themed ideas to create the scenarios like; awkward first dates, trying out for the team or cramming for exams. Regardless of whether you are/were a jock, a nerd or one of the cool kids at school, everyone will be able to relate and find something to laugh about at Back to School TheatreSports.

Back to School Theatresports plays Tuesdays to Saturdays from September 3 to October 12. 2019 at The Improv Centre on Granville Island. For showtimes, other shows, more information on Vancouver TheatreSports, and to purchase advance tickets, starting at a student-budget friendly $10.75, please visit vtsl.com.

6 Spots for 2019 Canada Day Celebrations

Canada Day 2019 is here to wrap up the first long weekend of summer, with plenty of great fun to help celebrate your Canadian Pride.

Canada Day Fireworks

Here’s a selection of celebrations from around Metro Vancouver:

Canada Day at Canada Place : The hub of Metro Vancouver’s celebrations starts with a citizenship ceremony at 10am then entertainment and activities begin at 11am, featuring performances including DiRTY RADiO, Blonde Diamond, Dehli 2 Dublin and more. Canada Day at Canada Place wraps with a bang, as a fireworks light up the skies over Burrard Inlet at 10:50pm.

Steveston Salmon Festival : Since 1945 the community of Steveston has celebrated Canada Day with the bounty from Steveston’s rich waters and farms. Beginning at 6:30am with a pancake breakfast, then a 10am Canada Day Parade kicks off a day filled entertainment, food and fun before wrapping up with fireworks at 10:15pm

Canada Day At Canada Place

Surrey Canada Day : Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre will be filled with amusement rides, food trucks, strawberry tea and entertainment from more than two dozen performers including headliners Bif Naked and Our Lady Peace, plus a 10:30pm fireworks show.

West Vancouver Canada Day : Starting with a 2pm Citizenship Ceremony through to 10:30pm fireworks, West Vancouver’s John Lawson Park is filled with family-friendly activities, entertainment and music. Evening fireworks from two barges in Burrard Inlet are also viewable from Ambleside & Dundarave Parks.

Canada Day at Burnaby Village Museum : Celebrate 1920s style at the historic village museum with multicultural entertainment, carousel rides, a parade, Red Serge RCMP, and roaming costumed characters, from 11am to 4:30pm

O Canada Day at Granville Island : A Parade, Food, Entertainment, Music, Crafts, Activities and so much more fill Granville Island on Canada Day

This is just a few of the many Canada Day Community Celebrations happening this weekend, look in your neighbourhood for other events, plan your own celebrations with family and friends, and don’t forget to check out Vancouver Jazz Festival, Vancouver Canadians Baseball, and other weekend activities.

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

5 Neighbourhoods’ Spots to Shop for Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

Christmas is just days away, but there’s still time to pop into these neighbourhood shops for some great stocking stuffers and gifts.

Here’s a few of the places you might want to put on your list when Christmas Shopping;


GASTOWN

Old Faithful Shop : clothes, housewares, papergoods, and more

espace d. : furniture, art, books and jewelry

Orling & Wu : bed, bath, beauty, boardroom and beyond

 

CHINATOWN

Treasure Green Tea Company: premium and rare teas, gifts and accessories

Dalina:  treats, gadgets, and groceries from soup to nuts

Eight Treasures Shop at Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden: one-of-a-kind collectables, gifts, art

 

 

 

DOWNTOWN

Cook Culture: everything you need for the kitchen, cooking and culinary

Vancouver Art Gallery Store: unique art books & works, jewelry, giftware

Redfish Kids: baby, toddler, & children’s toys, clothes, and accessories


YALETOWN

Barking Babies: everything for the hip canine and dog lover

The Cross Decor & Design:  kitchen, bedroom, living, lifestyle

Masc:   face, body, hair care, products and advice, for the men on your list

GRANVILLE ISLAND

Circle Craft Co-op: works of 130+ local craftspeople

Craft Council of BC Shop: featuring products from council membership

Make Vancouver: design, print, engrave and make your own custom product

 

Albireo, A New Musical, Shines

Like it’s namesake star, Albireo, a new work by Annahis Basmadjian, shines with potential. Albireo was brought to the Red Gate Revue Stage by producers Rushed Productions Ltd with support from UBC Players Club.  Liam Lazenby directs a cast of experienced and new to the scene actors and singers to bring Annahis Basmadjian’s light musical-comedy to life.

Telling the story of two estranged brother’s Charon Chambers (Colton Fyfe) and Wriker Writeov (Jed Weiss), who we learn are half-siren/half-human. Orphaned by their siren mother and deaf-father (therefore could not succumb to the siren song), the brothers fended for themselves using their power for a life of crime.  When Chambers took another young human orphan, Holly, under his wing to settle down and raise her, he left behind his brother and their grifter ways.  When Writeov finds Chambers and Holly about to host a party, some comedic and dramatic events occur that push the brothers to work together to save their family.  Realizing that the bonds of family make their power stronger they are able to fend off a rival.

Being sirens, music is a vital part of Chambers and Writeov’s lives and therefore the play.  Basmadjian has crafted some catchy, pop tunes for Alberio and witty dialogue to go along with them.

The actors’ varying skill levels come into play during the performance, creating a uneven rhythm to the musical as the players move between flat out comedy and dramatic portrayals of their characters.  Seasoned musical-theatre performer Colton Fyfe brings a fully developed character and a more dramatic turn to his Chamber.  Whereas, recent graduate Jed Weiss, in his theatre debut, brings an erratic Jim Carey-style to his comedic portrayal of Writeov.  Having more stage experience performing with his band, his singing and guitar playing skills excel.   Some of the ensemble also stand out, for the wrong reasons, lampooning or murmuring too loudly drawing attention to the background.  On a small space, like the Revue stage, it doesn’t take much to distract and requires creativity from the director, managers and cast to avoid excess noise and balanced performance volumes.

While this Rushed Production Ltd production has ended, if we are lucky enough, we will get to see Alberio again with different companies and stages as the musical continues to develop over the year, it definitely has the DNA for success.

Celebrate the Season with Miss Bennet : Christmas At Pemberley

The Arts Club Theatre Company welcomes the holiday season with the opening of Miss Bennet : Christmas At Pemberley, playing at Granville Island Stage until December 30, 2018.

The seasonal sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice revisits the Bennet sisters, focusing on the bookish, unmarried middle sister Mary (Kate Dion-Richard).  Written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, Miss Bennet : Christmas At Pemberley casts a modern eye on the sisters, and their lot in life.  To celebrate a family Christmas, three sisters arrive early to Pemberley, the country home of Mr Darcy (Chris Walters) and wife, Elizabeth (Lauren Jackson), the second eldest of the sisters. Jane (Leslie Dos Remedios), the eldest, pregnant and married to Charles Bingley (Tim Carlson), is supported on the journey by Mary, the spinster sister.  Lydia (Baraka Rahmani) is the younger flighty, vain sister, stuck in an unhappy marriage.  Mary is bold, forthright and tactless but also saddened by being the unmarried sister, burdened with caring for their parents. Left to be comforted by her books and pianoforte she starts to find discontent in her expected role within the family.  Suddenly her world is thrown for a turn with the arrival of equally bookish, nervous Lord Arthur (Matthew MacDonald-Bain), Darcy’s distant cousin.  In Lord Arthur we see Mary has met her match in brains, tact, and experience with the world.  Throw in an unexpected romantic rival (Carmela Sison), and the situation lends itself to camp comedy of classes and the sexes.

While never quite fully realizing the farce, the likes of Oscar Wilde, Miss Bennet does allow this cast to chew the scenery as they spit out fun, fast paced comedy. The scenery by Ted Roberts is a beautiful re-creation of the Pemberley country house drawing room.  Director Roy Surette keeps the pace and the eight characters in motion like a dance to the sounds of Mary’s pianoforte.  Like all good Holiday stories, Miss Bennet : Christmas At Pemberley wraps itself in a ribbon of happy endings for all.

Miss Bennet : Christmas At Pemberley runs at The Arts Club Theatre Company Granville Island Stage until December 30, 2018.