Chutzpah Festival 2019 Brings Dance, Comedy, Theatre to Fall

The 2019 Chutzpah! Festival returns at a new autumn period from October 24 to November 24, with performances at the Norman Rothstein Theatre, Vogue Theatre, Rickshaw Theatre, and The WISE Hall.

Now in its 19th year of celebrating culturally rich works in comedy, music, theatre and dance, the Chutzpah! Festival has established a reputation for presenting Vancouver audiences with new and exciting, critically acclaimed artists from all over the world. This year’s Festival will also showcase live music with film, and shines a light on artists from the U.K., Israel, Italy, U.S.A., and Canada. 

“I’m overjoyed to be able to showcase such important, illuminating, and multi-disciplinary works at this year’s Festival, and proud to have shared so much with Vancouver audiences over these past 15 years as its Artistic Managing Director,” says Mary-Louise Albert. “2019 will be my final year with Chutzpah! as I move into a new chapter in my creative and personal journey. After a 20-year career as a professional dancer I could not have landed in a better spot than here at Chutzpah! and the JCC working with so many amazing people — which allowed me the space, generosity, trust, and understanding of my ‘no holds bar’ approach to work and life — which ultimately resulted in a second career and artistic vision that I am so proud of. I look forward to sharing my last Festival with you!” 

Some of the shows included in the 2019 Chutzpah! Festival lineup are: 

Guy Mintus Trio – Norman Rothstein Theatre | October 29 | 8:00pm
Mintus is a trained concert pianist with the energy of a rock star and a jazz musician’s sense of adventure who is unafraid to throw into the mix his native Middle Eastern scales and rhythms

Sandra Bernhard: “Quick Sand” – Vogue Theatre | October 31 | 8:00pm
Performing with a three- piece band, the iconic performer will make for a fun and memorable Halloween night. 

The Diary of Anne Frank LatinX – Norman Rothstein Theatre | Nov. 6-8, 8:00pm | Nov. 8, 1:00pm | Nov. 9, 2:00pm
Chutzpah! Festival is proud to present the Canadian premiere of The Diary of Anne Frank LatinX. American-Jewish director, Stan Zimmerman, is adding a modern-day twist to the story of Anne Frank.

MM Contemporary Dance – Norman Rothstein Theatre | Nov. 1 & 4, 8:00pm | Nov. 2, 2:00pm | Nov. 3, 7:00pm
Italy’s MM Contemporary Dance Company returns to Chutzpah! with the Canadian premieres of GERSHWIN SUITES – choreographed by Michele Merola, and SCHUBERT FRAMES – choreographed by Enrico Morelli. 

MM Contemporary Dance – Gershwin Suite photo: Riccardo Panozzo

This year the Chutzpah! Festival is also paying tribute to the Jewish Community Centre and celebrating the 25th anniversary of its long-standing and renowned musical theatre summer camp created by Perry Ehrlich – Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!; present local comedians in a comedy night of Shticks & Giggles; and host multiple workshops and creation residencies.

2019 Chutzpah Festival runs October 24 to November 24, 2019. For the full line up and tickets visit chutzpahfestival.com 

Prepare for Vancouver Opera 2019-2020 Season

Verdi’s La Traviata

The Vancouver Opera 2019/2020 season gets underway with Verdi’s La Traviata opening October 17th at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The remainder of the season consists of two more full-scale opera produc­tions plus the 4th annual Vancouver Opera Festival. In addition to La Traviata, Vancouver Opera also presents Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and the West Coast premiere of Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera, based on lyrics and music of Roger Waters’ The Wall.

“Never has there been a more exciting time for Vancouver Opera as we prepare to welcome traditional and new work to our stages with two opera classics and a West Coast premiere,” said Kim Gaynor, Vancouver Opera General Director. “We will celebrate Canadian artists and emerging talent alongside international talent with our three productions and the Vancouver Opera Festival. Our 2019-2020 season will appeal to traditional audiences as well as entice and engage new audiences broadening the reach of opera’s ability to tell theatrical stories through music.”

“We will also present a new opera designed for young audiences; The Flight of the Hummingbird, which will be touring British Columbia from January to April 2020,” adds Gaynor. “Our investment in opera for young audiences is central to our mission.”

Vancouver Opera will take The Flight of the Hummingbird on a school tour between January and April 2020. Based on an indigenous parable from the Quechuan people of South America, the story of the brave hummingbird travelled through pre-contact trade routes to become well known within Haida culture. This opera is influenced by the graphic novel written by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and will include elements of his dramatic Haida-manga illustrations.

Gaynor adds, “with its 2019-2020 season, the Vancouver Opera continues to create extraordinary experiences that engage, inspire and entertain audiences. We continue to be committed to the development of young artists as they transition into their professional careers. Our Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program is a proven springboard for emerging Canadian singers and opera professionals.”

The five emerging Canadian artists participating in this year’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program are Irina Medvedeva, soprano, born in Russia (Canadian citizen) living in Toronto, Gena Van Ousten, mezzo-soprano from Montreal, Daevyd Pepper, tenor and Nicholas Borg, baritone, both from Toronto, and Andrea Van Pelt, pianist from Burlington. Performers will participate in the opening production, La Traviata, which is part of a collaboration between five Canadian opera companies.

The Vancouver Opera 2019 / 2020 Season includes:

La Traviata by Guiseppe Verdi
Thursday, October 17, Saturday, October 19,
Thursday, October 24 & Sunday, October 27, 2019 (matinée)

The Barber of Seville

The Barber of Seville By Gioachino Rossini
Thursday, February 13, Saturday, February 15,
Thursday, February 20 & Sunday, February 23, 2020 (matinée)

2020 Vancouver Opera Festival
April 23—May 3, 2020
The 4th annual Vancouver Opera Festival will include two mainstage operas, special events, speakers, family events, and more. Additional festival event details will be announced in spring 2020.

Another Brick In The Wall:The Opera

Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera Based on the lyrics and music of Roger Waters’ The Wall. Operatic version composed by Julien Bilodeau Concept & stage direction by Dominic Champagne
Thursday, April 23, Saturday, April 25 & Sunday, April 26 (matinée)
Wednesday, April 29, Thursday, April 30, & Saturday, May 2, 2020

Così fan tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Friday, April 24 & Wednesday, April 29, 2020 (matinée)
Saturday, May 2 (matinée) & Sunday, May 3,
Wednesday, May 6, Thursday, May 7, Saturday, May 9, 2020

Tickets and season subscriptions are available online from vancouveropera.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

MISCELLANEOUS Productions Presents AWAY with HOME

For two nights only, MISCELLANEOUS Productions, presents their 2018/19 new work, Away with Home at The Scotiabank Dance Centre’s Faris Family Studio Theatre.  

L to R: Zefanya Hardhian (in front), Lucy Luo, Kevin Nguyen, Arjun Panesar and Lennox Johnston-Yu pic: Amanda Skuse Photography

MISCELLANEOUS Productions is a hip hop theatre boot camp for youth from the community which presents an original theatrical work every two years, tours internationally, as well as giving free peer-run workshops for at-risk youth, and making films about their works.

What do home, identity, and belonging mean to you? With those three questions in mind, Away with Home director Elaine Carol began rehearsals, working with youth to draw from their own personal experiences, and together they have created a new work that explores issues of immigration, racism, mental health, bullying, maturation, family, victimization, identity and belonging.

L to R: Lucy Luo, Kevin Nguyen, Arjun Panesar, Lennox Johnston-Yu and Zefanya Hardhian Pic: Amanda Skuse Photography

Featuring five youth ranging in age from 14-21, AWAY with HOME combines contemporary and hip hop dance, neo-soul and hip hop music, Taiko drumming, image theatre, performance art and performance poetry together to examine the thematic questions.Watch these youth bravely share their own voice and personal experiences of what home, identity and belonging means to them as MISCELLANEOUS Productions presents Away with Home, September 27 or 28, 2019 (two shows only) at Scotiabank Dance Centre.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door and go on sale Monday, August 26 at brownpapertickets.com.

Vancouver International Flamenco Festival Kicks Up Its Heels.

From September 13 to 29, The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival will bring Vancouver stages to life with a thrilling line-up of local and international flamenco artists.

Venues including Vancouver Playhouse, Scotiabank Dance Centre, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Waterfront Theatre, St James Community Square, Vancouver Public Library will feature free workshops and ticketed performances throughout the festival. 

“Baile De Autor” by Manuel Liñán Company (Spain)

The 2019 Festival proudly presents the Canadian premier of Spain’s Manuel Liñán Company in Baile De Autor. Manuel Liñán is influencing the renewal of both Spanish and flamenco dance.  An accomplished performer and choreographer for other companies, BAILE DE AUTOR unites both of Manuel Liñán skill disiplines.  

The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival also features many of the finest Canadian and International Flamenco artists, program highlights include:  

  • La Musica del Flamenco” with Victor Kolstee and featuring Manuel Liñán Company Artists (Vancouver/Spain)
    Venue The Hall at St James Community Square, Friday September 13, 8pm
  • World Premiere “MAGNETIKAE – a personal journey” by La Otra Orilla (Montreal),
    Venue: Waterfront Theatre Thursday September 26, 8PM
  • Vancouver Premiere “NRITYA” by La Caramelita Flamenco Company (France),
    Venue: Waterfront Theatre, Friday September 27, 8PM
  • World Premiere “Nuevo II” by Flamenco Rosario & Guests (Vancouver/Spain),
    Venue: Waterfront Theatre Saturday September 28, 8PM
“NRITYA” by La Caramelita Flamenco Company (France)

As one of few festivals devoted to Flamenco Art in North America, the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival has helped to develop an understanding of Vancouver’s multicultural audiences by nurturing the form’s hybridized roots in Sephardic, Persian, Gypsy and Indian cultures.  Since its 1990 debut, local producers Flamenco Rosario have grown the Festival into a two week long annual event filling the city’s stages with the vibrant art form. 

Vancouver International Flamenco Festival runs September 13th to 29th, line-up, information and tickets visit vancouverflamencofestival.org

Westward Music Festival Bring Music To The Street

This weekend, September 12 – 15, the 3rd Annual Westward Music Festival brings a stellar line-up of music to downtown Vancouver. Dozens artists from around the world, perform on 11 indoor and outdoor stages, all within close proximity to downtown Vancouver.  Westward Music Festival gets underway Thursday, September 12th with shows at Vogue Theatre, Imperial, Biltmore Cabaret, and Fox Cabaret. 

Some of the world-class acts performing over the weekend include; Toronto’s Owen Pallett, Kelowna’s Yukon Blonde, New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus, The Wonder Years from Philadelphia, Brooklyn rapper Leikeli47, Thai singer-songwriter Phum Viphurit, Japanese performer Joji, and many more. 

On Friday September 13th, the festivities move outside for the Yaletown Street Party Kickoff, the Music BC Beer Garden Stage at Yaletown Park finds performances starting at 4pm.  Saturday September 14th finds all of Mainland Street closed for Festival entertainment from noon until 10pm.  Two more stages join the Beer Garden Stage to add to the entertainment; Street Party Live Stage at Davie & Mainland, and the Street Party Electronic Stage at Nelson & Mainland.  In between the stages, find artisans and other vendors to keep you interested throughout the day. 

The Yaletown Street Party is free for all but theatre, cabaret and club stages require a Westward Festival Wristband which allows entry to all venues for the entire Festival weekend.  Many venues are all-ages but some are 19+, check venues prior to attendance.  Visit westwardfest.com for line-up, schedule and wristband information. 

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