The Art Club Ashlie Corcoran announces 2018-19 season

This week, The Arts Club Theatre Company announced the shows coming for the 2018-2019 season.  As we reach the midpoint of the current season, the final season for long-time Artistic Director Bill Millerd’s before he retires, the incoming Artistic Director Ashlie Corcoran is making her mark on the future of the Arts Club.

“For this new season, I seek to build on the legacy of Bill Millerd, continuing his remarkable work through eclectic programming that celebrates local talent, offers opportunities for emerging artists, and strengthens diversity. With these goals in mind, I’ve curated eleven plays by Canadians, eleven by women, seven by BC artists, and four by artists of colour or Indigenous artists.” says Ms Corcoran.  The season also includes remounts of some Arts Club favourites, a number of partnerships with other Canadian theatre companies including the announcement of Hardline Theatre as the 2018-19 resident company.

The full Arts Club Theatre Company 2018-2019 Season includes:


The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time: by Simon Stephens, adapted from the novel by Mark Haddon
Multiple Olivier and Tony Award winning mystery
September 6–October 7, 2018 

Sweat, by Lynn Nottage
A working-class drama and 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner
October 18–November 18, 2018
Canadian premiere; in partnership with Citadel Theatre 

Disney’s Beauty & The Beast, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, book by Linda Woolverton
A remount of last year’s hit presentation of Disney’s beloved fairy-tale musical
December 1, 2018–January 6, 2019 

The Matchmaker, by Thornton Wilder
A classic farce that provided the source material for the musical Hello Dolly!
January 24–February 24, 2019

The Orchard (After Chekhov), by Sarena Parmar
Set in the Okanagan Valley, a Canadian take on Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard
March 21–April 21, 2019 

Matilda The Musical, book by Dennis Kelly, music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, from the novel by Roald Dahl
Multiple award-winning hit musical based on the Roald Dahl story
May 16–July 14, 2019
In partnership with Citadel Theatre and Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre


Mustard, by Kat Sandler
An unconventional comedy about growing up
September 20–October 20, 2018
In partnership with Belfry Theatre

Miss Bennet: Christmas At Pemberley, by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
The festive season Pride and Prejudice follow-up
November 15–December 30, 2018 

The Shoplifters, by Morris Panych
A hilariously biting story about society’s haves and have-nots
February 7–March 9, 2019 

Bed and Breakfast, by Mark Crawford
A charming comedy about the ‘inns’ and being out in a small town
April 4–May 4, 2019

Mom’s The Word: Nest ½ Empty, by the Mom’s the Word Collective
What happens when the kids fly the coop?
June 6–July 20, 2019
Third show in the Mom’s the Word series; remount of 2017 Arts Club premiere


Blind Date, a spontaneous theatre creation by Rebecca Northan
One actor + One audience member = A Blind Date Like No Other
November 22–December 30, 2018 

True Crime, by Torquil Campbell (of the band, Stars) and Chris Abraham
A genre-mixing examination of a conman
January 31–February 24, 2019 

Redpatch, by Raes Calvert and Sean Harris Oliver
A historical drama about a young Métis soldier & his company
March 7–31, 2019
In partnership with Citadel Theatre and Hardline Productions, our 2018–2019 Resident Company 

The Great Leap, by Lauren Yee
American basketball historically goes to China
April 25–May 19, 2019
A Canadian premiere

Picks of the Week – February 7, 2018

These picks of the week find us moving into our first long weekend of 2018 and the Valentine and Lunar New Year season.

Taste: Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates explores Mount Pleasant along Main Street, tonight February 7th

Musical:  Learn to bend and snap as Align Entertainment brings the award winning, bubbly Legally Blonde the Musical to the stage at Michael J Fox Theatre, until February 17th

Next: West Moon Theatre has dual casts tackling the Pulitzer prize winning musical Next To Normal at Studio 16 from tonight until February 17th

Lunar: Oakridge Centre kicks off the Lunar New Year with Year of the Dog Lunar Fest celebrations through the new year.

photo: Emily Cooper

Profane: The Firehall Arts Centre is presenting the Canadian premiere of Australian playwright Patricia Cornelius’ SHIT a graphic look at the lives of three incarcerated women until February 10th.

Theatre: The Arts Club fill their stages with Topdog/Underdog playing at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre until February 11th,  Jitters on at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until February 25 and starting tomorrow the Tony award winning Fun Home begins at Granville Island Stage running until March 10

Chocolate: Sip your way around the city with the warmth of the Hot Chocolate Festival on until February 14th

photo: Jason Strang

Cultures:  The Cultch York Theatre has Jabberwocky, a dark puppet work inspired by Lewis Carroll, while at the Vancity Culture Lab features No Foreigners a multimedia presentation on race and home, both shows running until February 17th

Broadway: The Queen Elizabeth Theatre will be a sing-along this week as Broadway Across Canada brings Motown: The Musical to the stage until Sunday.

Romance: Spread the laughter and love at Vancouver TheatreSports League as they celebrate Romance Week, with romantically themed improv shows until February 14th

Dragon: In celebration of the Lunar New Year, Fly Over Canada once again presents a double-bill of Flight of the Dragon, along with the regular Fly Over Canada experience, for a limited time, only until February 18th.

Exhibition: On Friday, the Vancouver Art Gallery celebrates the opening of Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg with a birthday bash, preview, dinner and party, the day before the opening of the Japanese artist’s first Canadian retrospective.



Dublin Old School brings beats to The Cultch

Emmett Kirwan & Ian Lloyd Anderson
photo: Fiona Morgan

Dublin Old School wraps up the final week of PuSh International Arts Festival at The Cultch.  Playwright Emmet Kirwan has created a unique production paints a colourful slice of Dublin life. The television star’s first play is a smash hit, with a hip hop beats and rhymes that feel straight outta the top 40.

Dublin Old School opens with a minutes-long blazing fast rap battle between Kirwan and co-star Ian Lloyd Anderson that sets the tone for the remainder of the 70 minute production.  The rapid fire dialogue that follows tells the story of a hazy drug-fueled weekend in the life of wannabe DJ Jason (Kirwan) and his friends, associates and long-lost addict brother, Daniel, all played by Anderson.  As Jason recounts ‘his’ wild weekend, we meet nearly 20 other friends and revellers, requiring Anderson to brilliantly jump rapidly between physical characteristics and changes to his brogue to embody the passing folk. Homeless but (potentially) recovering Daniel is the most developed character played by Anderson, full of twitches and inflections.  As they rap, rave and race through most of the show is, the moments between Jason and Daniel are like calm bridges in the song of their life, tentative moments between the brothers to sober up Jason as Daniel has moments of clarity to offer big brother advice and reminiscences.   Along with the straight-ahead rap pieces, the dialogue throughout Dublin Old School also has a rhythm and pace that draws the audience in to the story with its steady beat.

Dublin Old School @ The Cultch
photo: Ros Kavanagh

Even through the show is only 70 minutes there is a massive volume of creative dialogue in Kirwan’s script filled with rhymes, metaphors and pop culture references.  The two players, delivery of movement around the bare stage and of the lyrical script entwine to paint a graphic image of the Dublin nightclub/rave culture.  Anyone who came of age through that mid-nineties era will nervously laugh in recognition of the experiences and cheer as the duo make it through the Ironman worthy must-see performance.

Dublin Old School plays at The Cultch Historic Theatre until Saturday February 3rd. Get tickets now online at

Picks of the Week – January 31, 2018

Wrapping up the first month of 2018, as we look up tonight on a rare Super Blue Blood Moon eclipse tonight, it seems an appropriate start to the Lunar New Year season in these picks of the week.

Fest: The 2018 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival moves into its final weekend with plenty more picks to get out of the house on dreary winter nights for great entertainment around the city until it wraps up with the closing night performance of Eternal Tides from Taiwan.

Eat:  Dine Out Vancouver Festival sustains our stomachs and souls with hundreds of great restaurant set menus and food events until Sunday.

Pop: Canadian singer/songwriter Lights brings her style and sounds to the Vogue Theatre for the second of two nights, tonight.

Elle & Warner
photo: Anita Alberto Photography

Musical:  From February 2 – 17, Align Entertainment brings the award winning, bubbly Legally Blonde the Musical to the stage at Michael J Fox Theatre

Theatre: The Arts Club picks up their season for 2018 with Topdog/Underdog playing at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre until February 11th and Jitters at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until February 25.

Cultures: The Cultch and Push Festival present Dublin Old School, a tale of brother’s bonds until February 3rd.  As well, The Cultch opens Jabberwocky, a dark puppet work inspired by Lewis Carroll, on February 6th

Band: Neither Portuguese nor just one man, the American band Portugal. The Man comes to the Vogue Theatre on Friday and Saturday

Ice: The Vancouver Canucks play a pair of games, hosting Chicago on Thursday then Tampa Bay on Saturday at Rogers Arena

Dragon: In celebration of the Lunar New Year, Fly Over Canada once again presents a double-bill of Flight of the Dragon, along with the regular Fly Over Canada experience, for a limited time, only until February 18th.

Sleeping Beauty Dreams Photo: Mariana Zappet and Emilano Leyva.

Puppets: Presentation House Theatre and Marionetas de la Esquina present Sleeping Beauty Dreams, a reimagining of the classic fairy tale in a contemporary take, performed by puppets from January 26 to February 4.

Exhibition: On Friday, the Vancouver Art Gallery celebrates the opening of Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg with a birthday bash, preview, dinner and party, the day before the opening of the Japanese artist’s first Canadian retrospective.

Folk: German alt-folk act Milky Chance play the Commodore Ballroom on Saturday night

Family: Saturday,  Winter Wander brings Vanier Park to life with mid-winter fun for the whole family, 5 venues, $5 for all the activities and events you can squeeze into a day.

Chocolate: Sip your way around the city with the warmth of the Hot Chocolate Festival on until February 14th

photo: Emily Cooper

Foulmouth: The Firehall Arts Centre is presenting the Canadian premiere of Australian playwright Patricia Cornelius’ SHIT a graphic look at the lives of three incarcerated women.




Legally Blonde brings Elle Woods to Michael J Fox Theatre

Oh My Gawd, You Guys! Align Entertainment is bringing the award winning Legally Blonde the Musical to Michael J Fox Theatre in Burnaby, February 2 – 17, 2018.

Elle & Warner
photo: Anita Alberto Photography

Perfectly coordinated for Valentine’s Day, pretty in pink Elle Woods and her dog Bruiser show you can’t judge a book by its cover, then she gets ‘serious’ and chases ex-beau Warner from the Hollywood Hills to Harvard Law School.

“Legally Blonde reminds us that you don’t have to be pigeon-holed to one persona – you can be the sorority queen and a whip-smart whiz if you want, and win at both life and love,” says director and co-producer Chad Matchette. “The show has a great message, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously and fun is what we at Align Entertainment are all about! We love to present big, bright and boisterous productions where it doesn’t matter if you’re performing on stage or seated in the audience, everyone is having a blast. Take family, friends or that special someone – we promise exceptional entertainment and a smashing time at the theatre!”

Molly Spinola as Bruise Woods

Based on the 2001 Reese Witherspoon comedy, Legally Blonde the Musical was adapted for the stage by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin (music & lyrics) with Heather Hach (book).  The second show in their 2017-18 season, following last autumn’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Align Entertainment continues their success of bringing together local theatre veteran and up-and-coming talents plus in this case of Legally Blonde, two four-legged friends, make their stage debuts in this production. Metro Vancouver pooches, Molly Spinola is playing Bruiser Woods while Seamus O’Kelly plays Rufus .

Legally Blonde the Musical, runs February 2 – 17, at Michael J Fox Theatre, 7373 Macpherson Ave Burnaby.  For showtimes and tickets visit

Sleeping Beauty Dreams at Presentation House Theatre

This week, North Vancouver’s Presentation House Theatre debuted, Sleeping Beauty Dreams, its first collaboration with Mexico’s Marionetas de la Esquina.

Sleeping Beauty Dreams – The Princess Photo: Mariana Zappet and Emilano Leyva.

This production, running until February 4th, is the Canadian premiere of the work written my Marionetas de la Esquina’s Amaranta Leyva, whose team has translated the original work and instructed the Presentation House team on the art of working their puppets. The loose re-imagining of the classic fairy tale, as told as a bedtime story by Mom ( and Dad to their restless child. Brought to life by the one-of-a-kind mariottes, the story finds a sheltered princess hidden away by overprotective parents and a lonely boy whose single mother works all the time leaving him a latch-key kid, on a journey of self-discovery, independence and friendship. With a dose of parental guilt along the way the story finds a message for all ages under the surface of a production that appears aimed at children.

“We are excited to team with Presentation House Theatre to share this charming production with Vancouver audiences,” says Marionetas de la Esquina Master Puppeteer Lourdes Pérez Gay and Co-Director of Sleeping Beauty Dreams. “In reimagining this classic fairytale through the humour and honesty of puppetry, we see the princess trying to break free of her castle walls to find her true self. In essence, this is a fresh coming of age story.”

Sleeping Beauty Dreams ensemble
photo: Emily Cooper

Kim Selody, Artistic Director of Presentation House Theatre and Co-Director of Sleeping Beauty Dreams, adds, “While aimed at children five years of age and up, Sleeping Beauty Dreams has much to offer today’s parents. Here we have a boy largely left to his own devices and a girl whose parents keep her within their own four walls because they have been told if she pricks her finger, she’ll die. In many ways, it’s an examination of two parenting extremes as seen through the eyes of children: latch-key kids and helicopter parents.”

Watching the performance surrounded by families with young children brings something extra to the production as the children are more prone to audibly express their amazement during the show, helping us reserved adults to share in their joy.

If this first joint production between Presentation House Theatre and Marionetas de la Esquina is anything to go on, we are in for more unique and exciting works to come.

Sleeping Beauty Dreams is now playing at Presentation House Theatre, 333 Chesterfield Ave, North Vancouver, until February 4.  Find showtimes and purchase tickets online at


Topdog/Underdog battle for supremacy at Arts Club

Last night, the Pulitzer Prize winning play, Topdog/Underdog opened at the Arts Club Theatre Company Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.  The two act, two-hander is an intense two hours of rapid fire dialogue and emotions, written by Suzan-Lori Parks, the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, and directed for The Arts Club by Dean Paul Gibson.

The tale of two African-American brothers abandoned by their parents as youths, the older Lincoln (Michael Blake) and the younger Booth (Luc Roderique) appear initially as opposites.  Booth, a wannabe 3-card monte hustler, practicing in the confines of his dingy one room tenement, while Lincoln is the hard working brother, employed as an impersonator of his namesake, ‘Honest Abe’ Lincoln, albeit in white-face.  However, we soon learn appearances, just like the cards, can be deceiving as we find out Linc was once a star card sharp working the streets and taking the marks for big money.  Life on the streets became too ‘real’ for Linc so he gave up the cards and settled into a life of domesticity until his wife kicks him out. Now he’s staying with Booth, (or as he prefers to be called “Three Card”) and trying to keep the straight and narrow.

Meanwhile, Three Card hasn’t ever worked and survives on whatever his light-fingers can boost from shops and the back of trucks, always on the lookout for more. He longs to be the card hustler that his brother once was and forever on edge that he isn’t.   Linc has that underlying craving of an addict trying his best to stay away from his vice while Booth is anxious to prove that he’s the ‘big man’ and can do anything better than his brother.  While they hesitate to discuss it outright, the brothers have a sense of abandonment that they put up a brave “we’ve got each other” front they seem to be longing for the connections to each other, or for Booth to his off/on girlfriend, Grace, and to know why/where their parents went all those years ago.  Through moments of humour and warmth, a battle of egos, stubborn wills and pent up anger bubble up to a heated climax.

Ms Park’s script combines rapid-fire, rap-like dialogue and the lengthy monologues of thoughts and feelings offset by moments of silence between brothers.  There is a lot to communicate even in Topdog/Underdog even when nothing is said.  Blake and Roderique brilliantly balance the sensitive emotions, outright aggression, and colourful language that comes along with them,  with an ability to say so much with just a look or slight movement.  Roderique brings authentic vigor and bravado to the younger Three Card and Blake has a downtrodden physicality to his role in the first act then transforms to an almost reckless, “free at last” energy to the second.  Both actors keep the audience mesmerized and emotionally invested in the brothers, building up, then breaking, the tension with a well placed laugh, then building it up again.  Set designer Shizuka Kai detailed one room apartment set has an amazing amount of detail and visually sets a scene of urban realism, while the hip-hop soundtrack aurally furthers the sense of place, perfectly completing the world these two characters inhabit.

In spite of being just one room and two actors, Topdog/Underdog packs so much onto its stage that it’s worth seeing multiple times (if your emotions can take it) as there is so much to see and hear.

Topdog/Underdog is playing at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre until February 11, 2018 so you’ll have plenty of time to see it more than once.  Visit for tickets