Vancouver Fringe Festival 2018 opens September 6

The 2018 edition of Vancouver Fringe Festival is onstage from September 6th to 16th, bringing 11 days of theatre for everyone.  Since 1985, Vancouver Fringe Festival has consistently  produced “Vancouver’s Best Arts Festival” (as voted by Georgia Straight readers), with the mission to cultivate artists and audiences to create an open and vibrant independent theatre community.

Vancouver Fringe Festival 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, the chance to participate, and artists receive 100% of the box-office revenue during the festival. To make sure everyone has the opportunity to experience live theatre, Vancouver Fringe Festival keeps ticket prices affordable for all, most shows are just $15 or less. Some performances employ a pay-what-you-can policy.

Mainstage shows centre around Granville Island at the Revue Stage, Performance Works, and Waterfront Theatre. Other shows in the BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) category allow artists to stage their performances in unique and different venues, and in collaboration with The Only Animal, at site-specific performances.

With more than 100 performances over the run of the festival it can be hard to select your personal program, so join The Georgia Straight Fringe-For-All, September 5th at 8pm, and write your notes as 40 companies and performers offer a two minute taster of their show to entice you to put them on your must-see list.

A few of the diverse performance for this Vancouver Fringe Festival include:

Big Sister – Naomi Vogt photo: Matt Reznek

Big Sister – A One Woman Show About Sisters : A comedy about the relationship between two sisters and what happens when one of them changes, Big Sister explores a world of evil siblings, fat shaming, and unlikely collaboration. Written by Little Sister Deborah Vogt, performed by Big Sister Naomi Vogt, directed by award-winning Jamie King, playing at Revue Stage.

The Shape of Things : New Westminster’s Heckin’ Good Theatre brings acclaimed playwright Neil Labute’s biting tale of love, lust, and betrayal to The Cultch Vanity Culture Lab

Weirdo: Playwright Robbie T, a magician, yes, a magician, takes audiences on a one man journey, from socially awkward to utterly inept, through a mix of storytelling, magic, and hilarious overshares, Robbie reveals his inner weirdo, and encourages you to embrace your own. Onstage at Performance Works.

La Palabra en el Tiempo : Victoria’s Palabra Flamenco present a blend of poetry and flamenco, with dancer Denise Yeo, poet Garth Martens, guitarist Gareth Owen, and singer Veronica Maguire plunging mythological depths and excavate human shadow. Playing at Studio 16.

Midtwenties Theatre Society – The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant

The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant : An intimate melodrama about a successful fashion designer who becomes obsessed with a cold-hearted aspiring model. Presented by Midtwenties Theatre Society, an all-female cast tackles playwright Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s themes of narcissism, intergenerational love, sexuality, and sadomaschocism, as part of the Dramatic Works Series at The Cultch Vancity Culture Lab

In addition to cutting edge theatre, Fringe Festival prides itself one being part festival and part party with live music and fun at the Phillips Fringe Bar located at Ocean Art Works (outside the Ocean Concrete on Granville Island) offering music performances every night, with no cover.

Vancouver Fringe Festival takes place September 6 – 16, 2018, in various venues around the city, mainly centred on Granville Island.  Explore the Vancouver Fringe Festival guide and book passes and tickets by visiting vancouverfringe.com

Ignite! Festival 2018 takes over The Cultch

The Cultch’s Youth Panel are bringing IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival to The Cultch’s Historic and Vancity Culture Lab — with youth led programming and new work by local youth playwrights— from May 8-19.

 IGNITE! is an eclectic festival, programmed and curated entirely by members of the Youth Panel at the Cultch. It features theatre performers, dancers, and visual artists —all aged 11-26— as well as participants in the Cultch mentorship programs. In its 19th year, this year’s festival will be headlined by tonight’s performance of The Chemical Valley Project from Broadleaf Theatre (Toronto) — a co-presentation with Intrepid Theatre’s UNO Festival. The festival also includes the production of two new One Act Plays by local youth playwrights. In addition, each of the main festival nights offer a diverse spread of performances in a variety-show style under a theme; from Avocado Toast to Floral Friday. This year’s IGNITE! includes spoken word, contortion, live music, short plays, and original contemporary dance, plus much more.

The line-up for IGNITE! Festival includes:  

THE CHEMICAL VALLEY PROJECT

May 8th 7:30pm at Vancity Culture Lab

IGNITE! presents a special one night performance of The Chemical Valley Project, a show created by youth-run Toronto company, Broadleaf Theatre centering themes of environmental racism in Canada, and presented in partnership with Intrepid Theatre’s UNO Festival.

ONE ACT PLAYS

May 11th and 12th 7:30pm at Vancity Culture Lab

Two new short plays by local youth playwrights are showcased in the intimacy of the smaller Culture Lab Venue.

IGNITE! FESTIVAL MAIN EVENTS

May 15th to 19th 7:30pm at The Cultch Historic Theatre

Five nights featuring a diversity of young performers and participants in the Cultch Mentorship Program. Enjoy five-six performances per night in this eclectic format.

Each night’s artists are loosely assembled into a category and audiences are invited to dress according to the theme! 

May 15th – Avocado Toast
Can’t afford a house? Can’t afford avocados? Can’t even afford toast? The IGNITE! Youth Panel are here to help you reclaim everything millennial! Join us for a showcase of millennial art, from circus to Craigslist.

May 16th – Cozy Campfire
The world getting you down? Come curl up by the fire for an evening of acoustic and s’mores. Camping gear encouraged.
 

May 17th – Dapper Flapper
Get out your top hat and tails, and enjoy a night of mystery and class ranging all the way from saxophone to contortion, and starring a baby Michael Buble

May 18th – Floral Friday
We’re ready to bloom! Enjoy the garden of young local artists Vancouver has to offer. Dress as your favourite flower.

May 19th – Dynamite Night
The explosive end to a high energy week. Don’t miss this special finale evening.

 IGNITE! Festival tickets are on sale now through The Cultch’s Box Office: 604-251-1363 or tickets.thecultch.com.

 

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

Pss Pss Grabs Attention at The Cultch

For theatre without dialogue, Compagnia Baccalà’s Pss Pss certainly creates a lot of buzz, on stage at The Cultch York Theatre.

Him and Her
photo: Geri Born

The award winning show stars Camilla Pessi and Simone Fassari, her and him, as they take the audience on an adventure in physical-comedy.  The two performers formed Compagnia Baccalà combining careers in circus and cabaret, which both shine through in Pss Pss.  Their mostly silent performance echos comedy greats like Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and even Lucille Ball, their clown-like faces able to express so much with just a raised eyebrow, or curl of the lips.  Where their facial expressions bring laughter, their physical acrobatics and gymnastics skills bring awe.

Like a circus show, Pss Pss is a series of set pieces combining all of their skills into a hilarious and breathtaking hour long performance.  While their acrobatics are awe-inspiring the moments that are perhaps the most risky are incorporating the audience.

photo: Pipo Gialluisi

As with any audience interaction the performer hopes their instincts are sharp and they choose an able and game player. On opening night the audience members really got into the spirit of the show and the man they singled out to bring onstage perfectly fit the bill, incorporating into their balancing act with ease.  Even though not part of the direct interaction, hearing the large number of children in the audience vocalize their wonder and amazement add an extra bit of joy to the experience.

Compagnia Baccalà’s Pss Pss is an hour of theatre that is sure to put a smile on your face, and a thrill in your heart.

The York Theatre plays host to Pss Pss until March 4, 2018. Visit thecultch.com for tickets and showtimes.

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 thecultch.com

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

SHIT
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.

 

 

 

Hot Brown Honey heats up The Cultch

Until January 27th, Hot Brown Honey is taking over The Cultch York Theatre.  You know you’re in for something special when the ushers are handing out earplug upon entering the Theatre, and indeed Hot Brown Honey, part of The Cultch’s Femme January, is something special.

The buzz is palpable as the audience took their seats in The Hive and welcomed the six 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’, to the York Theatre stage.  Hot Brown Honey, a hit at Edinburgh Fringe,  grew out of an original Australian burlesque show, Hot Brown Honey Burlesque, created by Kim Bowers, Candice Bowers and Lisa Fa’Alafi.  This show is a red hot, sassy, bold journey to shine a light on stereotypes and the patriarchy.  The six Honeys #makenoise about tough topics that are very much torn from today’s headlines, with a unique style of comedy, music and dance.  Rather than beating the audience over the head with their message they bring the beats to the floor with their brilliant hip hop style.  Rap, beatboxing, powerful vocals and prose, nothing is out of reach for the talented sextet as they entertain and empower with their mission to fight the power.

Hot Brown Honey is really a show that needs to be seen, heard and listened to to really appreciate the talented Honeys and their timely message.

Fighting the power never tasted so sweet.

Hot Brown Honey runs at The Cultch York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive, until January 27, 2018.  For more show information and tickets visit thecultch.com or call The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.