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

Gateway Theatre finds Glory

Opening April 4, at Gateway Theatre, Glory tells the incredible true story about the Preston Rivulettes women’s hockey team.

Glory pic: Barbara Zimonick

In 1933, four friends set out to prove to Canada that hockey isn’t just a sport for men. Despite the battles over ice time, the struggle to finance the team, and the endless sexism that existed in the sport, they formed the Preston Rivulettes and defied odds. Fighting through the Great Depression, prejudice, and personal upheaval, will they overcome the odds and forge their own path to glory?

Director James MacDonald directs local playwright Tracey Power’s inspirational story of the real-life Canadian championship women’s hockey team. Featuring electrifying swing dance choreography inspired by the jazz age, GLORY captures all the thrills, excitement, and tension of a great hockey game.

Glory pic: Barbara Zimonick

Gateway Theatre has a number of special events during the run of Glory; Pizza Preview Night on April 4, Tea Matinee on April 9, Talkback Thursday April 11. For patrons who don’t speak English as a first language or not regular theatregoers, Tues. April 9, 11:30am, pre-show primer, in English and Mandarin, offers an overview of GLORY and learn why hockey is a key part of Canadian culture prior to the matinee performance so you can sit back and enjoy the show. Also April 9, Theatre Club Dinner and Show combo includes dinner at Kove Kitchen plus the 8pm performance of Glory.

Glory runs April 4 – 13, 2019 at Gateway Theatre 6500 Gilbert. For more information on all events and tickets, visit gatewaytheatre.com

Picks of the Week – March 27, 2019

March comes to a close with plenty of entertainment in the picks of the week to keep Spring in your steps

Buns: Vancouver Foodster takes it to the East Village with a new taste tour, Between The Buns Crawl celebrating what the neighbourhood’s bakeries and eateries can get between a bun.

Blossom: What’s spring without flowers, Metropolis at Metrotown’s Grand Court is the site of Blossom at Metropolis, an awe-inspiring, one-of-a-kind art installation made up of more than 250,000 cherry blossoms, until March 31

photo: Clark Smith

Joni: Tonight is your opportunity to listen to Merideth Kaye Clark perform Joni Mitchell’s iconic album BLUE performed live by in the Studio Theatre at Surrey Arts Centre.

Dance: The Vancouver International Dance Festival keep the city moving as it brings world of dance to stages around town until March 30th.

Soldier: At the Arts Club Goldcorp Stage at BMO Theatre Centre, Hardline Productions’ Redpatch tells the story of indigenous soldiers in WWI, on stag March 7 – 31.

Art: Spring Break Family Fuse Week at Vancouver Art Gallery welcomes families to explore the Gallery and get hands on with workshops, talks, tours and more

Hot: The bold, brash and beautifully entertaining troupe of Hot Honey Brown returns to The Cultch to turn up the heat, deliver lashings of sass and a hot pinch of empowerment, from March 15 – 30.

Multiple Organism / Jessica Gabriel Pic: Chloe Ziner

Puppet: The Cultch brings Mind of a Snail Puppet Co.’s Multiple Organism to the Vancity Culture Lab March 19-30, with nudity, projections, puppetry original music, and more to this eclectic work

Ice: Vancouver Canucks have a pair of games, versus LA Kings on Thursday and Dallas Stars on Saturday

Pop: Canadian group Marianas Trench bring their Suspending Gravity Tour to the Orpheum Stage, supported by pop duo Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, on Friday night

Jack and the Magic Bean comes to Presentation House Theatre

North Vancouver’s Presentation House Theatre and Mexico’s Marionetas de la Esquina present Jack and the Magic Bean, at Presentation House Theatre from April 11th to 28th.

Jack & the Magic Bean pic: Emiliano Leyva

In this whimsical and enlightening adaptation of the classic fairy tale, when Jacky tries to sell her beloved toys to buy food for her family and then trades them for a magic bean, she discovers something much more valuable than money — how to sustainably grow your own food and care for the land.

“This is a delightful and interactive presentation with an incredibly powerful underlying message,” saysKim Selody, Artistic Director of Presentation House Theatre and Director of Jack and the Magic Bean. “Young audiences ages three to eight are urged to accompany Jacky on her journey, helping her grow the beanstalk and climb it, and then become the bugs in the dirt to help make her garden grow. At the same time, the play tackles themes of poverty, irresponsible farming practices, and sustainability, offering a vital and urgent message — we must all learn to respect and care for the Earth for the sake of future generations.”

Jack & the Magic Bean pic: Emiliano Leyva

 Jack and the Magic Bean is a newly imagined version of the original Jessie Award-winning adaptation, written by Vancouver playwright Linda A. Carson, and co-produced by Presentation House Theatre and Mexico’s Marionetas de la Esquina, the company behind last season’s Sleeping Beauty Dreams.  Inspired by its recent international debuts in Kansas City, MO and in Mexico City — in which the play was translated into bilingual and Spanish versions — the beloved tale has been reworked in a joyful collaboration between the award-winning theatre companies.

A 55-minute interactive experience for families with children ages three to eight, Jack and the Magic Bean offers rich imagery and playful immersion, encouraging kids to not just watch Jacky’s story unfold, but to be an active part of its unfolding. Children will be captivated by the narrative’s ‘story gardener’ who needs their fertile imaginations to make the story grow; delightfully scared by the health-conscious ogre who likes to eat humans but refrains due to his indigestion; and gleefully enthusiastic to become the tiny bugs wriggling through the soil — both to escape the grasp of the mighty giant and to help teach Jacky about the process that will ultimately save her garden and help feed her family: composting.

Jack and the Magic Bean, runs from April 11th to 28th, 2019 at Presentation House Theatre, 333 Chesterfield Ave, North Vancouver. Visit phtheatre.org for show details and tickets 

Vancouver International Dance Festival brings dance to city stages

From March 4th to 30th, the 2019 Vancouver International Dance Festival (VIDF) brings the world of dance to Vancouver venues. From across the country, across the Pacific, and right here at home, VIDF proudly presents a 2019 festival season, showcasing exhilarating performances by both internationally revered artists and lauded Vancouver performers, engaging workshops, and a host of interactive dance activities.

Dairakudan’s Pseudo Human Super Human by Hiroyuki Kawashima

The 2019 Dance Festival’s program showcases Canadian premieres from Japan’s sensational Dairakudakan — a VIDF audience favourite — as well as Taiwan’s Tjimur Dance Theatre, appearing in Vancouver for the very first time; three world premieres from Vancouver’s own Vision Impure, Olivia C. Davies, and Lesley Telford; and three West Coast premieres from East Coast artists Daina Ashbee (Montreal), Manuel Roque (Montreal), and 10 Gates Dancing (Ottawa), among many others. With 27 days of free and ticketed events, the VIDF program is sure to include something for every dance fan.

Vision Impure’s Pathways by Erik Zennström

“Dance is a unique and powerful medium that communicates and expresses our deepest, innermost thoughts and emotions, transcending the cultural and geographical constructs of today’s world,” says Barbara Bourget, Co-Producer of VIDF. “The VIDF is a platform for an array of international artists to showcase their vision, honour their customs and traditions, remove barriers, and spark dialogue amongst us. Through a thoughtful, curated program showcasing globally renowned artists from Canada and abroad, our goal is to be a catalyst for meaningful expression, connection, and conversation.”

Vancouver International Dance Festival runs March 4 to 30, 2019 at venues around Vancouver, for the full performance schedule, tickets and more information visit vidf.ca

Picks of the Week – February 20, 2019

As we come to the final weekend of February, we’re usually thinking of spring but this weather has us wanting to stay indoors, good thing this week’s picks have lots to bring us through the doors.

Vancouver TheatreSport Improv Voyage

Ahoy!: For one night only, February 21st, Vancouver TheatreSport is transformed into a comedy Cruise Ship for Improv Voyage, a 3 hour tour de force fund raiser for VTSL.

Opera: The stellar sets Vancouver Opera’s production of La Bohème, really make you feel like you’re visiting 1920’s Paris, catch it for yourself for the last performances February 21 & 24 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Chopin: Early Music Vancouver welcomes German pianist Tobias Koch for a pair of shows at Christ Church Cathedral; Chopin-The Last Concert on February 22, and The Polish Romantics on February 23.

#YaaasAnd: QueerProv brings a pair of improv comedy games to The Junction on Wednesday night; QueerProv at 7:30pm then On This Day at 9:30pm

Comedy: JFL Northwest continues to bring the world of comedy to stages and venues around Vancouver until February 23rd.

Dolly: It’s your last chance to catch the crafty Dolly Levi in action as she manipulates the love lives other characters’ in The Matchmaker (the inspiration for the iconic musical Hello Dolly!) at The Arts Club Theatre Company Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until February 24th.

Crime: Also closing this week, Torquil Campbell delivers a tour de force performance in the criminal biographical play True Crime at the Arts Club Theatre Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.

Thief: Go behind closed doors to view the interactions between chronic five-finger discounter and store security in Morris Panych’s comedy The Shoplifters plays at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage until March 9th.

Release: Composer and pianist Vede Hille presents a one night only concert to celebrate the release of the cast album of her King Arthur’s Night, hosted by Niall McNeill and Marcus Youssef on February 24th at The Cultch Historic Theatre

Children of God

Festival: The 18th Talking Stick Festival is now on, celebrating Indigenous art, music, dance and culture throughout the city until March 2nd.

Musical: Part of Talking Stick Festival, Corey Payette’s Children of God is playing at The Cultch York Theatre until March 10th

Home: The 2019 BC Home & Garden Show fills BC Place Stadium with all things for your home renovations, spring gardening and more, February 20 – 24.

Memories: In recognition of Black History Month, The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts brings No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks to the Chan Shun Concert Hall on February 24th

HipHop: Friday night at Rogers Arena join Snoop Dogg & Friends including Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Warren G, Kurupt and Luniz for what’s sure to be a hazy evening of hip-hop and rap.

Pucks: Vancouver Canucks return to Rogers Arena for a pair of games against Arizona Thursday evening and New York Islanders on Saturday

18th Talking Stick Festival Opens

The 18th Talking Stick Festival, presented by Full Circle: First Nations Performance opens today. The celebration of Indigenous culture through the arts runs until March 2nd at various Vancouver venues.

Margo Kane, Artistic Managing Director of Full Circle: First Nations Performance says, “Our 2019 Talking Stick Festival is an open invitation to Explore Indigenous Culture through the Arts and we welcome back some of our favourite artists and companies who are developing international and national reputations of their own.” 

Speaking about the range of works audiences can expect from the 2019 festival, Kane adds, “This festival of extraordinary Indigenous performance and art features some of the best emerging and established Indigenous artists Turtle Island has to offer. It provides a stage for artists from a variety of artistic expressions – theatre, storytelling, writing, music, spoken word, dance, and visual arts. It celebrates the traditional performance of many communities, as well as the contemporary and interdisciplinary work of Indigenous creators.”

Children of God
Children of God

Highlights from the 2019 Talking Stick Festival include: 

Children of God by Corey Payette (an Urban Ink production, co-presented with The Cultch), a musical story of redemption for a family overcoming the history of residential schools, playing February 20 – March 10, 2019 at York Theatre

Wax hoks en Shqalawin (Open Your Hearts) Opening Gala, a evening of music and dance on February 21 at Roundhouse Community Centre, kicking off the Visual Arts Exhibit on view at the Roundhouse Community Centre throughout the festival run.

Indian Acts: Staged Readings Series features play readings of new works from Kevin Loring, Tai Amy Grauman, Taran Kootenhayoo, Lisa C. Ravensbergen, and Margo Kane

Muyuntsut ta Slulum (Immerse Yourself in Music), a musicseries featuring Snotty Nose Rez Kids with DJ Kookum, Emily Wurramara, and DJ O Show performing throughout the run of the festival. 

Reel Reservations Film Series screening of SGaawaay K’uuna Edge of the Knife (2018 Best Canadian Feature – Vancouver Film Critics Circle), Falls Around Here and Anori (Wind) 

Knowledge Sharing events for public and artists run throughout the festival

2-Spirit Series that includes Looking for Tiger Lily from Anthony Hudon (the human vessel for Portland’s premiere drag clown Carla Rossi).

Family-friendly shows Nanabush Stories, Tee Pee Theatre, and Celebration of Dance are Pay-What-You-Can events for all-ages

Festival Closing Night Celebration: Ab-Original Cabaret, a celebration full of music, comedy, theatre, song, and spoken word from the brightest Indigenous talent March 2 at The Ironworks Studios.

For full details of the Talking Stick Festival, including venues and tickets, at talkingstickfest.ca