CONTEST: The Shipment Opens The Firehall Arts Centre Season.

The Firehall Arts Centre launches its 37th anniversary season with SpeakEasy Theatre’s powerful and provocative comedy, The Shipment, opening Wednesday, September 25th. 

The Shipment is written by award-winning Korean-American playwright Young Jean Lee.  The play is a subversive modern minstrel show about Black identity meant to wake the world to the ridiculous narratives in dominant media. Five Black actors – Andrew Creightney, Chris Francisque, Omari Newton, Adrian Neblett, and Kiomi Pyke – play a roster of characters that reads like a bad b-list of Black iconography: Video Ho, Crackhead John, Bad Cop, Standup Comedian, Drug Dealer Mama, Grandma from Heaven, and Record Company Executive, to name just a few. The brazen mash-up of these stereotypes with clichés, distortions, and brilliant sleights of hand all force us to go beyond the lampoon and shift the lens through which we perceive race in order to confront our own bias.

Speakeasy Theatre Company – The Shipment
photo: Jens Kristian Balle

“Young Jean Lee is one of America’s most fearless and exciting playwrights,” says Firehall Arts Centre’s Artistic Producer, Donna Spencer. “In her writing, she is not afraid to tackle difficult subject matter and does so with humour and intelligence. When SpeakEasy Theatre first produced The Shipment, I was privileged to sit in a sold-out performance and watch the audience shift in their seats, uncomfortably, and then laugh out loud a few moments later. The work engaged them and made them consider. I am proud to share this playwright’s work and this talented company of artists with Firehall audiences.”

The original production received five Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards nominations and a Best Actor win for Omari Newton, The Shipment is biting satire at its very best, and is set to shake up your perceptions of the subject matter.  The Shipment runs September 25 to October 5, 2019 at The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova Street. Tickets are available online at firehallartscentre.ca

CONTEST

The kind folks at Firehall Arts Centre want you to witness this cutting-edge comedy for yourself, so they are giving a lucky reader a pair of tickets to to join us on Opening Night of The Shipment on September 25th at 7:30pm 

To enter the contest:

Leave a comment below telling us the person who would share your Oktoberfest experience (1 entry)

Follow @jminter and Tweet the Following & Tag a Theatre Buddy (1 entry) :

#CONTEST RT to #Win a pair of tickets to @FirehallArtsCte season opening production of #TheShipment from @SETheatreCo via @jminter http://ow.ly/w9xD30pxysT #giveaway #prize #Theatre

Contest entries will be accepted until Noon on Monday, September 16, 2019. 
One winner will be chosen at random. 

Speakeasy Theatre Company – The Shipment photo: Ryan McDonald

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 

Picks of the Week – September 4, 2019

Many think of the Labour Day weekend as the end of summer, but we still have weeks until summer’s official end. Plenty of time for more entertaining picks…

@giselle featuring Catherine Hurlin
photo: Craig Foster.

Dance: Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY presents @giselle is a technology-driven, contemporary reimagining of the beloved classic ballet, at the Vancouver Playhouse September 5-7.  

FlipFlopsThe Waste to Wonder exhibit at the Grand Court of Metropolis at Metrotown, runs until September 8th, consisting of five life-size sculptures of Canadian at-risk wildlife (the narwhal, orca, bison, grizzly, and caribou), each made from more than 6,500 recycled flip flops by Ocean Sole Africa.

Coriolanus -Moya O’Connell photo: Emily Cooper

Bard: The 30th season of Bard on the Beach runs until September 21 at Vanier Park with Taming of the Shrew and Shakespeare in Love playing in repertoire through the summer on the Mainstage and Coriolanus on the Howard Family Stage.

North: The Great White North meets the Land of Fire and Ice as Flyover Canada welcomes Flyover Iceland to the cinematic adventure August 29th, until October 20

Puppets: Museum of Anthropology’s Shadows, Strings and Other Things features a broad array of puppets, old and new, from 15 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas until October 14

Festival: Vancouver Fringe Festival brings 10 days of arts, theatre and experiences to Vancouver stages September 5 – 15.

Avalon: English singer-songwriter, Bryan Ferry performs his solo hits and those from his Roxy Music years on the Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage on Thursday

VTS Back to School

School: Hit the books and laughs as Back to School Theatresports comes to The Improv Centre on Granville Island, Tuesdays to Saturdays from September 3 to October 12.

Rock: Death Cab For Cutie takes the music outside to the stage at Malkin Bowl on Thursday evening.

Trio: Friday night, Malkin Bowl is filled with more music, as local group Said The Whale take the outdoor stage in Stanley Park

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival – Dahlias

Blooms: The second Chilliwack Sunflower Festival runs until September 15th, with a total of 20 acres of flowers, bringing colour to the Fraser Valley community

Folk: Indie-Folk outfit Bon Iver play the Pacific Coliseum at PNE on Saturday September 7th.

Art:  The Vancouver Art Gallery dives into its permanent collection to present Robert Rauschenberg 1965–1980, an exhibition of important but rarely seen works by the prolific twentieth-century American artist, until October

BC Culture Days Celebrates 10 Years

From September 27 to 29, 2019 take part in Canada’s largest public celebration the nation’s arts & culture, BC Culture Days.  BC Culture Days has helped facilitate a host of free engaging activities and events taking place throughout the region over the three day event. The weekend of artistic expression explores the intersection of creativity, the arts, and well-being. Featuring painting, theatre, experimental performance art, literature, design, cinema, and beyond, BC Culture Days is a family-friendly weekend that builds community, encourages exploration and discovery, and celebrates creativity in all its forms. 

Drumming at Kamloops Edition of BC Culture Days, 2015. photo: Lori Jantz

“Creative expression is vital for the health and wellness of a community,” says BC Culture Days Manager Nazanin Shoja. “We are proud to shine a light on the essential role arts and culture plays across the province to boost community engagement, foster deeper social connections, and build an understanding and appreciation for the collective artistic experience. With hundreds of engaging and exciting community events taking place across British Columbia, I have no doubt there will be an event that will cater to every taste and interest, while encouraging exploration into new artistic ventures!” 

To help celebrate its 10th anniversary, BC Culture Days has selected 10 emerging artists from across the province to act as cultural ambassadors in their respective communities, encouraging participation and presenting innovative activities across a broad spectrum of disciplines — including painting, animation, carving, poetry, theatre, and dance — as part of the weekend festivities. The 2019 BC Culture Days ambassadors are Tiffany Blaise (Vancouver), Brock Gratz (Kelowna), Molly Gray (Fort Langley), Alyssa Harms-Wiebe (Vancouver), Mundia Kabunda (West Kelowna), Julian Legere (New Westminster), Sebastian Nicholson (Prince George), Olivier Salvas (Vancouver), Emily Shin (Richmond), and Dyana Sonik-Henderson (Victoria). The artists’ biographies are available at: culturedays.ca/bc/ambassadors.

Dancing at Port Moody edition of BC Culture Days, 2015. photo: Bob Homer

BC Culture Days will officially launch with a provincial kick-off event in Mission, BC on Sunday, September 22, 2019 from 1pm–3pm at the Heritage Park Centre. Mission: A Mosaic of Cultures will showcase a broad range of cultural activities by notable and emerging artists from the Mission community. Beginning with the official opening ceremony, including a welcome by a representative of the Leq’á:mel First Nation, the public is invited to participate and experience artist demos, hands-on arts and crafts, artist talks, storytelling, workshops, and samplings from Mission’s vibrant culinary scene.

During BC Culture Days weekend, visitors are welcomed to seek out, create, participate and share the wealth of cultural activities to be found all around the region; from Music at Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver, Claymaking in West Vancouver, Bellydancing in North Vancouver, Heritage bus tours around Burnaby, Art Demonstrations in New Westminster, Art In The Park in Coquitlam, and much, much more.   Visit culturedays.ca/bc to find out how to participate and for full details about all the events. 

Bard On The Beach Announces 2020 Season

As the current, 30th, season of Bard on the Beach adds more shows to the just opened Coriolanus, Artistic Director Christopher Gaze has announced the lineup for the Festival’s 31st Season. 

Running from June 11 to September 26, 2020, under the tents at Vanier Park, the quartet of plays in the 31st Season of Bard on the Beach includes the most popular play in Bard’s history, a thrilling historical drama, a music-filled Jazz Age romance and a provocative contemporary play based on Milton’s  Paradise Lost

On the BMO Mainstage, the beloved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which has delighted audiences around the world and across the ages, plays inrepertory with Shakespeare’s epic historical tale, Henry V. The Howard Family Stage offers two contrasting productions: Love’s Labour’s Lost, a restaging of Bard’s 2015 hit Jazz Age production, alternating with Paradise Lost, a critically acclaimed modern take on the battle between good and evil. Says Gaze: “Our 31st Season is designed to entertain and inspire live theatre lovers of all kinds. It offers tempting choices for one and all, whether you’re a committed Shakespeare fan or you’ve never seen a play at Bard before.”

The 31st Bard on the Beach season includes:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Directed by Scott Bellis (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2017).
BMO Mainstage – June 11 – September 26
Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece is set against a backdrop of early Industrial Revolution, enter into a place where the natural and supernatural worlds have merged, with elves, goblins, and talking trees guiding the way.

Henry V – Directed by Lois Anderson (The Taming of the Shrew, 2019; Lysistrata, 2018).
BMO Mainstage – June 12 – September 20.Set in a mythical realm and inspired by medieval fantasy, Henry V is a sweeping, emotional tale of two kingdoms at war with Kate Besworth (The Taming of the Shrew, 2019) playing King Henry.

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Directed again by Daryl Cloran (As You Like It, 2018; Shakespeare in Love, 2019).
Howard Family Stage – July 3 – September 26. 
This revival of Bard’s 2015 hit makes a joyous return to 1920s Jazz Age Chicago and is filled with live performances of American Songbook classics.

Paradise Lost – by Erin Shields Directed by Anita Rochon (Cymbeline, 2015).
Howard Family Stage – from July 10 – September 20
The battle is on for the souls of Adam and Eve, in this provocative retelling of John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost.  First produced by the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2018, this is the play’s first Western Canadian staging, Jessie Award-winner Colleen Wheeler plays Satan.

The 31st Season will also offer the audience favourite special events, from orchestral and opera concerts to the popular Bard-B-Q & Fireworks nights.

Advance 2020 Bard Season Packs are on sale now, offering a substantial discount on tickets to all four productions. Order Season Packs now at  bardonthebeach.org  or by calling the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559.

Picks of the Week – August 28, 2019

As quickly as it began, summer’s end is drawing near. The final long weekend of the season let’s us pack in extra picks of the week before Labour Day.

Cinema: Thursday evening, head to the North Point at Canada Place for the season’s last Waterfront Cinema, this week celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade starting around 8:30pm

Fair: Summer’s biggest party, The Fair at The PNE bringing amusement, entertainment and fun for the whole family, and great Summer Night Concerts, until September 2nd.

FlipFlopsThe Waste to Wonder exhibit at the Grand Court of Metropolis at Metrotown, runs until September 8th, consisting of five life-size sculptures of Canadian at-risk wildlife (the narwhal, orca, bison, grizzly, and caribou), each made from more than 6,500 recycled flip flops by Ocean Sole Africa.

Coriolanus -Moya O’Connell photo: Emily Cooper

Bard: The 30th season of Bard on the Beach runs until September 21 at Vanier Park with Taming of the Shrew and Shakespeare in Love playing in repertoire through the summer on the Mainstage and Coriolanus on the Howard Family Stage.

North: The Great White North meets the Land of Fire and Ice as Flyover Canada welcomes Flyover Iceland to the cinematic adventure August 29th, until October 20

Puppets: Museum of Anthropology’s Shadows, Strings and Other Things features a broad array of puppets, old and new, from 15 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas until October 14

World: The Richmond World Festival returns to Minoru Park on August 30-31, 2018. The annual, free family-friendly pubic festival brings two days of music, arts, culture, entertainment, and food from around the globe to the heart of Richmond.

Record Release: Full Circle – First Nations Performance – Múyunstut Ta Slúlum Live Series presents NIMKISH, Heartbreak On The Coast – Album Release Party with JB The First Lady, Mamarudegyal, Biawanna, and DJ Paisley Eva Saturday, at The Wise Hall,

Pitches: The Vancouver Canadians host Tri-City Americans for a 3 game home stand this week, Wednesday to Friday.

Balls: Whitecaps FC play host to New York City FC at BC Place on Saturday evening.

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival – Dahlias

Blooms: The second Chilliwack Sunflower Festival runs until September 15th, with a total of 20 acres of flowers, bringing colour to the Fraser Valley community

Art:  The Vancouver Art Gallery dives into its permanent collection to present Robert Rauschenberg 1965–1980, an exhibition of important but rarely seen works by the prolific twentieth-century American artist, until October

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.