Beat Back The Winter Blahs with Throwdown TheatreSports Festival

Vancouver TheatreSports (VTS) is getting ready to beat away the winter blahs with laughter during its annual improv celebration, Throwdown – International TheatreSports Festival. Taking place at The Improv Centre on Granville Island from January 2 to 27, 2019.

The best antidote to those dreary January days is a good dose of hearty laughter and Vancouver TheatreSports has it in spades.

Throwdown – International TheatreSports Festival welcomes TheatreSports teams from other cities to join the top Vancouver improvisers in head-to-head matches with each other.

VTS Artistic & Executive Director Jay Ono adds, “This year, we concentrated on inviting the best teams from the U.S. because later this year [2019] in October, the entire TheatreSports world will be gathering in Vancouver for the 2019 International TheatreSports Institute Conference, which VTS is privileged to host. Throwdown 2019 features fabulous team companies from Honolulu, Bellingham, Portland and returning champs, the talented group from Orlando – who have won for the past three consecutive years.”

From January 2 to 19, local teams comprised of VTS ensemble members play in a classic TheatreSports round-robin competition for bragging rights of the best team in Vancouver. Working from audience suggestions, the players start improvising in hopes of scoring the biggest cheers from audience members. As in all classic TheatreSports matches, the final outcome is determined by audience judges scoring each of the ‘games’ within a match. The team with the most points wins.

January 22 to 27 welcomes the four U.S. teams in a series of hilarious matches and showcases designed to banish even the gloomiest of times. The lineup features: Sak Comedy Lab – Orlando, Florida (returning champions); Curious Comedy Theatre – Portland, Oregon; On the Spot Improv – Honolulu, Hawaii; Upfront Theatre – Bellingham, Washington.

On the last evening of Throwdown, January 27, the winners of the international competitions play with the local victors from the previous weeks in a winner-takes-all laugh fest. 

“There’s nothing like a little healthy competition to bring out the best in improv comedy,” comments Ono. “And the winner gets bragging rights for an entire year plus an invitation to return in 2020 to defend their crown.”

While no one can predict the outcome, one thing is for certain – audience members will be the winners. Arriving with winter weighing them down, and leaving with an added spring in their step after an evening of laughter.

For a full schedule of time, match information and tickets (starting from $10.75) for Throwdown – International TheatreSports Festival,  visit vtsl.com.

10 Halloween Frights for Vancouver Families

Halloween is just around the corner; leaves crunching underfoot, jack o’lanterns are carved, costumes are being prepared, candy is being stockpiled in anticipation of trick or treating.

Get a chill when you take on these frightening (and mostly family friendly) Halloween in Vancouver.

  1. Fright Nights at Playland: Vancouver’s favourite fear fest, is on until October 31st, the annual Playland event is loaded with haunted houses and thrilling rides, but not for the younger members of the family. 
  2. Halloween at Fly Over Canada: Join Broomelda as she welcomes you to her Witch Academy before swooping across the country with her at Fly Over Canada until October 31st.
  3. Haunted Halloween Vancouver Trolley Tour: Spend 2.5 hours exploring the stories behind the city’s most haunted spots; Shaughnessy mansions, Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver Police Museum morgue are just some of the ghost tales you’ll hear on the nightly Trolley Tours, until Halloween Night.
  4. Glow In The Garden: VanDusen Garden invites guests to wander through a whimsical garden with curious twists and magical moments from the classic tale Hänsel and Gretel, until October 31st.
  5. Stanley Park Ghost Train: Join Jack O’Lanterns journey through the dark forest and experience a Celtic Halloween, at the Stanley Park Ghost Train, book tickets until October 31st
  6. Haunted Village at Burnaby Village Museum:  Visit Burnaby Village under cover of night from October 26 to 29, 2018. Wear your costumes, and blend in with the witches, ghosts and other characters as you trick or treat through the village
  7. Harvest Glow: Until November 5th, Milner Gardens in Langley has become the ultimate family harvest festival; pumpkin patch, corn maze, pumpkin carving, Harvest Market with 20+ merchants.
  8. Lost Souls of Gastown: Join Forbidden Vancouver on a historic and theatrical walk through the dark side of Vancouver’s early days, nightly until Halloween.
  9. Spooktober: Vancouver Theatresports League has a spooktacular line-up of Halloween themed shows throughout the month; Monster Mashes, Cult Fiction, Scared Witless, WFT-What the Fright.
  10. Parade of Lost Souls: The east side tradition returns on October 27th, starting with the Parade of Little Souls at 7pm, followed by the Parade of Lost Souls at 8pm. Keep watching for the parade route to be announced at midnight prior to the parade.

Picks of the Week – September 12, 2018

While we wouldn’t know it by the weather, we still have just over a week of summer left (officially) so let’s try to make the most of it with some of these entertainment picks

Bard Village

Bard: The 2018 season of Bard on the Beach is rapidly drawing to a close, the classic drama Macbeth on the Mainstage and Lysistrata on the Howard Family Stage, close tomorrow while extra shows have been added to the run of the brilliant Beatles themed version of As You Like It,  now closing Sep 28th.

Dog: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time opens the Arts Club Theatre Company’s season at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until October 7th.

Fringe: It’s the final week for 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival and your chance to catch the cutting edge theatre and entertainment all around town.

Comedy: Aussie stand-by comic Jim Jefferies brings laughter to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage for three shows this weekend; Friday night at 7pm and 10pm, Saturday night at 8pm

L to R: Beatrice Zeilinger, Lynda Boyd and Nicola Cavendish
photo: David Cooper

Sisters: Take a drive and enjoy a trio of brilliant performances in the 20th Anniversary presentation of Daniel MacIvor’s acclaimed play Marion Bridge, at Kay Meeks Arts Centre in West Vancouver until September 20th.

Park: The Festival Lawn at Deer Lake Park welcomes Ms Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th Anniversary Tour, on Saturday evening.

Open: Saturday, the Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House welcomes the public to explore all the dance companies that inhabit the Centre.

Market: Viva Mexico! Saturday from 11:30am – 8pm at Robson Square, explore Market Mexico, learn about the destination, culture and entertainment of Mexico.

Soul: American Gospel/Soul singer Leon Bridges comes to the PNE Amphitheatre on Sunday September 16

Improv: “Laugh til your face hurts” and lampoon the hysteria of the Back to School season at Vancouver Theatresports League , also check out the other laugh-filled show like the late night show WTF – What The Fun!

Fest: Westward Music Festival takes over music venues all around downtown Vancouver for four days of entertainment September 13-16.

Charity: Saturday watch stars from sports and TV, like Patrick Chan, Daniel & Henrik Sedin, the cast of Riverdale, Once Upon A Time, and The 100, take to the pitch at BC Place alongside Whitecaps legends in the annual Legends & Stars charity match supporting BC Children’s Hospital

Kicks: After the Legends & Stars match, stick around as Whitecaps FC play host to Cascadia Rivals Seattle in what’s sure to be a raucous afternoon.

Disco: Dance away the last days of disco  summer at Public Disco in the recently refreshed Ackery’s Alley (next to Orpheum Theatre). Enjoy the music on Saturday from 1pm – 8pm

 

Picks of the Week – September 5, 2018

As we move past Labour Day, and people head back to school and work, it’s easy to think summer is over, but we still have a couple weeks to go, so let’s keep it going with these picks.

Bard: There’s just days left for some of the shows at Bard on the Beach 2018.  Make your picks between a brilliant Beatles themed version of As You Like It,  or the dramatic Macbeth on the Mainstage, and find Timon of Athens or Lysistrata on the Howard Family Stage, all wrapping up in the next week.

Fringe Fest: Midtwenties Theatre Society – The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant

Fringe: The 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival opens Thursday, bringing 11 days of cutting edge theatre and entertainment all around town.

Punt: The BC Lions return to BC Place to host Ottawa Redblacks on Friday night

Park: The much anticipated Skookum Festival makes its debut at Stanley Park this weekend,  bringing 3 days of music, food, & art to Brockton Oval & Meadow featuring Florence & The Machine, The Killers, Metric, Arkells, Stereophonics, X Ambassadors and more.

Cycle: This weekend watch for the RBC Gran Fondo, North America’s largest, to bring masses of cyclists to the sea-to-sky.

Sisters: Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Daniel MacIvor’s acclaimed play Marion Bridge, at Kay Meeks Arts Centre in West Vancouver until September 20th.

Things: The Museum of Vancouver’s exhibit Wild Things: The Power of Nature in Our Lives,  brings the great outdoors, indoors to take a look at the relationship between local plants and animals and the people and places in the city, showing until 2019

Inked: The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Art examines the deep-rooted traditions of Indigenous tattooing, piercing and personal adornment, in BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest  an exhibit curated by Dion Kaszas of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation, until January 2019

Emilio Suarez plays Tyrant Studio Friday Jazz, September 7

Lounge: The Tyrant Studios continues their Friday Jazz and Saturday Night Comedy Series into September

Rock: After cancelling a series of shows due to illness, the Foo Fighters return to the stage in Vancouver on Saturday night at Rogers Arena

Cabin: Take a trip to the cabin while staying indoors, at the Vancouver Art Gallery as Cabin Fever  an exhibit tracing the history of the North American cabin as an architectural form and a cultural construct, on view until September 30, 2018

Laugh:  Head Back to School with laughter as Vancouver Theatresports League lampoons the classroom, also check out the other laugh-filled show like the late night show WTF – What The Fun!

 

More Mochrie in May at Vancouver TheatreSports

Vancouver TheatreSports alumnus and star of Whose Line Is It Anyway, Colin Mochrie, has added another show to his upcoming run of performances with VTSL.  Join Colin for four shows benefiting the Colin Mochrie Scholarship Fund at VTSL’s theatre school, The Improv Comedy Institute. Since 2014, the scholarship provides assistance to those wishing to study improv but are unable to do so because of financial barriers.

The Colin Mochrie line-up of shows is;

COLIN UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL – Thursday, May 24 | 7:30pm | The Improv Centre

The first performance takes place at VTSL’s home theatre on Granville Island – The Improv Centre. This is your chance to see Colin up close and catch every expressive comedic nuance in an intimate space. This very special evening includes two improv sets starring Colin, along with members of the VTSL ensemble, followed by a Q&A session where audience members ask the questions. There are also a very limited number of tickets (only 40) for an exclusive, post-performance reception where guests will personally meet, and socialize with Colin at The Improv Centre’s Neil Macrae Bar & Lounge. That evening the Bar will be introducing ‘The Colin’ – a cocktail specially designed in Colin’s honour based on his favourite alcoholic beverage – red wine.

 

THE COLIN MOCHRIE EXPERIENCE – Friday, May 25 | 7:30pm & 9:45pm (added show) | The Vogue Theatre

Friday night sees Colin take the stage at The Vogue Theatre, located in the heart of Vancouver’s Entertainment District. This performance once again features the improv master with some of your favourite VTSL players in a free-wheeling improv laugh-fest.

 

COLIN AND FRIENDS – Saturday, May 26 | 7:30pm & 9:30pm (added show) | The Improv Centre

On Saturday, Colin returns to The Improv Centre, VTSL’s home on Granville Island. Seating only 186 people in a mixture of cabaret and theatre seats, The Improv Centre is a very welcoming experience where every seat is a great seat. Colin will be joined on stage by improvisers from the Vancouver TheatreSports™ ensemble for an evening that is sure to tickle your funny bone. The Improv Centre is fully-licensed and guests are welcome to take their beverages with them into the theatre to enjoy during the show.

Tickets are on sale now and available online at www.vtsl.com.

Celebrate with your “SuperDad” at VTSL

This Father’s Day, Vancouver TheatreSports League (VTSL) welcomes guests to a special 2pm matinee performance in celebration of Dads…The SuperDad Show.

The SuperDad Show pokes fun at the foibles and complexities of what it means to be a father these days. Based on audience suggestions, VTSL’s quick-witted improvisers could explore such relevant topics as ‘the sensitive Dad,’ ‘Dads and their love affair with the barbecue,’ ‘hockey Dads,’ ‘Dad, can I have the keys to the car?’ or ‘Dads and Daughters’ to name a few of the endless possibilities.

The family-friendly SuperDad Show takes place at 2 pm, after brunch or leaving plenty of time after the show to take Dad to dinner or to fire up the barbecue.   The Neil Macrae Bar & Lounge at VTSL’s Improv Centre will be open at 1:30 pm for pre-show drinks and, weather-pending, the patio deck over-looking the picturesque Marina will be open for an sunny sip or take your drink into the theatre to enjoy during the show.

Give your ‘super’ Dad some belly laughs instead of headaches and bring him down to The Improv Centre for an afternoon of improv hilarity. Besides, he needs something to take his mind off the fact that the Canucks didn’t make the playoffs. Warning: SuperDad may contain ‘dad jokes.’

Tickets are only $20, including the show PLUS either a glass of House Wine or Beer on Tap or non-alcoholic beverage. Tickets are on sale now at vtsl.com.

Picks of the Week – September 28, 2016

We’re into the first full week of autumn and the city is filled with films, sports and much more in the picks of the week

vf_taco_crawl_web-01-1Tacos: Who doesn’t like tacos? Tonight, Vancouver Foodster’s Taco Crawl highlights taco tastes all around the city

Improv: Just like the GOP Candidate, you never what you’re going to hear when you take in a Vancouver Theatresports League performance. You will certainly laugh along with Trump Card – Winner Takes All the latest VTSL show starting tonight.

Puck: The Vancouver Canucks pre-season gets going with a game at Rogers Arena against Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night then again on Sunday play host to San Jose Sharks

Kicks: Across the street at BC Place, Whitecaps FC tackle Central FC, their next opponent in CONCACAF Champions League play on Wednesday then on Sunday return to MLS & Cascadia Cup competition versus Seattle Sounders

Strings: At The Orpheum on Wednesday, violinist, dancer, performance artists, Lindsey Stirling takes the stage.

Punk: At The Commodore, Canadian electropunk performance artists Peaches plays her unique genre busting style on Wednesday

Films: Thursday, the 35th Annual Vancouver International Film Festival gets underway, bringing two weeks of cinema from around the world

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company’s season gets underway with a farcical whodunit, Baskerville, at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until October 9th and starting Thursday, The Flick takes to The Granville Island Stage until October 29th.

99.9% : 2016 Polaris Music Prize winner Katranada plays an all-ages show at the Vogue Theatre on Friday night

Rock: Veteran rock stalwarts Dinosaur Jr play The Commodore Ballroom on Friday, in support of their latest album

Sync: Friday night at Junction it’s time to Lip Sync for your life with the first Lip Sync Battle hosted by Karmella Barr with DJ Drew

Hoops: Saturday, NBA pre-season play comes to Vancouver when Toronto Raptors face Golden State Warriors at Rogers Arena

Roar: The BC Lions take on Ottawa Redblacks at BC Place on Saturday evening.

Dance: XY YVR ONYX has DJ Quest with Bibi Souphresh keeping your Saturday spinning

Spin: Producer/Remixer DJ Shadow brings his electronic beats to the Commodore Ballroom on Sunday night