7 Minutes In Heaven with Eternal Theatre Collective

Playwright Steven Levenson is Broadway’s hot writer, the 2017 Tony Award winner for Best Book of a Musical, but before Dear Evan Hansen,  Levenson cut his teeth on 7 Minutes In Heaven.

Eternal Theatre Collective, brings 7 Minutes In Heaven to Vancouver with a run at Studio 16, until March 10th.  The youth run theatre organization is dedicated to providing young actors experience in live theatre.  Seven Minutes In Heaven is a perfect production for this type of troupe, the play, set in the early 90s, centres around 6 teens at a basement party. What follows is a series of random vignettes spanning their evening’s activities. Filled with non sequiturs as the teens, each filled with their own angst and insecurities, try to amuse themselves with games of Candyland, Truth Or Dare, Wink Murder, Spin The Bottle and of course Seven Minutes In Heaven.  Moments of maturity compete with the adolescent insecurities, peer pressure, hormones and awkwardness.

The awkwardness played well with the varying experience of the cast, the play allows any fumbles and slips to seem like natural social stumbles that we all remember from our youth, no matter when you grew up.  The script is filled with cringeworthy moments of mocking, bitchiness, scandal and emotions. Some of the characters break the fourth wall with the awareness of where they’re going in life or what brought them to this time, just to remind us in hindsight that what was so important at 15 years of age, is just a blimp in our road of life.
Director Allyson Fournier and the cast have created a world that will feel familiar to most of us, the realistic basement set and 90s era pop soundtrack take us back to a time before the internet, cell phones, selfies and social media. While we like to think of those times as simpler and more innocent, 7 Minutes In Heaven reminds us that the trials and tribulations faced by teens is the same through every generation, only amplified in our globally connected times.

Now let’s use that social connection for good and share the word about Eternal Theatre Collective’s production of 7 Minutes In Heaven, at Studio 16 until March 10, 2018, tickets are on sale online at eternaltheatre.com

Monsters coming to Scotiabank Dance Centre

Something wicked this way comes as Miscellaneous Productions presents Monsters at the Scotiabank Dance Centre October 6th and 7th.

As evenings grow dark and Halloween season creeps upon us, monsters and villains start to lurk and there will be monsters indeed at the premiere performance of “Monsters”, a new transdisciplinary musical theatre work by Miscellaneous Productions, a Vancouver-based non-profit society which uses art as a path for social change and personal transformation in culturally and socially at-risk youth – empowering them to be fully participating citizens. 

The monsters in question are those, real and imagined, encountered by a cast of Vancouver youth as they explore the concept of ‘monsters as found in culturally diverse, historical, pre-modern, Indigenous and traditional storytelling, as well as futuristic monsters in popular culture. “Monsters” integrates these stories with the performers’ personal experiences of bullying or being bullied — the monsters they have encountered, and the monsters they find within themselves.

Loosely based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but incredibly topical for today’s news headlines, “Monsters” is a strongly anti-bullying, anti-violence, anti-racism play designed for young audiences aged 12 an older, and performed by youth, exploring how and why a community creates and supports a ‘monster’, how collusion functions and how people are often attracted to individuals with loud, brash, forceful or aggressive personalities but are unaware of how incredibly damaging they can be. 

Monsters plays at the Scotiabank Dance Centre’s Faris Family Studio Theatre for two performances only on October 6 and 7, 2017, at 8pm.
Tickets available from brownpapertickets.com

“Monsters” Free Open Rehearsal April 28th.

Miscellaneous Productions invites the public to a free open rehearsal of their new musical theatre work, MONSTERS.  The free open rehearsal and community forum takes place on Friday, April 28 at the Dance Centre’s Faris Family Studio. 

photo: miscelleneous productions

Based loosely on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,  the show is designed for children and played by young actors to help reach the audience on the same level.  The title ‘monsters’  are both real and imagined as encountered by the cast of 14 youth players.  When the show debuts in October, the audience will find strong anti-bullying, anti-violence, anti-racism themes.  The play explores how and why a community creates and supports a ‘monster’, how collusion functions and how many are unaware of how incredibly damaging bullies can be.

A one-of-a-kind youth oriented arts-based company, Miscellaneous Productions is a 17 year old collaborative, non-profit creating  culturally and socially diverse, multi-barriered and mainstream performances, films and music for the public.  

MONSTERS’ free open rehearsal and community forum takes place Friday April 28, 2017, 7pm at The Dance Centre, 677 Davie Street (at Granville St)

Reel 2 Real Film Festival opens Sunday April 2nd

The Reel 2 Real Film Festival is back from April 2-8th, 2017 at the Roundhouse Community Centre and Vancity Theatre at the Vancouver International Film Centre. Rather than just a family friendly festival, Reel 2 Reel is an adult friendly Film Festival.  The film programming has been geared towards youth between the ages of 6-19 who can bring along their families, caregivers, and teachers to enjoy films together.

Canadian and international films, live action dramas, documentaries, animated features and short films, fill the Reel 2 Real film program.

To help the younger audience members appreciate the foreign-language entries, Reel 2 Real Film Festival offers the unique feature of actors reading the subtitles to the audience.  

The program isn’t just film either, kicking off the Festival, on April 2nd, Sunday Funday is a event packed with activities for all ages. The event happens at Roundhouse Community Centre from 10am to 2:30pm and includes an all-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast, four short-film program themes to choose from plus DIY animation workshops, all for the $5 admission price. 

The Opening Night Film – The Sun At Midnight, from the Northwest Territories, (in English and some Gwich’in with English subtitles) opens Reel 2 Real Film Festival at the VIFF Theatre with a Q&A session with filmmaker and lead actors then an Opening Party follows the 4:30pm screening.

Reel 2 Real Film Festival closes on April 8th at the VIFF Theatre at 7pm, with the Closing Night Film, the West Coast premiere of Louise By The Shore, an animated feature from France (in French with English subtitles).

Visit the Reel 2 Real Film Festival website for tickets and the complete film program and all the student, family and other activities.

4H Festival & Auction at The PNE

For as long as the Pacific National Exhibition has been in existence, the 4-H Festival has been a part of it. For over a century, the Fair has welcomed over 450 youth each year, from clubs across the province, to participate in its annual 4-H Festival.  The 4-H program aims at educating youth about farming and agriculture through hands-on learning experiences. Beef & Dairy Cattle, Sheep, Swine, Poultry, Rabbits and Horses are all part of the program. Even Photography, Dog Obedience, Llamas, Mechanics and Electronics and Food and Crafts have found their way to stimulate the Head, Heart, Hands and Health of children for generations. Some alumni, yes I was a 4-H’er in my youth, are now the leaders and their children are continuing the tradition.

The 4-H Festival begins before the PNE opens, with participants arriving on the Thursday evening and exhibitions, stalls set up and shows beginning in the historic Agridome on the Friday.  It’s not all fun and games at the PNE, the kids and parents work long hard hours keeping their animals and stalls kept up and on display for the public.  Interacting with the public is a highlight of the Fair as it’s a chance for the 4-H members to interact and show off their knowledge and animals to the public. The public get to experience a close up look at a variety of animal husbandry, in the spirit of the Fair, bringing the Farm to the City.

For many of the children with market animal projects, the annual 4-H auction represents the culmination of a year of hard work and dedication.  The 4-H’ers spend the year learning important lessons in agriculture, including the costs of raising an animal from birth, and the profit made through sale at the end of the year.   Support from local individuals and businesses that attend the annual auction are integral to the success of the 4-H clubs and the future farmers.  Tuesday’s 2012 auction saw 153 animals up for bidding, including 43 swine, 27 lamb and 83 beef, raising a whopping total of $415,575.


Congratulation go to the Grand and Reserve Champions of each category for bringing in remarkable totals from their animals.

Beef Champions: $10,772.50
Grand- Quentin Jones, Mission 4-H Beef Club
Reserve- Paige Thompson, Abbotsford 4-H Beef Club

Lamb Champions: $2,263
Grand- Megan Blaschek, Yarrow 4-H Lamb Club
Reserve- Sean Hope, Langley Lamb & Woolcraft

Swine Champions: $1,290
Grand- Leia Spencer, Pitt River Lamb and Swine
Reserve- Andrew Graham, Lower Mainland Cattle Club

Next year, when you visit the Fair at the PNE over the opening weekend, remember to take a walk through the barns and ask the 4-H members about their projects or even to get up close to their animals, they’ll be glad to help.

Music Makes Us – Music Monday May 2, 2011

Anyone who’s read this blog probably knows that music is a huge passion for me. I’m not sure where is came from perhaps my parents giving me a guitar and lessons as a child, having a brilliant music/choir teacher in elementary school or teachers having a record  (yes I’m old enough to remember vinyl records) or cassette player in the classroom and encouraging us to bring our music for recess and lunch breaks.  Maybe all of these factors encouraged my fondness for music but as you can see music was part of growing and was promoted in schools.
Nowadays with tight budgets, crowded classes and more pressure for schools to have high academic grades, music often takes a backseat.  To help enrich children and society as a whole, the Arts should be encouraged just as much as sports and knowledge based education. I stumbled upon a website, Music Makes Us,  and organization who’s mandate is just that; The Coalition for Music Education in Canada is dedicated to raising awareness and advocating for the contribution music education.
Take a look at the website and see if you can help encourage music education in your area, then participate May 2nd on Music Monday, the coalitions annual awareness day.
With shows like Glee making school choir popular again and YouTube creating new music sensations, like Justin Bieber, each day perhaps now is a good time to ensure that music education stays on the curriculum and an option and outlet for young people’s energy.