This fall, the Cultch will celebrate its 50th Anniversary with a season bursting with comedy, world premieres from Vancouver theatre companies, three big contemporary circus shows, and a very East Van Panto twist on Beauty and the Beast.
The season opens in September with Fairview, a Pulitzer Prize-winning satirical drama produced by the Search Party (the Vancouver company behind last year’s smash-hit Stupid F*cking Bird). Fairview starts as a suburban comedy about a middle-class Black family, but soon becomes a commentary on surveillance, in what the New York Times calls “a scary reminder of the unmatched power of live theatre.”
Theatre Replacement’s East Van Panto — Vancouver’s silliest holiday tradition — is back with East Van Panto: Beauty and the Beast. "Laugh-out-loud, loving send-ups of East Van stereotypes," writes Andrea Warner for the Georgia Straight. “And some excellent digs at West Van!"
Te Tangi ā te Tūī — the first of three big contemporary circus shows in the anniversary season — opens at The Cultch’s York Theatre in October. This world premiere fuses Māori culture with the artistry of the circus — sparking a delightful spectacle for all ages.
In January, The Cultch teams up with DanceHouse to bring the boundary-breaking Australian circus company Gravity & Other Myths to Vancouver. The company will take audiences to heart-in-your throat territory with The Mirror, an astonishing circus-dance hybrid and their most ambitious show to date.
Closing out the season is Barbu from Cirque Alfonse, a raucous Québécois circus clan known for their beards, bravado and accompanying live band.
This year, The Cultch will present four world premieres from local companies: Fat Joke by Cheyenne Rouleau (think Nanette by Hannah Gadsby meets Inside by Bo Burnham), Aki Yaghoubi’s Parifam from Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, or vAct, and Medusa Theatre, Kamila Sediego’s Homecoming from Urban Ink; and Tai Amy Grauman’s You Used to Call me Marie… from Savage Society.
Vancouver’s the frank theatre stages How Black Mothers Say I Love You by Trey Anthony, author of ‘Da Kink in My Hair. This play tells a heartfelt and humourous story about an immigrant mother and her daughters.
And just in time for Valentine's Day, Vancouver’s Monster Theatre brings Juliet: A Revenge Comedy to the Historic Theatre: this action-adventure comedy has earned five-star reviews on its romp all across Canada and a Jessie Award for Best Performance.
The Cultch will also continue to offer online performances through RE/PLAY, its digital platform. Bird by Kylie Vincent (part standup, part memoir, part fever dream) is available to stream now with more works planned for release.
The Cultch has astonished and delighted Vancouver audiences for half a century with cutting-edge performances.
“As we look forward, we have had to look back and remember what the live arts bring to the human spirit," says Heather Redfern, the organization's executive director.
"We bring everyone together to celebrate our own and each other’s stories. We put messages of empathy, tolerance and hope into plays, dances, circus, music, puppets and storytelling and send it out into the universe for each person to find in themselves and to share with their communities.
“We are rebuilding and celebrating together."
For showtimes, tickets and season ticket packages, visit The Cultch’s website.
Read more: Art
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