The Cultch’s Heather Redfern is on a mission.
Continuing to make its Democratizing our Stages Project a priority, The Cultch’s executive director has programmed shows for the East Vancouver cultural hub’s 2017/2018 season designed to reflect the diversity of its audiences.
“The most exciting thing for me about the 17/18 season is that it really does dig deep,” says Redfern in a media release. “It really looks in depth at some of the issues that we’ve been dealing with in previous seasons and also at some of the art forms that we’ve been experimenting with.”
Digging deep translates into an impressive 22 shows, over 8 months, in 3 venues. An eclectic mix of local and international shows, the season runs the gamut of theatrical and interdisciplinary offerings. Highlights this season include:
- Kicking off the season is Goblin Market (Oct 3-14), a combination of circus and storytelling from New Zealand’s The Dust Palace
- An audacious mix of dance, poetry, comedy, circus, striptease and song, Australia’s Briefs Factory presents Hot Brown Honey (Jan 9 – 20)
- The Cultch partners Vancouver’s Zee Zee Theatre in presenting an exploration of queer male blackness with Black Boys (Jan 16-20)
- Vancouver playwright and performer Carmen Aguirre combines a Latin American dance lesson with storytelling in Broken Tailbone (Feb 7 – 17)
- Switzerland’s Baccalà Compagnia brings its unique brand of clowning and acrobatics in Pss Pss (Feb 20-Mar 4)
- Alley Theatre brings Quelemia Sparrow’s autobiographical O’wet/Lost Lagoon (May 8 – 12) back to the stage
Once again working with Diwali Fest, The Cultch will also present two shows during this year’s Diwali celebrations:
- India’s Navarasa Dance Theatre presents Encounter (Oct 17-22), a piece of physical theatre exploring the struggles and challenges of that country’s indigenous communities
- Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan (Oct 20-Nov 4) returns with its poignant glace into the brothels of Mumbai
Bringing things a little closer to home, the season will also include three world premieres of works by local companies:
- 1 Hour Photo (Oct 3-15) from Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre is the story of Mas Yamamoto who grew up in a village on the Fraser River, became a prisoner at a World War II Japanese Canadian internment camp, and ended up guarding the Canadian arctic against Soviets during the Cold
- The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius (Nov 22-Dec 3) from Rumble Theatre is a contemporary and satirical version of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus
- Hong Kong Exile presents No Foreigners (Feb 7-17), a multimedia performance where the shopping mall becomes a portal into surreal worlds that carry the nuanced stories of loss and resilience from the Chinese diaspora.
In addition to new works, The Cultch season will also see the return of some favourite shows and companies from past years:
- The East Van Panto is back for its fifth year with an outrageous take on the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (Nov 29-Jan 6)
- For the adult crowd, Cultch favourite Ronnie Burkett’s Daisy Theatre characters present their rendition of A Christmas Carol in Little Dickens (Dec 5-22)
- Old Trout Puppet Workshop returns with Underland (Feb 6-17), an exclusive dive into Alice’s wonderland that will take viewers behind the scenes of a puppet show
The Cultch will once again partner with the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival with two Irish shows:
- I’m Not Here (Jan 24-28) from Ireland’s Theatre Club takes on the very conventions of theatre and turns them on their heads
- From Project Arts Centre comes Dublin Oldschool (Jan 30-Feb 3), a chemically enhanced trip through the streets of Dublin with a mix of storytelling, poetry, and rap music
Other draws during the season include:
- Winner of last year’s Cultchivating the Fringe Award, The After, After Party (Mar 6-17) reunites besties Jules and Fiona in a Ritalin-fueled adventure
- Vancouver’s Prime Cuts Collective presents Nicolas Billon’s Butcher (Mar 20-31) in which a victim confronts the perpetrator of a war crime in a struggle for truth
- Bernard Cuffling stars in Faith Healer (Apr 4-14), an Irish meditation on the role and responsibility of the artist in society
- the frank theatre company takes over the Vancity Culture Lab with an exploration of gender and sexual fluidity with The Explanation (Apr 17-29)
- Belgium’s Ontroerend Goed returns to Vancouver with World Without Us (April 17-29), a new piece about the end of humanity and what comes after
- Also from Belgium comes The History of the World Based on Banalities (Apr 25-May 5), a quirky voyage through a mother’s past
For more information on The Cultch’s 2017/2018 season visit http://thecultch.com.