The cast of Miss Shakespeare. Photo: Bold Rezolution Studio
Miss Shakespeare gets a remount as part of the Firehall Arts Centre season . Photo by Bold Rezolution Studio

Where last year the Firehall Arts Centre celebrated female playwrights, in its 2016-2017 season it will celebrate women, and their connections to community and family.

“It is a very diverse season in terms of the actual content of the work, and the connecting thread that binds the work together is that in every theatre piece there are strong female roles whose characters shape the stories,” says Donna Spencer, artistic producer at the Firehall. “There are so many aspects of womanhood not explored in popular media and in many more traditional theatre pieces. I am interested in providing the opportunity for audiences to see women through a variety of different lenses and think this season does that.”

The Firehall’s  season opens in September with a presentation of Stranger to Hard Work, written and performed by Newfoundland’s Cathy Jones, probably best known for her work on the CBC television show This Hour Has 22 Minutes. In this one-person show, the comedian explores what she has learned in life so far and ponders if indeed she is a stranger to hard work.

In October, Nicolle Nattrass’ Mamahood: turn and face the strange explores the good, the bad and the ugly alongside the funny, absurd and joyful side of motherhood.

In November, Tracey Power’s Miss Shakespeare returns to the stage following its successful run in 2015. Nominated for multiple Jessie Awards last year, it is the tale of six women exploring the seductive power of theatre behind the dingy walls of The Cage Cavern.

January sees the return of the Jessie nominated The Motherf**ker with the Hat, the hard-hitting story of Jackie, who is out on parole and newly sober, and his childhood sweetheart who happens to be an unrelenting coke addict.

In February comes ELLE from Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille. Adapted from Douglas Glover’s award-winning novel, it is the story of some of the formidable forces facing those who set out to colonize Canada. Then in March comes Mary Vingoe’s Refuge, the story of a child soldier from Eritrea and his struggles as a refugee in Canada.

Closing out the Firehall’s theatrical season in April is Circle Game, a new work inspired by the songs of folk-rock legend Joni Mitchell, featuring six young hipsters searching for meaning and a future as musicians.

The Firehall Arts Centre’s dance programming in 2016-2017 begins with Out Innerspace Dance Theatre’s  Major Motion Picture in October, and Vancouver’s Company 605 teams up with Brussels-based Ultima Vez company member German Jauregui in November.  February sees the return of The Mars Hotel, which first premiered at Dancing on the Edge in 2015, this time paired with a new work, Kwan Yin, featuring the choreography of Ziyian Kwan and the music of Peggy Lee. Vancouver’s Hong Kong Exile closes out the season’s dance program with the multi-media piece, ROOM 2048, exploring the socio-political realities of the Cantonese diaspora sourcing themes of loss, nostalgia, and despair.

The Firehall season also sees the return of BC Buds in May, the annual spring festival, in its thirteenth year, features readings, theatre, dance, and music performances throughout the 109-year-old heritage building.

For more information on the Firehall Arts Centre’s 2016-2017 season visit http://firehallartscentre.ca.