Tuesday, April 16, 2024

North Vancouver’s Presentation House gives a whole new meaning to stage fright

Member companies of the HIVE Performance Collective transform the North Vancouver venue just in time for Halloween

Just in time for Halloween, North Vancouver’s Presentation House is filling every nook and cranny of its building with creepiness from nine emerging theatre companies.

“This event is going to be different from your traditional haunted house, where you simply walk through a maze with spooky surroundings,” says Andrea Loewen, Presentation House Theatre’s managing director in a media release. “It’s a guided, theatrical experience created by some of the Lower Mainland’s most exciting up-and-coming artists.”

Certified as a haunted location by Vancouver’s Cornerstone Supernatural Group, according to its director and lead investigator Paul Busch, during their investigation, they encountered an unexplainable shadow in the top right portion of the seating area. “That same shadow was seen by myself in the audio booth on the left-hand side of the top row,” says Busch by email.

Another area of interest to Busch and his team was an empty upper floor area where their EMF (Electric Magnetic Field) detector reacted to something and subsequently drained the equipment’s battery.

“Batteries and equipment are always fully charged or changed before any investigation, and it is common for equipment to be drained of its energy as we believe that whatever is there is using the energy to manifest in some way,” he continues. “It also had reacted to the questions about whether or not it was a little girl – who knows.”

Busch also referenced unexplained scratches on the window sill in the boardroom and indications of a presence behind the mainstage near the dressing rooms. Unable to confirm some of their findings, Busch says he and his team will be back.

While organizers fall short of promising any actual ghosts, they do say audiences will have an opportunity to venture through secret and hidden areas of Presentation House that are usually unseen by the public. These areas will include vaults, back passages, and odd doors to unexplained rooms, along with the more traditional spaces of the building.

“Each of the nine companies has their take on the idea of a haunted place, so there will be lots of different and interesting ways to be scared in some unexpected spaces,” says Presentation House’s artistic director Kim Selody in the release.

As part of the HIVE Performance Collective, the participating theatre companies are among an ad-hoc collective made up of a dozen independent theatre-makers working collaboratively. Companies appearing at the Presentation Haunted House include Little Thief Theatre, Nebula Theatre, Re:current Theatre, Star Star Theatre, The Troika Collective, and Unladylike Co.

“I am incredibly excited to see what the artists from the HIVE Performance Collective create in our building,” adds Loewen. “They’re so creative and innovative in their work, and I know they’ll transform our entire building into something fun and spooky.”

Presentation Haunted House takes place at the Presentation House Theatre (333 Chesterfield Ave, North Vancouver) on October 31 through November 1. Visit phtheatre.org for tickets and information.

Editor’s Note (29 Oct): This article was edited to correctly identify Cornerstone Supernatural Group, not as a Society as originally indicated.

Editors Note (27 Oct): We reached out to Cornerstone Supernatural Group for comment on their supernatural investigation of Presentation House. This article has been edited to include some of their findings.

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