Summer might be coming to a close, but Vancouver’s biggest season for performing arts is just around the corner.
Here are 12 of September’s hottest arts shows.
Kicking off the fall arts season, FAÇADE will bringing the digital art of projection mapping to downtown. The free festival will see the facade of the Vancouver Art Gallery lit up for 10 days by as many artists. It’s the second year of the festival, which last year saw 35,000 people enjoy the new media festival in the heart of downtown.
BC writer Mark Leiren-Young’s 20-year old play returns Bard on the Beach, which originally premiered the work back in 1996. Shylock’s one-man monologue about censorship, racism and the role of theatre still strikes many chords today. The provocative contemporary work has been updated to tie directly into our current political and social climate.
Taking over most of Granville Island and beyond each year, VIFF is a wacky festival for theatre-lovers. From novices to veterans, it’s luck of the draw for all shows, which means you can see literally anything on stage. From one-person shows to musicals to the truly experimental, it’s a great way to take in up-and-coming work and new ideas—frequently in a raw, bootstrapped format.
All things flamenco are at this annual festival of dance, featuring both ticketed performances and free events. The traditionally Spanish art form takes on new multicultural meaning with both Canadian and international artists. The festival’s big draw this year is La Moneta at the Vancouver Playhouse, a dancer who mixes contemporary and traditional flamenco styles.
The hills are alive in this new production of the timeless musical classic, featuring the most perfect family ever yodelling away in the Austrian countryside. The Sound of Music film adaptation is now over 50 years old, and this touring production will be a great way to revisit those “favourite things” of your childhood. Love it or hate it, we still have “Doe, a deer, a female deer” stuck in our heads…
Six guys take to the stage, mixing ballet with street in this piece about loss, memory, and the longing for something unattainable. Set to a haunting cello score by Hildur Guðnadóttir, Saudade is by BC choreographer Joshua Beamish, whose past portfolio contains as many international accolades as it does local.
This local dance company specializes in contemporary butoh, a “Japanese philosophy of movement.” Embrytrophic Cavatina pushes the form further, stripping bare four dancers in this primal and provocative piece. The “pure emotion and anguish[ing]” score is a cheeky 69-minutes long, and everything about this production promises butoh like you’ve never seen it before.
75 years ago, over 8000 Japanese-Canadians were detained in barns where the PNE now stands today. Site-specific theatre takes on new meaning in Japanese Problem, shedding light on this little-known dark moment of Vancouver history. Set in a recreated stall within the original building of the Japanese-Canadian incarnation, the intimate performance incorporates interviews with survivors and their descendants, many of whom are still dealing with the ramifications today.
The writer behind A Steady Rain used to write medical journals by day, penning his own original plays at night for over 20 years. That tenacity paid off when Keith Huff eventually sold the two-man play, prompting offers to write for Mad Men and House of Cards. Now, some Vancouver TV actors are putting on the show at the Havana Theatre, reprising the roles of Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig of the original production. Apparently it’s go big or go home for these Hollywood North veterans.
Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play has this tagline: “A Human Comedy on the Slope of Existence”. Coming out of the theatre school at UBC, the play is funny and bittersweet all at once. To seal the deal, cake, champagne and bubbly discussion will follow each performance.
Everyone knows someone like Shay Kuebler’s character in Feasting on Famine. The pro-supplement, obsessive-compulsive, hyper-masculine culture of bodybuilding takes to the stage in at the Firehall’s season opener. Exploring the blurred lines between passion and addiction, the #eatclean movement finally gets its moment under the critical lens.
These 18-and-under stars all have major network credits under their belts, from the CBC to Disney to Netflix. Now they’re coming together to triple-threat their way through 13, the Broadway teen musical about growing up. It’s refreshing to see teenagers portrayed by actors of that age group, many of whom will act, sing and dance to a live band.