The Vancouver Fringe Festival

The Vancouver Fringe Festival is happening again! And no, by fringe I don’t mean bangs or the tassels that hang off a cowboy’s jacket! The Fringe Festival is an arts festival…No, scratch that…The Fringe Festival is the festival where theatre is not only presented, but is celebrated. Volunteers come and support over 700 performances, with the festival itself usually attracting over 40,000 attendees.

The Fringe Festival promotes themselves as “theatre for everyone”, where they enrich artists and audiences and prompt them to create an lively and colourful theatre community, as well as bringing the community together through theatre. The organizers of the festival pride themselves on their fairness, exemplifying it by randomly selecting their performers by drawing names out of a hat. In their eyes, this gives an equal chance for everyone to participate, no matter if they’re a veteran, or an emerging performer—they don’t play favourites. By doing this and many other untraditional practices, the Vancouver Fringe Festival proclaims that they’re abolishing traditional boundaries for the purpose of encouraging open communication between performers and their audiences; they present only live, raw theatre in an casual environment, allowing audiences to be comfortable and really experience true, uncensored theatre.

British Columbia’s largest theatre festival, The Vancouver Fringe Festival likes to put on one large party, with the next installment taking place from October 29th to November 8th. Don’t blink ‘cause you’ll miss it! The VFF has been consistently voted Vancouver’s Best Arts Festival by Georgia Straight readers, so you know it’ll be worth your while, and on top of that, all the artists performing in the festival will receive 100% of regular box office revenue as well, so you can feel comfortable knowing that you’re supporting your local performers directly. View their lineup on the Vancouver Fringe Fest’s website today and check out all the acts coming on October 29th.

The Lullaby of Broadway

The Lullaby of Broadway is Royal City Musical Theatre’s first ever online concert! Due to the nature that the world is in right now, accessing a theatre show is now easier and not to mention safer than ever, and you can watch some of your favourite classic Broadway tunes performed by Canadian talent just from the click of a button!

The Lullaby of Broadway online event consists of a short, 25 minute concert that is available for you to access now on the BC Culture Days website! So if you don’t have time to take out of your busy life to go and attend a show, you can access it from your own home. It is free to view, which is awesome, and of course, the Royal City Music Theatre is accepting optional “pay-what-you-may” donations, so if you want to support the community’s local theatre you definitely have the option to do that!

To give some background on the Royal City Musical Theatre in case you haven’t heard of it before, RCMT has been running since 1989, and is a volunteer-led organization, that allows the community to come together as well as emerging talent and theatre professionals, all through the magic of musical theatre. In recent years, more than 10,000 audience members attend the Royal City Musical Theatre for whatever shows they are putting on that year, usually at the Massey Performing Arts Theatre in New Westminster. And year after year, audiences continue to pour in to experience the enchantment that takes place on stage.

If you feel like you’re missing out on your favourite theatre performances due to the pandemic, have no fear! The Royal City Musical Theatre website is very informative, and you can find a list of previous events, as well as upcoming shows that are accessible remotely. Go watch The Lullaby of Broadway as well as other shows today, and let’s bring our community together through the performing arts.

The Dance Centre

The Dance Centre on Davie Street in Vancouver is a really amazing place that does so many cool things for the community, as well as the dancers they house. For example, the Dance Centre (which funny enough doesn’t have a specific name, making it sound like the dance centre…the one and only) supports dance professionals through programs, residencies, resources, and many other services that they offer to help them all further their careers on this difficult path they chose. In addition to this, The Dance Centre supports the art of dance as a culture in British Columbia through all the programs they offer, and quite a few of these programs are listed on their website that are available for sign-up for the public, so you can get to experience dance the way the professionals do.

The Dance Centre was established in 1986, originally as a hub for resources for dance professionals as well as the public. Nowadays, not much has changed; they offer a wide range of activities unmatched in Canadian Dance, and put on performances and public events that feature all genres and styles of dance, so if you have a favourite style of dance, it is likely that you’ll be able to find your niche at the Dance Centre! Their mission is to support the growth and livelihood of British Columbia’s dance culture through providing the resources and services that they do for dance as a profession, and their public performances to get everyone excited about dance and bring the community together in an environment where the importance of dance is recognized.

They are currently hosting online workshops and performances that can be accessed through their website, where you can find all the information as to what events they offer, as well as all the essential dates and times, so you don’t miss a show. They are now streaming Sujit Vaidya, a dancer who performs in the South Indian style of dance called bharata natyam. Go check it out as well as the many other shows they offer!

Art Club Theatre Company

The Arts Club Theatre Company is the largest theatre company in western Canada. Every year, over a quarter of a million attendees visit for the sole purpose of experiencing only the high standard of professional theatre that the Arts Club prides themselves on. It has three venues in the lower mainland, including the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, the Granville Island Stage, and the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre, so no matter where you are in the city, you have options. Usually, the Arts Club Theatre company tours throughout British Columbia in their three-show mini season tour, however, due to the pandemic, they now have online programming available exclusively on their website. There, you can browse for upcoming shows, including “No Child…” which is playing now, as well as buy your tickets online before they run out. The website is extremely informative, showing you all their youth and adult programs that they offer in the community, also including fundraisers and charities that they work with that you can donate to. They are also partnered with many restaurants near their locations, so you can stop and grab a bite to eat after seeing a show (even if you saw it right from your bed).

As a theatre company, the Arts Club seeks to create a culture of positivity and generosity within the community, as well as putting on serious and thought-provoking performances to help allow people to develop a inclination to engage with difficult content. The Arts Club actually helped launch the careers of many local actors/actresses like Michael J. Fox, Bruce Greenwood, and Ruth Nichol to name a few. Definitely check out the Arts Club Theatre website, and browse through the many online shows they offer if you’re a fan of theatre, and even if you’re not, the Arts Club will be sure to win you over!

New West Portraits: Art Exhibition

The City of New Westminster has put on a new exhibition this year geared towards helping the community through the difficult repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has been hard for many of us, and dealing with this new normal is not easy for some, but the New West Portraits: Art Exhibition was specifically designed to help relieve us of some of the grief that we may carry with us.

This exhibition was conceptualized as a channel to respond to the effects of the pandemic, as well as the change in our society that comes along with the social change we are all experiencing, for the purpose of soothing people who are going through difficult times. Art is one thing that can be very relaxing for many, and is easy to enjoy as well. Each of the artists’ pieces will also share some common themes like community, inspiration and hope to help our society feel more whole, and to instill in people that they are not alone, and we are all in this together.

You can self-tour the gallery today, all you have to do is book your appointment online and you can go and experience the beautiful portraits of the Art Exhibition if you’re having a bad day, or even if you’re just a connoisseur of art. This event takes place at the Anvil Centre on historic Columbia Street in New Westminster. By organizing this event, the city of New West hopes for the community to be able to explore a plethora of arts and culture that the city has to offer, and cherish the ever-growing arts and culture scene of the city, all while having someplace where people can seek comfort through the art that is displayed.

Definitely come down and take in all the beautiful portraits done by local artists, and support the community as a whole!

2020 Vancouver Writer’s Festival

Calling all writers and novel-lovers! The 2020 Vancouver Writer’s Festival awaits you! This year, on October 19th until October 25th you can head on over to the Writer’s Festival website and explore all the incredible and educational events that they offer! It’s an amazing way to get your train of thought chugging and the inner gears of your mind turning.

The Writer’s Festival this year will offer more than 40 virtual events that are specifically designed to (as they put it) entertain, provoke and inspire your mind for readers of all ages. The festival is in fact encouraging people to not only explore the power of storytelling, but also to spark the desire in you to seek out storytelling and build meaningful connections in your life, through the medium of books. Cool stuff!

They hold dozens of events yearly, with some geared specifically to different age categories, with different writers both local and international who speak to the audience; in the past years of the festival’s 30-year history, speakers have included many world-renowned authors, so you can go listen to your favourite author speak, or possibly discover an author that may turn out to be your new favourite.

The Writer’s Festival also offers a series of programs that you can easily sign up for on their website, including the Incite reading series at Vancouver Public Library, special events with leading writers, and more! And if you just can’t wait for the festival (exciting stuff, I know), and want to learn a little more about the authors and the books that are going to be discussed, the website is your best friend! It’s full of information about each of the many authors as well as a reading list, so you can be properly prepared for the excitement to come.

Of course, while we can’t enjoy the cultural haven of Granville Island this year where the Writer’s Fest usually takes place, we can now experience the transformative power of books and the authors’ ideas right from the comfort of our own home, making it easier than ever to access. This is definitely a must-attend festival this year to not only help us cope through this tough time, but to allow us to spark new ideas and encourage us to rekindle our love of books!

Art 4 Life 2020

If you don’t know already, the seemingly sleepy town of historic Port Moody is not only scenic and beautiful, it’s also home to the arts.

Port Moody just so happens to be the site where Art 4 Life takes place annually, at none other than the Port Moody Arts Centre; this program offers a multitude of art to enjoy, activities to do, and events that they host, all of which they claim are geared to the young and young at heart, so it’s really perfect for anyone.

This program was created with a great purpose in mind: to cultivate artistic growth in the community, especially in the younger generation where it seems to not necessarily be lost, but just to remind that it exists in each and every person. Going along with this is also the main theme of raising cultural and environmental awareness, which is so important to instill in people these days, especially our future generations.

You’re probably thinking— “why would I want to go look at a bunch of art? I’m not an artist!” That’s exactly the point! You don’t need to be an artist, the benefits of arts education affect every aspect of life, and Art 4 Life advocates for it to be a lifelong journey for everyone, so no matter who you are, there is something for you to enjoy, learn, and grow along with.

There are so many local artists that you can come and support whose work is showcased at Art 4 Life, from all different backgrounds, ages, and even from newly emerging artists to professionals. And if you don’t feel like leaving your bed, the gallery can even be accessed online.

Looking through the gallery on the website, the artists’ work is nothing short of incredible, from paintings to figurines, to sculptures to drawings, Art 4 Life really does it all.

The Giggle Dam Vancouver

If you live in Port Coquitlam, you may have heard of the Giggle Dam, if you haven’t, that means the lower mainland’s best-kept secret is still intact.

You may have been to a few comedy clubs here and there, and maybe have not liked the travel time, or something was just missing for you…Well, the Giggle Dam nestled in Downtown Port Coquitlam on historic Shaughnessy street is dinner and a show—starring actors who share a love of theatre and making people laugh, as well as you, the audience. Audience participation is key to a making the night magical, and, if you show you want to participate more, the actors make you feel like a member of the cast. Accompanied with the show, the Giggle Dam offers a 5 course dinner of Canadian cuisine, so you can have a laugh while enjoying some delicious food. And who doesn’t love that?

Every Saturday pre-pandemic, there was always a HUGE line of people down Shaughnessy Street, and even now, reservations are being booked well in advance for their Halloween feature: Vancouver Horror Nights: Fear Maze, as well as for their upcoming Christmas show. And you know what they say, wherever there’s high demand, the service must be amazing, and this holds true with the Giggle Dam. Over the course of the year, the Dam puts on four different shows: one for each season so you’re never bored, and are always tempted to go back.

Its name is exactly what it promises—a night full of fun, satisfied stomachs that hurt only from laughing so hard, and different shows that promise to keep you on the edge of your seat. The Giggle Dam is definitely a must-experience venue, perfect for date night, a birthday, or if you just need a giggle now and then. And even if you’re not a theatre lover, the Giggle Dam will be sure to win your heart.