Archive for the 'Vancouver culture' Category

My Summer Stage-cation

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

A guest blog post by BFA Acting candidate Christine Quintana

After 8 intense months of training, rehearsal and performance, most theatre students are grateful for their summer holidays and see them as a brief break from their theatre lifestyle.  Not me, apparently.  In September I’ll begin my final year of the BFA Acting Program, but all this summer I’m working part-time for Bard on the Beach and the Arts Club Theatre Company, and I’m also working full time at Carousel Theatre, and loving every minute of it!

This year marks the 20th year of the Carousel Theatre’s Teen Shakespeare Program, and I’m here working as the Marketing and Audience Services Coordinator for their summer production of The Taming of the Shrew. In the Program, 16 teen actors undergo an intense 4 week rehearsal process culminating in a fully staged production which runs for 2 full weeks free to the public.  It’s my job to do everything from getting posters and fliers printed, writing and pitching the press release, taking press photos, to eventually acting as House Manager as we welcome over 3000 audience members to our show over the two week run.  It’s hard work, but it’s the best experience a theatre student could ask for!

Christine works behind the scenes at Carousel Theatre

I work with the incredible Carole Higgins and Jessie Van Rijn, who run Carousel Theatre as the Artistic and Managing Director and General Manager respectively. I feel lucky to go to work every day and learn from such talented women who are leaders in the Vancouver theatre community. I’m so glad to be working behind the scenes because I feel it will make me a better and more professional actor – the things that don’t seem like a big deal (“Oh, sorry, I’ll get my program bio in on Friday…”) can cause massive delays in important administrative or stage management projects!  A successful production means all hands on deck, and I’m so thrilled to be on board with Carousel Theatre for their summer show.

Christine does the photo shoot for Carousel's free outdoor show "The Taming of the Shrew"

I’m blogging and tweeting all summer leading up to the run of The Taming of the Shrew from July 30 to August 14.  I hope you’ll come out and see our show – bring your friends, it’s completely free!  I am excited to be back at UBC come September, but I’ll miss my Carousel Theatre family when I go.

IS THEATRE DEAD?

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

In the first of a series of guest posts from the Arms and the Man company, second year BFA Acting Candidate Ryan Warden weighs in on the question “Is theatre dead?”:

Depending on what circles you’re in the answer will invariably vary. If you’re reading this your answer is probably “no”, but for the vast majority of the population, theatre is just a class they took in high school.

Even many in the theatre community are heralding the death of theatre due to the recent cuts in arts spending. Despite the recent resurgence in arts and culture awareness during the Olympic games, it doesn’t look like things are going to get any better. In fact, yesterday’s budget lockup at the BC Legislature revealed that arts spending will continue to drop to record lows.

High octane rehearsals for our upcoming production of Arms and the Man reveal signs of life.

High octane warm ups in rehearsal for our upcoming production of Arms and the Man reveal definite signs of life. Photo Credit: R Warden

So, for those of us who are investing years of our lives in theatre school, not to mention the years after paying off student loans, it begs the question, “Are you nuts?” Well the simple answer is “yes” and to be honest it’s a question I ask myself far too frequently.

However, all I have to do is look over the past couple years that I’ve been in UBC’s BFA Acting program and it’s plain to see that it would be nuts NOT to do this. It’s way too much fun! And I’ve achieved an awareness of myself and those around me in a way I never thought possible. I’ve managed to break out of my skull and inhabit my body as a whole, fully-functioning person, which is quite a feat in today’s world.

As social interactions and relationships become increasingly web-based, theatre is one of the last strongholds of good old fashioned human connection in its truest form. So those of us here in the Alamo might be committing suicide, but we’ll fight to the death nonetheless.

~ Ryan Warden

Bio: Ryan Warden’s production credits include UBC’s Mother Courage, The Rez Sisters, and A Dybbuk as well as lighting operator for Werewolves (Pi Theatre). Acting credits include The Collector and Weeding the Flowers (Brave New Play Rites), The Dining Room (Director Sarah Rogers) and The Laramie Project (Director Nicola Cavendish). His most recent work was in Romeo & Juliet for Theatre at UBC. He is most proud of his role in David Savoy’s Diary of a Madman, which was chosen for admission to Setkani/Encounter International Theatre Festival in Bruno, Czech Republic. http://www.wardenfilms.com

On Performance:“Secrets that Whisper in the Blood”

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

As an novelist as well as an actor, I have always been fascinated by ‘the secrets that whisper in the blood’; by inheritance, what we have taken from those that have gone before us, our parents, grandparents, even further back. In our genes, of course, but also in how these people behaved, characteristics and even attitudes passed on that we have adopted, that rule some of our actions in ways we cannot tell.

The theme reoccurs in my books… and it is one of the many reasons why the production of this play, ‘The Master Builder’ by Henrik Ibsen has been such a fascinating journey. He was Norwegian, of course, wrote about his countrymen and women. And I am half Norwegian, have always felt viscerally connected to that land of fjords and myths. It features in a lot of my writing. But there is another connection of blood and legacy – my Grandparents, all of them, English and Norwegian, were actors too. And most of them played Ibsen.

Tim Matheson

L-R: Chris Humphries, Norman Young Photo Credit: Tim Matheson

I have a framed photo of Betsy Jordal, my grandmother, on stage in a rather obscure Ibsen, ‘Fru Inger’. Also one of Karl Holter, my grandfather, playing the better known ‘Peer Gynt’. I brought both of them out to UBC, have them sitting there on my dressing table. It seemed appropriate, in the week that included November 2nd, ‘the Day of the Dead’ when people, especially in the Latin countries, visit with their Dead, for me to visit with mine.

Tim Matheson

Chris Humphreys, Photo Credit: Tim Matheson

Karl, Betsy and Me. Eighty years apart, all playing ‘title’ roles’, all wrestling both with acting choices and personal demons, in the psychological maelstrom that are the plays of Henrik Ibsen. I wonder what from their lives they brought to the roles. How, perhaps, consciously and unconsciously, they used their grandparents. Wonder about the line that stretches back, the secrets hidden in time, held in blood.

Somehow, they are up there with me, Karl and Betsy, under the lights, in ways I cannot fathom. I am glad of it – and just a little bit scared.

Guest Post ~ C C Humphreys

Find UBC’s Sweet Spot: The DSS

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Ready – set – and “go” book your tickets to our first Extra Event of the 2009/10 Season from Theatre at UBC. It’s the final week of production for the alumna founded company shameless hussy productions’ professional presentation of Frozen by Bryony Lavery at our Dorothy Somerset Studio Theatre.

The Somserset aka “The DSS” is cleverly disguised as an former engineering shed – but enter the doors to this newly renovated facility and discover the sexiest performance space in all of UBC. It’s the kind of venue Vancouver artists and patrons are continually crying out for, an intimate little black box theatre that features state of the art equipment and seating for up to 120.

Dorothy Somsetset Studio Theatre

Right: Dorothy Somsetset Studio Theatre

shameless hussy company members, including myself, have taken time out from saying the same things over, and over, and over (aka rehearsing) to pitch the opening of Frozen for Simon Ogden’s The Next Stage Magazine on YouTube.

The Dorothy Somerset Studio was first opened in a location below the Frederic Wood Theatre to honor Theatre at UBC’s first and founding department head Dorothy Somerset. Generations of theatre artists cut their teeth in the Somerset including Brent Carver, Goldie Semple, Nicola Cavendish, Eric Peterson and many others – along with our current department head Jerry Wasserman.

It’s a great privilege to return to perform in this historic venue for the first time since it’s been relocated, and to open this play that I love so much under the banner of the Department of Theatre’s very beloved founder, Miss Dorothy Somerset.

A New ‘Art-titude’ for City Council

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

An update on the “Save the York Theatre campaign”. Consider it officially “saved”. Wall Financial rescued the York from the wrecking ball this past Friday for a purchase price of $2 million and the architect, Henriquez Partners, will begin the 12 million dollar renovation this afternoon. Wall purchased the theatre for the City of Vancouver and will foot the bill for it’s makeover in exchange for a density allotment (which Wall will use on one of their future projects – subject to City approval). The City will own the historic 1912 venue on Commercial Drive, with a longterm lease going to the VECC. At this morning’s press conference it was revealed that Tom Durrie has been working on the “Save the York” campaign for 27 years! He presented original “Save the York” brochures circa 1982 to Mayor Gregor Robertson, Heather Redfern, Bruno Wall, Gregory Henriquez and Jim Green, who along with Durrie were the partners involved in brokering the deal to save this historical landmark. In his remarks the Mayor thanked Councilwoman Heather Deal for her part in garnering a “yes” from City Council when they were requested to grant an almost unprecedented 100% transfer of the density of the venue to Wall Financial. Mayor Robertson remarked that Deal has said, “the City of Vancouver has a new “art-titude”. I’m so excited to know this east side venue will be restored, particularly in light of the connection to Theatre at UBC, with Dorothy Somerset, Joy Coghill along with many other of Vancouver’s theatrical pioneers having performed there. From the artist’s renderings it looks like they are going back to the name “Vancouver Little Theatre”. More at http://www.thecultch.com

The Heart of a Theatre

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Over at The Guardian’s Theatre blog, actor and writer Molly Flatt posts a short piece on British theatres and their accompanying bars:

The bar has always been at the heart of a theatre. Not so long ago, it was most likely to be a humble, unlovely little corner where you would anaesthetise the pain of the third act with a watery ale, or hang around in the hope of getting a sweaty handshake from a track-suited off-duty thesp. It may have been a functional, haphazardly stocked meeting place, but the company was lively, local and usually worth a hangover.

Our own unlovely little corner of the Frederic Wood remains dry most of the time (liquor-licensing on campus is not for the faint of heart!) but it definitely makes intermissions and after-show discussion a little warmer if there is a glass of wine to be had. What do you like to see in a bar at a theatre? Let us know in the comments what your favourite theatre bar is either in Vancouver or beyond.

Patrons attending our current production of Medea (opening tonight at the Telus Studio Theatre in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts!) will be able to enjoy a well-stocked bar as the Chan Centre runs their libation-dispensing operation year round. So come to the Chan and enjoy a drink before the show.See you there and cheers!

social media madness

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Tweet, post or get out of the way – social media is here to stay. To bring yourself up to date with the best of the Vancouver internet media, who are hooked into culture, fashion, politics and, well every li’l thing, check out Rebecca Bollwitts “Best of 604″ Awards. Ms. Bollwitt, better known as “Miss604″ is a rising internet entrepreneur and social media specialist.

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