A Winter of Theatre in Victoria BC. January and February.
Do you remember in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy says “Toto, we aren’t in Kansas anymore?” That’s the way I feel about the Victoria theatre scene in January and February. It was only a few short years ago that my theatre viewing consisted of TWO shows. Last year there were a possible 25 if my memory serves me correctly (I saw 13), and this year is not going to be very different. Congratulations to the many performers and creatives who are working hard to make these bleak winter days a little more cheerful.
Here’s the complete run-down on events for the next two months, January and February 2015. It’s current and correct to January 9th. I’ll add changes as they occur.
Congratulations are in order to Theatre SKAM who starts their 20th year off with a bang and a party then follows it up by collaborating with Ballet Victoria in late January. Company C—the Year III students from the Canadian College of Performing Arts—have moved their schedule into the New Year with a final performance, also at the end of the month, and Vancouver’s Theatre for Living (formerly Headlines Theatre) makes a brief foray to Victoria to present a work on de-stigmatizing mental illness. SIN City the Live Improvised Serial returns for a fifth season, Miss Rosie Bitts performs Stories of Love and Passion as a fundraiser for PEERS, and Puente Theatre presents their play-reading series, World Play, with offerings from around the globe (I’ve got dates for the series, but plays and directors will follow).
When it comes to variety shows, look for a return of Derwin Blanshard’s Extremely Classy Sunday Evening Programme, Wes Borg’s Cavalcade of Whimsy, Geez Louise! cabaret, the Merridale Showdown and Come and Play with Ryan and Chris.
Intrepid Theatre hosts a monthly New Play Reading Series (usually, but not always, on the first Tuesday of the month, with a focus over the next few months on women playwrights.
The Incompleat Folksinger by The Other Guys Theatre Company, January 8-18, Metro Studio Theatre
I’ve been waiting since the crowd-pleasing Tall Timber for another evening with The Other Guys Theatre Company. Lovers of Pete Seeger rejoice as they bring their adaptation of his book, The Incompleat Folksinger, to Victoria. Adapted by Ross Desprez and Mark Hellman, with musical direction by Tobin Stokes, it is the perfect night for the folkie in all of us. Seeger passed away in 2014, but his legacy lives on. TicketRocket.org
The FLAME, presented by Deborah Williams, January 12th, Belfry Theatre.
A storytelling series that features real people sharing their personal true stories in front of a live audience. Since its inception in 2009, The Flame has flourished and grown into a wildly popular Vancouver and Victoria event that packs venues to the rafters.
People, Langham Court Theatre, January 13-31.
The latest work by British playwright Alan Bennett, is a biting farce , written in 2012, that asks the question “What happens when an aging dowager can no longer manage her aging manor house and rents it out unwittingly as a film location for a porn film?” Langham has a solid reputation for doing great justice to farce and People is bound to be hilarious and pointed fun. Langhamtheatre.ca
Sin City the Improvised Serial returns January 13 for Season 5—SPACE. Victoria Event Centre
Join an intrepid and talented group of the city’s premier improvisers in this perfect blend of theatre and improv. Completely unscripted, the story will provide you with a new appreciation for improvisation, and an inordinate amount of belly laughs. Directed live by Ian Ferguson. January 13 is the preview and 100th show since Sin City debuted in Victoria in 2010. The season premiere is January 20th.
The Bad Touch by Kat Taddei, part of SATCo (the Student Alternative Theatre Company at UVic), January 14-16 12:45 at the Phoenix Theatre
The Bad Touch follows two separate homosexual couples over the course of a one night stand. The play is fresh, fast-paced and not afraid to show a little skin.
20th annual Birthday Bash, Theatre SKAM at the Atrium. January 17th.
Celebrating 20 years of providing unconventional and alternative theatre to Victoria audiences. Music by Mike Demers and Friends, nibblies and the famous “SKAM Raffle”.
Mike Delamont: A Face For Radio. January 17th. Intrepid Theatre Studio
Canadian Comedy Award Nominee Mike Delamont records his very first stand up comedy album. Mike has appeared on the Halifax Comedy Festival, CBC’s Laugh Out Loud as well as the world famous Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.
The 9pm show is sold out but there may still be tickets left for the 7pm show. This is a live-taping with studio audience for a radio show.
The Merridale Showdown, All Star Edition, hosted by Kirsten Van Ritzen, January 18th. Victoria Event Centre.
This perennial favourite, now in its fifth year, sees a bevy of local solo entertainers vying for cash and the showdown crown. On any given evening expect improv, comedy, music, spoken word and more.
Stories of Love and Passion by Miss Rosie Bitts, January 22nd, a fundraiser for PEERS. Metro Studio.
The Fabulous Miss Rosie Bitts mixes jazz and burlesque with raw seduction in these heart-breaking, hilarious and taboo tales of sex work, unplanned pregnancy, loss of virginity and more. With live accompaniment, Rosie creates a night of entertainment that is a luscious pleasure to the senses while also being subtly subversive, perfectly frank and completely titillating.
Part of the mandate of this show is to raise awareness for sex workers’ rights and to connect with local organizations that support sex workers. We are so lucky to have PEERS here in Victoria. PEERS is an organization that provides outreach and care and wellness programs for local sex workers. Rosie spent the fall touring this show across the United States, in all her travels she couldn’t find another organization like it.
Read my interview with Rosie (from her appearance in 2014 at UNO Fest).
Miscast: A Cabaret and Dance Party, January 22 at the Victoria Event Centre
Join us for a bit of musical theatre mayhem followed up by a dance party with the 11-piece funk band; State of Funk
Some of Victoria’s emerging young performers tackle songs they would otherwise never (and we mean NEVER) get to sing on stage due to age, gender, voice type, race, etc.
Hosted by: J McLaughlin
Featuring: Noelle Antonsen, Joseph Goble, Aubrey Antonsen, John Han, Alex Judd, Julie Forrest, Kiaran McMillan, and Sarah Murphy
A fundraiser for Go Bull Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening (in Smithers)
B4Play at the Belfry Theatre, January 24 in collaboration with CBC Radio
Join CBC Radio’s morning host Gregor Craigie for a live talk-show featuring artists from Belfry productions and experts from the community.
At 11:00 am on the Saturday before opening night of each new show, we’re putting on the coffee, putting out the treats, and welcoming you to start your weekend with four amazing conversations. CBC Radio records these sessions for broadcast, but you can be the very first to go behind the scenes.
This very popular event is well-attended—expect to get there early (at least ½ hour in advance) to get a seat.
Geez Louise! Winter Debacle, January 25. The Victoria Event Centre.
Party gal Louise (Kirsten Van Ritzen) creates comedy mayhem as she hosts her own character variety show, featuring a whack of kooky acts! In Victoria, ‘Louise’ has thrilled audiences at FUNNY WOMEN FESTIVAL, PHILLIPS COMEDY NIGHT, and more; she also hosted the hit weekly comedy show LUCILLE’S BALL in Toronto. Co-presented by Victoria Event Centre.
Come and Play with Ryan and Chris: Slumber Party, January 27, Copper Owl
Comedians Ryan Bangma and Chris Vickers host an eclectic event that celebrates its first birthday this month.
In a unique offering, the Belfry presents two one-act plays about mothers: The Best Brothers by Daniel McIvor and How to Disappear Completely by Itai Erdal (presented at UNO Fest in 2013).
In The Best Brothers, a touching new comedy, a freak accident at Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade leaves Bunny Best’s sons to mourn her, to celebrate her and to ponder the big questions like “who did she like best?” and “who gets the dog?”
How to Disappear Completely is an amazing new play from Vancouver’s Itai Erdal. Blending his love for lighting design and the true story of his mother in her final days, Itai and his collaborators have created one of the most loving and compelling stories you will ever see.
Six Characters in Search of an Author, Company C—Canadian College of Performing Arts, January 29-February 1. CCPA Performance Hall, 1701 Elgin (Oak Bay).
This absurdist play by Luigi Pirandello is considered to be one of the most influential stories in the history of world literature. Ccpacanada.com
The first of four SKAM Remixed—a yearlong program of projects that revisits and reinvents past productions.
Dance Victoria presents Dance Days where Theatre SKAM presents Ballet Victoria’s interpretation of Sean Dixon’s play Aerwacol. Originally performed by Theatre SKAM in 2000 in the Belfry Studio, at an abandoned railway platform in Toronto and under Vancouver’s Burrard Street Bridge, this production is ballet-based and indoors. Very civilized.
maladjusted, Theatre for Living January 31. Songhees Wellness Centre.
This Vancouver-based company, formerly Headlines Theatre, comes to Victoria for one night only, in collaboration with Vancouver Island Health Authority and Hulitan FamilyServices, to present a play about humanizing mental health. maladjusted is a powerful interactive play, originally produced in 2013, and created and performed by patients and caregivers. The play addresses issues in our mental health systems that are creating barriers to human-centered care. Tickets and more info: 778- 977-3180
Hand of Jane by Karen Lee Pickett, February 3, Intrepid Theatre Club.
Part of Intrepid Theatre’s New Play Reading Series.
Casino Royale 006 Never Say Never Again February 5th at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.
This glittery evening of entertainment and glamour, in support of CCPA was voted “Favourite Artsy Fundraiser” by Monday Magazine readers. Ccpa.eventbrite.com
Marzad: An Evening Out with Two Best Friends, February 5th, Vic42 (660 Discovery beside Discovery Coffee).
Izad Etemadi and Marlie Collins met at the Canadian College of Performing Arts and became fast friends. They live on opposite sides of the country, and have never performed together. For one night only—expect songs, skits, stories and more.
Yule Bleed by Laura Simon, February 6/7 Intrepid Theatre YOU Show, Intrepid Theatre Club.
The YOU Show is an initiative of Intrepid Theatre that gives emerging artists an opportunity to stage new work without cost.
A snappy comedy about a family who makes a trip to the shopping mall to donate blood on Christmas Eve. It “asks some zany questions about our everyday foibles and the shortcomings of the modern medical machine”, says Simons.
WorldPlay by Puente Theatre, Febuary 8, Belfry Theatre, Studio A. TBA
A play reading series of plays from around the world.
Lion in the Streets, UVic Phoenix Theatre, Febuary 10-21.
A play, by award-winning Canadian playwright Judith Thompson, that explores the redemptive power of forgiveness, presenting a vision of grace that is earned in human, rather than divine, terms. Recommended for ages 17+.
The Cyclone Song Cycle, a fundraiser for Blue Bridge Theatre, February 12-15
Join the original cast of Atomic Vaudeville’s smash musical hit Ride the Cyclone as they sing songs and tell stories from previous productions. Whether you are a die-hard Cyclone fan, or have never heard the music before, you will want to attend. Ride the Cyclone has its American premiere in Chicago in the fall with an American cast. This will be your last chance to hear the Canadian cast (Kelly Hudson, Elliott Loran, Sarah Jane Pelzer, Rielle Braid, Kholby Whardell). Please note: this is not a full production.
Alice, based on the stories of Lewis Carroll, Kaleidoscope Theatre, Feburary 14-15 at the Atrium.
Kaleidoscope Theatre’s young company presents an adaptation by artistic director Roderick Glanville. Kaleidoscope.bc.ca
Merridale Showdown,February 15 at the Victoria Event Centre
Show host Kirsten Van Ritzen as local solo performers vie for cash and the showdown crown. Music, comedy, spoken word, storytelling and more
WorldPlay by Puente Theatre, Febuary 15, Belfry Theatre, Studio A
Staged readings of plays from around the world. TBA.
Alien Creatures A Visitation from Gwendolyn MacEwan by Linda Griffiths Theatre Inconnu February 17 – March 7. Little Fernwood Hall, 1923 Fernwood Road.
The ghost of MacEwan, one of Canada’s greatest poets, visits a contemporary audience to tell tales of her life, her work, her inspiration—and her death—in this magical text of story-telling. Ticketrocket.org
Cities and Girls, by Christine Willes, Canadian College of Performing Arts February 20-22. CCPA Performance Hall, 1701 Elgin (Oak Bay)
Performed by the College’s 2nd year students, this world premiere, written and directed by Christine Willes, is a riotous post-dramatic music theatre event based on the album of the same name by renowned Canadian performer Myra Davies and German electronica composerGudrun Gut.
The Workingclass Opera, February 20 at Rifflandia HQ, 1501 Douglas Street
Fundraiser for the inaugural season of workingclasstheatre. An evening of opera, dance and music with food, drink and auction.
Here at workingclasstheatre, we’ve been working hard to put together a season to remember. What better way to start off the new year, and our first official season in Victoria, than by gathering a dedicated group of young artists and collaborating to put on a great show!
This evening will feature an approximately one hour long concert, with the vocals of local opera talent Sam Marcaccini. Alongside his powerful tenor, will be three ballerinas, who have been so kind to work with us while keeping their busy schedule at Ballet Victoria!
The dancers, Kaela Willey, Emily Bridge, and Georgia Semple, have choreographed original pieces for this night of local talent coming together.
Kafka and Son, February 21 at Intrepid Theatre Club
Following an international tour, Intrepid Theatre is proud to announce the return of Alon Nashman (Hirsch – Uno Fest 2014) with his intense and haunting solo portrait of Franz Kafka and his father. Fewer than 50 seats are available for this special performance in the intimate Intrepid Theatre Club.
Kafka and Son is essential, expressionistic theatre, which has toured to acclaim in North America and Europe. At the age of 36 Franz Kafka was still living at home, a petty bureaucrat, a failed artist, a timid Jewish son. Ruling and ruining his life was his overbearing father, Hermann. What to do? Kafka wrote, in this case a 50-page letter to his father in which he reveals deep connections between his life and his fiction. As he confesses in the letter “All my writing was about you.” Adapted from this monumental (and undelivered) letter, Kafka and Son is a blistering, often hilarious, examination of domestic authority, and a journey ”into the heart and the mind of the inventor of the modern psyche.” (*****The Hague Online)
Derwin Blanshard’s Extremely Classy Sunday Evening Programme, February 22, Victoria Event Centre
Join host Wes Borg, aka Derwin Blanshard, and a slew of Victoria’s favourite entertainers as the live studio audience in this send-up of a TV variety show. Past guests have been politicians, entertainers, world-famous scientists, internet celebrities and local mixologists.
WorldPlay by Puente Theatre, Febuary 22, Belfry, Studio A
Staged readings of plays from around the world. TBA
Come and Play with Ryan and Chris, February 24th, Copper Owl
Brush Up Your Shakespeare a fundraiser for the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival, February 28, St Nicolas Ukrainian Church (corner of Caledonia & Quadra)
Featuring musical theatre talent with songs from Kiss My Kate, West Side Story, and the Boys from Syracuse, as well as special improvised Shakespeare performance by Dave Morris of Paper Street Theatre, an appetizer buffet, silent auction, fun and games!
WorldPlay by Puente Theatre, March 1, Belfry, Studio A
Staged readings of plays from around the world. TBA