A Summer of Theatre in Victoria BC

There is an incredible amount of theatre in the summer in Victoria BC.

So much so, it will require masterful planning and attention to detail to avoid missing shows.

Currently playing in June:

At Theatre Inconnu until June 18th – Bear Me Stiffly Up and One Man Hamlet by Ellen Arcand and Clayton Jevne. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this Victoria based alternative theatre, they are remounting Clayton’s pièce de resistance, One Man Hamlet, with an overlay by Ellen. A play within a play.

Theatre Inconnu is Victoria’s longest running alternative theatre, producing shows at Little Fernwood Hall, 1923 Fernwood Avenue.
Blithe Spirit until June 19th, by Noel Coward at Blue Bridge.  Now in it’s third season, Blue Bridge recently won a 10 To Watch award from Douglas Magazine. Presenting modern classics for the modern audience, there is still time to get a ticket to Blithe Spirit and upgrade to a Blue Pass for the remainder of the season (shows in June, July and August).
Here is the Times Colonist review of Blithe Spirit. We were personally very impressed by the direction, acting, set, lighting and sound design of this production – a very polished piece indeed, particularly given the difficulty of Noel Coward’s witty, biting dialogue.

Elizabeth Rex by Timothy Findley June 8 – June 25, 2011

An ambitious project for Victoria’s oldest non-professional theatre, Langham Court Theatre. Langham’s parent organization, the Victoria Theatre Guild, celebrated 80 years in 2009!  Look for incredible costumes and direction in this presentation of a recent work, Timothy Findley’s 2005 play, most recently presented at Stratford. Jean Topham is a Langham Court regular; she will be familiar to some Victoria Fringe Festival attendees for her role in A Measure of Love with Geli Bartlett at the 2008 Fringe. It went on to become the sleeper hit of the festival.

An Improvised Tennessee Williams June 29 and 30th, by Paper Street Theatre Co. Led by veteran performer Dave Morris, five improvisers will create two full length plays in the style of Tennessee Williams.  Dave and Missie Peters, equally well known Victoria performer and slam poet travelled to the Berlin Improv Festival where they studied Williams’ works under Unexpected Productions’ Randy Dixon. They promise that fans of Williams will not be disappointed.

Sex. Drinking. Broken dreams. More drinking. Breaking of things.

Improvised Tennessee Williams. Photo: Steven Orr (with permission)


Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Blue Bridge July 5 – July 17th. Do you remember studying Edward Albee’s play in high school or university? Perhaps you saw the film version with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton? Extremely controversial when first produced, in 1963 it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the award’s drama jury, which was overruled by the advisory committee. There was no drama award given that year. Of note – Meg Tilley takes the stage for the role of Martha.

Ride the Cyclone, Belfry Theatre July 5 – 17th

A musical by Atomic Vaudeville co-founders Jacob Richmond and Britt Small, with music by Brooke Maxwell, choreography by Treena Stubel and costumes by Ingrid Hansen.
Atomic Vaudeville is a cult hit in Victoria, running since 2004. Originally started as a monthly cabaret, the troupe now has over 45 cabaret shows to their credit. In addition they have produced full length shows Legoland (2006) my Fringe re-initiation, Circus Fire,
The Qualities of Zero and Ride the Cyclone.

(Please note – I must admit my personal bias – my son Elliott Loran has a role in Ride the Cyclone).

This is musical theatre unlike any other.

“It’s a comedy, a tragedy, and a musical ride as a teenage chamber choir from Uranium, Saskatchewan die in a roller coaster accident at a traveling fair. Karnack, a mechanized fortune-telling machine, feels responsible for the young choir’s demise, and gives the teens a chance to express themselves to the world after death. Ride the Cyclone is their final recital, where they celebrate their individuality while coming to terms with their untimely demise.”

Ride the Cyclone returns to Victoria for it’s 4th iteration before heading out on a national tour this fall.

“…probably the most uproarious and outrageous piece of musical theatre Canada has ever produced.” Globe and Mail, Toronto

cyclone 125

photo: Barbara Pedrick

Victoria Shakespeare Society – Hamlet and Comedy of Errors on alternate nights July 4th – August 14th. Set on the grounds of Camosun College’s Landsdowne Campus. Last year, at the shows I attended and volunteered for, entire families came with children as young as 6. Some arrived early to picnic before the show.  All the staging is outside – I would advise dressing warmly if the cold affects you. There are still $10 tickets available at the Papery before the run begins. Previews July 4th and 5th are by donation.

Bike Ride Theatre SKAM July 9-10 and July 16-17

Now in its 3rd season, Bike Ride by Theatre SKAM and associates is an absolute treat. Imagine riding your bikes along the Galloping Goose (starting at Cecilia Ravine Park) then stopping for mini-plays presented by a multitude of emerging theatre companies. This is fun for the whole family. Bike Ride rekindled my love of biking. Be sure to put it on your family calendar.

Victoria International Buskers Festival July 15 – 24th

Street and outdoor theatre at its finest. It has been a VERY long time since the last buskers festival in downtown Victoria (early 1990s if my memory serves me). Thank you to John Vickers (the man behind the pumpkin carvings at Government House, and the Masked Ball) and his amazing volunteers for what will, one can only hope, become an annual event.


Fire August 2 – 14th, the last offering of this year’s Blue Bridge Repetory Theatre season. Directed by Brian Richmond with Zachary Stevenson, Jacob Richmond and Celine Stubel.

“Inspired by the lives of Jerry Lee Lewis and Reverend Jimmy Swaggart (who learned how to play on the same piano) Fire traces the rise and fall of Cale and Herchel Blackwell, the sons of a Southern preacher. Featuring classic 50s rock hits and timeless gospel tunes, Fire has rocked the socks off and elevated the souls of audiences across Canada since its premiere in 1985.”

I appreciate the rythmn of the Blue Bridge season: a comedy, a drama, and finally, a rocking musical to send us into the fall!

Mom’s the Word ReMixed August 3 – 21st Belfry Theatre.

“From tots to teens the Moms have tackled them all and now they are back! The shockingly funny Moms reunite to bring us highlights from the smash hits Mom’s the Word and Mom’s the Word 2: Unhinged, their globetrotting, multi award-winning comedies. They’ve touched hearts and tickled funny bones from Australia to London’s West End with their true stories of the heartache and joy of motherhood. New mom or grandmother, male or female, the Moms will move you to laughter and put a lump in your throat.”

I’ve seen Mom’s the Word and Mom’s the Word 2:Unhinged and simply could not stop, alternately, laughing and crying. Take your mothers, take your sisters, take your girlfriends!

Die Roten Punkte – Kunst Rock (Art Rock) Aug 18 – 20.   These darlings of the Fringe circuit – Astrid and Otto Rot – return to Victoria for a 3 day gig. They are consistent sell-outs at the Victoria Fringe, where they will NOT be performing this year. Don’t miss this rock-parody duo. Get Your Fringe On – early!

Victoria Fringe Festival August 25 – September 4

Easily my favourite theatre event of the year, 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the Victoria Fringe. Where else can you see shows at 11pm (on a weeknight) with over 60 scheduled shows at 12 venues?  There is truly something for everybody. All ticket sales go directly to the artists. Intrepid Theatre, producers of the Fringe, fundraise via sponsorships from businesses and various levels of government, donations from theatre goers like you and me, as well as the sale of Fringe buttons.

The Fringe is celebrating its birthday with a four day FREE 25th Birthday Bash in Centennial Square. The event will feature an all-ages dance party, the Fringe Eve Preview (a must if you like to meticulously plan your fringing), specially created lanterns and puppets and more!

Do you know of any theatre I have missed? What is your favourite summer theatre?

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.


  1. Hi lacouvee!!

    Thanks for a great summary of theatre. I noticed you missed Black Box Production’s dinner theatre production “Murder on the Oriental Rug.” Check it out! http://victoriadinnertheatre.com/

    • @lacouvee says

      Jessica – thank you so much for the mention of Black Box Production’s. I try hard to include everyone, but am not on all theatre companies notification lists. Perhaps you could add me!

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