Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

Victoria Fringe Festival – my picks – local

August 20, 2010

Victoria Fringe Festival picks – local companies or actors I know

Disclaimers first:

I am not a reviewer, but I do see a lot of theatre – almost 30 shows at last year’s Victoria Fringe Festival. During the year I volunteer regularly with Atomic Vaudeville, Intrepid Theatre, The Canadian College of Performing Arts, Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre, and Theatre SKAM. I attend the Belfry, Theatre Inconnu and the Phoenix Theatre at Uvic too. My son is a performer.

I have seen these performers in previous shows, or volunteered with them. Based on this, I’m planning to attend their shows at this year’s Fringe.

My picks are listed as listed on the Victoria Fringe Festival website. I have not attended previews or rehearsals. Caveat emptor. Happy fringing!!

VENUE 1: Downtown Activity Centre 755 Pandora Ave

Reckless Daughters features UVic graduate Laura Harris, star of the Fringe festival circuit hit “Pitch Blond”.  There’s been lots of attention for Reckless Daughters, too.


Ginger Ninjas by Elliott Loran and Ingrid Hansen. Elliott is #2 son., home from a phenomenal 2 week  run of Atomic Vaudeville’s “Ride the Cyclone” at Summerworks in Toronto. Ingrid founded Snafu Dance Theatre, producers of last year’s Fringe hit “Pretty Little Instincts”.

VENUE 2: Metro Studio Theatre (corner Quadra & Johnson)

Magical Stone Soup and Pinocchio by Story Theatre. Story Theatre is the grand daddy of them all – 30 years young this year. Take your kids (or borrow some) to one of these shows, and release your inner child in the process.

Thank You My Love, Goodbye a memory play by Jim Leard (founder of Story Theatre) featuring theatre veterans, with graduates and students of the Canadian College of Performing Arts.

Z-Day: The Anthem for Post-Zombie Apocalypse by Jay Mitchell. Undeterred when his gig performing at the provincial legislature was cut this year, Jay penned a zombie musical. Jay is familiar to Atomic Vaudeville and Phoenix Theatre audiences. And who doesn’t love a good zombie show! Zombie episodes

VENUE 3: Wood Hall 907 Pandora Ave

The Big Smoke with Jer Banks.  I first met Jeremy when he was front of house manager of the Metro Studio. Since then he’s worked his way across Canada at other fringe festivals; I can’t wait to see him perform.

Gonads & Gametes by Jeff Leard. The apple did not fall far from the tree. Jeff is son of Jim (Story Theatre) and a UVic theatre student. You may have seen him at the Phoenix Theatre or starring in the movie by the Crystal Meth Society.

VENUE 4: St Andrew’s School Gym, 1002 Pandora Ave

Pretty Monster by Milly Mumford.  If you’ve been to Atomic Vaudeville productions, chances are good you’ve seen Millie, an Atomic regular. Here’s to her solo début.

VENUE 5: The Victoria Event Centre 1415 Broad Street

The Peter n’ Chris Show presents: Pete n’ Chris Save the World.  Peter Carlone and Chris Wilson have performed with Atomic Vaudeville, Itsazoo Productions, the Phoenix Theatre and at last year’s Victoria fringe.  They were recently awarded “Outstanding Duo Performance” at the Ottawa Fringe Peer Awards.

Confessions of a Public Servant by Missie Peters.  Missie recently organized Iconocraft with Sammie Gough at the Victoria Event Centre. A performance poet and founder of Poetry in the Raw, Missie is planning a Spoken Word Festival in Victoria in early 2011.

VENUE 11: St Ann’s Auditorium, 835 Humboldt Street

The Money Fast by Wes Borg, Morgan Cranny and Jacqueline McLaughlin.  Atomic Vaudeville regulars, Wes and Morgan starred in The War of 1812 at last year’s fringe. Jacqueline performs at Logan’s Hootenanny. Arguably some of Victoria’s better known theatre and performing personalities.

VENUE 14: King’s Park, 1150 Caledonia between Cook and Chambers

Smalltown: A Pickup Musical by Theatre SKAM. Theatre SKAM celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. You may have seen their Home Grown Collective shows: School House Rocks and Bike Ride. Specialists in site specific theatre. I have haunting memories of the boat sailing in to shore at Fleming Beach for Lieutenant Nun.  “Are you in?”

VENUE 16: University Canada West, 950 Kings Rd

Dave Morris is an a**h*** (and you can be one too!) Dave organizesthe Big Rock Showdown for stand up comics on the 3rd Sunday of the month at the Victoria Event Centre. A performance/slam poet, stand up comic and improviser of note. One intriguing title, sure to grab people’s attention.

Summer Fun in the City – Theatre

July 7, 2010

We are truly blessed in Victoria, BC – voted Cutural Capital of Canada in 2008.

This summer theatre season includes:

The Victoria Shakespeare Society performing  Richard the III and Taming of the Shrew at Camosun College, Landsdowne Campus

ASAP Theatre performing A Party Worth Crashing and The Next Five Years at the Canadian College of Performing Arts Hall, 1701 Elgin Ave in Oak Bay.

Belfry Theatre and Billy Bishop Goes to War

Blue Bridge Theatre with Street Car Named Desire and Hank Williams, the Show He Never Gave at the McPherson Theatre.

Then, of course, to finish off the summer – the incomparable Victoria Fringe Festival returns, even bigger and better, August 26th – September 6th.

Do you plan on attending live theatre this summer? If no, what would persuade you to do so?

Arts Cuts Affect Us All

August 3, 2009

Our local radio station, CFAX 1070, has on online poll  “Would significant funding cuts to British Columbia’s arts programs affect you personally?”

To me, the results are astonishing – over 60% of respondents indicate that they are not personally affected.

And yet, if you have ever attended a live theatre performance, walked through the art gallery, listened to a free outdoor concert, sang in a choir, been a participant at a community festival or enrolled your child in music, art or dance lessons, you will be personally affected.

In the coming months, arts organizations and ordinary citizens who value the contribution of the arts to their community will need to educate others about the magnitude of the cuts and their implications.

Admittedly, I may be more aware than most. My mother, now 80, founded the Arts Council in Ucluelet in the early 1970s. Music lessons were a fact of life. I went on to live in Europe for 6 years, surrounded by millenia of artistic expression.  My family is Francophone;  art and culture have ensured the survival of Francophones as distinct in our multinational country. And finally, my young adult son is an emerging performing artist.

Would I care as much if none of the above points were true? Hopefully – yes.

How do the arts contribute to your life? Do you see them as indispensable? If so, how are you willing to get involved to ensure that they remain a vibrant part of our society in BC?  If government funding sources are cut, will you be willing to fund arts organizations with your donations and through increased ticket prices?

Although I worry about cuts to funding of arts organizations, above all I worry that the majority may not care about the implications to them personally.