Autumn Update from the Firehall

Everything is connected – 35 years of theatre and dance that connects.

The Firehall has been bustling since kicking off our 2017-2018 season.  Feasting on Famine and Hyperlink have been and gone and Happy Place by Pamela Sinha just closed.  The cast and crew of Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth are into their second week of rehearsals and  True Voice Theatre Project just presented here as part of the Heart of the City festival.  We have lots of artists coming in and out for upcoming projects and our two Puppies-in-Residence, Wookie and Lou, roaming the halls.  Their humans General Manager, Susan, and Marketing and Administrative assistant, Cheyenne, also play a very important part here.  We are excited to be in our 35th season with an amazing line-up for our audiences. There is truly something for everyone.

Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth, first produced at the Firehall in the ‘90’s, is the story of Janice Wirth (born Grace Wabung), who was raised by a white family in London, Ontario after being removed from her birth family’s home in Otter Lake, a First Nations reserve. Janice’s birth sister, Barb, surprises her at her home in Toronto with her boyfriend, Rodney, and his brother, Tonto.  They are there to convince Janice to come back to Otter Lake to pay her last respects to their birth mother, who has just passed on. After much convincing, Janice agrees to do so and in doing so is forced to confront her feelings of anger and resentment, as well as to seek forgiveness.

Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth is a sequel to Drew Hayden Taylor’s earlier play, Someday and is set 5 months later.  In Someday, Janice/Grace comes to Otter Lake to find her birth mother, Anne, on Christmas eve, hoping to resolve some of the question she had about why she was adopted.  When she discovers that 35 years earlier she was taken from her family during the “scoop-up”, for no known reason, she runs away from this past in her confusion and pain.  “Scoop-up” is a term that has been used to describe the removal of Native children from their families during the 1950’s and 1960’s. These children were taken from their homes to be placed in adoptive homes in Canada, Europe and the U.S.A. Siblings were separated and grew up in totally different worlds from what they were born into.   Anne Wabung, Janice’s birth mother, never completely gave up hope of “someday” reuniting with her baby Grace and to her death hoped she would see her family reunited. However, this was not to be.

Drew Hayden Taylor is adamant that the two plays work independently of each other and indeed they do.  He has referred to the earlier play as the family’s and mother’s story whereas Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth is about the sisters, particularly Janice coming to terms with her experience.

In the New Year, the season will continue with The Pipeline Project, produced by ITSAZOO Productions and Savage Society in a work that asks audiences to confront the political conflicts surrounding Canada’s oil industry and the personal conflicts that arise when one considers the impact of truly ‘going green’ . The second act is a Talk Forward where audiences and guest speakers will respond to the play and talk about what we all can do to create a healthy future.  The Firehall’s production of Australian playwright Patricia Cornelius’ hard-hitting drama, SHIT, follows The Pipeline Project.  As described by Maxim Boon of Melbourne’s Limelight Magazine SHIT is “A brutal but ultimately touching portrait of femininity from the lowest dregs of the underclasses … a truly important work”.

As the leaves fall and seasons pass, the work at the Firehall continues.  But there is still time to take advantage of the great ticket prices available through season’s passes. We have seven great productions still to come!




We Surpassed our Fundraising Goal!

We are so excited to announce that we have surpassed our fundraising goal for our Matching 35th Anniversary Campaign!

Thanks to the numerous donations from our supporters and patrons, we have raised an extraordinary $36,384.

We here at the Firehall Arts Centre are so grateful to be part of such a supportive, giving community.  With your generous donations, you help to make possible our goals: to grow and nurture the success of the arts community in Vancouver, as well as provide tickets for social service organizations and subsidize performance and rehearsal space to community and professional organizations alike.

Every dollar makes a huge difference. For more information about donations and becoming a donor, click here.

On behalf of all of us here at the Firehall, thank you.



The Wait is Over! The Firehall Announces the 35th Anniversary Season!

For its 35th anniversary season the Firehall brings back some old favorites, welcomes back artists we have worked with in the past and introduces new work telling powerful stories as we look back to the future!

September 27-30, 2017 | FEASTING ON FAMINE
Radical System Art/Shay Kuebler
A Firehall Arts Centre presentation
One man’s journey through the extremes of body building and health fitness exploring the symmetry between the human body, the corporation and the excess of capitalism in a world where one man consumes the daily caloric intake of a family of five.

October 4-14, 2017 | HYPERLINK
A collaboration between Itai Erdal, TJ Dawe and Director Rachel Peake
An Elbow Theatre production
A Firehall Arts Centre Presentation
Two storytellers debate the human condition and the (im)possibilities of connection in our era of unprecedented technological progress. Hyperlink is a show about life online and the limits of digital empathy.

October 20-29, 2017 | HAPPY PLACE
Written by Pamela Mala Sinha
A Touchstone Theatre production in association with Ruby Slippers Theatre and the Diwali Festival
Happy Place explores and celebrates the courage, compassion and humour of seven women living amidst each other in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

November 11-December 2, 2017 | ONLY DRUNKS AND CHILDREN TELL THE TRUTH
Written by Drew Hayden Taylor
A Firehall Arts Centre Production
First produced by the Firehall in the ‘90’s, ONLY DRUNKS AND CHILDREN TELL THE TRUTH, will make you laugh and cry as Taylor creates the story of the impact of the “60’s scoop-up of native children on one family.

January 10-20th, 2018 | THE PIPELINE PROJECT
Created by Sebastien Archibald, Kevin Loring, Quelemia Sparrow and Chelsea Haberlin
A Itsazoo/Savage God Production
A Firehall Arts Centre Presentation
Peak Oil, First Nations land claims and climate change are all explored in this provocative and comedic foray into a firestorm of debate.

January 27-February 10, 2018 | SHIT
Written by Patricia Cornelius
A Firehall Arts Centre Production
From Australia’s award-winning playwright, SHIT asks “What of the women and girls who defy gender demarcations, who transgress the boundaries and restraints of social order and expectation? Out of control girls – angry, nasty girls – are a sight to behold. This is a work about these girls. Their names are Billy, Bobby and Sam.”

February 21-24th | A Shared Evening of Dance with Chick Snipper and Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg
A Firehall Arts Centre Presentation
Two friends in dance get together to create two very different works.

March 17-April 21, 2018 | CHELSEA HOTEL: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
Created and directed by Tracey Power with musical arrangements by Steve Charles
Firehall Arts Centre Production
Not to be missed – the Firehall brings its hit show back to the stage in celebration of our 35th season and to pay homage to the late Mr. Cohen. Featuring six artists playing seventeen different instruments, this production has toured across Canada to sold out audiences.

April 25-May 6, 2018 | MÉTIS MUTT
Written and performed by Sheldon Elter
A comedic, heartbreaking and unpredictable performance piece that recounts the journey of a young Métis man finding his way out of a destructive circle, through music, comedy and inventive story-telling.

May 23-26, 2018 | CONTES CRUELS (Cruel Tales)
Text and Choreography by Serge Bennathan Produced by Les Productions Figlio
A Firehall Arts Centre Presentation
Courage and love are the super power of the hero in Grimm’s Tales and countless texts and poetry letting you know that you could save people, save spirit, save honor and save the human. Through text and movement, Bennathan asks us to consider these powerful forces.

June 1-10, 2018 | C’MON, ANGIE!
Written by Amy Lee Lavoie
Directed by Amiel Gladstone
A Flying Start Touchstone Theatre Production
in association with the Firehall Arts Centre
The morning after a one-night stand, questions of consent lead to a highly charged confrontation. The details of the night before slowly unravel, pitting a man and a woman against each other in a struggle to accept the truth, complicated by the way their lives are inextricably linked together. A world premiere showcasing the talents of the sixth Flying Start Playwright, Amy Lee Lavoie.

Early Bird passes on sale June 15th
Full six pack $102
Full four pack $68
Flex Pack 6 pack $138
Flex Pack 4 pack $92
Book before August 1, 2017



18 instruments. 6 multi-talented artists. 2 powerhouse collaborators (and spouses!). 1 legendary Canadian musician.


Here’s a sneak peek of rehearsals of Circle Game: Reimagining the Music of Joni Mitchell with cast members Kimmy Choi, David Z. Cohen, Rowen Kahn, Scott Perrie, Adriana Ravalli, and Sara Vickruck























































Get your tickets now! Follow this link HERE or call our Box Office at 604.689.0926









Last week of Refuge

Here’s what reviewers are saying:

“A powerful and relevant work” – Jay Minter, On The List

“Donna Spencer…brings together a skillful, sensitive cast.” – Jo Ledingham

“Refuge is a genuine eye-opener, and Donna Spencer’s production gives full value to its concerns. The acting is excellent… “ – Jerry Wasserman, Vancouver Sun

“I don’t remember the last time I saw such raw despair on-stage” – Colin Thomas

There are 6 more chances to see this powerful play

Today’s matinee is PWYC, so get here early to guarantee a good seat!

Opening Night

Thank you to everyone who came to the opening of Refuge. We had some very special guests in attendance including playwright Mary Vingoe, Hon. Sen. Mobina Jaffer, and Yasin Kiragga of the African Descent Society of BC.

Yasin Kiragga, Nicola Lipman, and David Petersen

Larry Ho, Ines Ortner, Stephen Heatley, and James Irving

Mary Vingoe with Aadin Church

Angela Moore, Robert Moloney, Yasin Kiragga, guest, Mary Vingoe, Donna Spencer, and Almaz Assefa

Sen Mobina Jaffer, Donna Spencer, Almaz Assefa, and Yasin Kiragga

Elliott James with Frank Zotter



Help Bring Students to REFUGE

Canada has become a beacon for refugees leaving war torn countries, poverty and oppression to find a safe refuge for their families. As numbers of refugees crossing the border increase in this era of actions by the current U.S. President, we need to consider how we, as Canadians, respond to this need. How do we show our support while creating a balance? Our goal is to make this production of REFUGE available to students across the lower mainland and we need your help to make this happen!

The Firehall Arts Centre has set a goal of $6000 in order to offer subsidized  tickets to high school, college, and university students who have limited funds to access the arts. It is important that students are exposed to and included in discussions regarding the social, cultural, political, and economic integration of refugees.

Click below to support this initiative!

We hope you can share our campaign with others. Share the link, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter; whichever social channel you prefer. Help us spread the word!



A “Nasty Woman” Onstage at the Firehall

Marguerite de la Rocque de Roberval, a French nobleman fits the description of what someone whose name shall go unnamed would label a “nasty woman”. She was abandoned by her uncle, who had set out to Canada to help colonize it, on a remote island off the coast of Newfoundland, for her sexual indiscretions in a shipboard romance. Elle survived two winters before finally being rescued. She was then taken back to France where she lived out her life with the memory of her uncle’s cruel judgment haunting her.

This story became a legend. When Severn Thompson discovered the Governor-General Award winning novel Elle, written by Douglas Glover, she was determined to bring it to the stage. “His exploration of this story was so inventive and the character itself that he created – there was something about her humor, and the fact that she was written as quite a misfit …She’s not perfect by any means, but her imperfection makes her quite human and relatable”, Thompson said in a recent Georgia Straight interview with Andrea Warner. Thompson plays the role of Marguerite in her Dora Mavor Moore award-winning stage adaptation of Elle, currently playing at the Firehall. In the play, Thompson explores Glover’s text with passion, humor and physical nuance. In this re-telling she is supported by Jonathan Fisher as Itsik, an indigenous man who discovers her as he is seeking his own redemption and an evocative production design by Jennifer Goodman.

It seems alarming now that someone would have been punished so harshly for engaging in consensual sex and yet “We’re still going through that, “Thompson says connecting the puritanical values of the 1500’s to today.  “What I love about her is she can’t help herself.  She does have some sense of guilt for religious reasons, but she has such a strong drive to live and to explore her sexuality and everything.  She’s very impulsive and it’s interesting to see somebody like that. That’s kind of coded as a headstrong girl, which is still the case, right?  Well, ‘headstrong’ is the nicest label, but still, there’s all these labels that women get, you know. ‘She’s so opinionated, she’s so …’ People are very quick to label, dismiss and destroy if they can.”

Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate this NASTY WOMEN –  ELLE playing at the Firehall until February 18th, 2017.



“Thank goodness for second chances. Or perhaps more appropriately in the case of The Nether, a second life.” – Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

Following its debut at the 2016 Vancouver Fringe Festival, The Nether continues to receive high critical praise on the Firehall Arts Centre stage.

“Don’t be daunted by The Nether’s subject matter. See it. But brace yourself: Haley springs a couple of plot twists that will stun you.” – Colin Thomas, colinthomas.ca

“Director Chris Lam’s minimalist staging is effective; the powerful contrast between the sterility of the real world and the richness of the Hideaway is largely left to our imagination and to the exquisitely atmospheric and subtly ominous sound design, by James Coomber, and lighting, by Jonathan Kim.” – Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

“The Nether is an insightful and riveting rumination on the virtual era looming in our potential future, beautiful and terrible in its strangeness and its familiarity. It’s guaranteed to infect your thoughts like virulent malware – but in the very best way.” – Max D’Ambrosio, Showbill.ca

“It would be a cliché, but nevertheless true, to say that The Nether deals with fantastic ideas that become more realistic and issues that become timelier every day.” – Jerry Wasserman, Vancouverplays

Holding our hands through this difficult subject matter is the terrific ensemble of Linden Banks, David Bloom, Douglas Ennenberg, Lissa Neptuno, and Julia Siedlanowska. Maybe it is a defense mechanism given the topic, but under Lam’s direction the performances are somehow simultaneously realistic and detached; the result is an almost indescribable reaction to these characters.” – Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

buy ticketsThe Redcurrent Collective Production The Nether, runs until Saturday January 28th.

Tickets $24 ($22 students & seniors).



Visit the Vancouver Police Museum for FREE with your And Bella Sang With Us ticket!

20170106_160207Our friends and neighbours to the west, the Vancouver Police Museum have a great offer for And Bella Sang With Us ticket holders:  visit the Police Museum for FREE on the day of your performance or up to 2 days afterwards.

Museum hours: Tues – Sat 9am-5pm. Don’t have your ticket in hand? Stop by the Firehall Box Office beforehand, we’re open Mon-Fri 9:30am-5pm & Sat 1-4pm.

Check out @policemuseum for your chance to win tickets to And Bella Sang With Us! Contest closes Jan 8th.

buy tickets And Bella Sang With Us runs until Jan 14th

A stylish female buddy cop play that celebrates two of Canada’s unsung pioneers: Constables Lurancy Harris and Minnie Miller, Vancouver’s first women police officers.

Tickets $24 ($22 students & seniors)


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