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)


Do you like contests, ticket offers and being in the know?  Follow us on Instagram @firehallartscentre



The Firehall can help with your fitness and learning New Year’s RESOLUTIONS!

A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the West, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement starting with the turn of the calender year.

Two of the most common New Year’s resolutions are physical and intellectual improvement.  The Firehall Arts Centre can help you embrace these resolutions!

Following the performance of And Bella Sang With Us on Sunday January 8th, join local historian: John Aitkins on a historical 90 minute walking tour complimenting the story of And Bella Sang With Us.

Wear your pedometer and learning cap!

The walking tour begins at 4:30pm, starting and ending at the Firehall Arts Centre.

$36 ($34 buy ticketsfor students & seniors) includes both the performance of And Bella Sang With Us and Walking Tour.

Space is limited.  Tickets for the performance only are also available.






We Have WIT. Women in Theatre.

On Sunday November 20th at 5:30pm, following the matinee performance of Miss Shakespearejoin us for a panel discussion: WIT – Women in Theatre in the 20th Century

“…If a painter can be male or female, then why shouldn’t an actor be. Or a writer. An artist is an artist. Women are born with creative abilities equal to any man.”

Many female Canadian artists have made a huge impact on my life since I was 17. Though there was a fine balance of male to female teachers while I was in theatre school, I always gravitated towards the female voices. During this time, I would also research and be in awe of the strong female artists throughout  the country. I am aware of the skill, passion, and talent women in the theatre community have. Yet, I often find myself asking, “Why are there not more companies run by women? “ or, “Why is there only one female director in that company’s season?” or, “Why does that female character not have an opinion?”

These are just some of the questions I have and hope to discuss with our panel made up of multi-talented members of the theatre community. We’ll chat about the barriers women have faced in the industry, what changes we must start to implement, and the great impact of the female voice in Canadian theatre.

We hope you can join us this Sunday, November 20th, from 5:30 to 6:30 at The Firehall Arts Centre after the 3 pm matinee of Miss Shakespeare by inspiring female Canadian artist Tracey Power.

-Carmela Sison

Writer/performer Tracey Power; Firehall Artistic Producer Donna Spencer; Actor Carmela Sison; Actor/Director Corina Akeson from Classic Chic Theatre and others will discuss the challenges and opportunities of women working in today’s theatre.

This panel discussion is a free event, open to all.

‘Miss Shakespeare’ uses musical theatre to champion women’s rights

Kelsey Klassen — Westender
ARTS 1110
‘Miss Shakespeare’ tells the story of Judith Shakespeare leading a group of women in something secret, subversive, and illegal: the staging of a play. — Emily Cooper photo

Imagine a world where women weren’t allowed the same rights and privileges as men. The results of the US election last night – or, rather, the entire campaign process – were a potent reminder that women still encounter major roadblocks and double standards on the path to equality, and have done for centuries. Which makes a show about women challenging the status quo in Shakespearean England very timely.To wit, Chelsea Hotel creator Tracey Power has lent her considerable musical theatre talents to the story of Judith Shakespeare, frustrated daughter of the Bard.

“It’s the 1600’s and women are banned from the stage, but the suppressed female mind is finding it difficult to stay…well, suppressed,” reads the synopsis for Miss Shakespeare. “Behind the dingy walls of The Cage Tavern, six women explore the seductive power of the theatre.”

The result is a Jessie Richardson Award-winning evening of cabaret and courage, with an all-star cast featuring Susinn McFarlen (Vanya, Sonya, Masha & Spike), Caroline Cave (Story of a Girl), Meaghan Chenosky (Best Laid Plans), Erin Moon (Oxford Roof Climbers Rebellion), Medina Hahn (off-Broadway/Canadian tour of Any Night), Pippa Mackie (The Valley), and Power, with music co-written by Steve Charles.

We caught up with Power by email just prior to opening night to learn more about her creative process, and the inspiration for writing a show about these “nasty women”.

What are the challenges and highlights of acting in your own creation? 
The biggest challenge is making sure I take the time to listen to the text of the other characters in the play. To make sure all their stories are being told. I play Isabel Loxley, and so as the actor I am very inside her story. As the playwright I need to be on the outside, so making sure I take the time to both is very important. The most exciting part of this business is creating new shows. I think it is for the audience as well. Nothing beats hearing a story for the very first time. I love it.

For those who, say, know you from Chelsea Hotel, what did that experience teach you and are there any similarities in style or tone? 
Chelsea Hotel encouraged me to follow my instincts as a creator, to embrace vision and take the audience on an experience. The movement of this show could be compared to Chelsea Hotel in some ways as they both came out of my brain. As well as the passion and love for theatre and music.

Who was Judith Shakespeare and does the show take any liberties with her life and sensibilities? 
Judith was Will Shakespeare’s youngest daughter. There are some factual clues to her past that I followed, and from those I drew my own personal opinion of what her life was like. Of course there are liberties, as I only had so much to go on, but everything that she does is inspired by the facts that we do know about her life. I have lived with this character for eight years now so she is very much a fully fleshed out human being to me and one whose courage and heart truly inspire me.

What was your process for creating the story. What kind of research did you do and what did you discover about this person? 
The story evolved through many stages but really stemmed from my curiosity of how women began in the theatre. History at that time is only documented by men, so what were women doing at that time that men didn’t know about? Women didn’t just appear on the stage one day without having a curiosity or a drive to do it. To me it made perfect sense that they would have been exploring it in private. Germaine Greer wrote a fantastic book called Shakespeare’s Wife, which was a fabulous source of inspiration and I recommend it to anyone with a curiosity for the women of that time. I believe that women from 400 years ago weren’t that different than women today, they just had different rules to abide by. Therefor, different rules to break.

Why make it a musical?
I wanted Judith’s voice to be very different from her father’s. She has a wild imagination and music allowed the voice of a woman who’s creativity was forbidden to be released in a fun, exciting and sometimes heartbreaking way.

Women can obviously act and engage with the theatre these days, but we’re set to imagine a time when that wasn’t allowed. What was the inspiration for the story and how does Miss Shakespeare reflect life for the modern woman? 
The inspiration was drawn from the feeling of what it must have been like for a creative woman of that time to be forced to suppress it. For Judith to have the same creative aspirations as her father, to see him succeed and to be denied that herself, even by her own father is gutting. Women’s voices are still being suppressed around the world. We are very lucky in this country, but it still exists. The US election has shown how warped and disgusting some views still are towards women.

Why do the other women feel compelled to get involved? 
All of the characters are based on real women. Everything they do in the show is based on an imagination of how they would have dealt with their personal joys and tragedies.

After putting it out into the world in 2015, what were some of the show’s biggest successes and takeaways for you, personally? 
The emails I received from audience members after seeing the show were some of the most beautiful letters I’d ever received about a show. From women and men saying how inspired, entertained and excited they were by the show. How seeing Judith’s story energized them with a belief that anything is possible. That artistic creation is limitless. By inspiring them, they ultimately inspired me, and how amazing is the theatre for that.

It features a rock-solid cast of women. Is written by you, a woman. But it’s direct by a man. What does James MacDonald bring to the piece? 
He’s one of the best directors in the country. His attention to story telling details is a must for new plays. He has been working with me on it for four years and it is a better play because of him. He’s also an amazing director of Shakespeare, so he is very familiar with the world this play was birthed from. I love bringing teams of great artists together to tell stories, these are the artists I believed would be best to tell this story.

• Miss Shakespeare runs now until Nov. 26 at the Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Cordova). Tickets from $23 at FirehallArtsCentre.ca

© 2016 Vancouver Westender

– See more at: http://www.westender.com/arts-culture/theatre/miss-shakespeare-uses-musical-theatre-to-champion-women-s-rights-1.2584473#sthash.oqPhMPMw.dpuf