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



For the Mama’s and the Papa’s out there.

For the Mama’s and the Papa’s out there: Some quotes from Nicolle Nattrass’s Mamahood: turn and face the strange

“I’m not a perfect mother. I should just get that off my chest right now. But who is right? I mean that would be impossible, except if you were Mary. Now Mary was the perfect mother. Never lost her temper, never cranky.  She was always calm because she had the perfect baby. Jesus. You can bet Jesus slept through the night. Do you think he was colicky? No and even if he was, Mary was a Zen peace loving Mama who never lost it. She’d have to be. Can you imagine? Giving birth to the Son of God. Jesus!”

This one woman show currently playing at the Firehall Arts Centre until October 29th explores the challenges of becoming a first time mom and discovering that behind the mystery of pregnancy and parenthood there is much to discover.  

The pregnancy:

 “My boobs are growing at a rapid rate!  I am now DOUBLE D!  I am only two and half months into my pregnancy!  What’s gonna happen next month? What’s gonna happen in my 9th month?”  

 “I am Celiac. Celiac and pregnant? Seriously? Just when my taste buds make me feel like each bite is a mini orgasm? Everything tastes so good. Like an orange, the juice, the-everything is like 110% MORE GOOD than it could ever be!”

The preparation:

 “Do you have a nutritional consultant? A pre-natal yoga coach? Catch the demonstrations ahead for Zumba for moms, as well as tot pole dancing for moms and babies. And, of course, there are workshops available for new mothers to begin a blog, write a book or memoir.”

“I will be ready! No room for error at Mama Camp.  First I remove all toxic paint and then Feng Shui the baby’s room. I take all the birthing courses no matter what the cost. I start a Registered Education Savings. ”

After the birth:

 “Is this how babies are supposed to sound? From the Jurassic period? Baby wakes up. Every hour. Hungry. He screams nonstop. WAHHHHH. Every 20 minutes-He does not sleep. Hardly ever. Screaming red faced-Oh my god what have we done?”

The days pass:

“I look down at my beautiful baby, so pure, so perfect- Why am I thinking about this now? Oh god- I’m failing-I’m failing at this–I can’t fail at this. I do what I always do to get thru-What any self-respecting, God fearing person would do. I pull out my old David Bowie records.”

And more days pass:

“I’m caught in this loop – angry, scared, can’t sleep, angry, scared, can’t sleep. I don’t feel like myself. I don’t talk to Vincent anymore. Everything makes me irritated-angry-I slam doors. I yell and then look down and see his face.

This tiny face.

I can’t do this anymore.

I call the Child Resource Centre– I need help.”


This powerful piece explores the fear, the pain and the joys of parenthood.  Check it out!

Mamahood: turn and face the strange. In honor of all those Mama’s and Papa’s who are working so hard to raise their young children the Firehall is offering a special discount. Go to firehallartscentre.ca   and purchase tickets using our special promo code: babybrain

Get tickets here.



News from the Firehall

October 14, 2016



(Vancouver, BC) – The Firehall Arts Centre announced today the cancellation of The Motherf**ker with the Hat, which was scheduled to be remounted in January 2017 in association with Haberdashery Theatre.


The production would have involved the original cast and creative team from the successful 2016 run, with a budget based on a one-week rehearsal period. When advised that two of the five actors would no longer be available for the 2017 run, it was determined that it would not be possible to recreate a strong production of the work as over two-thirds of the play would have needed to be reworked, triggering the need for a three-week rehearsal period, additional technical rehearsals, and materials and fees needed to re-costume new cast members.


In making this announcement, Artistic Producer Donna Spencer stated, “Stephen Adly Guirgis has written a very important and dramatically well-structured play that speaks to the impact of addiction on all of the characters’ lives. These same issues are very relevant to Vancouver and the inner city neighbourhood in which the Firehall Arts Centre resides. When we chose to produce the play with our partners, it was indeed these issues that we felt needed to be heard by our audiences.”


“The Firehall and our colleagues at Haberdashery Theatre have heard the concerns that were expressed by the Latino theatre community regarding the casting of two of the roles in the production and, should a new production of the work be undertaken in the future, will approach the casting and auditioning for the work in a different manner.”


“At this time, I would like to thank our colleagues at Haberdashery Theatre and the cast and creative team from the January 2016 production. All of their work was of very high caliber, garnering the production a Jessie Award nomination for ‘Outstanding Production – Large Theatre’ and nominations for ‘Outstanding Performance in a Lead Role’ for cast members John Cassini and Lori Triolo.”


The Firehall Arts Centre is currently considering other projects to replace this production, and in doing so will continue its long-standing commitment to creating and supporting work that is reflective of the cultural pluralism of Canada. Many fabulous, ground-breaking works involving Indigenous artists, as well as artists from diverse cultural heritages, have been supported through the Firehall’s thirty-four years of bringing important plays and dance performances to Vancouver audiences. Playwrights and theatre, dance, and inter-disciplinary companies who have projects that may be of interest to the Firehall Arts Centre’s audiences are encouraged to contact Donna Spencer.



About Firehall Arts Centre:


Located in a heritage fire station built in 1906, for more than 30 years the Firehall Arts Centre has been producing eclectic seasons of theatre, dance, and interdisciplinary performance that reflect cultural and social diversity of contemporary Canadian culture.


In its 2016/17 season, the company will produce and present such dynamic works as: Hong Kong Exile’s Room 2048, whose primary creators Milton Lim, Remy Siu, and Natalie Gan will develop the production, in part, through an in-house residency; Theatre Passe Muraille’s ELLE, an exploration of how First Nations were integral in saving the lives of those who came to Canada unprepared for extreme weather, and featuring the work of Severn Thompson and Jonathan Fisher; Mary Vingoe’s Governor General Award-nominated Refuge, telling the story of a young Eritrean refugee who seeks refuge in Canada without success; and The Mars Hotel & Kwan Yin, a dance theatre collaboration between dumb instrument Dance’s Ziyian Kwan and cellist Peggy Lee.




For full season listings and tickets, please visit www.firehallartscentre.ca







Media Contact:

Teresa Trovato | 604.897.1939 | teresatrovatopr@gmail.com






Coming up in 2016/2017

 So, what’s up at Firehall next season – A LOT!

The season will open with a presentation of Stranger to Hard Work, written and performed by Cathy Jones, one of the funniest people on television (This Hour Has Twenty-Two Minutes). Familiar and beloved faces from the past season will return with Tracey Power’s Miss Shakespeare making its Firehall debut and the hard-hitting but funny The Motherf..ker with a Hat will be back. Nicole Nattrass’s Mamahood: Turn and Face the Strange explores the good, bad and ugly alongside the funny, absurd and joyful side of motherhood.

From Toronto, Theatre Passe Muraille’s Dora Moore Award nominated ELLE, adapted from Douglas Glover’s award-winning novel, tells the story of a French noblewoman abandoned on the Isle of Demons (off the coast of Newfoundland) in 1542. Mary Vingoe’s eye-opening and powerful play, Refuge tells the emotional story of a child soldier from Eritrea and his experience as a refugee in Canada. Circle Game created by Andrew Cohen and Anna Kuman and inspired by the songs of Joni Mitchell features six young hipsters in search of meaning.

The Firehall Arts Centre dance programming is full of rich treats as well with Out Innerspace Dance Theatre bringing their trail blazing movement to the Firehall in Major Motion Picture andCompany 605 creating an intimate double bill program with Brussels-based long-time Ultima Vezcompany member German Jauregui. The Mars Hotel (first premiering at Dancing on the Edge 2015) and a new work Kwan Yin features the choreography of Ziyian Kwan (dumb instrument dance) and the music of Peggy Lee. Hong Kong Exile will premiere a new work, ROOM 2048 and finally BC BUDS, Firehall’s Spring Arts Festival will be back for its 13th year with readings, theatre, dance and music performances throughout our 109 year old heritage building.

We invite you to join us and become part of the Firehall family of friends. We look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

Donna Spencer, Artistic Producer



September 27-October 8
Stranger to Hard Work
Written and Performed by Cathy Jones
A Firehall Arts Centre Presentation

Canadian cultural icon, comedienne and one of the funniest women on television, Cathy Jones (This Hour Has Twenty-Two Minutes) brings her one woman show to the Firehall stage.  In this funny, thought provoking look at what she’s learned in life so far, Cathy gets personal as she shares her unique perspective on food, money, troublesome people and the benefits of laughter.


October 12-15
Major Motion Picture
Out Innerspace Dance Theatre, Vancouver
A Firehall Arts Centre Presentation

Exploring themes of surveillance, territory, propaganda and belief through the creation of eccentric and lawless characters, Major Motion picture draws on influences from Charlie Chaplin to Orson Welles.

With trail-blazing movement seven dancers fight for control of space, losing and gaining the grounds for their power, identity and desire.


October 19-29
Mamahood: turn and face the strange
Written and performed by Nicolle Nattrass
A Firehall Arts Centre Presentation

“Now Mary, she was a good mother huh?  Yup. Why? She had the perfect baby. Jesus. You can bet Jesus slept through the night” – an excerpt from Mamahood: turn and face the strange.

Nicolle Nattrass is the mother of a pre-schooler, playwright and actress.  In this witty and moving ode to motherhood, she explores the good, the bad and the ugly and the funny, absurd and joyful side of motherhood.


miss shakespeare early bird image 2

Tracey Power in Miss Shakespeare

November 5-26
Miss Shakespeare
Written by Tracey Power with music by Steve Charles
A Firehall Arts Centre Production in association with The Escape Artists

It’s the 1600’s and women are banned from the stage, but the suppressed female mind is difficult to stay …well, suppressed.  Daddy’s had his turn and the mind of Judith Shakespeare explodes in a saucy new musical as six women explore the seductive power of theatre behind the dingy walls of The Cage Tavern.

“With humor and heart, Miss Shakespeare imagines an underground world of women who broke the rules, first quietly and then brazenly, changing the landscape forever.”- Vancouver Sun


December 7-10
Company 605
A Firehall Arts Centre Residency Presentation

Company 605 unveils their newest commissioned collaboration with Brussels-based, long-time Ultima Vez company member German Jauregui within this intimate double-bill program


John Cassini and Lori Triolo2

John Cassini and Lori Triolo in The Motherf**ker with the Hat

January 11-28
The Motherf**ker with the Hat
by Stephen Adly Guirgis
A Firehall Arts Centre production in association with Haberdashery Theatre

When this production opened with controversy, audiences flocked to see what was up in this funny but hard-hitting story of Jackie, out on parole and newly sober and his childhood sweetheart and unrelenting coke addict Veronica.

“The language is spectacular and so is the acting”. -Georgia Straight


February 7-18
Adapted from Douglas Glover’s novel by Severn Thompson
Theatre Passe Muraille
A Firehall Arts Centre presentation

Elle is the story of Marguerite de La Rocque de Roberval, a French noblewoman who set out in 1542 for Canada with her uncle, Jacques Cartier to colonize the new-found country.   However, she finds herself abandoned on the deserted Isle of Demons (off the coast of Newfoundland) as punishment for taking a lover during the voyage.  In the lead role, Thompson “holds the audience’s attention in a vice grip with her precision, depth and hilarity. Her script is beautifully poetic, and is a master of delivery”. -Mooney on Theatre


early bird web banner

Noam Gagnon and Ziyian Kwan in The Mars Hotel

February 22-25
The Mars Hotel & Kwan Yin
dumb instrument dance
A Firehall Arts Centre Presentation

Based on a short story by P.W. Bridgman, The Mars Hotel was commissioned for the 2015 Dancing on the Edge Festival and received rave reviews.  Set to the music of Peggy Lee and performed by choreographer Ziyian Kwan and performer Noam Gagnon, the work is humorous and highly enjoyable work.  Kwan Yin, a new choreography, will complete the program.


March 18-April 1
Written by Mary Vingoe
A Firehall Arts Centre Production

What happens when you come to Canada from a war- torn country expecting to be welcomed and discover that things are very different from what was imagined?  Refuge tells the emotionally riveting story of a former child soldier from Eritrea who seeks out his mother, a recent immigrant to Canada, and meets people who try to help him.  “An important, powerful and eye-opening play”- Halifax Chronicle Herald.


April  8-29
Circle Game
Created by Andrew Cohen and Anna Kuman
Inspired by the songs of Joni Mitchell
A Firehall Arts Centre Production

The enduring music of Joni Mitchell is re-imagined in this energetic musical experience. Conceived and Directed by Vancouver’s theatrical powerhouses (and spouses) Andrew Cohen & Anna Kuman, CIRCLE GAME reintroduces Mitchell’s iconic songs like “Big Yellow Taxi”, “River”, “California”, and “A Case of You through the eyes and ears of a new generation.


June (dates TBA)
Room 2048
Hong Kong Exile
A Firehall Arts Centre Residency Presentation

This multi-media dance theatre piece explores the socio-political realities of the Cantonese diaspora, sourcing themes of loss, nostalgia and desire that re-occur with selected works of Hong Kong filmmaker Wong  Kar Wai. From the creators of NINEEIGHT.



How to Survive an Apocalypse


Photo of Sebastien Archibald and Claire Hesselgrave by Emily Cooper.


How to Survive an Apocalypse by Jordan Hall

A Flying Start Play – Giving a Stage to New Professional Playwrights

June 2 – 11, 2016             

Produced by Touchstone Theatre in Association with PTC and the Firehall Arts Centre

A young and successful urban couple becomes convinced that their lifestyle is coming to an end. They become ‘preppers’, hoarding supplies and learning to hunt. But their obsession takes its toll, and they are both forced to imagine the apocalypse without the love of their life. A romantic comedy about the end of days, showcasing the talents of our fifth Flying Start playwright.

“Whether we’re peeling away moral, sexual, economic, political, ecological, religious or scientific orders, our fascination with the Apocalypse seems to be fuelled by our inevitable fascination with our own mortality— we all have a personal Apocalypse waiting somewhere in our future…”
Jordan Hall, Playwright




Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who are actively preparing for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. Survivalists often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures (e.g., a survival retreat or an underground shelter) that may help them survive a catastrophe.


  • Alpha strategy: The practice of storing extra consumable items, as a hedge against inflation, and for use in barter and charity.
  • Crunch: A general term for a major, long-term disaster.
  • EDC: Everyday carry. What one carries at all times in case disaster strikes while one is out and about. Also refers to the normal carrying of a pistol for self-defense, or (as a noun) the pistol which is carried.
  • Goblin: A criminal miscreant
  • Golden horde: The anticipated large mixed horde of refugees and looters that will pour out of the metropolitan regions when the apocalypse happens.
  • O.O.D.: Get out of Dodge (city). Fleeing urban areas in the event of a disaster.
  • Pollyanna or Polly: Someone who is in denial about the disruption that might be caused by the advent of a large scale disaster.
  • Prepper: A synonym for survivalist that came into common usage during the early 2000s. Used interchangeably with survivalist much as retreater was in the 1970s. Refers to one who is prepared or making preparations.
  • SHTF: Shit hits the fan. A term used generically by survivalists to describe disaster situations.
  • WROL: Without rule of law. Describes a potential lawless state of society.
  • Zombie: Unprepared, incidental survivors of a prepped-for disaster who feed on the preparations of others.
  • Zombie apocalypse: Used by some preppers as a tongue-in-cheek metaphor for any natural or man-made disaster and a clever way of drawing people’s attention to disaster preparedness. The premise of the Zombie Squad is that if you are prepared for a scenario where the walking corpses of your family and neighbors are trying to eat you alive, you will be prepared for almost anything. (Though there are some who are seriously preparing for a zombie attack.)

Source: Wikipedia

Photo of Sebastien Archibald and Claire Hesselgrave by Emily Cooper.



BC Buds Update

BC Buds: Spring Arts Festival
May 4 – 7, 2016

Join us for the 12th annual festival of invbcbudsentive, original site-specific works and new play readings by BC artists in and around the Firehall’s heritage building. Showcasing the exciting and innovative, BC Buds provides a platform for genre bending and multi disciplinary emerging and established artists.

This year’s festival is “Going Green” and creators explore works with a focus for
zero-waste by reusing or up cycling. Using personal, cultural and political stories to inform the work, pieces explore climate change and an appreciation for our earth. The Firehall will host nearly 30 different theatre, dance and music
micro-performances and staged readings.

Alastair Jamesy Knowles & Stéphanie Morin-Robert, Anna Kraulis, Leslie Kennah & Hannah Carpendale, Ashley Whitehead, Billy Marchenski & Diego Romero, Brad Muirhead & Sharon Kallis, Carolina Bergonzoni, Deanna Peters (Mutable Subject) & Paul Paroczai, Dylan Ctk Jones, Elysse Cheadle, Hong Kong Exile, Iris Lau, Itsazoo Productions & Savage Society, Isabelle Kirouac, Jennifer Mcleish-Lewis, Karissa Barry, Katie Cassady, Leisl Lafferty, Lily Cryan & Derek Copley, Lisa Waines, NOW! Theatre, rice & beans theatre, Robert Azevedo and Con8 Collective, Sally Stubbs, Sasha Singer-Wilson & Ulla Laidlaw, The ASSEMBLY, Wendy Atkinson Experimental Bass Player, Wet Ink Collective

Friday, May 6 from 5:30pm to 6:30
Join us for a discussion with Kendra Fanconi (The Only Animal), Kevin Kimoto (Uproot) and Elaine Avila

The full schedule is available here.

All performances are by donation.



The Chaos of Dead Metaphor

Where do you see yourself in five years?

That groan-worthy, cliché interview question that begs for an equally gag inducing answer painting an ‘everything is peaches, roses and unicorns’ picture to mask the stink of desperation. Perhaps, ‘is this where you saw yourself five years ago?’ being the more appropriate question. George F. Walker’s play Dead Metaphor asks you to take a look at the world around you; how the (insert flowery language here) did we get here? How can you strategize for the future if you don’t know what brought you to the present?

“One of the ways of making the world less chaotic, I guess, is to show that it is chaotic.” – George F. Walker

Comedy is a medium to observe the absurdity of the world and offer it up to the masses at a safe distance from reality. Walker serves his view on the world at war; militarily, politically, socially like the palatability of a BBQ wiener on a warm spring evening… until you stop to think ‘what’s in this’?

“… that’s what my plays are doing, talking about what I see.  That’s why they are comedies.  They are dark because I think that’s the world, and they’re comedies because I don’t want to go insane – or anyone else to go insane.”

Walker introduces us into a young ex-sniper Dean (Mike Gill), who has recently returned home from a tour of duty and is struggling to find work in a sluggish job market where his experience as a sniper is unmarketable and non-transferable. At home Dean struggles with his pending future as the son of ageing parents Hank (Alex Willows) and Frannie (Donna Spencer) and as a father with his ex-wife Jenny (Carmela Sison) pregnant.  With the persuasion of Oliver (Jovanni Sy), a veterans job councillor, Dean lands a job as an assistant to a contemptuous politician Helen (Meghan Gardiner), Oliver’s wife, who has more use for him then just someone to get her and her extreme right-wing political strategists coffee. Dean finds himself riddled with freelance opportunities for his particular set of skills.

If there is one certainty, the critics and audiences are loving what they are seeing in the Firehall Arts Centre production of Dead Metaphor.


Meghan Gardiner, Mike Gill, and Carmela Sison in Dead Metaphor. Image by Emily Cooper.

The extreme characters of Helen and Hank drive the comedy, and both Gardiner and Willows shine.” – Jerry Wasserman, Vancouverplays.com

Meghan Gardiner, who plays Helen, knocks it out of the park. Somebody give her an award. Right now. Comedy is all about dedication to illogic, and Gardiner commits every cell of her being to Helen’s Machiavellian lunacy.” – Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“…directed with precision by Chelsea Haberlin…”

“Very impressive set and light design by Lauchlin Johnston.” – Ed Farolan, reviewvancouver

” …when she (Donna Spencer) has her moment to erupt, she shows some powerful chops.” – Erika Thorkelson, Vancouver sun

“You will laugh.” – Jo Ledingham

Walker asks you to step into this world; strangely foreign, but uncomfortably close to home and watch the race between physical and moral decay – will anything/anyone stay standing?

Step into this world before the end of the run – Dead Metaphor runs until Sat Apr 23rd


Jovanni Sy and Mike Gill in Dead Metaphor. Image by Emily Cooper.

Jovanni Sy and Mike Gill in Dead Metaphor. Image by Emily Cooper.




The Out Vigil is wowing critics and audiences!

Zac Scott, Christina Cuglietta, Matthew MacDonald-Bain and Alison Jenkins Credit: Emily Cooper

The Out Vigil is in the end of its first week here at the Firehall and has been impressing audiences and critics alike, with its unique musical score and compelling story. Here are some highlights from the recent reviews.

“The Out Vigil sings with passion and humour”
“Stephanie Izsak makes an impressively passionate, funny and credible Lizzie.”
“…showcases the strength of McIsaac’s writing, which can be lyrical… and bluntly funny.”
-Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight

“The Out Vigil sizzles in the right places”
“brassy and fun… they (Izsak and MacDonald-Bain) sizzle with youthful passion”
“Izsak gives her character a particular depth and strength”
-Erika Thorkelson, The Vancouver Sun

“Izsak’s voice is pure and strong and the harmonies are heart wrenching”
“rollicking, rousing music composed and arranged by the playwright, an amazing, multi-talented young actor/composer/writer (Julie McIsaac)”
-Jo Ledingham

The Out Vigil closes this Sat, the 26th, don’t sleep on this one! Get tickets here.