The Firehall’s Artistic & Executive Producer, Donna Spencer, is pleased to share some highlights of the upcoming 2022-2023 season, which sees the organization celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Recently honoured with a Lieutenant Governors Arts and Music Award, The Firehall is entering its fourth decade of diverse, innovative and interdisciplinary programming, with a notable history of championing new and marginalized voices in the arts.
When I moved to Vancouver in 1990, The Firehall really represented to me the place where people of colour and people of ethnic minorities could have their work taken seriously.”
– Hiro Kanagawa
“The DTES has always been a place of transformation for myself, my family, and our stories. As we have transformed, so has the land that my great grandmother called home. The Firehall Arts Centre has been there for so long, and seen so much of this transformation happen. The Firehall is an integral piece in one of the biggest transformations in my life, and it is the place where our stories first began to have a voice.”
– Rosemary Georgeson
The Firehall’s 40th Anniversary Season is a year-long showcase of what The Firehall does best: provocative performing arts that reflect the diversity of Canadian voices. From Kathak dance to Holocaust history and Hong Kong democracy to young love, the 2022-2023 season will bring a distinct variety of new and old stories to life on The Firehall stage.
Spencer says, “Our 40th Anniversary Season will continue The Firehall’s legacy of presenting theatre and dance works that stir the soul, enrich the mind, and lift up the voices and stories of the vast range of people who call this place home. I’m excited to share these highlights and look forward to announcing more performances in the coming months.”
The 2022-2023 season kicks off September 21-24 with Khoj – A Contemporary Kathak Dance Extravaganza by Usha Gupta Dance Entourage from Canada. This is a dance form that blends traditional and modern movement through the different forms of the ocean, romance, rhythmic pattern, inner search for spirituality, and finishes with Sufi (divine truth).
The Unbroadcast Life of Mildred Bailey (October 13-16), produced by Red Cedar Theatre and directed by Columpa Bobb, is a new musical performance about Mildred Bailey created by Russell Wallace with music by Tony Wilson. Known as “The Queen of Swing”, “The Rockin’ Chair Lady” and “Mrs. Swing”, Mildred Bailey was one of the first female singers to make a name for herself in the American pantheon of jazz. She captured the subtleties of the 1930s’ African American blues and ragtime music and became the first female jazz singer to perform regularly with a band.
The world premiere of Manami Hara’s new work, Courage Now, runs November 19-December 4. Produced by The Firehall and presented in association with Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT), Courage Now tells the story of Japanese Consul Chiune Sugihara, who helped over 6000 Polish and Lithuanian Jews escape the Nazis in 1940. Going against his government orders, he issued more than 2000 handwritten visas, risking both his life and his career. Some of those whose lives were saved have families living in British Columbia today.
From December 14 to 24, The Firehall presents Sanjay Talwar’s A One Man Christmas Carol. We all know the classic story of A Christmas Carol – but we’ve never seen it like this. Actor Sanjay Talwar performs all 40 characters in this piece for a whirlwind one-man show.
Elaine Ávila’s FADO – The Saddest Music in the World returns to The Firehall stage January 14-February 5. This musical, which premiered at The Firehall in 2019 and enjoyed a wildly successful run, tells the story of a young woman confronting her country’s Fascist past and her own identity is interwoven with the heartbreaking national music of Portugal, known as Fado, which means “fate”. FADO – The Saddest Music in the World is produced by the Firehall Arts Centre and Victoria, B.C.’s Puente Theatre.
Zahida Rahemtulla’s The Wrong Bashir, produced by Touchstone Theatre’s Flying Start program in association with The Firehall, runs March 4-12. Bashir Ladha – wayward philosophy major leaning towards nihilism – has accidentally been selected to assume an important religious position, and his parents have dutifully accepted on his behalf. Conflict ensues over Bashir’s reaction to his appointment and the family is taken on a comedic intergenerational ride that forces them to grapple with long-avoided questions of identity and family.
The Firehall, in association with Western Gold Theatre, present the Vancouver premiere of Our Ghosts March 18-April 2. Written by Sally Stubbs, Our Ghosts is a haunting mystery inspired by the disappearance of the playwright’s own father. This theatre production explores the ramifications of official and personal responses to the disappearance of a plane and its pilots. At the heart of the play, however, is a love story and the mystery that defines one woman’s life and, by extension, the lives of her children: the disappearance from the Comox Air Base of a Canadian Forces fighter jet and, with it, Flight Commander Gerald Stubbs.
The Firehall closes its 2022-2023 season with the world premiere of rice & beans theatre production Happy Valley from May 27 to June 4. Created by Sydney Risk Award-winning playwright Derek Chan, Happy Valley is a new performance piece that dissects the historic, political, and cultural context surrounding Hong Kong’s current democratic struggles.
Early Bird Passes for The Firehall’s 40th Anniversary Season are on sale now and available online at www.firehallartscentre.ca or by phone at 604.689.0926. Four-show passes start at $79. Single tickets for dance and theatre productions range in price from $25 to $40; and single tickets for musicals range in price from $30 to $45. Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon performances are pay-what-you-can (PWYC).
Due to the ongoing pandemic, dates and performances are subject to change, but patrons will be notified with as much notice as possible.