Thursday, October 31, 2013

communion | theatre club

This Saturday is our next Theatre Club. A great way to dig a little deeper on our plays, already known for creating discussion (and maybe the occasional debate).

COMMUNION Theatre Club
Saturday, November 2
Immediately following the matinee

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

nov 6-10 | here breaks the heart | diane tucker

Diane Tucker shows up every now and then on the Soul Food blog. She's a Vancouver poet and novelist who also happens to serve on the Pacific Theatre board of directors. Deciding to try her hand at playwriting, Diane did a course with Lucia Frangione, and...  Her first play is being staged by a Calgary theatre company! Which itself has a strong connection with PT - a few years ago, I played THE TOP TEN THOUSAND OF ALL TIME for a week on that same stage. I'll be flying out to Calgary to see Diane's show - and checking out Craig Erickson in GATSBY on the same trip. Can't wait. 

Here Breaks The Heart: The Loves of Christina Rossetti
by Diane Tucker

Nov 6-10
Fire Exit Theatre, Calgary

Christina lives in a time and place where being a passionate, ambitious poet and a devout Victorian gentlewoman are considered mutually exclusive. She struggles with the creative freedom her bohemian brother enjoys and the certainty that Christian faith gives her pious sister. Can she have both what her society expects of her and what her unruly heart demands?

to nov 16 | david robinson + grace tan | lookout gallery

Don't miss this superb show at the Lookout Gallery. Sculptor David Robinson is truly a Vancouver treasure, and Grace Tan's portraits - for me, particularly those of Dal Schindell and Loren Wilkinson, who've had such an influence on my life - are soulful and evocative.

oct 24 - nov 16

Lookout Gallery, Regent College

soul food calendar


wed 30
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE  communion
8:40 CINEMATHEQUE  wings of desire
sleuth opening

thu 31
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE  communion


fri 1
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE  communion

sat 2
2:00 PACIFIC THEATRE  communion matinee
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE  communion
7:30 TWU you never can tell closing

wed 6
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE  communion
here breaks the heart opening (calgary)

thu 7
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE  communion

fri 8
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE  communion

sat 9
2:00 PACIFIC THEATRE  communion matinee
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE  communion closing

sun 10
here breaks the heart closing (calgary)

wed 13
cocktails at pam's opening

fri 15
7:30 VIEW GALLERY sheree plett + jeremy eisenhauer

sat 16
LOOKOUT GALLERY david robinson | grace tan show closing

wed 20
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE top ten thousand of all time opening
thu 21
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE top ten thousand of all time

fri 22
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE top ten thousand of all time

sat 23
2:00 PACIFIC THEATRE top ten thousand of all time
8:00 PACIFIC THEATRE top ten thousand of all time closing

sat 30
cocktails at pam's closing
sleuth closing

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

nov 13-30 | cocktails at pam's | shauna johannesen

Shauna Johannesen was on our stage in WITTENBURG and the first production of WOLF AT THE DOOR), and is currently a writer in our "working with" play development project at Pacific Theatre. Here's the next show she's in...

Cocktails at Pam's
Nov 13-30
Studio 1398 (1398 Cartwright St., Granville Island)

Staircase Theatre Equity Collective presents the BC premiere of Cocktails at Pam's - a real-time cocktail party gone horribly wrong. Pam was always the perfect hostess -- until the night there were more floral arrangements than suitable vases, the divorcee didn't want her canape and the guests formed charade teams and began to have cheap, competitive fun. Cocktails at Pam's is directed by Stephen Heatley, stage managed by Susan Currie and Linzi Voth, designed by 7-time Jessie nominated Lauchlin Johnston and Christina Dao and boasts some of Vancouver's finest talent!

"Stewart Lemoine is an original. There is simply no one, anywhere, who writes like this Edmonton playwright." Colin McLean, CBC

Tickets and Info.

Subscriber Appreciation Saturday | Guest Producing

This past Saturday marked our second SAS of our 30th anniversary season. Ron chatted with Ruby Slippers' artistic director, and star of COMMUNION, Diane Brown as well as speaking with one of the producers of our Playground Series, Tina Teeninga.

We had a great conversation around guest producing, how it started happening at PT, what it means to our theatre and all the other theatres we've partnered with in the past. Our converstation sparked some of the following quotes:

"Guest productions are part of the ecology of a healthy theatre company." - Ron Reed

"Theatre is communion isn't it? When it's good. That's what we're going for." - Diane Brown 

"Restraints, obstructions and limitations can actually cause great freedom for an artist. I never meant to have these guest productions, but because of our limitations they came to be. That being said, the practice [of having guest productions] has been magnificent." - Ron Reed

Join us for the next Subscriber Appreciation Saturday on Saturday January 18th following the matinee of MEASURE FOR MEASURE. And if you haven't become a subscriber yet, it's not too late! Subscribe online today and don't miss another one of these fabulous events.

nov 15 | soul works | sheree plett & jeremy eisenhaur

Friends of PT will know Sheree Plett from JESUS MY BOY and many CHRISTMAS PRESENCE's past (and future). Here's more about Sheree and her husband Jeremy's upcoming show...

Soul Works: an evening of art, music and poetry
Nov. 15th at 7:30pm - Fraserview Church (11295 Mellis Dr. in Richmond)

Music by Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhaur
Painting and Poetry by George Connell
Pottery by Pia Sillem

Tickets by donation.

Monday, October 28, 2013

communion | opening night

Photos from the opening night reception of COMMUNION!  Congratulations to the cast and crew and everyone at Ruby Slippers Theatre for putting together this phenomenal production.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

artistic director journal | pacific theatre newsletter, fall 1984

This being our 30th season, I had intended in September to post bits and pieces of Pacific Theatre history. Alarmingly, I couldn't find the boxes containing our archives. But they turned up a couple weeks back, and I've only now found the time to start looking through the files and pulling things that catch my eye.  

Here's where it all started - a photocopied newsletter we mailed out in the fall of 1984, penned by a fellow from Edmonton named Alan (can't come up with his last name) while the four company members were away on a Thanksgiving week retreat creating our first Christmas show.  I've had serious misgivings about posting it - it seems so far from who we are now - but...  What the heck. 

click to enlarge

Wow, does that sound religious. (Not to mention earnest.)  It's just not something we would write in 2013, twenty-nine years down the road. Not that there's a word of it I don't agree with, or believe, after nearly three decades. But the style...  Kind of reads like a religious tract, or a slightly old-fashioned Bible School essay. Interesting to see the "not propaganda, not evangelism" right there at the outset, even though the whole thing is couched in such churchy language.  But still, no wonder people in the Vancouver theatre community had their qualms.

The Wilkinson quote comes right out of a Regent College syllabus. Loren and I co-taught a summer school extension course several times at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, making connections between the Christian faith and the art of theatre.  (Some of the best experiences of my life, those weeks in Ashland).  I still think it's good stuff - while being acutely aware of what a different cultural moment that was, both in our particular Christian subculture - which was still took a pretty 'separationist' stance toward culture - and in the culture at large, which was far more antagonistic to Christian spirituality in 1984 than it is today. (I'll write more about that another time. But for now, suffice it to say, there's been a significant sea change in the representation of Christian characters, the openness to Christian spirituality, not only in theatre in Vancouver, but in the culture at large.)

There wasn't anything like Pacific Theatre around in 1984, apart from a couple of fairly young companies in Seattle and San Diego (both of which are still in operation, with strong ties to PT).  You can hear it in these words - we were convinced the Christian community would have no idea what to expect, or what to do with us. Any more than the theatre community. Glad that changed. Eventually.

Pacific Theatre's first public performance was a set of songs and a couple scenes from COTTON PATCH GOSPEL - one evening in September, in one of the portable classrooms that then comprised the Regent College campus. We played it again for a Harvest Celebration at St John's Shaughnessy church, but took another five years to get the full show onstage.  We ran it in Studio B at the Gateway Theatre in fall 1989 with two members of the original company (Allen Desnoyers and me), with Christmas Presence regular Garth Bowen on fiddle and guitar, and two other actors rounding out the cast (hmm... Brent something-or-other played Jesus, and Chy Campbell's cousin played bass. It'll come to me...).  We mounted the show again in 1994, with Tim Dixon, Spencer Capier and Wyndham Thiessen joining Allen and me, a production we remounted and toured a few years later. Morris Ertman directed all the iterations - and recently mounted another production of the show at Rosebud, where he's now the Artistic Director.

MY SON, MY BROTHER, MY FRIEND we did as a staged reading for several years, swapping in actors like David Swan, Dirk Van Stralen and Mark Bennett at various times. (It would be interesting to read that one again.)  The CHRISTMAS SHOW ended up being our first full production, a collage piece we titled FIRST CHRISTMAS: AN ENTERTAINMENT and toured to about a dozen churches and theatres around the Lower Mainland - which really was a lot like an early version of what's now our annual tradition, CHRISTMAS PRESENCE.  Roy Salmond joined the company for that one.

263-1110.  That was the second line at my Kerrisdale apartment, the Pacific Theatre line.  Crazy: not only did we forget to include the 604 area code, we didn't even bother to give the address of our website.  Or a fax number, or email address.  How unprofessional.

And yup, we had a church touring group in those days.  Kind of a calling card, to introduce us to the Vancouver church community, which we figured would be the core of our audience - as it was for at least our first decade and a half.  The Pacific Theatre company actors didn't act in Salt Company shows at that point, but directed them, and wrote some of the material.  Angela Anderson was a Regent student who also directed a few of the sketches - before she married and became Angela Konrad, got her MFA or became the head of the TWU Theatre program. It wasn't until fall 1985 that young Tony Ingram joined the Pacific Salt Company - before UBC, or Studio 58, or Stratford, or Jessie Richardson awards, or any of that.  Salt Company regulars over the years included Andrea Smith, Sallie Boschung, Debra Sears, Damon Calderwood, Cynthia Hopkins, and a lot of other folks. And it was something like 1993/94 (or 92/93?) when Erla Faye Martin (now Forsyth), Francis Boyle and I joined the ensemble for a season. By 1996 or so, churches pretty much had their own drama programs, and there just wasn't a lot of work out there for a church touring troupe.  Also, with the opening of our own theatre space in 1994, and the possibility (necessity) of staging entire seasons of mainstage shows, there just wasn't the time or energy - and by then it was evident that it really wasn't the core of our vision. So that was the end of Pacific Salt.

"Christian Theatre."  It shocks me that we ever applied that descriptor to ourselves.  It wasn't long until I started saying "Christian is a great noun, but a lousy adjective" - especially when applied to a play, or a theatre company.  Just sets up too many mistaken expectations, none of which are helpful.  But I guess I hadn't come to that realization quite yet - because there it is, indisputably, in print.  

The CHRISTIAN THEATRE REVUE we did produce early in 1985 - an anthology piece called BEHIND OUR SCENES consisting of scenes, songs, improv, even a couple dance numbers, chosen to give kind of a sampler of the sort of work we wanted to be doing.  And sure enough, we produced THE ZEAL OF THY HOUSE as part of the Images Festival in spring 1985, just as advertised - with company members Byron, Elaine and Allen anchoring a non-professional cast (which included Loren Wilkinson). My first directing gig. If I'm not mistaken, Anita Wittenberg ushered.

TENT MEETING didn't end up on our stage until April 1997, when Morris and I worked together on an extensive rewrite that ended up touring Canada (as far as Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg), and being nominated for Dora Mavor Moore and Sterling Awards.   But I'm afraid we never did produce Allen's quite wonderful Rosebud-birthed musical WHEN THE SUN MEETS THE EARTH. 

Still do. Some things don't change. (Though now you can just send the bucks straight to us - as grateful as Capilano Christian Community might be for your donation.)

By fall 1985, Canada Immigration said Elaine had to head back to the States - we weren't paying a living wage, and her time was up.  She married the chairman of our board and moved to Kansas City, and pretty much never acted again.  At the end of 1986 Byron also hung up his skates, though he returned a couple years later to tour in an early iteration of THE DRAGONS PROJECT, shows about chemical dependency we took to schools and community centres around BC and, eventually, the north. After leaving theatre completely for a lot of years, Byron is now the resident scenic carpenter at Rosebud - Morris Ertman is a persistent man.  Allen continued with Pacific Theatre a while longer, but turned to full time music for a number of years before founding Canadiana Musical Theatre, which tours schools to this day, including a brand new piece Allen's created about Emily Carr.  

It all seems very long ago.

communion | production photos

Some fantastic production photos for COMMUNION, shot by Tim Matheson.  Pay-what-you-can preview tonight, opens tomorrow!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

the lobby project

This season we have a special treat for patrons.  As a part of our 30th anniversary season we've brought past apprentice Maki Yi on for THE LOBBY PROJECT, a series of 10 minute plays in the lobby preceding every show.  The plays will be original one-woman shows, written and performed by Maki, inspired by the show and her own life.

written and performed by Maki Yi
10-minute lobby plays at 1:35pm or 7:35pm before each performance

A series of autobiographical stories inspired by each production and Maki Yi's "suitcase life".  A special treat for Pacific Theatre audiences in celebration of our 30th anniversary season.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

oct 30-nov 30 | sleuth | francis boyle

Theatre in The Country is a new venture by Artistic Director Reg Parks, who was involved with Reel Light, and did his theatre training with Gilette Elvgren at Regent University. I had a blast at their production of MY FAIR LADY this summer, which featured Francis Boyle as Henry Higgins. Francis was a regular on our stage in the nineties, with notable roles in NAVY WIFE, DREAMS OF KINGS & CARPENTERS, and more - most recently, TWELVE ANGRY MEN. Francis is directing SLEUTH...

SLEUTH by Anthony Shaffer
9975 272 Street - Maple Ridge, BC

Andrew Wyke, a famous writer and accomplished games player, invites his estranged wife’s lover, Milo, to his home for a honest chat. It turns out to be anything but. It this battle, wits are only the first casualty. Milo has no idea of the type man he is up against. Soon, he finds himself caught up in Andrew's intricate game, in which there can only be one winner. Who is the master of the game – only those who see the final scene will know for sure – or will they?

Oct 30th - Nov 30th with Saturday & Sunday matinees (& luncheons, dinners and group shuttles available!)
More info & Tickets.

communion | pay-what-you-can preview

Tonight is the pay-what-you-can preview for COMMUNION!  See it before anyone else.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

nov 30 | swing me high | under the canopy

Food for the soul and the body - Dinner Theatre from Sacred Canopy and our friends at the Eastside Story Guild

Swing Me High: The Exodus Story as told by the Eastside Story Guild
Nov 30 @ 5:45pm, showing at 7pm
Grandview Calvary Baptist Church (1803 East First Ave.)

How would the Hebrew children have perceived the enslavement of their people in ancient Egypt? How would they have understood the stand-off between Moses and Pharaoh, the ensuing plagues of cosmic proportions and the moment of final liberation? Join us for this telling of the familiar Bible story told by a cast of 40. Suitable for all ages.

Reserved seats: $20 (Presentation only - admission by donation)
To buy individual tickets or reserve a table of 8 call 604.803.1195 or email

communion | more photos

More shots from the rehearsal hall for COMMUNION.

Monday, October 21, 2013

communion | director's notes

It is nothing short of a big deal to have Roy Surette in town directing COMMUNION.  This native Vancouverite had his career take him out east, where he is currently serving as the Artistic Director of Centaur Theatre in Montreal.  Here are his thoughts on COMMUNION.

Certainty is a comfort few of us get to enjoy. In most of our choices and beliefs there is always the other option, the other possibility, the other road. Daniel MacIvor knows this well and often writes about the complexities of choice and the quest for deeper understanding. He explores the obsessions and neurosis of being consciously alive and he does this with humour and humanity often couched in wit and tenacity.

In Communion we meet a woman faced with her own mortality who is working to come to terms with her life and her relationships. It’s a hard journey and one that has impact on those around her. Although completely different from one another there is communion and compassion between her therapist and her daughter. It is very much about trying to live in the present and letting go of preconceptions. And from learning from one another.

As we work on Communion I am reminded just how wonderfully brave actors have to be and how their work is to channel and illuminate the struggles we all encounter. I am reminded of the wealth of talent that makes up the Vancouver theatre community. My thanks go out to these wonderful actors, designers and theatre personnel.

I want to thank Diane Brown for inviting me home to Vancouver to direct this beautiful play. I want to thank Ron Reed for once again demonstrating courage and openness in programming a play that explores faith and belief in various manifestations. And thank you for letting us share Communion with you.

Friday, October 18, 2013

communion | daniel macivor

Daniel MacIvor is arguably one of Canada's most beloved living playwrights.  His writing is sharp, deep, and funny all at once, and he writes some dang good plays for younger actors and women.  COMMUNION is simply the latest of his plays to be produced here in Vancouver, with many more to follow I'm sure.  Here's a few fun facts about Mr. MacIvor.

  1. The Basics: Born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, MacIvor studies at Dalhousie University and then George Brown College.  He now splits his time between Toronto and Novia Scotia.
  2. He started off with a small touring company called da da kamera, the resident company for Buddies in Bad Times in Toronto.
  3. One of the top pieces of advice MacIvor gives to aspiring playwrights is "book a venue."  By putting a payment down you've set yourself a pretty firm deadline to finish writing your play.
  4. His early works were generally one-man shows that he would write and perform in, directed and dramaturged by collaborator Daniel Brooks.
  5. On top of touring Canada, the US, Europe, and the UK, MacIvor has taken his work to Israel and Australia.
  6. Currently MacIvor is the playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre and is working on two new scripts.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

throwback thursday | driving miss daisy

Arter a little time off, our Throwback Thursdays are back! This time with 2007's DRIVING MISS DAISY.

DRIVING MISS DAISY featured Erla Faye Forsyth, Tom Pickett, and Paul Moniz de Sá. Directed by Sarah Rodgers.