Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June 25-28: PROOF, PT Apprentice Project

Becky Branscom was Alice in YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU, and she's the lead in this smart, widely performed four-hander. In the role of the dad you'll remember James Wilson, who was the dad in HALO, and Hamlet's stepdad in HAMLET. Julius Chapple was Norfolk in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, this is his full length directing debut, and he gets lovely work out of his cast, which also includes Jackie Faulkner and Michael Edwards.

8pm, Wed through Sat
$10 in advance, or pay what you can at the door
at Pacific Theatre

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jun 29: Balke/Krause/Reed Photo Show at View Gallery

Curator Barb Bowen writes...
Come on by Fraserview Church's View Gallery and check out a new showing of photographers Ron Reed (who many of you know through Pacific Theater) Tom Balke and Rudi Klause. The opening reception is Sunday June 29th at 11:30 am. The church is located at 11295 Mellis Drive Richmond BC. ( 604-270-4211) The show runs until Sept 7th. The church is open from 9am to 4pm- sometimes closed at lunch. It is also open at special times through appointment.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

CITA Conference in L.A. Times

I spent quite a few years closely involved with CITA. Love it, love the folks, but at a certain point couldn't figure out the money to keep attending the conferences. Planning on Florida in 2009, though. 

I was involved for most of my CITA years in the new play end of things, working with and then taking over from Lloyd Arnett, and eventually handing that over to Bryan Coley. CITA recently published an anthology of plays associated with our annual playwriting competition, for which I wrote the Introduction.

Wayne Harrel was one of the playwrights we invited to the Rosedale Writers Week in Feb 2007, and SECOND BLOOM was the play he brought to workshop, then titled DYING'S EASY. Another of Wayne's plays, SONG OF THE BOW, is slated to follow REFUGE OF LIES for production in New York by Firebone Theatre.
Christianity's role in theater takes center stage
A conference of Christians in Theatre Arts at Azusa Pacific University addresses issues in bringing together faith and entertainment
By Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 14, 2008

Wayne Harrel's new play "Second Bloom" deals with big issues of faith, mortality and forgiveness. In it, a dying woman and her long-estranged daughter reach out to each other while "there is still time for God to work in their lives," the writer said.

Harrel, from Portland, Ore., infused the play with his own Christian sensibility from his membership in a Covenant church but he said he hopes to engage secular audiences too.

"I try to write for a broad public," Harrel said. "I hope they feel the way I do, but it's their call. I don't want to dictate."

That pull between the world of Christian churches and colleges and wider arenas of entertainment was a running theme at a conference this week on the campus of Azusa Pacific University. Harrel was among about 100 people from around the country who attended the annual convention of Christians in Theatre Arts, a 20-year-old organization with headquarters in Greenville, S.C.

The four-day meeting, which ended Friday, offered training in many standard aspects of stagecraft, such as writing, scenery, royalties, mime and singing, along with the usual business-card swapping and casting buzz. The gathering's special focus, however, was evident in the prayers that opened most sessions and in classes about "Staging Christian Classics" and "Theater in Worship."

Christians in Theatre Arts is a nondenominational organization, said Executive Director Dale Savidge, who teaches theater at North Greenville University, a Baptist-affiliated school in South Carolina.

The majority of members are from evangelical Protestant churches but some are Roman Catholics and from other denominations. The group describes itself as "furthering the kingdom of God by equipping Christians in theater arts" and connecting "spiritual life and artistic vocation."

The organization was founded to support Christians who felt uncomfortable bridging the two sides of their lives and who may have faced suspicion from fellow churchgoers and secular theater professionals. Now, much of that suspicion has evaporated, Savidge said.

Live theater is incorporated in many church services and activities, even though video and movies increasingly challenge that presence. And the secular theater world, Savidge added, "is very tolerant and that extends to Christians too. We feel accepted on the same terms that everyone is accepted."

But isn't there a stereotype of theater life as too liberal or even repellent to some conservative Christians? Most theater socializing is no wilder "than an office party at an investment firm," Savidge said. All jobs present some conflicts, he noted, and people should know "when to say no and when to say excuse me."

The conference explored practical and spiritual issues in the classrooms and dance studios of Azusa Pacific, an evangelical Christian school in Azusa. At a session of "Staging Christian Classics," directors and designers shared tips on elaborate versions of C.S. Lewis' Christian-themed "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and bare-bones productions of the musical "Godspell." In other classes, people spoke of the difficulty of sustaining the iPod-Facebook generation's attention for religious theater or sermons.

Christians in Theater Arts seeks to encourage new plays and movie scripts that have Christian or moral content. Harrel's "Second Bloom" won this year's top prize in the group's writing contest, beating out 30 or so other submissions, and received a staged reading.

Some of the plays had overt biblical or Christian themes, but many tackled contemporary issues without proselytizing, said Joseph Frost, a theater professor who oversaw the contest.

"We are stepping beyond something that is strictly an evangelical piece," said Frost, who teaches at Belhaven College, a Presbyterian school in Jackson, Miss. "We are trying to nurture good plays but written by people who have a particular view of life that happens to be consistent with the Christian outlook of the world. But the idea is that it is still a good play and not a good play because it espouses this. It is a good play and it does this."

Some of Frost's students come from conservative, home-schooled backgrounds and have had little prior contact with modern drama. Nevertheless, he has them study works by playwrights such as David Mamet, Sam Shepard and Tony Kushner.

"You can't be a theater person and be ignorant of those things," Frost said.

Those plays, along with Broadway shows he recently saw in New York -- "Spring Awakening" and "August: Osage County" -- may have rough language and themes, but, Frost said, all "raise questions Christians should be wrestling with: What is my position in the world? What is my position to others? How do I deal with struggle and strife?"

Conference participants acknowledged some self-censorship because they work at schools or churches that would not tolerate plays with strong sexual or anti-authority themes. But that doesn't limit them to Christmas and Easter pageants.

Julia Reimer, who teaches at the Mennonite Brethren-affiliated Fresno Pacific University, recently wrote a modern-dress drama based on New Testament parables that was performed on campus and at area churches. She also produced a stage version of "Nickel and Dimed," Barbara Ehrenreich's book about trying to live on low wages. Reimer toned down some of that script's language without changing its message of sympathy for the working poor.

"I think carefully about selections when I'm thinking about a secular play, and there is always a question of how far I can push things," she said. "I want an audience to not turn off. I want them to remain open to whatever message the play is trying to communicate."

Jun 28: Stephen Toon release party

Soul Food pal and frequent PT drummer Kenton Wiens sends us this. Both Kenton and Kathleen Nisbet are playing!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jun 18-21: PT Apprentice Project, THREE RINGS FOR MICHELLE

by Patricia Joudry
June 18 - 21
Wednesday - Saturday, 8pm
$10 in Advance, or PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN at the door!

All performances at Pacific Theatre 1420 W 12th Ave (at Hemlock St), Vancouver
Buy Tickets Online
For more information call our box Office today at 604.731.5518.

Two strained mother-son relationships with an immense gulf and emptiness between the family members. Suddenly, an orphan from another country comes into the midst and brings back memories of a father. She seeks only to live with a family where she belongs, but will she ever belong to this family?

Featuring Alison Chisholm, Patricia Braun, Josh Hallem, Lynne Karey-McKenna, Troy Young. Directed by Joyce Chung.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

SAVED runs Off-Broadway

"The general trend for screen-to-stage adaptations is to make everything larger than life -- broadening the comedy, heightening the romance and rendering the characters sufficiently loud and cartoonish to play to the back row. But the creative team behind the tuner adaptation of the 2004 indie pic, which satirizes life in an evangelical Christian high school, has gone the opposite route. "Saved" the musical has reined in the spoofing and is softening the edges of the characters, playing them more empathetically. It even excises the exclamation mark from the film's title. ...

Librettist-lyricist John Dempsey:"Every time we took an honest, sympathetic approach, the show seemed to work," he explains. "Any time we went toward harsher satire or commentary, it stopped working." That's why Hilary Faye, the righteous leader of a teen-pop gospel group played by Mandy Moore in the movie, gets a sympathetic number in act two. She makes more sense as a real person, not as a caricature." ...

Composer-lyricist Michael Friedman: "Our audience isn't necessarily from a world where people speak in tongues or practice that really charismatic Christianity. It's more complicated and more satisfying to take them to an emotional place, where those beliefs suddenly seem very approachable." ...
Here's a link to the Playbill article. And NY Times has a slideshow interview with composer Michael Friedman. Runs at Playwrights Horizons, closes June 22.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

June 5: Carmen Tome opening

Once a year, in June, there is a Portuguese Heritage Month in Vancouver where we get to celebrate all things Portuguese. A few artists, including myself, are exhibiting our artworks at Chapel Arts Gallery on Dunlevy (corner of Cordova and Dunlevy). I know its late notice for tonight's opening reception but it is on all month long. The doors will be locked (due to the neighborhood) but just knock loudly and you will be let in. Hope to see you there.

:) Carmen

It is with great pleasure that our organization invites you to attend the
official opening to "Portuguese Heritage Month" 2008 celebrations in the
city of Vancouver-Canada.

7:30pm @ Chapel Arts
304 Dunlevy Avenue (Vancouver)

"My ART, My HERITAGE" exhibits works of art by Canadians connected to the
Portuguese heritage including international award-winning artist Mandy
Boursicot (Macau), Kara Lawrence (Azores), Sara Marreiros (Portugal), Joao
de Matos (Azores), multiple award-winner including a COPA award Maria
Miranda Lawrence (Azores), Virginia Quental (Brazil), Olga de Sousa
(Azores) and international award winning photographer Carmen Tome

Also performances by Amigos do Pico Choral Group and Folklore Cruz de
Cristo among others will entertain all until approximately 10pm.

This event is made possible with the support of Canadian Heritage, City of
Vancouver and the Government of Azores (Direccao Regional das Comunidades)
and the hundreds of hours of volunteer work.

We hope you are able to join us in the celebrations. For other events
please visit (updated daily).


Terry Costa
Portuguese Community Centre of British Columbia

tel 604.684.5876
825 Granville Street, suite #401

Monday, June 02, 2008

Aug 26-30: SADDEST GIRL Comes To Vancouver! (Tina Teeninga)

In 2006/2007, Tina Teeninga was an apprentice at Pacific Theatre. She wrote and directed several Stones Throw / Apprentice Showcase shows, presented her full length play LUDDITES! at the Rosedale Writers Week, and played Max in REMNANTS on the PT mainstage.

Still a presence around Pacific Theatre, Tina also continues to write and produce independently. Her latest is set to tour to Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Vancouver this summer. I won't be missing it!

A new play by Tina Teeninga

July 16th- July 27th - Winnipeg Fringe Festival
July 31st - August 9th - Saskatoon Fringe Festival
August 26th - August 30th - Carousel Theatre, Vancouver
To reserve tickets please contact

Separated from everyone she knows. Haunted by a bloody past. Natya believes Canada is the beginning of a new life. Canada harbours dirty secrets of its own, however, and Natya must face personal demons in a fight to survive. Natya’s one possible ally is Ava: an innocent woman she has never met, whose dreams of jewels glimmer with hope.

For more, visit the SADDEST GIRL website

Tom Pickett opens Acting Studio!

Pacific Theatre fans tend also to be Tom Pickett fans - MASTER HAROLD & THE BOYS, TENT MEETING, DRIVING MISS DAISY, etc, etc, as well as many roles at Bard On The Beach, The Vancouver Playhouse, and other Vancouver theatres. Even if you don't know Tom offstage, you won't be surprised to learn that he's one of the most big-hearted, generous, kind and nurturing people you'll ever meet. So it seems to me a very exciting development that Tom and his wife Jackie are opening an acting studio! I can't help but think that his soulful, welcoming, encouraging presence will create an environment where people really can be free and confident to create, and to grow in the craft of acting. As Tom wrote in an email to me, his heart is to "create a safe place for kids and adults to come and be bold, fearless and inspirational."

Kids Only Acting Classes (est. 2003) and Chameleon Studio (est. 2007), founded by Film Industry Professional Michele Sands Partridge, will have a new owner August 1, 2008.

Its time for me to take a break, says founder and current owner of the acting studios, Sands Partridge. It was not an easy decision for me as its been such a pleasure for me and for our wonderful instructors to have guided such talented actors of all ages with their quest in learning the craft of acting. We have such a growing acting community here in South Surrey, so I couldnt be more pleased that the studios will remain open for the students and the community. explains Sands Partridge.
New owners, Professional Film and Theatre actor TOM PICKETT and his wife JACKIE PICKETT will continue Kids Only Acting Classes (KOAC) and Chameleon Studios tradition of offering fun and professional acting programs for actors of all ages taught by some of the best professional performing arts instructors in the lower mainland.

KOAC (ages 3 17) and Chameleon Studios (ages 18 and up) regular schedule of professional beginner to advanced acting programs and diverse monthly workshops will remain, with the addition of some new and exciting workshops for kids and adults such more casting director workshops and singing workshops focusing on Jazz, Blues, R&B and Gospel vocal instruction with an emphasis on stage performance.

Professional film and theatre actor TOM PICKETT will manage the creative side of the studios as Creative Director and JACKIE, will manage the business side as Business Operations and Registration.

Film and Stage actor, Tom Pickett brings over 50 years of diverse performance experience to the students of KOAC and Chameleon Studio. Tom grew up in Berkeley, California listening to the sounds of his fathers group The Four Aces whose tutelage may be sampled on the 1999 Flyright Fly CD 62: The Four Aces 1946-1955. Toms professional acting career began in Vancouver over 17 years ago quickly gaining film and television credits on Neon Rider, The Commish, X-Files. Most recently he can be seen inMasters of Horror, The Supernatural, Personal Effects, The Gym Teacher and Traveling. Tom extended his acting skills to the stage with the National and International tours of Hal Princes Show Boat, debuting at The Prince Edward Theatre in Londons West End. Tom has been seen in Athol Fugards Master Harold and the Boys (for which he received a Jessie Richardson Award), The Pacific Theatre, James Fagan Taits adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevskys Crime and Punishment (for which he received a Jessie Richardson Award nomination), NeWorld Theatre and Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy, Chemainus Theatre 2002 and The Pacific Theatre 2007. Tom loves Shakespeare and has enjoyed five seasons at Bard on the Beach.

Tom and Jackie would like to invite the community to their OPEN HOUSE to meet the new management team and see some new workshop demonstrations, Saturday, September 6, 2008 at the studio located at #20 15531 24thAve., South Surrey, BC from Noon until 4pm.Tom and Jackie look forward to meeting the local acting community at the Open House and cant wait to show everyone whats in store for the Fall Schedule at KOAC ( and Chameleon Studio (

KOAC is currently registering for their June programs and workshops and Julys Summer Acting Camps for all ages. To register call Lorraine at 604.817.3602.

Michele Sands Partridge, owner KOAC/Chameleon Studio
Tel: 604.831.5324 Email:
Michele Sands Partridge

Tom Pickett, new owner of KOAC/Chameleon Studio as of August 1, 2008.
Phone: 604-943-9103, Cell Phone: 604-836-9103 Fax Number: 604-648-9088 E:

Sunday, June 01, 2008

June 6/6: Sara Ciantar

Sara was ubiquitous this past CHRISTMAS PRESENCE: she performed her own tune and others with a subset of Wicker Robot, then played the pipe organ for our special performance in the Holy Trinity sanctuary. Rick Colhoun produced her cd...

Hey ya'll,
After a couple of months of doing other people's lovely music I'll be celebrating mine in full force. I cordially invite you to one of two gigs (or both if the fancy should strike you).
Come hear some of the new tunes I've been working on and some other beautiful musicians to boot!

Friday nite, June the 6th
I'm opening for all you "early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise"-ers
So that should be around 8:30
Following is local legend Peter Lagrand and then
Justin Grounds of Australian fame (but I knew him before...) starting the northern leg of his world tour
Cafe Deux Soleils (I didn't know that the same people also own Cafe Du Soleil-go figure!) Commercial and 5th

Saturday nite, June the 7th
The nomadic spirit (and actual presence) of Michael Peters of Winnipeg will be opening up for me at 8:30
It's a small world you know. We found each other's music on myspace and it turns out that it's a miracle we haven't met before we know so many of the same people (I was set up with his brother once or twice before....)
This event will be at the Wired Monk. I was crossing my fingers on this one folks. This is my favorite place to play my music in this city. (Trafalgar and 4th)

I think both events are $5 covers but really for such quality music how could you go wrong.
Can't wait to see some of your smiling happy faces.