Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tom Pickett featured in Peace Arch News

Tom's a PT favourite - Master Harold & The Boys, Hospitality Suite, Playland, Shadowlands, Tent Meeting, Driving Miss Daisy. In 2008 he moved into the teaching / mentoring biz - a good fit, I think! - as well as continuing his acting, and expanding his singing work. Got to get that guy back on our stage again!

Multi-talented mentor
Alex Browne, Peace Arch News
September 23, 2009

Tom Pickett can’t believe it’s been a year since he and his wife Jackie took over the Chameleon Studio in South Surrey, including the Kids Only Acting School.

In that time, he says, he has been “blown away” by the talent in the community.

When they took over the school last year it was strictly a film acting school, but since then they’ve added singing, a musical theatre program (with local performer Wendy Bollard) and a recreational drama program for kids, as well as retaining classes with voice-talent expert Robin Douglas (who is branching into English pronunciation classes) and Kids Only founder Michelle Sand Partridge.

But Pickett, who has been a professional actor and singer for years, continues to add to his credits (which include performing in London’s West End with the Hal Prince production of Showboat, winning the Jessie Richardson Award for the Pacific Theatre production of Master Harold and The Boys, and acting Shakespeare with Bard On The Beach) with Vancouver-lensed film and television roles.

But he isn’t neglecting his musical side. Lately he enjoyed guesting with Bollard at her sold-out concert at Coast Capital Playhouse, and he derives great joy from performances with the all-star group The Gospel Experience.

Recently, he worked on two kid-oriented movies, for director Chris Columbus in Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief, and in the film version of Ramona and Beezus, in which he shared a scene with Sandra Oh, as well as TV roles in Fringe and Psyche, in which he appeared with Gospel Experience.

“That’s what I call one of the blue birds – something that comes along that you weren’t expecting”

He chuckled, recalling the experience of reading for Percy Jackson, in which he got to play one of five janitors who morph into a five-headed creature.

“We’re the principal villains,” he said. “I’m trying out with one group of five actors, and there’s another guy named Keith Dallas in the other group of five, and I hear from an assistant director that he was saying ‘I’m worried about the other black guy.’ Then we wound up cast together, and we couldn’t believe it. It never happens – with two black actors, it’s either one or the other.”

But one of the biggest blue birds for Pickett has been the opportunity to work with young performers and pass on his experience to them – something he never planned when he was growing up in Berkeley, Calif., son of a professional musician who sang with the Four Aces group in the ’40s and ’50s.

“I didn’t have any of this, growing up,” he said. “My parents thought of music and drama as a distraction. My father had experience of a lot of bad record companies and a lot of bad contracts. My mother used to say to me ‘don’t do this to your wife, son.’”

Fortunately, times have changed, and Pickett counts himself privileged to be able to guide young talents such as Heather Leavoy, who he first encountered in the Bard on the Beach Young Shakespeareans program and now studies voice and acting.

And five-year-old Jakob Davies, already a veteran of two Toyota commercials, who Pickett coached in finding his ‘sad’.

“He’s amazing,” he said. “And he’s totally unfazed by his success.”

Terrific Video: Arts still in jeopardy

Friday, October 30, 2009

TODAY: Vote for Anita Reimer!

Anita Reimer hit Vancouver something like a year and a half ago, and got in touch with PT right away. Not only because she's an actor, and had known about our company for years, but because her uncle was a long-time friend of mine, through CITA. If you know the history of faith-based theatre in North America, you know the name Earl Reimer, a Canadian boy who was a pioneer in the movement, taught a lot of emerging theatre artists, wrote a lot of plays. Here's The Latest Adventure Of Anita Reimer...

(Maugrim, from The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe?)

Hello Friends,

I was recently in a film called "JACK". It is part of a 48 hour film contest where films had to be written, shot, and edited all within 48 hours. Check out this 5 minute film at under the film "JACK" by Kryshan Randel.

Warning - it is part of the horror genre and can be disturbing for some people.

Please cast a vote for us as the best film of Bloodshots 2009 by: Emailing SUBJECT line - "JACK" MESSAGE - "I vote for 'JACK' as the best film of Bloodshots Canada 2009". Please note: ONE vote PER email address!! Voting ENDS Friday Oct 30 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time.



Nov 12-14: Hello I Must Be Going

Shannon Lythgoe is a long-time, long-range Soul Foodie. She was closely involved with Pacific Theatre fifteen years ago and more, before moving to Nelson. But she keeps in touch, plays the occasional game of Scrabble with our Head Chef, and now sends word about...

Hi Folks - I'm letting all my Lower Mainland family and friends know about this show, which will be playing at the Shadbolt Centre in November. Bessie Wapp, who co-wrote and stars in this one-woman show is not only a dear friend, but also an actress and musician of prodigious talent. I saw this show last year here in Nelson, and was deeply moved. Bessie was invited to perform a showcase at Pacific Contact last spring, and as a result has been very busy touring this show to all parts of the province. I highly recommend you see this show, if you can!
Cheers - Shannon

Twin Fish Theatre presents
Burnaby: Nov 12, 13 & 14

“An exceptional production… astonishing transformations… hilarious recollections… Bravo!” Stephanie Dawson, NDN

Equal parts humour and pathos, HELLO, I MUST BE GOING tells the true stories of five generations of Jewish Lithuanian women (relations of performer Bessie Wapp) struggling to protect their families from invading armies: Russian, Soviet, Nazi, and Soviet again. Those that flee to the USA face World War II and Vietnam, while another lands in the tumult of Israel. HELLO, I MUST BE GOING celebrates women's resistance to war through the stories that don't make the headlines - stories of courage, sacrifice and love.

Nov 12-14 thurs-sat, 8pm
Shadbolt Centre, Burnaby
Tickets: $25/20 (under 12: $5), 604.205-3000

Nov 14/15: Jason Hildebrand Workshop / Performance

Jason is a very strong actor from Toronto who was associated with Brookstone Performing Arts, back when they still existed. I never saw his touring version of BLUE LIKE JAZZ in person, but the DVD looked terrific. . . .

Click on poster for closer view

Nov 14: Open Mic, Grace Church

Open Mic and Coffee House
Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7 PM
Grace Church (1696 West 7th Avenue in Vancouver)

Got a song or talent you're dying to share, or just want to enjoy some great music and tasty desserts? Come on out to this open mic and coffee house. All performers welcome. Donations will be taken to benefit Genesis Vancouver.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ron Gets Excited About WARDROBE

Check out this video of Ron chatting about THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, why he chose it, why he's excited about it, and why you should be too!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 23: THE SERIES premiere with Sheree Plett and Jonathan Inc.

During the 2008 production of JESUS, MY BOY an idea was hatched. The live music by Jeremy Eisenhauer and Sheree Plett brought a magical quality to the one man show that our patrons were simply raving about (and so were the reviewers). We needed to find a way in our season for more PT musicians to take the stage! Jeremy Eisenhauer met with Ron Reed and a few months later The Series was born. Created as an emerging artist showcase, The Series is built around a single vision: to bring BC's emerging muscians and Vancouverites under one roof, one magical evening at a time. We invite you into Pacific Theatre's living room; enjoy, relax, and soak in the talents of these amazing musicians.

While most of these musicians regularly donate their talents for free at
Christmas Presence, we wanted to find a way to help support them on their journey. As such, The Series is mandated to provide 50% of the ticket revenue directly to the artists. We truly want these artists to feel like they have an artistic home in Vancouver and we hope you will too. If you love the music at Christmas Presence, the The Series is for you.

Purchase your tickets today and help bring emerging music to the masses.

This Friday, The Series Presents:

"These two (Plett and husband Eisenhauer) sing in folksy harmonies, and Plett's sweetly smokey voice is particularly pleasing" -The Georgia Straight

"Jonathan Inc. is a master of mood and atmosphere, and it seems he's found the musical compatriots he needs to bring his vision to fruition" -Mote Magazine

I can't wait to see these artists take over our stage and make it their own!

Reason to Subscribe #10: Passion Project is selling fast!

Floor seats for the first matinee of the HOTTEST show to come straight from New York to Vancouver are already sold out! And we don't just mean hottest because it ends in flames... (badum ching!) With tickets selling at this rate, subscribe now to be sure you still get in to see PASSION PROJECT the way it was meant to be seen- on your feet, on the floor, a part of the action, making it your own.

Oct 29-Nov 18: Shari-Anne Gibson art show

New Drawings and Paintings by Shari-Anne Gibson
at Little Mountain Gallery
October 29th - November 18th, 2009
Opening: October 29, 7-10pm

Little Mountain Gallery 195 East 26th Avenue at Main Street
Hours: Wednesday-Friday: 1-5pm
Saturday-Sunday: 11am - 5pm
Monday-Tuesday: Closed
In this new series on canvas and mylar, Shari-Anne Gibson re-invents the traditional landscape by creating interrupted and dislocated scenes. Historically, the natural world is praised for offering the viewer rest and fullness, a respite from the frenetic activity of daily life. And yet, today, our experience of landscape is constantly interrupted: by power lines, newly paved roads, cell phones. Being drawn in to a quiet centre is truly rare.
We cannot fully climb into these images, but are forced to consider the painted, solid surface that surrounds and invades the scenes. These inconsistencies generate meaning and challenge our experience of natural beauty.

October 24: Pacific Rim String Quartet

The Pacific Rim String Quartet has been our resident string quartet for three years now (didn't know we had a resident string quartet? Well now you do!) Every season they put on three performances, each one geared towards one of our mainstage shows. On October 24th they'll join us to play music specifically chosen for THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT. Here's their letter of introduction:

Dear Friends,

The Pacific Rim String Quartet is starting its third season. We’ve just returned from a performance in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, and have many more concerts coming up in and around Vancouver. And of course, we’re continuing our own subscription series, Music at Pacific, based in the intimate 120-seat Pacific Theatre at Granville and Hemlock. Here are the season details:

October 24, 2009 Music by Beethoven, Suk, and Borodin

March 20, 2010 Music by Beethoven, Schoeck, and Ravel

May 8, 2010 Music by Beethoven, Kodaly, and Brahms

All concerts start at 8pm. Further details, including ticket ordering, can be found at

You can also keep up with the PRSQ by visiting our website at

At this time, we’d like to update our mailing list. If you have received this message, you are officially on the list. If you do not wish to receive emails from PRSQ, simply reply to this message with “unsubscribe” in the subject line and you will be taken off the list.

We look forward to an exciting season of great chamber music, and we hope to see you at our concerts!


The Pacific Rim String Quartet
Li-Ling, Ruth, Robin, Brian

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NOW PLAYING: You The Living, A Serious Man, It Might Get Loud

Check Soul Food Movies

Oct 29 - Nov 7: Trish Pattenden & Chris Humphreys, THE MASTER BUILDER

A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS cast members Chris Humphreys (Henry VIII, Cromwell) and Trish Pattenden (Alice More) are in THE MASTER BUILDER playing at the Telus Studio Theatre from Oct. 29 to November 7 at 7:30. More info at

The Master Builder
By Henrik Ibsen, A new adaptation by Errol Durbach,
Directed by Gerald Vanderwoude a Co-production with Yorick Theatre

Halvard Solness, a brilliantly successful architect, has willed his unspoken desire into reality at every turn - but not without a price. Now burned out and at the end of his career he lives in fear that the next generation will rise up and cast him aside. Halvard’s encounter with a fiery-hearted young woman from his past, Hilde Wangel becomes a dramatic enactment of the forces animating, inspiring or destroying the artist in the drawn-out struggle to reconcile the prerogatives of aesthetics and of life. For this new 90 minute adaptation Ibsen scholar Errol Durbach utilizes source material created by Ibsen including letters, manuscripts and poems. Find out more about this production and our full season of events

“Ibsen’s tragic and epic masterwork: the forces of art, religion, sex and nature all converge to raise man up and knock him down." – New York Times

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), the Norwegian playwright and poet known as the “father of modern drama,” is best known for Hedda Gabler, the epitome of a realistic play. Right behind is A Doll’s House, The Wild Duck and An Enemy of the People. Where these plays are all realistic and rife with symbolism, The Master Builder practically achieves allegorical heights. A taught psychological drama The Master Builder, along with his other late works Little Eyolf, When We Dead Awaken and John Gabriel Borkman it is known as one of his “symbolic” plays.

“Castles in the air - they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build too. “ - Henrik Ibsen

TELUS STUDIO THEATRE Oct. 28 – Nov. 7, 2009
Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, UBC
The Master Builder, By Henrik Ibsen, In a new adaptation by Errol Durbach, Directed by Gerald Vanderwoude
Run: Oct. 28 – Nov. 7, 2009| Mon. - Sat at 7:30 p.m. | Opening Night: Oct. 29 | Tickets: Reg. $25/Senior $20/Student $15 | | $6 Preview: Oct. 28 | Mondays $5 for UBC Alumni | Box Office: 604.822.2678

Media Contact: Deb Pickman P: 604.319.7656 E:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Closing Oct 24: Jade Shaw in LAST TRAIN TO NIBROC

Jade Shaw was Laura in A GLASS MENAGERIE at PT several seasons back, a magnificent, vulnerable performance, utterly memorable. She shared the stage on that one with Ian Farthing and Bob Frazer. Anyhow, Jade's a lovely actress, and now she's in another lovely show, also familiar to Pacific Theatre audiences...

Hey Guys

Please come to my show. It's a lovely little play. Only 75 minutes in length. Small theatre just off Main on 26th. There's only 1 show left this week, and then next week.
Love to see you there! xo Jade

Phoenix Productions Presents

Last Train to Nibroc

By Arlene Hutton

Andrew Coghlan and Jade Shaw
Directed by Gabriel Carter

October 14-17, 21-24

2 for 1 Wednesday, October 21st

Doors open 7PM
8PM Showtime

Little Mountain Studios
195 E. 26th
(Off Main Street)
Vancouver, BC

Tickets $20 at the door, or at Biz Books (302 West Cordova)

Norman Armour's Thanksgiving Message to Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Culture & the Arts

A Thanksgiving Message to Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts

The following written submission was delivered in person to Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts for The Province of British Columbia at a roundtable session held October 15. A group of 25 community leaders from Vancouver’s Arts and Culture sector were in attendance. An edited version was read aloud, along with other submissions from and by each of the community leaders.

October 14, 2009

Dear Minister, I am a builder by nature and ancestry.

My cousin, the late Mavor Moore, was also a builder. He came from a long line of playwrights, directors, actors, Fabians, theatre critics, historians, arts patrons, doctors, businessmen, engineers and occasional world travelers. With other members of his generation who came of age in the 40s and 50s, together they pioneered the whole-scale development of a new Canadian cultural identity, founding countless institutions, creating indelible works of art, new artistic forms and innovative practices, along with establishing the infrastructure and public policies that would enable the distribution of Canada’s artistic output to a citizenry in need of an authentic and distinct expression of their evolving identity—their sense of place, here at home, and in the world at large.

To this day, I remember the story he told of working in New York State on radio documentaries for the United Nations. The producer of CBS television’s flagship drama series, Studio One, had offered him a job to become one of the show’s in-house directors. The fee was to be $500 a week. Through a series of Mephistophelean offers and counteroffers, his agent and CBS settled on the kingly sum $1,500 a week. Now, remember this is 1950. As Mavor told it, each successive upping of the ante only served to “confirm his suspicion.” Not soon after, he packed his bags and returned to Toronto, where he joined a colleague at CBC television, which was in the very early stages of preparations for its inaugural broadcast; he took up the position of chief producer for a weekly salary of $165 plus benefits.

Thirty years ago, I came to Vancouver to begin a new life—decidedly at good distance from my Ontario birthplace. I worked up north in the early days of the development of Whistler’s Blackcomb Village, as a member of the Laborers’ Union 902. Eventually the restlessness of youth got the best of me, and I traveled afar. Before long, I had returned to Vancouver to attend Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts as a “mature student,” studying in “temporary” facilities that to this day exist up on Burnaby Mountain. I made my way through a post-secondary education, in part, with weekend shifts driving cab and stints as a technician at the campus theatre. I graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a considerable student debt.

For the next 10 years, I toured to and worked in various city centres across Canada. I also performed, directed and held teaching positions and creative residencies in various US cities: Albany, Boise Idaho, Boston, Sacramento, and at Atlanta, Georgia’s prestigious Emory University. At the end of each and every sojourn, I returned here to BC. It was by no means a fait accompli. I could have chosen to settle down elsewhere in a larger urban centre—in say, Toronto, Montreal, New York, Berlin, or perhaps Paris. I had certainly considered it. Even Mavor Moore, of all people, living at the time in Vancouver, had confided to my mother that I might want to try making a go of it in Los Angeles’ film and television industry. Though I chose not to head south, if you watch closely you’ll catch me on reruns of The X-Files. Yep...filmed right here in BC.

Like many of my generation, who had studied and come of age professionally here on the West Coast, Vancouver was our home—a source of inspiration and sustenance. I chose to live here not because the city possessed an illustrious past (which it did), not because of the impressive nature of its cultural institutions (many of them were), not because of the city’s performance venues (there were, and continue to be, far too few for a municipality of its size); nor did I choose to live here because there was a particularly large audience for alternative theatre (there wasn’t), and I certainly did not stay because there was a surfeit of public funding in the region (there wasn’t). And finally no, I was not drawn to Vancouver because of the mountains; the city’s picturesque parks remain my preferred place of refuge.

I chose to live in BC because, at the time, I firmly believed there was a future for me here; I believed that the fertile creative ground that had been laid by the many talented and dedicated individuals before me held within it great possibilities.

BC was indeed a place of “possibility,” a place where you were taken at face value, where one could gain respect and recognition for the work you did. Here you were expected to prove your worth; you had to gain the trust and faith of colleagues, of audiences, of the critics in the media, of public funding agencies, and of private sectors supporters. It was then that I put my trust in the belief that my efforts and those of the burgeoning arts community would, over time, be justly compensated.

It was particularly struck by the character of the people—both senior and junior—who defined the city’s arts community. Ingenuity and innovation was the standard. Collaboration, industry- leading best practices and the sharing of resources were actively promoted. Generosity, compassion and curiosity were expected—indeed, these attributes were the norm.

Now when I travel the world, in my job as executive director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, to London, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, Adelaide, Wellington, Brussels, Bergen, Berlin, Paris, Seattle, Portland Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, St Johns, Edinburgh, Prague, Sydney and Glasgow, I am welcomed as an ambassador for an artistic community whose reputation needs no calling card. The energy and vision of BC artists, the caliber and relevance of their work, the skill and savvy of our arts administrators, production and technical personnel, marketers and graphic designers—their artistry and expertise is acclaimed world- wide and is considered to be on the leading edge of contemporary art practices.

The annual PuSh Festival plays an important role in meeting this export demand for BC’s artists and their cultural products. The Festival and its PuSh Assembly trade market links Canadian artists and producers with foreign buyers. It prepares Canadian artists for export readiness and International market development. The Assembly identifies business opportunities for Canadian companies by encouraging new avenues for touring, co-production, creative residencies and cultural reciprocity. Visiting regional, national and International delegates attend performances, participate in roundtables, lead workshops, learn of creative projects in development and negotiate tours, commissions and co-productions.

We have sought a model for the five-day PuSh Assembly that reflects how genuine, long-term relationships are fostered, and ultimately how business is conducted. During the course of the past several years, the Assembly has inspired similarly mandated festivals and trade events to replicate and build upon the unique models we have employed. New York, Brighton and in Es Terni, in Italy are just a few examples of the trend-setting influence we now possess.

This commitment to new ideas, new practices, new forms and new approaches has helped put BC artists at the forefront of artistic innovation in both Canada and internationally. Numerous opportunities have opened up for our cultural producers through their exposure and networking at the Festival and the Assembly. Discussions and negotiations have been fostered between Canadian and International presenters, leading to significant new business and market development opportunities for countless BC-based artists and their counterparts elsewhere in Canada.

In today’s world, the means of cultural production and dissemination are undergoing a fundamental transformation. If BC’s performing artists are to remain competitive in the years ahead, we must ensure that our province’s cultural sector remains an engine of growth. We must find ways to unleash the creative energies of our increasingly diverse population. We must work together to build thriving cultural industries. By reinventing our province as a cultural centre in the world, we need only appeal to the highest of civic and social values; we would then effectively distinguish our cultural identity in the global economy in ways that would ensure BC’s continued prosperity.

Thank you Minister for today’s roundtable. At this time in our collective history, conversation is more critical than ever. We are at the threshold of stepping up on to the world stage. Sadly, we are also teetering towards the precipice of collapse. Our province’s artistic communities are facing unprecedented challenges because of recent changes to the disbursement of Gaming revenues and the proposed funding cuts to the British Columbia Arts Council. We face threats to the survival of countless organizations, to artists’ livelihood and to thousands of jobs.

For the rest of the country (indeed the rest of the world), investment in arts and culture has been maintained or increased; surely, this is a testament to the fact that the arts are indeed a powerful engine in any healthy economy. In straight business terms, stimulus investments are an enlightened response to the current recession; they are key to an effective recovery strategy. For elected governments everywhere else, not investing in the arts is viewed as throwing up one’s hands in the face of this recession. Here in BC, the very opposite is considered true.

Minister, like you I am a servant of the public good. I head up a registered, non-profit organization and report to an elected board of directors. I am held accountable by a voting membership that looks to me to stay true to the letter and spirit of the PuSh Festival’s mandate—in both speech and deed. Like you, I am also a professional. My salary, though modest in comparison, I assume is like yours the source of my livelihood. Like you, I believe arts and culture are the basis of a civil society. And like you, I have dedicated myself to ensuring that the citizen’s of British Columbia benefit from residing in a province for which affordable access to art is considered a fundamental right and an essential service, along with highways, public transit, a decent education, a roof over one’s head, food on the table and medical care.

Like you, I believe the citizens of BC want a portion of their tax dollars spent on the arts—an amount equal to the arts’ proven social, economic and cultural value. They want public funds invested into individual artists, institutions, organizations, infrastructure, human resources, tax incentives, and sector-wide capacity-building initiatives that ensure that arts and culture will not only survive but flourish in our province.

When I travel in late November to Budapest, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, with a group of Canadian delegates to promote the vision, vitality and innovative spirit of BC and other Canadian artists, what should I say about the present state of British Columbia’s performing arts communities? When I attend Krakow’s Divine Comedy Festival, in early December—I have been invited to sit on an International jury to assess the “best” of Polish theatre with my travel costs covered by funds from the Hungarian government—what would you suggest I speak of?

Back here in BC, what do I say to artists wishing to be presented in the PuSh Festival, or to a local agent, or a producer wishing to respond with a “yes” to invitations to tour from out-of-town other presenters and festivals. What do I tell them, when it becomes clear that they may no longer be able to sustain their organizations here at home, let alone consider embarking on International tours of their productions. To visiting out-of-town presenters and buyers, what do I say to their offers of support for initiatives involving cultural exchange between BC artists and their respective countries, when I am no longer certain that our organization will be able to reciprocate with offers to present their artists back here in the PuSh Festival.

To a younger generation still immersed in a secondary or post-secondary arts education, who are at this very point asking themselves what the future holds for them, and should they dare to choose a career in the arts—to them Minster, what do I say? To the province’s young professionals—emerging artists, administrators and technicians, who are now considering, as I had 20 years previous, the difficult, life-determining decision of whether they should lay down roots here, stick it out, or simply pack up and leave—what can I hope to say?

To my organization’s 19-member board of directors who will donate thousands of dollars and contribute thousands of volunteer hours over the next 12 months, what do I say? To my 4 permanent staff and 15 seasonal contractors, to our organization’s 100+ volunteers, to 30 some vendors who supply everything from trucks, lighting and sound equipment, venues, gaffer tape, paint, gasoline, airline tickets, hotel accommodation, food, beverages, ticketing services, and the like—what do I say to them?

For our organization’s 3,000 member e-list and the 10,000 distinct visitors to the PuSh Festival website amounting to over 1.3 million hits during the month of January alone, what spin should there be put on our weekly posts? For the 36,000 readers of our Festival’s program guide and the 350,000 readers of our print ads each and every week for the next four months, how should the copy read?

To local and national journalists, and to the hundreds (likely to be in the thousands) of foreign media that will soon descend upon our region for the performances, exhibitions, literary readings and other cultural festivities of the 2010 Cultural Olympiad and related sports events— what sound bites do you suggest I prepare for them? And finally, to the 20,000+ audience members who will attend this year’s PuSh Festival during January and February—Minster, what should be the tone of our volunteers’ nightly pre-show speeches?

I have poured several buckets of blood and sweat into my life as a professional artist. I have committed myself to the future of this city and this province. I have tethered my imagination to the task of fostering an artistic community whose work, strengths, assets, values and sensibilities could stand side beside any other contemporary arts milieu—anywhere in the country, and anywhere in the world. Believe me, I am not alone; there are thousands of us who have done the very same.

For the past twenty years, I have dedicated my energies to working with colleagues, with volunteers from the community at large, with government bureaucrats, private sector supporters and other stakeholders on building a social-profit arts sector that is founded not so much on bricks and mortar, but rather on human capital. And now the very existence of this human capital is at stake: a capital that has been caringly and passionately—with great diligence I might add—fostered in and by communities right across this province, a human capital that is honoured and acclaimed the world over.

On the evening of January 20th, 2010, I will return to my alma mater to address a 400-strong audience seated in the new Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at SFU Woodward’s. The complex and its stunning facilities will be a permanent home for the University’s School for the Contemporary Arts. The occasion will herald the rebirth of one of Vancouver’s most treasured landmarks. This sneak preview will open a curtain on the next stage in an ongoing revitalization of the city’s Downtown Eastside neighborhood. The event will also launch the 6th installment of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. The opening performance is a local adaptation of Paris-based, Jerome Bel’s acknowledged masterpiece The Show Must Go On. The piece involves 23 community members standing in for the past, present and future of the Woodward’s building, SFU, and our still vibrant performing arts community. For that gathering...please Minister, I fear that I may be at a loss for what to say.

This past Thanksgiving weekend, each and every one of the individuals sitting here today were hard at work considering what questions to ask of you and your aides, considering what needed to be said, in order to help bring about a reversal of your government’s recent decisions.

Minister, I am at risk of losing my faith—the faith I have held so dear. I am at risk of no longer imagining the future I had envisioned a lifetime ago, a horizon that I was determined never to lose sight of. To me Minister, what say you?


Norman Armour Executive Director PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

Sunday, October 18, 2009

JUDAS Postscript

"A thousand souls hear His call every second,
but most every one then looks into their life's mirror and says,
I am not worthy to leave this sadness."

Saint Teresa of Avila
from "He Desired Me So I Came Close"
in Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West

There's a place I know where the train goes slow
Where the sinner can be washed in the blood of the lamb
There's a river by the trestle down by sinner's grove
Down where the willow and the dogwood grow

You can hear the whistle, you can hear the bell
From the halls of heaven to the gates of hell
And there's room for the forsaken if you're there on time
You'll be washed of all your sins and all of your crimes
If you're down there by the train . . .
Down there where the train goes slow

There's a golden moon that shines up through the mist
And I know that your name can be on that list
There's no eye for an eye, there's no tooth for a tooth
I saw Judas Iscariot carrying John Wilkes Booth
He was down there by the train
Down there by the train . . .
He was down there where the train goes slow

If you've lost all your hope, if you've lost all your faith
I know you can be cared for and I know you can be safe
And all the shamefuls and all of the whores
And even the soldier who pierced the side of the Lord
Is down there by the train . . .
Down there where the train goes slow

Well, I've never asked forgiveness and I've never said a prayer
Never given of myself, never truly cared
I've left the ones who loved me and I'm still raising Cain
I've taken the low road and if you've done the same
Meet me down there by the train . . .
Down there where the train goes slow

Tom Waits
"Down There By The Train"
from Orphans

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Globe & Mail: BC Arts Groups Fight Funding Cuts

excerpt from
B.C. Arts Groups Fight Funding Cuts
by Marsha Lederman, Globe & Mail
Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009 2:34AM EDT

When asked how it feels to be the minister in charge of culture when so many arts groups are fighting for their survival, Mr. Krueger (the minister in charge of culture) said it's been difficult. “I'm very unhappy about the situation and I empathize completely with how they're feeling. It's a shock to them. It's been a shock to us to see the revenues drop the way they have.”

But Ron Reed at Pacific Theatre is skeptical. “It's very difficult not to feel that the government is using this situation as an excuse to do what they would like to do all along,” he says, pointing out that arts and culture take up just a tiny proportion – less than 1 per cent – of the provincial budget.

Mr. Reed's theatre company is in a terrible position, having programmed an ambitious season with a couple of expensive, risky shows long before this past summer, when $72,000 in funding was either cut or deferred. “It's really hard to know how we'll deliver the rest of our season, quite frankly,” he says.

Mr. Reed is trying to salvage the season by doubling his subscribers – which means finding 500 new patrons. Mr. Reed has been blogging about this, sending personal e-mails and making phone calls. But that's time consuming, and there's only so much time. By day, he's rejigging his business plan (“or battle plan,” he jokes), and by night performing in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.
Read the complete article here

Image captured from "Stop The Cuts" video

Historical Character Quotes from JUDAS

Andrea Loewen writes...

While promoting a play like THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, with its plethora of historical characters, I can't help wondering what they were really like. I did some research and found a wonderful website called wikiquotes where you can type in a name or topic and get pages of quotes on the subject. I was especially struck by some of Freud's quotes. He's a man who, in my psychology courses at university, came across generally as pompous and fairly overconfident regarding a woman's regard for certain aspects of manhood. He's also a man who seems to have some poignant, occasionally humorous, and poetic things to say about suffering, betrayal, and humanity. Fascinating when considered in the light of JUDAS.

Here's a few:

"I do not doubt that it would be easier for fate to take away your suffering than it would for me. But you will see for yourself that much has been gained if we succeed in turning your hysterical misery into common unhappiness." -Studies in Hysteria

"No one who, like me, conjures up the most evil of those half-tamed demons that inhabit the human beast, and seeks to wrestle with them, can expect to come through the struggle unscathed." -Complete Psychological Works

"He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore." -The First Dream

"One feels inclined to say that the intention that man should be 'happy' is not included in the plan of 'Creation.'" -Civilization and its Discontents

Oct 17/18: Damon Calderwood in STUMP CITY STORIES

Hi Friends...

Ever get in the mood to see something completely new? This might be it...

I'm in a brand new musical which has it's world premiere in New West! It's called Stump City Stories in celebration of 150 years for B.C.'s former capital city of New Westminster.

It's on this Saturday, October 17 at 8 pm and Sunday October 18 at 2 pm at Douglas College in New West.

Here's the link to more details on the facebook page:

On Saturday the 17th, there is a fundraiser at the Keg restaurant after the show (door prizes, silent auction, and all the appetizers you can eat!). If you book reservations through me in advance of Saturday by responding to this e mail you can go to the after party for free! You don't even have to see the musical to go to the after party...although I think it's a really great (and funny!) show with fantastic new music by George Ryan (of Bard on the Beach musical composition fame).

Let me know if you can come and I'll reserve space at the party for you!



Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Bob Frazer (Judas), Michael Kopsa (Satan)

PT Subscriber | Thank you for staging THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT. As you know the problem of hell has been a conundrum and obstacle to accepting and embracing the faith of my fathers. This was the play I have been waiting my entire life to experience. This brilliantly acted script met me where I was and moved me further from Atheism toward Agnosticism. It is extremely reassuring to see my questions legitimized and left largely unanswered. . . . My gratitude is beyond expression. Again - Pacific Theatre is a vital voice of conscience, a seeker of truth and a school for the heart."

Paul Kirby | I am only sorry for the 6 billion people (or so) who didn't get to see it. One of the most remarkable evenings I have ever spent in a theatre. | facebook

Angelika Dawson | saw the play last night, it was absolutely amazing (or f**king awesome, to use the play's vernacular :-) i was just stunned by how i didn't even notice the scripts after about 2 minutes in... Judas and Jesus were incredible.
great job, again. always impressed with the things you can make an audience believe in that little space. LOVE it. | facebook

Robyn Roscoe | Saw this on Wednesday - was moved to tears, of both laughter and sorrow. Just missed out on seeing the matinee Saturday - drat! Perhaps if we rally enough support Pacific can bring it back again...I notice the theatre is dark during the Olympics, and I'd much rather see this play... | facebook

Josh Campbell I I SO wish more people (everybody) could see this. It is a remarkable piece of theatre. What a roller-coaster! | facebook

Leah Rae | While going to Pacific Theatre on Wednesday, to attend Stephen Adly Guirgis’s play The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, I passed by a car dealer­ship on Drake, filled with shiny new autom biles. At the back of the lot was a giant billboard featuring the faces of two men – smiling although they had both been beaten. The ad was for a reality TV show on HGTV called Realtor vs Realtor. I felt a twinge – more than a twinge really – is all this selling, this scrambling for cash, the best we can do as human beings? Perhaps it’s this twinge, how ever strong or mild, that makes a play like The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, so powerful, even for atheists like myself. ... Even though it’s a comedy, the play has considerable weight. People were weep­ing into their hands like little children when, in the final scene, actor Ron Reed – who looks like an oversized Ron Howard (another great performance) — quotes Auden “God may reduce you on Judgement Day to tears of shame, reciting by heart the poems you may have written had your life been good”. This show is good – go see it. | Geist blog review

Sean Allen | You take a brilliantly written script that turns the Judas Iscariot story inside out, set it in a court room, lace it with profanity, people it with some of the best actors in town, and you have a riveting evening of theatre. ... All in all, as an evening in theatre, this is an embarrassment of riches. If you enjoy theatre that makes you think and laugh and feel....and think some more, don't miss The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. | review.

Archie Robertson | Friends, I saw this staged reading Friday, and "astoundingly powerful" is an understatement! It opened up my heart, give it a good stiff massage, and reinstalled it at a subtly different angle - and feeling a bit softer. Stellar performances, wonderful script & truly amazing cast! If you are able to go, do! | facebook

Diane Tucker | is telling you to go to "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" at Pacific Theatre. Telling, mind you, not asking! Go! / . . . . It was generous and raw and beautiful. And relentless in the best way. Some of the images will stay with me for a long time. And as a writer I always and again love to see how much respect and love PT always gives the TEXT! | facebook

Kyla Ferrier | Thought I better thank you again for the show before my response to it loses passion over time. LAST NIGHT WAS WONDERFUL. And by wonderful, I really mean wonder full. It hit a nerve, x30. My soul was pushed and prodded. This is the kind of theatre I ache for- stuff where we see believers as real humans, and non believers and real humans, and everyone out there being real humans. And last night Jesus was a real human too, and I don't think I've ever seen him like that. . . . This play is holy. Thank you for doing a holy thing. I'm so thankful for you, and everyone reading. I'm urging people make it out to PT this week. | email

Tim Anderson | The weight of judgment, the burden of expectations, the freedom that only comes by grace. A weird and compelling theology that people decide the fate of other souls, set within in the Catholic notion of purgatory, and we come to recognize that this terrible mode of prosecution is writ small in the embittered relationships where we all struggle. Micro budget, gigantically talented cast. No small play, this. | facebook

Erin Germaine | met with Christ tonight. At a play called "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" at Pacific Theatre. Please go see this show and see a side of our King that has been forgotten. He is beautiful and He is our example to live by. | facebook
PS also, i wrote a blog post about the show. wanted you to read it if you have a chance. be encouraged, because this work... this is what THEATRE IS! i am so blessed to have been a part of it.

Joel Stephanson | was really amazed by The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Moving, heartbreaking, beautiful, extremely profane, possibly blasphemous, and like no other play you've seen. | facebook

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is an agile, fluid, sarcastic, funny and delightful show that probes our beliefs on whether Judas Iscariot indeed betrayed Jesus, on whether forgiveness can exist at the highest levels. The last scene (you HAVE to be attentive up until the end of the play) is incredibly powerful (I am not giving away anything, you have to see it for yourself) . . . I definitely loved every single actor’s performance...with the excellent direction of Simon Drover. . . With a multicultural, outstandingly talented, versatile and adaptive cast, the production of The Last Judas Iscariot put together a show that, despite being a stage reading, really made me feel as though it had been a full-on show. | hummingbird604 review

Wednesday, I was looking forward to experiencing my first Stage Reading performance, and I was totally blown away. What an amazing evening, with stunning performers. | Comment on Hummingbird post

(anon) | oh my. That was one incredible evening of theatre Ron, incredible. I am not sure if I had ever experienced a more fully human treatment of the Gospel story. Maybe for the first time, I saw myself reflected in the characters - Satan is not some 'other' - I am him, I am Judas, I am the lawyer, I am the Judge. This is a realm of believers or inquirers where I want to dwell. . . . . / Such powerful performances - you must be just loving hanging out in such a crowd who are giving themselves fully to this piece. Denis Simpson communicated so much with just a swoosh of his robe - tilt of his glasses. wow. / Fuckin' A Ron. that was one great night of theatre. I am different today because of it. | email

Lois Dawson | AlI can say is wow. This morning I am still putting the pieces of my theology & of my soul back together. And that’s the way theatre should be. | blog

Elisia Harmony-Ohm | The show was amazing, the characters did a realistic job. Thanks for a wonderful performance | facebook

October 21-31: nggrfg redux!

I was lucky enough to catch NGGRFG, directed by Denis Simpson at the Fringe Festival this fall. It's a beautiful and touching story, and it's being remounted at the Firehall! So if you haven't yet, this week you can watch Denis himself on the Pacific Theatre stage in THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, and then next week see the one-man show he directed at the Firehall. Here's the press release he sent us:

Small Brown Package Productions
& Guys In Disguise
In association with Origins Theatre Projects
proudly present:


Written and performed by Berend McKenzie
Directed by Denis Simpson

He’s Black!

Don’t miss this chance to see Berend McKenzie’s hit fringe play nggrfg held-over at the Firehall Arts Centre, October 22-31.

Directed by Canadian theatre legend Denis Simpson,
nggrfg is a riotous and poignant one-man tour-de-force about being black and gay in a world that doesn’t always have room for either. Inspired by words that are used to oppress, nggrfg explores the impact of those two words in intimate and humorous ways.

nggrfg is just finishing a hugely successful Edmonton and Vancouver run, and the audiences want more! Critically acclaimed as a must see show, we invite you to attend our hold-over run here in Vancouver.

***** 5 STARS- Vue Weekly
***** 5 STARS- CJSR Radio

“Playful and touching. McKenzie is an ebullient performer, (It) left this crusty old critic in tears, nggrfg is for anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider.” Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight

“McKenzie turns ugliness into a thing of heart-wrenching beauty. This show comes straight from his heart and it will warm the cockles of yours.” Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier

“McKenzie bares his soul, digging so deeply that he uncovers a sparkling autobiographical gem. McKenzie's absolute commitment to his material and ample gifts as an actor creates so palpable a presence that this show leaves you feeling exhilarated.” Peter Bernie, The Vancouver Sun

Opening October 21, 22, 23 9:00
October 24 4:00 & 9:00
October 25 4:00
October 28, 29, 30 9:00
October 31 4:00 & 9:00
All 4pm matinees are pay-what-you-can.
Regular Tickets $14.00
The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova St. Vancouver, BC
Ticket Information: (604)689-0926

Monday, October 12, 2009


Jim Leonard's play THE DIVINERS is one of the all-time audience favourites, with plenty of Soul Food to chew on. Bodes well for...

ANATOMY OF GRAY by Jim Leonard
"Folks felt a lot better before that man came to town..."

When 15 year old June Muldoon's father unexpectedly dies, she prays for a healer. Suddenly in a town where “nothing ever happens” a chance summer storm delivers Dr. Galen Gray to her doorstop. His "not-so-contemporary" methods soon have everyone catching a fever for love and a passion for treatment. But when an inexplicable disease starts taking lives, is their new doctor the cause or the cure?

A whimsical and dynamic tale for all ages, Anatomy of Gray is a powerful reminder that when it comes to love and medicine, the answer is never black and white.

Directed by Angela Konrad

Oct 20-31, Wed-Sat 8pm
plus 2 for 1 Preview - Tue Oct 20


Nov 3-8: TENT MEETING in Regina

It's a fine feeling to know TENT MEETING is still out there, touching people's lives. It ran in Atlanta this spring, directed by Tom Key - the guy who created COTTON PATCH GOSPEL, way back in the early eighties! And now it's taking the stage in Regina. Love the photo.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Reason To Subscribe #9: Side Show

SIDE SHOW, a night of comedy improv (with a dash of chaos) comes to town only once a year, and as usual, subscribers get the first, and best crack at tickets! A one-of-a-kind gathering of improvisors from Bust-a-Gut and Panic Squad, SIDE SHOW is something of a magical convergence of anarchy and good timing that is always funny and safe for the family!

Organized and hosted every year by our beloved Production Manager, Frank Nickel:

He is usually a little less... hand-choppy in the office. This year he's recruited our wonderful administrator, Alison Chisholm to join the team!

Now she's definitely always this enthusiastic in the office!

It's your chance not only at a great night of comedy improv, but to see our office staff in a whole new light.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Reason To Subscribe #8: REFUGE OF LIES from (off) Broadway to Hemlock!

Andrea Loewen writes...

Since Ron is too humble to get up here and brag about his own show, I'm here to do it for him! We are so excited to have brought our homegrown play about local events, REFUGE OF LIES to Vancouver after its Off-Broadway run! That's right, last year our very own Ron Reed traveled to New York to see his play performed in the world's theatre capital! (Or at least the theatre capital of the western hemisphere.) As a special treat, Libby Skala, who performed her one-woman shows A TIME TO DANCE and LILIA! at Pacific Theatre, took a starring role in the play.

"Entertaining, engaging, and argumentative, the dramatic work forces the audience to address another perspective of holocaust survival and what personal and familial integrity means in one's own life."

"Causes a person to answer for themselves whether a person is always accountable for their actions or if you can be washed of your sins." -

Richard Mawe as Rudi in the Firebone Theatre Off-Broadway production.

Cast List from Off-Broadway run:

Drew Dix (as Simon)
Joanne Joseph (as Hanni)
John Knauss (as Jake)
Richard Mawe (as Rudi)
Arthur Pellman (as Conrad)
Lorraine Serabian (as Netty)
Libby Skala (as Rachel)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Oct 11-17: Homelessness Action Week, THE CATS OF MIRIKITANI & THIS DUST OF WORDS

Soul Food friend Judy Graves is the person at the City of Vancouver who is our point person for homelessness. (Some people say she's responsible for homelessness in Vancouver, but I'm not sure we can blame her exclusively). She's not just an office worker: Judy spends much of her time in the streets and alleys and parks and shelters, and knows by name pretty much everybody you've ever given a loonie to.

Anyhow, she sent this note...

Steven Ng is showing my two personal favourite homelessness movies October 16. CATS OF MIRIKITANI and THIS DUST OF WORDS. If you haven't yet watched these two documentaries - I strongly recommend that you make this your Homeless Action Week treat to yourself.

Each movie gives us a lifechanging shift in world view. Each gives more questions than answers. Both impact my day to day work profoundly.


(CATS is available at Videomatica)

There will also be a related film event on the North Shore...

Oct 19: Keith & Kristyn Getty concert, Regent College

Keith and Kristyn Getty — the song writers of In Christ Alone— are in concert Monday, October 19 at Regent College. Tickets $18, $15/student, on sale at Regent Bookstore (604) 228-1820. Whether it is hymns co-written with Stuart Townend or their own music with a distinctly Irish lilt, Keith & Kristyn are at the forefront of modern hymnody and songs for the worshiping church.

Christianity Today says of their latest CD Awaken the Dawn "The Gettys have become highly regarded for their impact in the modern worship world by writing songs in the format of historic hymns. Awaken the Dawn adds volumes to the couple's sturdy hymnal, providing an added depth to the oft-surface pop landscape of worship music." - CT

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

JUDAS Rehearsal Photos

Steven Drover (director)

Marcus Youssef (El Fayoumy, Prosecuting Attorney)

Bob Frazer (Judas), Michael Kopsa (Satan)

Katharine Venour (Cunningham, Defence Attorney)

Katharine Venour (Cunningham)

Denis Simpson (Pontius Pilate), Bob Frazer (Judas)

Anthony F. Ingram (Saint Thomas)

Denis Simpson (Pontius Pilate)

Bob Frazer (Judas)

Marcus Youssef (El Fayoumy)

Katharine Venour (Cunningham), Anthony F. Ingram (Sigmund Freud)

Sarah Afful (Saint Monica)

Marcus Youssef (El Fayoumy)

Denis Simpson (Simon the Zealot), Kevin McNulty (Judge Littlefield)