National Theatre Live: “Yerma”

The Royal National Theatre in the United Kingdom is a government funded theatre that stages about 25 productions at their home on the South Bank of London every year, and many more at additional theatres around the city. Those productions range from re-imagined classics to new works. The National Theatre shares plays with as many people as possible around the world by taking successful plays to the West End and Broadway, and through the National Theatre Live program, which broadcasts live streamed performances in over 2000 cinemas in 55 countries.

The next live broadcast will be a rethinking of Frederico Lorca’s 1934 play, YermaIt will play on September 21st and 23rd in cinemas across the Lower Mainland.

Yerma is a 1934 play by Frederico Lorca, but has been torn to shreds and rebuilt by contemporary Australian writer Simon Stone. The main themes of infertility remain. “Yerma” means “barren” in Spanish.

A young woman is driven to the unthinkable by her desperate desire to have a child in Simon Stone’s radical production of Lorca’s achingly powerful masterpiece. The unmissable theatre phenomenon sold out at the Young Vic and critics call it ‘an extraordinary theatrical triumph’ (The Times) and ‘stunning, searing, unmissable’ (Mail on Sunday). Billie Piper’s lead performance is described as ‘spellbinding’ (The Evening Standard), ‘astonishing’ (iNews) and ‘devastatingly powerful’ (The Daily Telegraph).

Set in contemporary London, Piper’s portrayal of a woman in her thirties desperate to conceive builds with elemental for to a staggering, shocking, climax.

Shakespeare’s Globe also live broadcasts performances. These sorts of traditions lead to a more engaged global community and the increased spread of quality theatre around the world.


Theatre of the week: August 6-12

13 at Eternal Theatre Collective

The cast of 13 the musical at the Revue Stage 

Geek. Poser. Jock. Beauty Queen. Wannabe. These are the labels that can last a lifetime. With an unforgettable pop-rock score from Tony-Award winning composer, Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years, Bridges of Madison County) 13 is a musical about fitting in – and standing out!

Evan Goldman’s life has just gone to hell. Due to his parents’ divorce, he is forced from his life and his friends in New York City and moved to the lamest place in the world: Appleton, Indiana. To make matters worse – it’s only a few months before his 13th birthday, and his bar mitzvah – the most important party of his life where he officially becomes a man. All he needs is for the cool kids to come to his party – but small-town kids are a little bit different from the big city dwellers Evan knows, and that might be a little bit more difficult than expected.

Eternal Theatre Collective brings “13” to life with a cast, band, and crew of entirely youth!

Tickets: $17-$22 | Location: Red Gate Revue Stage, Granville Island | Website

Drowsy Chaperone at Theatre Under the Stars

The Drowsy Chaperone is a Canadian musical masterpiece

Bursting with show-stopping song and dance – this Canadian musical parody & five-time Tony Award winner whisks audiences away on a Jazz Age journey of love, laughter, and libation.

Alone in his modest, one-bedroom apartment, a musical theatre fan puts on his favourite cast recording. As the record spins, the colourful & chaotic characters of a fictitious 1928 musical spring to life – filling his living room with all manner of movie stars, gangsters, divas, and more.

Theatre Under the Stars is a Vancouver staple for musical theatre and fun summer evenings. Bring a blanket and a picnic, and sit on the hill before the show to enjoy the beauty of Stanley Park!

Tickets: $20-$50 | Location: Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park | Website

Theatre of the week: July 30 – August 5

Romeo and Juliet at Carousel Theatre for Young People

CTYP’s teen actors take the stage in this epic tragedy of two star-crossed lovers. What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. This timeless and timely tale explores the themes of love and hate, and how prejudice can tear our worlds apart.  The Teen Shakespeare Program is CTYP’s quintessential training program for pre-professional actors; come see the stars of tomorrow on our stage today. Romeo and Juliet is an all ages performance and a wonderful introduction to Shakespeare for kids of all ages!

Romeo and Juliet runs July 28th to August 12th, and features two relaxed performances for patrons with autism or other special needs.

For 26 summers, Carousel Theatre for Young People’s Teen Shakespeare Program has been providing pre-professional theatre training to teens 13-18 in an intensive six-week program. The program provides an opportunity for participants to enhance their performing abilities and further their development as emerging artists while providing the community with free and accessible theatre.

TSP is an excellent training opportunity for teen actors to receive training in classical voice for the stage, Shakespeare text, movement, and character development under the tutelage of instructors who are members for Vancouver’s professional theatre community.

Admission to the program is by audition, held in January of each year. For more information, e-mail

Tickets: Free! Can be reserved for $5| Location: Performance Works Outdoor Stage, Granville Island | Website

Much Ado About Nothing at Bard on the Beach

Directed by John Murphy, Much Ado About Nothing alternates with The Winter’s Tale on Bard on the Beach’s BMO Mainstage this summer. Murphy sets the already upbeat and silly play in the drama-filled world of a film set.

It’s Italy in 1959, and a group of actors and filmmakers are celebrating the wrap of their latest movie. Movie stars Beatrice and Benedick are drawn to each other but refuse to admit it, and Hero and Claudio’s marriage plans are about to be sabotaged by a journalist’s mean-spirited scheme. Cue the paparazzi, then a faked death, and la dolce vita threatens to become not so sweet; but with a script full of surprises, love can still triumph before the credits roll.

As always with Shakespeare, I recommend reading the play or watching a movie version before heading to Bard. It’ll allow you to enjoy the interpretation while still being able to follow the story. For your pre-Bard research, I highly suggest Joss Whedon’s film version of Much Ado About Nothing, from 2012.

Much Ado About Nothing runs until September 23rd at Bard on the Beach.

Tickets: $21 – $59 | Location: Bard on the Beach, Vanier Park | Website

Off Key: The Improvised Musical at Instant Theatre

Off Key Musical Improv is a group of dedicated, talented improvisers who create a musical from scratch before your very eyes – using your suggestions!

off key improv
Off Key Improv is a Vancouver improv group with Instant Theatre

In the past they’ve done themed performances from Disney to Sondheim. This month their show is called “The Semitony Awards”. A play on the Broadway theatre awards – The Tony Awards – Off Key Improv will present the glitziest, silliest gala in Vancouver as the ‘celebrate’ awards shows and everything that goes with them. Expect celebrity cameos, show-stopping musical numbers, and bizarre acceptance speech chaos. Anything can happen… at the SemiTonys.

For this special edition, dressing up is encouraged!

Semitony is on August 5th at 10:30 PM. They often sell out the small Havana Theatre in the back of the Havana Restaurant on Commercial Drive, so get your tickets in advance!

Tickets: $10 | Location: Havana Theatre, Commercial Drive | Website


What are your favourite shows happening in the Lower Mainland? Let us know to have them featured next week.

Vancouver Fringe releases program

Ah, the fringe. Days of theatre, nights of parties, and every sight imaginable all on Granville Island. Those 10 days are probably the busiest the Public Market sees each year. 

On Thursday, July 27th, the Vancouver Fringe Festival released its long awaited program guide to the Fringe Festival. As any past Fringers know, this is no ordinary program. The newspaper-sized orange book features a schedule of every Fringe show this year, descriptions of them all, and an insider look at all the special events happening on and around Granville Island.

So settle down, grab a highlighter, and open that program. Here are some tips for making the most of your Fringe experience:

  1. Do your research. If you really want to cram in the plays, you’re going to have to do your research. Shows that are more popular will sell out first, so you’ll want to see them earlier in the run, or at least get your tickets in advance. Look up reviews of shows that have been to past festivals, or check out the artists’ previous credits to see how popular they’ll likely be.
  2. Plan ahead. Showing up on Granville Island and looking around for something to see works if you don’t care about maximising your time, but if you want to see the most and the best, you’ll have to make a schedule.
  3. Spend a day off-island. If you’re taking “fringing” seriously, you’ll be spending most of your time on Granville Island. But there are great shows at other venues too! Make sure you leave yourself a day to check out shows at the Cultch, Havana, and Firehall Arts Centre. They’re often very worth the trip!
  4. Take some risks. It’s not a fringe festival if you don’t see something that could be absolutely terrible, and who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a hidden gem.

The Vancouver Fringe Festival runs on and around Granville Island from September 7th-17th.

Teens Dive into Classic Teen Love Story with Romeo and Juliet

When we think “star-crossed lovers” of course we all think Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare’s masterpiece has been produced countless times with every interpretation imaginable, but this summer the Teen Shakespeare Program at Carousel Theatre takes us back to the basics.

At its very core, Romeo and Juliet is about teenagers trying to live in a confusing, mixed up world. Who better to portray this story of youthful love than 15 teenagers? That’s right. This production reminds us just how young Romeo and Juliet actually were when they met, married, and died (all in the span of 3 days). Perhaps seeing Juliet played by an actual 14-year-old will remind audiences just how tragic this story really is.

Maggie Stewart and Finnegan Howes in Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Emily Jane King
Each summer, members of the Teen Shakespeare Program at Carousel Theatre for Young People rehearse and perform a Shakespeare play in a professional setting. After four weeks of rehearsal, they move to public performances at Performance Works’ outdoor stage on Granville Island. Actor, director and theatre educator Mike Stack leads a talented cast of 15 teen actors, ages 13-18. Romeo and Juliet features 17-year-old Finnegan Howes and 14-year-old Maggie Stewart in the title roles, along with Atticus Cseh, Aijaz Karim, Amitai Heyl, Bronwen Bente, Daisy Hulme, Fiona Goldberg, Fox Mutual, Julia Pante, Lucy Layton, Pascale LaRiviere, Saige MacKenzie, Sofia Day, and Simon Wilcox.

Romeo and Juliet runs July 28-August 12 at Performance Works outdoor stage. The show will be moved inside in bad weather. The play is FREE but you can reserve a seat for $5.

Theatre this week July 23-29

“Eternal Theatre Collective presents: 13 in Concert” at West Point Grey Presbyterian Church


“13” at Eternal Theatre Collective. Photo by Sasha Aleshchenko


Eternal Theatre Collective’s production of “13 the Musical” opens August 9th at the Revue Stage on Granville Island. The youth theatre company is offering the city a sneak peek into the rehearsal process this Friday, July 28th at 7 PM. The concert will feature songs from the show, guest performers, and even a draw to win a Purdy’s Chocolates gift basket! What’s not to like?

Tickets: By donation | Location: West Point Grey Presbyterian Church | Event

“Mary Poppins” at Theatre Under the Stars


“Mary Poppins” at Theatre Under the Stars. Photo by Tim Matheson


Theatre Under the Stars is back at it again this summer with a family classic: Mary Poppins. The umbrella wielding nanny knows how to get the job done while having fun along the way.

Theatre Under the Stars is a Vancouver classic, and can be counted on to deliver a fun (albeit sometimes chilly) night in the open air Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. You can expect to see singing, dancing, and even wildlife!

Tickets: $20-$49 | Location: Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park | Website

What are your favourite shows happening around town? Comment below or send us an email! We’ll be happy to include your show in next week’s post.

Off Key Improv takes Sondheim for a Spin

Off Key Improv, Vancouver’s very own musical improv group, has been performing in the metro Vancouver area for years. They regularly perform at the Havana Theatre on Commercial Drive, under the umbrella of Instant Theatre’s productions. This week, on May 6th at 10:30 PM at the Havana Theatre, Off Key Improv will present the opening (and closing) night of their completely improvised Sondheim musical.

They’ve tackled themed shows before, such as their Love Actually- based show – “Love Musically”, or the Disney musical they performed last week, but this is the first time they’ve improvised in the style of a single musical theatre composer.

They’ve certainly chosen a challenging composer to take on, too. Stephen Sondheim is recognised internationally as one of the best musical theatre composers ever, and his musicals remain some of the most challenging to perform. Sondheim’s work includes GypsyInto the WoodsSweeney Todd, Company, Sunday in the Park with George, and the lyrics for West Side Story. 

Off Key’s improvised Sondheim musical is on May 6th, at 10:30 PM, at the Havana Theatre. Tickets are $10, or $8 with a receipt from the Havana Restaurant. More information here.

Theatre this Week: May 7 – 13

Here’s our weekly rundown of theatre in Vancouver for May 7-13.

“Robin Hood: Prince of Tease” at Performance Works 

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“Robin Hood: Prince of Tease” runs April 28 – May 13 at Performance Works

Too Fly Productions presents an original burlesque-style musical theatre production, inspired by the classic folklore of Robin Hood with a tantalising twist. In our tale, most characters are gender-swapped, and the relationships between the classic characters of Nottingham are turned on their heads. The story follows Robin as she conspires with her merry (wo)men to take down the tyrannical Prince Joan and her sadistic sidekick, the Sheriff of Nottingham. Just as things start looking up for our heroes, Robin’s world gets turned upside down, and she must learn a valuable lesson about honour and teamwork if she hopes to save her kingdom from Joan’s unlikely rule.

Set to some of the most popular pop, rock and hip-hop songs of the past decade, Robin Hood: Prince of Tease combines circus, the art of burlesque and the storytelling traditions of musical theatre to create an auditory and visual fest. It is a hysterical, over the top and sensual spectacular that will leave the audience on their knees begging for more.

Tickets: $25 – $29 | Location: Performance Works, Granville Island | Website

“Hello” at Terrific Theatre

“Hello” plays at Terrific Theatre from May 5 – 13, 2017

HELLO is a story built on the bones of factual truth. The facts are:

World famous playwright Arthur Miller and his last wife, Austrian photojournalist Inge Morath, married in 1962 and had a beautiful daughter. In 1966 they had a son who was born with Down Syndrome. They named him Daniel. Daniel never lived with his family. Instead, he was shut away in an overcrowded, understaffed institution akin to bedlam. For over forty years the general public never knew there was a Daniel Miller.

Why did Mama say nothing? Why did nobody, including the well-known and influential cultural and artistic community that surrounded the Miller family, say anything? Does this matter?

“Hello” stars Tamara McCarthy, Alex Edwards, Monique Bourgeois, Andrew Wade, Keara Barnes, and Francis Winter.

Tickets: $20 or pay what you can | Location: 111 W Hastings St #430 | Website


“Mom’s the Word 3: Nest 1/2 Empty” at the Arts Club 

mom's the word
“Mom’s The Word 3: Nest 1/2 Empty” plays until May 2

From the world-renowned creative team behind the “Mom’s the Word” series comes a new chapter in their stories of family and fracas. Their kids are grown, their marriages have “evolved,” and their bodies are backfiring. Life doesn’t get any prettier, but it never strays far from ludicrous or poignant as the moms continue to mine their personal history for every embarrassing detail. Filled with insights, secrets, and ribald humour, this brand-new show from the moms you love is both hysterical and deeply touching.

Tickets: Start at $29 | Location: Arts Club Granville Island Stage | Website


Do you know about more shows happening around town? Comment below or send us an email! We’ll be happy to include your show in next week’s post.