Vancouver’s Goh Ballet loses venue for holiday Nutcracker production

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      Vancouver’s Goh Ballet no longer has a venue where it can mount the Nutcracker, its largest production of the year, the dance academy’s director says.

      Goh Ballet has been staging the holiday-season production at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts annually since 2009.

      However, a recent letter from Four Brothers Entertainment says the agreement to use the venue in December has been cancelled, Chan Hon Goh said.

      “Basically all it says is according to one of the clauses they have 90 days to cancel a contract and this is what we’re doing now and we wish you all your success in the future,” Goh told the Straight by phone today (May 14).

      “It’s just such a blow to not have a venue to present it. I don’t know. I’m still hoping to speak with somebody and tell them our story.”

      Goh said the contract was signed in March.

      Four Brothers Entertainment purchased the centre in 2001 but a Vancouver church has reportedly been in negotiations to buy the downtown facility.

      The Straight’s requests for comment from the centre have been referred to Michael Law with Global Pacific Properties Ltd. The Colorado firm is owned by the siblings behind Four Brothers Entertainment.

      A request for comment from Law was not returned today.

      Goh, whose parents founded Goh Ballet, said she has struggled to reach anyone responsible for bookings at the centre.

      “I can’t emphasize enough that I’d really like to speak with somebody and hope that I can work something out because of the families involved and because of the time and the commitment that’s already put in,” she said.

      “We just don’t have enough time to make other arrangements. We would be so stranded. Hopefully a little bit of leeway time will not make a world of difference to the new owners, but it sure will to us.”

      The Vancouver International Film Festival has said it received a similar letter from Four Brothers Entertainment cancelling its booking at the centre this fall.

      Goh Ballet’s annual production of the Nutcracker involves numerous local dancers, professional guest artists, an orchestra, and other contracted workers.

      The producers planned to increase the number of performances this year to eight from six.

      “We’re the city’s Nutcracker and we want to present it in the city of Vancouver,” Goh said. “There’s no other venue that’s available. We don’t have time to make provisions.”

      Goh Ballet has also used the centre for other major events over the past decade. The academy’s 35th anniversary gala is still scheduled to take place at the centre in June.



      Allen Thick

      May 14, 2013 at 6:47pm

      The Vancouver playhouse (yes smaller) has been sitting empty for months. I'm sure Vancouver civic theatres would love to have the Goh ballet in there venue


      May 16, 2013 at 6:58am

      The Milton and Fei Wong Theatre at SFU Woodwards is another nice performance space now used for many productions.
      The Centre has also been a nice venue for the Jazz festival but the Vogue Theatre seems to have taken more of the performances that might have otherwise been at the Centre. 
      Outside downtown there is the Chan at UBC.
      The Centre was not the best venue to be an audience member - not enough washrooms, intermission space, ... and often the upper levels were closed off.  The Church that is taking over probably just needs a bit of time to organize themselves before opening up for rentals again.  All the other downtown church venues seem to benefit from assorted rental events.

      Marika Siewert

      May 16, 2013 at 2:02pm

      I can't speak for other "believers" but I'm appalled at what is happening and as a Christian, I want to apologize for this to the arts community, and I'm not afraid to talk about it. Why would a "church" take away such amazing ART staples from Vancouver. Come one people, not sure Jesus would be so happy right now. DO YOU READ YOUR BIBLES?

      Save vancouver

      May 20, 2013 at 8:16am

      @cc - the Centre is the best theatre in the city, certainly far better than barns like the Orpheum or Queen Elizabeth. Or do you judge the value of the arts by how fast you can pee?

      Totally Irresponsible

      May 26, 2013 at 9:22pm

      The production of Goh's Nutcracker cannot be replicated well in another theatre at this late date. The fact that the new owners who are supposed to be 'Christians' should be responding to this significant issue. Is this how business deals are made? With no responsibility? The current owners should be ashamed of themselves. They could have sold the building with a clause of allowing certain productions to continue at least for this year. This would have been the right thing to do. If the Nutcracker cannot continue, this will be a very sad state for Vancouverites, families and children who all enjoy this amazing show. Very disappointing.


      Jun 4, 2013 at 3:18am

      @Save Vancouver
      And I suppose valuing the arts by how much marble is in the lobby makes you all that much better? I could care less about how prestigious a venue is, as long as the show on the stage is worth the ticket I would gladly see it in a barn.

      Liverpool Lady

      Aug 1, 2013 at 3:43pm

      Having been an avid fan of the Goh Ballet's production of the Nutcracker for many years now, with my granddaughter taking part for the past three years, I am to say the least disappointed that this beautiful theatre (the best in Vancouver!) has been sold to a religious group and is no longer available!

      What was city hall doing to allow this, when we have so few theatres in the Vancouver area where we can see such performances as the Goh Ballet Nutcracker!

      Shame on all involved in this sale. Good luck to Goh in their quest for a suitable venue!