Fall arts preview 2016: Theatre insiders reveal this season’s hidden gems

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      Hansel and Gretel

      Presented by Vancouver Opera from November 24 to December 11 at the Vancouver Playhouse

      “This is a timeless and treasured opera which will be presented in a fresh, innovative way with an outstanding young cast and a dynamo creative team. Prepare to see and hear Hansel and Gretel in a way you never have before!” says Leslie Dala, chorus director of Vancouver Opera.


      UBC Theatre

      Edward II

      Presented by UBC Theatre from September 29 to October 15 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts

      “The rarely produced Edward II is by one of Shakespeare’s colleagues and someone who he probably emulated a lot. Common wisdom is that they were all writing buddies and were learning from each other. It’s just that Christopher Marlowe didn’t live as long. There’s also something about being back in the Telus Studio, our most theatrical venue at UBC,” says Stephen Heatley, head of the department of theatre and film at UBC.


      Pacific Theatre

      A Good Way Out

      Presented by Pacific Theatre from September 23 to October 15 at Pacific Theatre

      “The first show of the season, A Good Way Out, is a play that I’ve been excited about for years—it’s a new play written by a playwright we’ve been working with for a very long time, and a local story delving right into the life of Lower Mainland gangs. I can’t wait!” says Ron Reed, artistic director of Pacific Theatre.


      Boca del Lupo

      Red Phone

      Presented by Boca del Lupo from October 19 to 23 at the Fishbowl

      Red Phone is a one-of-a-kind experience that turns you from a spectator into a performer, using a phone booth and a TelePrompTer to engage you in a conversation written by a prominent Canadian playwright. Red Phone is touching, funny, political, and the theatrical equivalent of singing in the shower,” says Sherry J. Yoon, artistic director of Boca del Lupo.


      Firehall Arts Centre

      Stranger to Hard Work

      Presented by the Firehall Arts Centre from September 28 to October 8 at the Firehall Arts Centre

      “Comedienne, actor, and long-time star of CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes Cathy Jones comes to the Firehall’s intimate stage with her hilarious and provocative show Stranger to Hard Work—I can’t wait to share this show with our audience!” says Donna Spencer, artistic director of the Firehall Arts Centre.


      Théâtre la Seizième

      Straight Jacket Winter

      Presented by Théâtre la Seizième from October 18 to 29 at Studio 16

      “A touring success, Straight Jacket Winter is a sweet and peculiar docu-fiction about isolation and integration in Vancouver. I believe it will resonate strongly with a lot of people living in this city,” says Esther Duquette, artistic and managing director of Théâtre la Seizième.


      Studio 58

      The Refugee Hotel

      Presented by Studio 58 from March 23 to April 9 at Studio 58

      The Refugee Hotel, by award-winning writer, actor, and director Carmen Aguirre, about the Chilean refugee crisis in the 1970s, has strong parallels with the current Syrian refugee crisis—warm portraits and compelling stories of international refugees in Vancouver make this a must-see show,” says Kathryn Shaw, director of Studio 58.


      Touchstone Theatre

      Brothel #9

      (Presented by Touchstone Theatre from November 17 to 27 at the Vancity Culture Lab at the Cultch)

      “A searing and unconventional portrait of brothel culture in Calcutta with far-reaching insights about the commodification of sex, Brothel #9 is penned by one of Canada’s fastest-rising playwrights, Anusree Roy, and performed by a dynamite local cast as part of the Diwali Festival,” says Laurie-Ann Goodwin, general manager of Touchstone Theatre.


      Vancouver Theatresports League

      Christmas Queen

      Presented by Vancouver TheatreSports League from November 23 to December 23 at the Improv Centre

      “Every year I look forward to our next installment of the Christmas Queen saga. It seems that Vancouverites agree with me that it’s a fun way to celebrate the holiday season,” says Jay Ono, executive director of Vancouver TheatreSports League.


      The Arts Club Theatre Company

      The Piano Teacher

      Presented by the Arts Club Theatre Company from April 20 to May 14, at the BMO Theatre Centre

      “We are premiering four new works, one of which we commissioned: The Piano Teacher by Dorothy Dittrich. I like Dorothy’s writing and she is also a musician, so when she approached us with an idea that had the power of music at its centre, we decided to offer her a commission. Dorothy is exploring the ability of art to heal and she’s crafted a powerful story,” says Bill Millerd, artistic managing director of the Arts Club Theatre Company.


      The Cultch

      Piya Behrupiya (Twelfth Night)

      Presented by the Cultch from October 11 to 22 at the York Theatre

      “It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s Shakespeare like you’ve never seen it before!” says Heather Redfern, artistic director of the Cultch.


      Gateway Theatre

      King of the Yees

      Presented by Gateway Theatre from October 13 to 22 at Gateway Theatre

      King of the Yees by Lauren Yee is one of the best new scripts I’ve read in years and I’m so proud that Gateway Theatre is producing its Canadian premiere this October. This delightful fantasy features an all Chinese-Canadian cast (including me!) and is directed by the amazing Sherry J. Yoon of Boca del Lupo,” says Jovanni Sy, artistic director of Gateway Theatre.

      Follow Tammy Kwan on Twitter @ch0c0tam and Instagram @ch0c0tam.