The Cultch receives funding to boost tech equipment and ticketing system

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      The Cultch has just received $239,263 from the federal government to upgrade its technical equipment and ticketing system for its growing roster of theatres.

      The money comes from the Department of Canadian Heritage's Cultural Spaces Fund. It will help boost audio, video, and lighting equipment, as well as repair aging floors in the venues.

      "This is a game changer for the Cultch and provides the resources for crucial advancements," Cindy Reid, managing director at the Cultch told a press conference held at the Vancity Culture Lab. "It will allow us to upgrade the equipment in the Historic Theatre, properly outfit the Vancity Culture Lab, put equipment in the Jim Green House Studio so it can be used for intimate public events, upgrade equipment in the York Theatre to make it more versatile than ever, and, finally, allow us to install a new ticketing system and website."

      The ticketing system, which the Cultch undertook after renovations to its heritage facility about 10 years ago, now has to serve several theatres, with audiences growing exponentially. Last year the Cultch staged more than 550 performances at its trio of main venues and Reid told the Straight the website is often the first contact the public has with the facility.

      "We need to have a ticketing system that works really, really well," she said. "We need the best possible service for our patrons," added Cultch board chair Tony Wong.

      The technical upgrades are aimed at bringing the theatres all up to fast-changing contemporary standards.

      "One of the challenges now is that we operate three facilities and we don't have enough equipment, so we often have to shuttle between the spaces," explained production manager Borja Brown. "We also, in particular in this space [the Culture Lab], are working with equipment of an older generation, and often this is the space where artists are creating."

      "In our world you have to have a consistent product every night," added Cultch technical director Kris Boyd. "This will give us more consistency, with an amazing artistic scope."

      Audio equipment will allow a full band to play in the 74-seat space, added Boyd. And now the facilities can upgrade to current LED moving lights for shows. "They're better for power and offer a lot of great design choices for artistic teams coming in," he added. 

      The Cultch teams celebrates its new funding at the Vancity Culture Lab.


      More and more, the Cultch team explained, local companies are wanting to integrate and create their technological effects like lights and projection at an earlier stage in the process. And international shows need the technology to stage their productions.

      The funding also opens up the opportunity for intimate performances and studio showings in the Jim Green House Studio, in the old green house that's been renovated beside the Cultch. It could seat 30 to 50 people, Cultch staff told the Straight.

      Upgrades will begin immediately at the facilities.

      The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund is aimed at improving physical conditions for artistic creativity and arts presentation or exhibition.

      Vancouver Centre MP Hedy Fry, who was unable to attend the ceremony today, issued the following statement: "I am delighted that this investment will allow the Cultch to continue to entertain audiences with exciting and innovative programming for years to come."