"Small yet fierce": those are the words Arts Club Theatre Company artistic director Ashlie Corcoran is using to describe the just-announced fall season of three solo shows.
“Though we were heartbroken over cancelling our original 2020–2021 season, we’re excited to begin producing theatre safely once again,” Corcoran said in the announcement this morning.
The shows are being offered as limited-audience, in-theatre experiences, but patrons will also have the option to purchase tickets to a digital recording of each of the productions, available for view for a limited time.
Each show will have two rotating "bubble" casts and crews, rehearsing in separate halls. Along with other precautions and cleaning measures, the audience will be capped at 50 patrons, admission times will be staggered, and a mandatory mask policy will be in place (with the exception of patrons with respiratory or other health concerns).
Nilaja Sun's acclaimed No Child… kicks off the scaled-back programming on the BMO Theatre Centre's Newmont Stage from September 24 to November 8. The one-woman, Obie-winning play is set in a fictional public school in the Bronx, but is based on the author’s experience as a teaching artist. Celia Aloma and Ali Watson alternate in the role, while Omari Newton directs.
Anosh Irani's Buffoon is next, running October 22 to December 6 at the Granville Island Stage. Kayvon Khoshkam and Andrew McNee take turns starring as the not-your-average clown here, beginning with Felix as an optimistic child born into the circus life and tracking the rise of his ever-darkening cynicism. Lois Anderson directs. The script was originally part of the Arts Club’s 2018 ReACT: New Plays in Progress festival.
Ginna Hoben's The Twelve Dates of Christmas rounds out the programming with its comedic look at the search for love and sexual sparks during the holidays, running November 19 to January 3 back at the Newmont. Genevieve Fleming and Melissa Oei star, with Barbara Tomasic in the director's chair.
In all, the shows employ 30 freelance artists, some of the hardest-hit members of the arts community during the COVID-19 lockdown. Many of them were previously contracted to work on shows for the Arts Club’s considerably more expansive 2020–21 season.
“The instability of the pandemic has had an enormous effect on Vancouver’s professional theatre artists. In addition to the financial impact, it took away their ability to do the work they’re passionate about,” said Corcoran. “We’re looking forward to collaborating with these talented artists to create live theatre once again.”