Cultch's Femme fest shows focus on science, motherhood, sexuality, abortion, culture, and gender stereotyping

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      The Cultch is bringing forth six plays in this year’s edition of its Femme Festival. They include everything from a deep dive into the oceans to examinations of motherhood, abortion, gender roles, a cross-cultural relationship, and sexuality. Check out what's available below.

      Sea Sick

      One of Canada’s greatest science journalists, Alanna Mitchell, delves into the crisis in the oceans caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide—and why that threatens human beings’ very existence on land. Her play, Sea Sick, emerged from her bestselling book Sea Sick, which resulted from her groundbreaking exploration of the world’s oceans. The Toronto-based Theatre Centre’s show is directed by Franco Boni with Ravi Jain, and will run from February 2 to 19 at the Historic Theatre.


      Germany-based Still Hungry’s “contemporary circus about motherhood” derived its title, Raven, from the German concept of Rabenmutter. It’s a word used to describe a selfish and neglectful mother. Cocreated and performed by the three cast members—Anke van Engelshoven, Lena Ries, and Romy Seibt— the show raises questions about society’s notions about working mothers and circus performers. Raven will run from February 8 to 13 at the York Theatre.

      Tracy Jennissen, Parmiss Sehat, and Melissa Oei spoof media stereotypes in Beautiful Man.
      Emily Cooper

      Beautiful Man

      Written by Governor General’s Award–winning playwright Erin Shields and directed by Keltie Forsyth, Pi Theatre’s Beautiful Man challenges gender stereotypes through the eyes of three female characters. In this world, men, not women, are the objects, revealing how skewed our media and, indeed, our society have become. Beautiful Man will run from February 24 to March 5 at the Historic Theatre.

      In Response to Alabama

      Keltie Forsyth also directs this intimate Little Thief Theatre show about three performers who talk openly about their abortions. In Response to Alabama was created, written, and performed by Libby Willoughby, Miranda MacDougall, and Mariam Barr. According to the Cultch website, it “confronts one of the most emotionally and rhetorically charged issues of our time with nuance, honesty, and care for our performers, our audience, and their lived experiences”. It will be shown at the Vancity Culture Lab from March 3 to 12.


      The world premiere of Christine Quintana’s exploration of female solidarity is set in a Mexican resort, where a hotel floor manager meets a Canadian wedding guest. Both are carrying secrets. This Neworld Theatre production will run from March 10 to 19 at the Historic Theatre.

      Emma Slipp plays a character who challenges societal norms in Bunny, which is directed by Mindy Parfitt.
      Emily Cooper


      The Search Party’s Mindy Parfitt directs this play revolving around a woman, played by Emma Slipp, whose erotic desires challenge societal inhibitions and traditional gender roles. Bunny was written by Governor General’s Award–winner Hannah Moscovitch and it will run from March 17 to 27 at the Vancity Culture Lab.