The Cultch announces its fall 2020 season

Shows like Little Volcano and the TRANSFORM Cabaret can be enjoyed from home

Veda Hille, creator of Little Volcano. (submiited/ photo by: Stephen Drover)

The Vancouver East Cultural Centre, also known as The Cultch, describes itself as Vancouver’s most diverse and innovative arts and cultural hub. The not-for-profit registered charity operates the Historic Theatre, York Theatre, and Vancity Culture Lab and is known for its cutting edge, contemporary programming. At the Cultch, you can find dance, theatre, circus, music, and visual arts all under one roof.

Organizing the Fall 2020 season to accommodate for the safety of their audience and performers had to happen “literally overnight” according to Heather Redfern, executive director and one of the curators of The Cultch’s programming.

If the province goes back into lockdown due to COVID-19, all of the programming will be streamed online. If the theatres remain open, people will be seated within their bubbles and separate from others.

“Everything is always in flux but we are really hoping to get 30-50 people in the house,” says Veda Hille, a songwriter, composer, and musician who also works in theatre.

She is currently the Quarantine Artist In Residence at the Cultch and is the creator of Little Volcano, a one-woman show coming to the Cultch from Oct. 22 to 25.

Hille became the Quarantine Artist In Residence because she was “around all the time” to use the space for her practice.

“In some ways it is very similar, because normally when I’m an Artist In Residence somewhere it will be somewhere either remote or just far from home, so my places of choice are often islands,” she says. “Doesn’t it sort of feel like we are on an island? We are all on the island of pandemic, and luckily for me that island included a theatre that I could walk to.”

She spent a lot of that alone time writing Little Volcano, after coming up with the idea during a similar residency in Scotland.

“I was supposed to be writing music but I ended up mostly playing Bach and just thinking and wandering around,” says Hille. “That became the seeds of Little Volcano.”

Another exciting show scheduled from Sept. 24 to Oct. 3 is the TRANSFORM Cabaret Festival, a collaboration between Urban Ink and The Cultch. It features theatre, music, drag, burlesque, circus, comedy, and more from local and international artists — all through a seven-day-long digital experience. The Festival was first introduced last year, but according to Redfurn, it has been scaled back to focus on “quality over quantity.”

According to the show’s website, it focuses on “empowering Indigenous artists and encouraging collaboration with non-Indigenous artists.”

“They have this great array of Indigenous performers and queer performers and really amazing circus acts,” says Hille. “I’m looking forward to watching some exciting drag from the comfort of my own home.”

Tickets are currently being offered through three different subscription boxes: The Cabaret Cultch Box which includes TRANSFORM, Local Gems Cultch Box which includes Little Volcano, and the Holiday Cultch Box which includes the annual Panto.