The Cultch, and Urban Ink, are thrilled to announce the line-up for the first year of TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival. Curated by Corey Payette (Artistic Director of Urban Ink) and Heather Redfern (Executive Director of The Cultch), this inaugural year will bring together over 50 Indigenous and non-indigenous performers—comedians, musicians, burlesque performers, drag artists, and more. This varied group of multi-disciplinary performers will take over The Cultch’s three theatres, including its lounges and lobbies from October 2-12, 2019.
Around the world, cabaret festivals emerged as a raucous and exhilarating way of expressing uprising during periods of change. “It’s been a platform for political discourse and for engaging in deep conversations all around the world,” says festival co-curator, Corey Payette. “It’s also a space where people can push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in the mainstream.” TANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival is inspired by a bold new concept to bring radical and lasting change to live performance in these unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. “I think that reconciliation is a really difficult subject matter, because we are not as far along as we should be,” says Payette. “What I know for sure, is that artists are always the ones to lead the way.
A cabaret festival would not be complete without plenty of great music and TRANSFORM: A Cabaret Festival will spotlight musicians such as Leela Gilday, Silla and Rise, JB the First Lady, M’Girl, Sandy Scofield, Veda Hille, and Corey Payette. In addition, festival participants are invited to join artists and VIPs each night at a festival club night, a creative space for festival artists to collaborate and test out exciting new and developing material, while enjoying the beats of DJ Kookum and DJ Skylar Love.
RAVEN TRANSFORMING CABARET FESTIVAL LINE-UP
Opening Night Bash
OCT 02 & 03, 7:30PM | York Theatre
Raven Transforming Cabaret Festival kicks off with two spectacular Opening Night celebrations! Hosted by Musqueam artist Quelemia Sparrow and renowned Australian cabaret artist Lisa Fa’alafi (of Hot Brown Honeyfame), the stars of this year’s festival join forces in an unforgettable extravaganza. Featuring a unique mash up of exhilarating dance, music, and comedy numbers like nothing you’ve seen before.
Vhine und Szong: Fantastic Femmes
OCT 04, 7PM | Historic Theatre
Veda Hille's intermittent song series returns with a cabaret festival twist. The essential elements are all here: songs, stories, and you–with wine! Join our quintessential East Van host as she and her guests, Jaye Simpson and Carleigh Baker, read and sing and reminisce. Anything could happen, because its Vhine und Szong!
The Women of Comedy
OCT 04 & 05, 7:30PM | York Theatre
Some of the funniest women we know are taking over the York in a side-splitting night of comedy. Featuring Canadian Comedy Award-winner Martha Chaves, Australia’s rising Indigenous comedy star Steph Tisdell, Toronto-based comedian Nour Hadidi, and beloved local comedian Erica Sigurdson. These fierce, fresh, and funny ladies will have you laughing until your belly hurts.
OCT 04, 9:15PM | Historic Theatre
Provocative and imaginative drag theatre! The Darlings are a multidisciplinary non-binary drag performance collective based in Vancouver. Their work challenges the boundaries of conventional drag and explores genderqueer, non-binary, and trans experience through the use of movement, poetry, performance art, theatre, and immersive installation.
Steph Tisdell: Identity Steft
OCT 05, 4PM & OCT 06, 2PM | Historic Theatre
Indigenous comedian Steph Tisdell delves into issues of identity and colonialism, while discussing the merits of white guilt vs overt racism. Her mental health struggles culminate in a hilarious journey, ultimately leading somewhere inspirational. Identity Steft is a rip-roariously hilarious show with insightful lessons interwoven throughout.
Virago Nation: Stripping for Sovereignty
OCT 05, 8PM & OCT 11, 9:15PM | Historic Theatre
Vancouver’s very own all Indigenous Burlesque troupe! Virago Nation is a collective of Indigenous artists creating performance through burlesque, theatre, song, and spoken word as well as workshops and community networks to rematriate Indigenous sexuality.
Family Drag Brunch & Dress up
OCT 06, 11AM | Vancity Culture Lab, Founder’s Lounge, Cultch lobby
Stories, laughter, and play at a family cabaret! Bring the kids for a lively afternoon including drag brunch, story hour, and dress-up spectacular. Fashion, makeup, and runway lessons from some of Vancouver's finest drag performers will have kids and adults alike ready to strut their very own Cultch Couture on the runway in a fabulous family fashion show (with kid judges!).
Journey to South Asia & Beyond
OCT 09, 7PM | Historic Theatre
Celebrate Diwali in BC with a multicultural evening of classical and contemporary South Asian dance and music that will push the boundaries of what is considered "cabaret.” Through dance and live musical performances, a diverse group of artists will explore the parallels between Diwali and Indigenous culture. Curated by Rohit Chokhani. Featuring Karima Essa, Arno Kamolika, Mohamed Assani, and Nyla Carpentier. Part of Diwali Night at the Festival.
The Flame: Cabaret Edition
OCT 09, 7:30PM | York Theatre
Vancouver’s own Storytelling Series brings together Indigenous and non-indigenous storytellers. A talented roster of raconteurs, ground-breaking BC storytellers, spoken word artists, and musicians dare to share their most personal, poignant, and hilarious true stories live on stage. Hosted by Quelemia Sparrow and Deborah Williams.
African Village Experience
OCT 09, 9:15PM | Historic Theatre
Hosted by Jacky A. Yenga, African Village Experience is an interactive event that involves storytelling, singing, and dancing. Part of Diwali Night at the Festival.
Where the Two-Spirit Lives
OCT 10, 7PM & OCT 12, 9:15PM | Historic Theatre
A whimsical and moving exploration of what it means to be Two-Spirited in the new millennium in Southern Alberta. Drag and storytelling combine to create this unique production!
Featuring Sandy Scofield & M'Girl
OCT 10, 7:30PM | York Theatre
An evening of powerful music from some of our country’s most gifted musicians. Featuring passionate singer-songwriter Leela Gilday, with special guests Sandy Scofield and M’Girl.
Silla and Rise
Featuring JB the First Lady
OCT 10, 9:15PM | Historic Theatre
Blending Inuit throat-singing and futuristic dancefloor beats, Silla and Rise are a Canadian musical group based in Ottawa. Featuring Vancouver-based hip hop and spoken word artist, JB the First Lady.
Leela Gilday: Intimate & Unplugged
OCT 11, 7PM | Historic Theatre
Get up close and personal with the one and only Leela Gilday. More raw, more intimate, and more Leela than anything you’ve heard from her before, this virtuosic singer-songwriter strips her music back to its essence for an soulful evening of acoustic song and authentic storytelling.
OCT 11, 7:30PM | York Theatre
Contemporary circus crossed with traditional hoop dancing! Inspired by traditional hoop dancing, fire circles, and spinning orbs, a variety of circus artists come together for a deluge of whirling wheels, flying sparks, and so much more.
Corey Payette Musical Songbook
OCT 12, 7:00PM | Historic Theatre
A transformative evening of music from Corey Payette’s award-winning and critically-acclaimed musicals–featuring songs and stories from Children of God, Les Filles du Roi, plus a sneak peek of the new musical, Sedna.
OCT 12, 7:30PM | York Theatre
The Queens of East Van, Peach Cobblah & Isolde N Barron, host a drag spectacular! Featuring unforgettable performances from Quanah Style, The Darlings, Jaylene Tyme, Coco, and Celestial Seasons. These fearless queens are challenging gender norms while pushing the boundaries of drag, and having a tucking great time doing it!
PLUS: The Vancity Culture Lab will transform nightly into a festival club that will turn up the volume as festival artists come together for a spontaneous, surprising, and spirited mash up of performance styles. Unlike anything you’ve experienced on a Cultch stage, this will be an intimate testing ground for all your favourite artists to experiment and try out new material with a live audience. Featuring dance beats from DJ Kookum and DJ Skylar Love.
WHEN: Oct 2-12, 2019
WHERE: ALL THREE CULTCH VENUES: Historic Theatre (1895 Venables St.), York Theatre (639 Commercial Dr.), and Vancity Culture Lab (1895 Venables St.), PLUS, auxiliary spaces
TICKETS: Tickets from $15. Single tickets on sale now through The Cultch’s Box Office: 604-251-1363 or www.thecultch.com.
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