Tag Archives: Firehall Arts Centre

Stayin’ Alive – An 80s Themed Fundraiser At The Firehall Arts Centre February 25th

24 Jan

If you are a star at karaoke and love your 80s tunes, we’ve got a fun night out for you.  On February 25th the Firehall Arts Centre is hosting Stayin’ Alive which is an 80s themed fundraiser.   You are invited to bring you best 80s attire, learn your favourite 80s tune and get on stage for a lip sync contest. Are you ready for your 5 minutes of fame? Maybe dressed like some memorable 80s musical icons namely Madonna, Prince, Cindy Lauper or Billy Idol just to name a few.   There will be prizes, dance demonstrations and a DJ along with good eats and a specially crafted Firehall 1906 Martini from the good folks at Odd Society Spirits.  Tickets for this fundraising event are $75 ($50 tax receipt).  To grab your tickets, or get more information, visit Firehall Arts Centre.

Tiva Quinn Reviews FADO The Saddest Music In The World On At The Firehall Arts Centre Until February 5th

20 Jan

It’s very easy to see why Fado was such a big hit at the Firehall in 2019 and why they decided to bring it back as part of getting into the swing of things with live theatre again.

This play attempts to blend an ambitious number of themes into a typical runtime of 90 minutes or so and not only succeeds but makes it look easy.

I went in not knowing much about it besides that I like Fado music even if I don’t listen to it very often. I expected to be impressed with Fado as a musical and a story of artistic ambition and development, and that’s 100% true. We get not just one but 3 incredibly talented singers showing us how an entire country could be in love with “the saddest music in the world” and the way it turns pain into beauty.

We get an appealing and sympathetic main character who wants to learn to sing Fado with true Portuguese passion even if she was born in Canada and some people think that makes her too happy and too lucky to pull it off. We get a cantankerous yet charming mentor figure. We get singing that shows strong yet unrealized potential – which is quite something to pull off when a lot of the audience isn’t very familiar with what the fullest expression of the form would sound like.

At the same time, we also get an interesting examination of Portugal’s 20th Century history and politics as seen from contrasting points of view – with a couple of questions that you may have never considered before such as, “can a song be fascist?” We get a conversation about whether emigrants can ever really leave the home country behind and whether they can ever really return to it, as well as what the imagined homeland means to the second generation. We get two love stories with some surprising twists and turns. And Fado fits all of this in with a script that feels like natural conversation, never forcing large chunks of backstory or introspection into anyone’s lines.

Performances are very strong across the board but for me the standout is Natércia Napoleao’s Luisa, the main character’s mother. She seems at first meeting like she’s going to be an Old-World Mum cliché, a bit of comic relief that we return to occasionally, wielding her precious iron to make everything fancy. However, she quickly blossoms into a complex character, although not always a likable one. She’s a woman who actively resists being stereotyped and complicates the narrative or speaks volumes by simply walking away when others try to dismiss her too easily. 

If I have any quibbles it would be that the play introduces a gay character whose story feels like it doesn’t quite have time enough to breathe or resolve properly. That said the character and his storyline are every bit as strong as the rest of this tale in the moments he does get – and it’s possible that too neat a resolution would be a dishonest way of presenting what it’s like to be gay in a very Catholic country. 

For tickets, visit the Firehall Arts Centre.

By Tiva Quinn

Fado –The Saddest Music In The World Returns to The Firehall Arts Centre January 14 – February 5, 2023

16 Dec

The Firehall Arts Centre and Victoria’s Puente Theatre bring FADO – The Saddest Music in the World back to The Firehall Arts Centre from Saturday, January 14 to Sunday, February 5, 2023.

Acclaimed Portuguese-Canadian playwright Elaine Ávila’s play, FADO, is a tale of love and ghosts set in the back alleys and brothels of old Lisbon. This musical, which premiered at The Firehall in 2019 and enjoyed a wildly successful run, tells the story of a young woman confronting her country’s Fascist past and her own identity is interwoven with the heartbreaking national music of Portugal known as Fado, which means “fate.”

If you have not experienced Fado music, you are missing out. What is Fado?  Wikipedia describes it as “a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia.”  We can tell you it is passionate, emotional and relatable. For a taste of Fado music, listen to Amália Rodrigues singing “Abandono” here. To see it live and person, visit the Firehall Arts Centre for tickets which start from $25.

Firehall Arts Centre Presents A Christmas Carol

21 Nov

The Firehall Arts Centre invites you to celebrate the holiday season with its presentation of A Christmas Carol from Wednesday, December 14 to Saturday, December 24, 2022. Sanjay Talwar plays all 40 characters in this one-version of the familiar tale produced by Blue Ridge Repertory Theatre.   Tickets start at $25 and are now on sale at the Firehall Arts Centre.

Firehall Arts Centre Presents The Unbroadcast – The Life Of Mildred Bailey October 14 & 15

28 Sep

The Firehall Arts Centre along with the Red Cedar Theatre are pleased to present The Unbroadcast Life of Mildred Bailey for two evenings only Friday, October 14th and Saturday, October 15th.  

The production was created by award-winning composer and traditional singer from the Lil’wat Nation, Russell Wallace. The Unbroadcast Life is a live podcast play featuring the life and music of Salish jazz singer, social darling and musical pioneer of the 1930s, Mildred Bailey.  She was known as “The Queen of Swing”, “The Rockin’ Chair Lady” and “Mrs. Swing”, Mildred Bailey was one of the first female singers to make a name for herself in the American pantheon of jazz. She captured the subtleties of the 1930s’ African American blues and ragtime music and became the first female jazz singer to perform regularly with a band. The Unbroadcast Life of Mildred Bailey explores the singer’s life and impact on the jazz scene and offers glimpses into that era’s rehearsal rooms, music studios and lively, star-studded wingdings. Tickets start are $20 and are available online at Firehall Arts Centre.

Firehall Arts Centre Presents Music In The Courtyard

19 Jul

The Firehall Arts Centre and the Vancouver Independent Music Centre present the third season of Music in the Courtyard series from Saturday, July 30th to Sunday, September 4th. The performances will take place outdoors in the courtyard at The Firehall Arts Centre at 280 East Cordova Street. Performances will be held in the afternoons and evenings with ticket prices ranging from $15 to $25 per show.  The event features a wide variety of music styles including Latin, blues, guitar, experimental electronic and much more. We’ve set out a list of the upcoming performances below. For more information and to grab your tickets, visit Firehall Arts Centre.

Saturday, July 30th – 8:00 pm
The Noodle Connection

Sunday, July 31st – 7:30 pm
Niho, Fito, y Marlin

Friday, August 5th – 7:30 pm
Don McGlashan

Saturday August 6th – 7:30 pm
Murray Porter Band

Sunday, August 7th – 3:00 pm
x/o

Friday, August 12th – 7:30 pm
Michael Red + Tsimka

Saturday, August 13th – 7:30 pm
Curtis Clear Sky & Constellationz

Sunday, August 14th – 3:00 pm
Serenata Mexican

Friday, August 19th – 7:30 pm
Kutapira

Saturday, August 20th – 7:30 pm
The Fugitives

Sunday, August 21st – 3:00 pm
Public Dreams

Sunday, August 28th – 3:00 pm
Omianan featuring Thad Bailey-Mai

Friday, September 2nd – 7:30 pm
Saxophilia

Saturday, September 3rd
7:30 pm
Matt Cook-Contis & Eagle Ex Machina

Sunday, September 4th – 3:00 pm
Whelming

Comedy Invasion Hits The Stage At The Firehall Arts Centre May 7 & 8, 2022

22 Apr

Comedy Invasions is the first line up of diverse Canadian comedians that will take the stage at the historic Firehall Arts Centre on May 7 and 8, 2022.  This is a stand up comedy TV series that will be taped live spotlighting a fresh cast of diverse Canadian talent.

Each episode of this first TV series of its kind, Comedy Invasion, will feature a half hour set from a breakout Canadian comic who is either from the disabled, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and/or female community. Four live shows will be taped on May 7th and May 8th and will feature Toronto’s Desirée Walsh living with cerebral palsy, Vancouver’s indigenous Keith “Bubbas” Nahanee, Vancouver’s Japanese Canadian Yumi Nagashima, Calgary’s transgender drag queen activist Karla Marx, Vancouver’s queer and Asian DJ On, San Jose to Vancouver transplant comedian Alisha Dhillon, and Vancouver’s own social media sensation Davin Tong (aka Peter Chao). Local stand up comedian and filmmaker Milton Ng will be opening all four live shoes.   Tickets are now on sale and available online at Firehall Arts Centre or by calling 604-689-0926.

Firehall Arts Centre Presents Mary’s Wedding February 25 – March 13

21 Feb

The Firehall Arts Centre invites you to witness an unforgettable story of love and survival in their production of Mary’s Wedding. This is a play that weaves a theatrical spell of hope, regret, memory and dreams.

When Mary and Charlie – young, passionate, vulnerable, and impulsive – unexpectedly take shelter in a barn during a thunderstorm, a tentative love is born. But the year is 1914, and Mary and Charlie must surrender to the uncertainties of their tumultuous times.


Mary’s Wedding is written by Canadian playwright Stephen Massicotte and directed by Donna Spencer, the Firehall’s production of this award-winning script features two teams of performers: Sarah Roa (Mary) and Tanner Zerr (Charlie); and Emma Ross (Mary) and Jacob Leonard (Charlie). This play is an in person production with Covid safety protocols in place. To purchase tickets, visit Firehall Arts Centre.

The Firehall Arts Centre Opens Their 2022 Season With John January 12 – 15

8 Jan

The Firehall Arts Centre opens their 2022 season with Helen Walkley’s powerful dance/theatre piece, John. The production takes place from Wednesday, January 12 to Saturday, January 15, 2022.

“John is a memoir of my oldest brother who disappeared from Vancouver in May of 1969, never to be heard from again. I sourced from an archive of family letters dating from 1959–2010, which document the years leading up to his disappearance, his medical history, and the subsequent tracking my parents did of his disappearance. He was twenty-three at the time and I was thirteen.” – Helen Walkley.

“John is such a powerful, intimate piece that you are left feeling like you know this mysterious person,” says Artistic Producer Donna Spencer. “The performers, Josh Martin and Billy Marchenski, work together and apart in a manner that captures the inner feelings and outer conflicts of this young man. The work takes you on a journey of hope and loss with gentleness and frustration – it is a wonderful and memorable night of dance theatre.” – Helen Walkley

The production is choreographed by Helen Walkley and performed by Josh Martin and Billy Marchenski, John premiered and wowed audiences during its sold-out run at the 2019 Dancing on the Edge Festival.

Performances at the Firehall Arts Centre are continuing live at 50% capacity, masks and proof of vaccination will be required. To purchase tickets for the live performance, visit Firehall Arts Centre.

Photo Credit: Chris Randle

The Firehall Arts Centre Kicks Off Their 39th Season With Chapter 21

9 Sep

The Firehall Arts Centre has just announced its 39th season, and Artistic Producer Donna Spencer has proudly programmed it as a Reunion Season.  “We have heard from Firehall audiences how much they miss theatre and dance in their lives,” says Spencer. “And in our 2021-2022 season, we are looking forward to having a reunion – a reunion with them and with the artists and creative teams we have missed so much. In some instances, the productions will be reuniting the Firehall with artists we haven’t worked with for a long time, and in others, our creative teams will be exploring stories that reunite characters with their past.”

With that in mind, the Firehall Arts Centre opens its 2021-2022 season with the world premiere of Raven Spirit Dance’s Chapter 21 from September 29 to October 3, 2021.  Choreographed by Starr Muranko and directed by Yvette Nolan, Chapter 21 explores what happens when a vibrant, powerful artist comes face to face with a crippling collision of events. A dance/theatre piece, Chapter 21 is a reflection on the days that have come to pass and the art of becoming. To purchase tickets for this upcoming performance, visit Firehall Arts Centre.

Photo Credit: Erik Zennström

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