Call for Board Members
The Firehall Theatre Society/ Firehall Arts Centre is looking for Board Members!
The Firehall Arts Centre has a rich place in the history of Vancouver. It is well recognized as a place where new and established artists, performers, playwrights, choreographers and theatre workers of all backgrounds produce and present their work. The Firehall connects communities and its mission is to showcase provocative performing and visual arts reflective of the diversity of Canada. We have the following core values:
Community: We nurture our local and artistic communities.
Inclusion: We commit to welcoming a diversity of artists and audiences to the world of professional performing and visual arts.
Transparency: We conduct business in an ethical and transparent manner.
Education: We educate and inspire our artists, our staff and our audiences.
Sustainability: We commit to the fiscal and environmental sustainability of our artistic practice.
Please visit firehallartscentre.ca for more information.
Board Director Opportunity
We seek applications from those interested in joining The Firehall Arts Centre Society Board. The Board is primarily responsible for:
- Ensuring the organization achieves its mission and strategic plan
- Ensuring that the Board conducts its own stewardship process appropriately
- Supporting and overseeing the Artistic Producer’s role in continuously driving the success of the organization
Specifically we are looking for volunteers with any, or a combination of, the following skills:
- Arts/Non-Profit Business Management
- Partnership Engagement
- Human Resources (especially in recruitment and succession)
- Organizational leadership/Board leadership experience
- Past board governance experience and a passion for the arts is an asset
- Experience and interest in becoming a Committee Chair is an asset
All Directors should also have the following personal attributes:
- Ability to commit to the responsibilities and time of being an engaged Director
- Willingness to act as an ambassador for the organization
- Communication skills which embraces diversity of thought
- Strong bias to learn and the ability to make sound independent judgement
- High degree of integrity in personal dealings
- Big picture and strategic thinking
- Team player and the ability to build on working relationships
Term: Directors’ terms are for two years with an option to renew.
Commitment: It is expected that those interested will devote the time to being an engaged Director. This requires:
- Monthly Board meetings and Committee meetings as required (currently held online but returning to the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver when safe)
- Commitment to the work and participation of at least one Committee (not including Committees of the whole)
- Preparing for meetings and conducting related work outside of formal meetings
- Participation in fundraising activities and other Board and organizational events, as required
In total this may require roughly 6 – 8 hours each month. In addition, Directors are expected to make an annual donation to the organization and attend performances if possible.
Interested individuals are invited to submit a letter of interest and resume to Jenn Fong (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 5, 2021. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. We thank you for your interest.
Exploring the Pandemic’s Lexicon
We Will Be Back Soon But We Need Your Help
With fingers crossed the Firehall looks forward to re-opening in July with live performances for a limited number of audience members. The Firehall has been at the forefront of ensuring we have a comprehensive COVID safety plan in place for when audiences and artists meet again. Our staff and volunteers are receiving training in all aspects of keeping everyone safe. But as we move forward with plans for the summer and the 2021-2022 season, we are asking for your support to ensure the Firehall’s recovery from the impact the pandemic has had on the arts.
Exploring the pandemic’s lexicon:
PPEs: Before COVID, personal protection equipment may have had many different interpretations which we won’t explore in this message but since March 2020 everyone has become pretty familiar with the acronym. Help us say a big thank you to the front-line workers in health care, in safety services and in grocery stores and in particular to those who have been working in the Downtown Eastside to reduce the impact of COVID and the DRUG pandemic. All funds raised through the PPE ticket donation program will go towards providing free tickets to those who have worked diligently to keep us safe. A donation of $100 will support four complimentary tickets for five front-line workers.
ZOOM: Since the pandemic we don’t have meetings or conversations – we “jump” on Zoom to connect visually and hope everyone’s camera is focused above their waistlines and if their children interrupt or they want to introduce us to their cat, dog or hamster that we have the patience to be kind. At the Firehall as we tried to bring more and more of our activities online, we discovered our antiquated systems were sadly lacking and although some upgrades were undertaken there is still more to be done. Help us upgrade into the new world of digital connection with a donation of whatever amount works with your budget.
PIVOT: Pivoting became about changing your lifestyle from day to day to ensure everything you did was essential and if you had doubts, you pivoted to stay at home. A donation of $150 will help support 1.5 minutes of choreographic creation in which a dance artist could show you a truly physical pivot.
STREAM/STREAMING: A stream is no longer a place where you go for a cool dip and streaming is not about weeping profusely as you laugh at something said on stage or have an allergic reaction to the amazing plethora of flowering trees that helped us all stay hopeful during the Circuit Breaker. A donation of $200 will help us record and stream some of our live performances next season for those who may not be able to come to a live theatre performance for various reasons.
ESSENTIAL/NON-ESSENTIAL: An essential service became just about everything except for attendance at live performances while non-essential services were never quite clear to many of us. Essential: Actors, dancers, playwrights, choreographers, musicians, designers, creative workers are all essential. We need them in our lives to encourage us to dream, to feel, to learn, to cry and to laugh. Non-essential: Nothing is non-essential in the arts. We always have places where funds are required – whether it is purchasing toilet paper (apparently essential given the toilet paper shortages during the early days of the lockdown) or supporting the maintenance and operations of the Firehall. A donation of $300 will help us with all of those things.
DIALING IT UP like on a dimmer switch became a way to talk about the restrictions but we were never certain if that meant adding more restrictions or the other way around. In the theatre, bringing up the dimmer means increasing the intensity of the stage lighting so maybe that was really about the light at the end of the tunnel becoming brighter. For a donation of $500 you can support the costs of one actor’s costume so they can wow you with they’re intensity.
CIRCUIT BREAKER: A circuit breaker is no longer the way you find out if you have overloaded electrical circuits (like what happens at the Firehall when we plug the micro-wave in when the coffee machine is running) but a way to stop the spread of the virus and its variants. Help us celebrate keeping the circuit breakers open after so many dark nights of empty stages and only the Firehall Ghosts performing by making a donation of $1000.
STAY-CATION: Stay-cations became inventive ways to keep your family entertained or to get outdoors and to escape watching another show on Netflix. Everyone searched for new places to go and new things to do in our neighborhoods. We took on DIY projects, read a lot of books, planted gardens, and then checked out a few glasses of wine or tasted the herbs growing in the window box. If you are still looking for a great stay-cation for donations of $10000, we will plan a theme-party for you in your ten person bubble. Feel like a night in Mexico – let us transform the courtyard and bring on the tequila. Suggest a location or theme of your choice and we will get on to planning an event to remember.
Ah, the language of the pandemic. We hope you had some fun reading this and are encouraged to make whatever donation amount you choose. We know you are missing coming to live performances and we sure know we miss doing them for you. Thanks for your wonderful support – stay safe and we will see you soon.
The Firehall Theatre Society is a not for profit charity ( #119232965RR001) and all donations are tax-deductible.
Performances Will Continue
The Firehall Arts Centre’s Covid Protocols support the SHOW TO GO ON!
The Premiere of Michele Riml’s The Amaryllis November 12-22, 2020
In response to the new health and safety orders announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry on Nov 7th, as a business the Firehall reviewed its well thought out COVID-19 Safety Plan, which we have been using since July, and determined that we will move forward with keeping our patrons, artists and staff safe, and live theatre on our stage.
REMINDER: Early Bird Passes only on Sale Until July 31!
In October, in the theatre, we will launch our first of the Salon/Saloon Series with the presentation of Allan Morgan’s one man show, I Walked the Line – a piece that reflects in his generous and humorous manner, his experience walking the line with members of the BC Nurses Union. Following that, as part of the Heart of the City Festival, we will share more stories in our Opening Doors series with a special look at the history and connections of Indigenous communities to this neighbourhood.
While we continue to work on programming for the balance of the year, we are focusing on November, December and January using the Salon/Saloon model of limiting audiences to fifty. At this point not all of the proposed programming is contracted but we hope by mid-August to announce all of the works that will carry us through this time period. We anticipate there will be a minimum of four different productions you will be able to utilize your Early Bird passes for before the end of January. We ask you continue to have faith until such time as all the details are worked out. With only fifty tickets available per performance, Early Bird passes are going quickly with the deadline for final purchase on July 31.
Pride Performance Empowers Weekend!
We are incredibly excited to announce our pride long weekend event, Pride Performance Empowers! (or PPE for short). Taking place in the Firehall’s beautiful courtyard, PPE is a three day long event of theatre, drag, and music!
Tickets are very limited because of COVID-19 safety guidelines, so please join us in celebrating a wonderful pride 2020!
July 31st – Baking and Dishing with Allan Morgan @ 7:30pm
Well known actor, writer and all round great guy Allan Morgan will offer a witty and wild demonstration of his culinary skills, BAKING AND DISHING WITH PRIDE. In this work drawn from his previous work For the Young Gay, the Un-Gay and the Jaded Queen in All of Us, this one person show follows Allan’s path from 1968 forward and chronicles his life as he begins to understand and accept his sexuality and looks at the points of connection between his life and the Gay Pride movement as we grow together.
Tickets starting @ $20!
August 1st – Kings and Queens of DRAG @ 7:30pm
Drag Kings and Queens will hold court on the courtyard stage. Hosted by Carlotta Gurl, the night will feature Pride weekend favorites JOAN E, OWEN, GINA TONIC, and BRUNCH.
Tickets starting @ $25!
August 2nd – Prideful Music with Sara Vickruck @4:00pm
Come hangout in the courtyard with quadruple threat award winning queer performer Sara Vickruck. Chronicled through her original tunes, some cover songs, and by the length of her hair, Sara will walk you through their coming out story. Part hour of music, and part hour of storytelling, it will be a relaxing way to spend your Sunday afternoon.
Sara Vickruck self produced their own Album Prologue in 2015, and wrote the music for the award winning musical Poly Queer Love Ballad. You may remember her from Fun Home (Arts Club), Circle Game (Firehall Arts Centre), or Coriolanus (Bard on the Beach). Currently she is part of the musical group The Quarantettes building a repertoire of music poetry to music in association with Bard on the Beach.
Tickets starting @ $20!
Tickets are on sale now on the Firehall website! Just click the link below to book your seats today!
*The Firehall Arts Centre has instituted safe physical distancing rules and has put in place Health and Safety Measures to ensure audiences, artists, and staff remain safe during all performances. A maximum of 40 people will be granted entry to each performance. Safe physical distancing rules are strongly encouraged in addition to wearing a face mask/covering. Face masks will be available for sale at the door.
Dancing on the Edge 2020
We are excited to be hosting the Dancing on the Edge festival again this summer!
A combination of live and streamed performances, we’re looking forward to having patrons back to the theatre in both capacities.
Please follow this link for a full schedule.
Live performance can be purchased here.
Virtual performances can be purchased here.
The Firehall is Releasing a Podcast!
In a new initiative to keep engaging our wonderful patrons, we are releasing, “Dramatic Pause: Conversations about the Arts.” Donna Spencer, our Artistic Producer, will be interviewing Canadian artists, covering an array of topics from each artists lives, to the role of art, and it’s importance, especially now, in the current climate.
As an homage to many years of collaboration, our first interviewee will be David Diamond, Artistic Director of Theatre for Living. Theatre for Living has produced many shows at the Firehall over the years, the last being šxʷʔam̓ət (Home).
Our podcast is hosted both on PodBean and iTunes for free.
We will be posting new episodes every other Tuesday night, so stay tuned!
An Update on the Firehall and our 2020/2021 Season
Every year many of patrons purchase Early Bird passes to Firehall season’s offerings. They are a great deal with savings ranging from 10% to 28% depending on which pass program purchasers subscribe too and allow purchasers to chose which shows from the Firehall season of between ten to twelve different productions that they wish to attend.
In this uncertain time, the Firehall is asking patrons to take a leap of faith with us and invest in the 2020-2021 upcoming season. And what will that season be? That is a great question and this is the part where the leap of faith comes in. Artistic Producer Donna Spencer is planning a fall season of events entitled the Salon Series. This series will feature primarily theatre but will, also, include music and dance designed for audiences of 50 or less. Reflective of the current public assembly guidelines of 50, not including staff and crew, set by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry this number allows for a creative team of artists and customer services staff of ten. Through undertaking this scale of programming not only will the Firehall be able to ensure our audiences, artists and venue support staff are safe within the current physical distancing and PPE’s guidelines but will provide opportunities for audiences to enjoy the live performing arts again in an intimate setting. When public assembly limits are increased, which we hope is sooner rather than later, the venue seating will be increased accordingly.
So while we are still in programming stages for the 2020-2021 season, we are planning ten to twelve different productions including our production with Savage Society of Taran Kootenhayoo’s White Noise; Touchstone’s production in association with the Firehall of Adam Grant Warren’s Lights , which unfortunately, were postponed because of the pandemic. Other works could include Manami Hara’s Courage Now ; a remount of our co-production with Puente Theatre of Elaine Avila’s FADO, The Saddest Music in the World ; Rice & Beans’ Yellow Objects ; Yvonne Wallace’s Utzan; more stories from the East side in Opening Doors ; a work in progress showing of Starr Muranko’s Chapter 21 and Allan Morgan’s I Walked The Line, just to name a few. More details will be released about programming as contracts for productions are confirmed.
Early Bird passes come in two flavours: The Full Pack for $79 which allows you to attend four productions through the season and the Four Pack Flex for $100 which allows you to mix and match as you please allowing you to bring guests with you or see your favourite show more than once.
Should the Firehall be forced to shut down operations because of COVID-19, any passes or tickets left on passes purchased will be refunded.
Early Bird passes are available beginning June 8th until July 31, 2020.
Spring Cleaning Finds: George Ryga Photoset
As we plan for our return to performances and to dive in to spring cleaning in our offices and the theatre, we, inevitably, have come upon a few treasures lost in the mess, or as we’d like to call it, “creative build-up.” One such treasure is this beautiful photo set of iconic Canadian playwright, George Ryga. Why do we have these shots was the question and it came up that we think they were taken when the Firehall was producing his one man show for his great friend, Dick Clements, called One More For The Road just prior to Ryga’s passing in 1987.
This was the beginning of the Firehall’s relationship with Mr. Ryga, who is recognized as an essential part of Canadian literary and theatrical history. Ryga was born in Deep Creek, Alberta to poor Ukrainian immigrants. Both the nature of his upbringing, and the variance of his cultural identity pushed Ryga to the margins of larger Canadian society, and it was from this otherness that he was able to draw inspiration for many of his works, including, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe. Written in collaboration with Chief Dan George, chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe was one of the first plays in Canadian history to place at the forefront indigenous characters, plights, and realities, in a manner that provided both visibility and agency. The play does not skirt around structural and colonial violence being at the heart of its characters problems in its raw delivery through songs, montages, and tableaus.
First premiered at the Vancouver Playhouse in 1967, the Firehall Arts Centre had the pleasure of producing this unique piece twice, in 1992 and again in 2007, working with some of Canada’s most accomplished Indigenous artists in both productions. Artistic Producer and Director Donna Spencer directed both productions and notes it was the play The Ecstasy of Rita Joe which sparked her first interests in the theatre. “This was the first Canadian play I read that actually addressed contemporary Canadian issues which I could see happening around me in small town Alberta. Unfortunately, now working at the Firehall, we still see the impact of residential schools, the 60’s scoop up and racism towards Indigenous peoples. Things have improved in many ways but in others it has stayed the same or gotten worse. I recall George coming back from lunch one day ,when we were in rehearsal for One More For the Road, and saying ““ I can’t believe it – I just saw someone pulling food out of a dumpster – this in a country as rich as Canada? How can this be happening? “” And in remembering that, I wonder what he would have to say about the current state of affairs in the city with the ongoing Drug Crisis and its impact on the community. And now with the COVID-19 emergency compounding things – I imagine, after using some very colorful language, that he would write a pretty potent piece of theatre.”