Firehall Arts Centre 2022/2023 Season

The Firehall’s Artistic & Executive Producer, Donna Spencer, is pleased to share some highlights of the upcoming 2022-2023 season, which sees the organization celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Recently honoured with a Lieutenant Governors Arts and Music Award, The Firehall is entering its fourth decade of diverse, innovative and interdisciplinary programming, with a notable history of championing new and marginalized voices in the arts.

When I moved to Vancouver in 1990, The Firehall really represented to me the place where people of colour and people of ethnic minorities could have their work taken seriously.”

– Hiro Kanagawa

“The DTES has always been a place of transformation for myself, my family, and our stories. As we have transformed, so has the land that my great grandmother called home. The Firehall Arts Centre has been there for so long, and seen so much of this transformation happen. The Firehall is an integral piece in one of the biggest transformations in my life, and it is the place where our stories first began to have a voice.”

– Rosemary Georgeson

The Firehall’s 40th Anniversary Season is a year-long showcase of what The Firehall does best: provocative performing arts that reflect the diversity of Canadian voices. From Kathak dance to Holocaust history and Hong Kong democracy to young love, the 2022-2023 season will bring a distinct variety of new and old stories to life on The Firehall stage.

Spencer says, “Our 40th Anniversary Season will continue The Firehall’s legacy of presenting theatre and dance works that stir the soul, enrich the mind, and lift up the voices and stories of the vast range of people who call this place home. I’m excited to share these highlights and look forward to announcing more performances in the coming months.”

The 2022-2023 season kicks off September 21-24 with Khoj – A Contemporary Kathak Dance Extravaganza by Usha Gupta Dance Entourage from Canada. This is a dance form that blends traditional and modern movement through the different forms of the ocean, romance, rhythmic pattern, inner search for spirituality, and finishes with Sufi (divine truth).

The Unbroadcast Life of Mildred Bailey (October 13-16), produced by Red Cedar Theatre and directed by Columpa Bobb, is a new musical performance about Mildred Bailey created by Russell Wallace with music by Tony Wilson. 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 world premiere of Manami Hara’s new work, Courage Now, runs November 19-December 4. Produced by The Firehall and presented in association with Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (VACT), Courage Now tells the story of Japanese Consul Chiune Sugihara, who helped over 6000 Polish and Lithuanian Jews escape the Nazis in 1940. Going against his government orders, he issued more than 2000 handwritten visas, risking both his life and his career. Some of those whose lives were saved have families living in British Columbia today.

From December 14 to 24, The Firehall presents Sanjay Talwar’s A One Man Christmas Carol. We all know the classic story of A Christmas Carol – but we’ve never seen it like this. Actor Sanjay Talwar performs all 40 characters in this piece for a whirlwind one-man show.

Elaine Ávila’s FADO – The Saddest Music in the World returns to The Firehall stage January 14-February 5. 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”. FADO – The Saddest Music in the World is produced by the Firehall Arts Centre and Victoria, B.C.’s Puente Theatre.

Zahida Rahemtulla’s The Wrong Bashir, produced by Touchstone Theatre’s Flying Start program in association with The Firehall, runs March 4-12. Bashir Ladha – wayward philosophy major leaning towards nihilism – has accidentally been selected to assume an important religious position, and his parents have dutifully accepted on his behalf. Conflict ensues over Bashir’s reaction to his appointment and the family is taken on a comedic intergenerational ride that forces them to grapple with long-avoided questions of identity and family.

The Firehall, in association with Western Gold Theatre, present the Vancouver premiere of Our Ghosts March 18-April 2. Written by Sally Stubbs, Our Ghosts is a haunting mystery inspired by the disappearance of the playwright’s own father. This theatre production explores the ramifications of official and personal responses to the disappearance of a plane and its pilots. At the heart of the play, however, is a love story and the mystery that defines one woman’s life and, by extension, the lives of her children: the disappearance from the Comox Air Base of a Canadian Forces fighter jet and, with it, Flight Commander Gerald Stubbs.

The Firehall closes its 2022-2023 season with the world premiere of rice & beans theatre production Happy Valley from May 27 to June 4. Created by Sydney Risk Award-winning playwright Derek Chan, Happy Valley is a new performance piece that dissects the historic, political, and cultural context surrounding Hong Kong’s current democratic struggles.

Early Bird Passes for The Firehall’s 40th Anniversary Season are on sale now and available online or by phone at 604.689.0926. Four-show passes start at $79. Single tickets for dance and theatre productions range in price from $25 to $40; and single tickets for musicals range in price from $30 to $45. Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon performances are pay-what-you-can (PWYC).

Due to the ongoing pandemic, dates and performances are subject to change, but patrons will be notified with as much notice as possible.

Meet the Cast(s) of Mary’s Wedding

We talked to the two casts of Mary’s Wedding about theatre in a pandemic, what they’re excited about, and what the play means to them, among other things. If the state of the world has got you down, read on for some inspiration and hope for the future!


Filipina-Canadian woman with shoulder length hair against a yellow background
Sarah Roa, who plays Mary

How are you doing at this weird time? How has COVID affected your practice?

Sarah Roa: I think that this strange time has opened up my mind towards a better creative artistic practice. I’m more aware of my mental and physical wellness and honor when I need to take a break, as to avoid burn out. Whereas in the before times, I was consistently burning myself out. I am grateful for the challenges that I have faced during this time because it has proven that I am resilient and that theatre is my passion that I will always fight for.

Emma Ross: I felt really rusty when we started out! I haven’t done a full theatre contract since February 2020. There were a lot of times where I had to remind myself of what makes for a successful and fun rehearsal day for me, and what I can be doing to support the rest of the team in the rehearsal hall.

Tanner Zerr: I would say for the most part I’m doing fairly okay during all this craziness. Staying busy helps, and this show has been keeping us quite busy.


As a young person in our current time, how do you think people have changed since 1914? What remains the same?

Dark haired young man with a beard, against a concrete wall
Tanner Zerr, who plays Charlie

TZ: Part of the fun of this script for me has been piecing together what life was like in that time frame. People moved, touched, and thought in a very different way. It certainly wasn’t an easy way of life. Personally, I come from a background of farmers who settled on the prairies in the early 1900s, so it’s given me an opportunity to dive into my own family history to try and build my interpretation of Charlie.


Is Mary’s Wedding a love story, an anti-war play, a beautiful dream, or a mashup of all three? Feel free to throw in other things that the play is, for you.

SR: It is a love story; a journey of witnessing two young people falling in love for the first time. It brings its audience by painting many very beautiful portraits and leaves them thinking about the first person they fell in love with. It’s a moment to reminisce innocence, love and the journey out of adolescence.

ER: To me it’s all three, but a love story at its core. I’m still exploring the juxtaposition between the descriptions of serving on the front line versus the journey of falling in love. It’s a reminder to not take our loved ones for granted. It’s a story that Mary tells for Charlie.


The script makes big jumps in time–as an actor how does that challenge you?

SR: It’s thrilling, Mary ages throughout the play from 15-21 years old in very quick bursts. It keeps me on my toes and has me reliving all those moments in my life as a young person.

ER: Physically adjusting myself according to Mary’s age as well as swapping clearly between Flowers, Mary, and narrating has been the biggest challenge in this production for me. Jacob, Donna and I did a lot of text and brain work to identify time jumps and string different timelines and locations together.

TZ: It’s a good challenge as an actor because we have to make sure we keep the characters’ journey clear and know exactly what’s happened or not happened, in each scene. Thankfully, the playwright helps us out because the scenes are structured in way that, although there’s a jump in time, the emotional quality carries over and almost bleeds into the next scene.


Is there anything you would like audiences to know about this piece?

Young woman in a burgundy top, with shoulder length dirty blonde hair.
Emma Ross, who plays Mary

ER: I think it’s interesting to note that the story takes place over quite a long time span of 6 years. Charlie and Mary meet in early summer of 1914 and the play ends in 1920.


What about this performance are you most excited about?

ER: I’m really excited to time travel with our audiences! Stephen Massicotte’s text is filled with rich and specific imagery. It’s really fulfilling when I allow myself to let the language transport me. I hope that watching our show will do the same for others.

TZ: I think I’m most excited for the tech. We’ve been working hard rehearsing to make sure the story is in our bodies, but the set, lights, costumes, and sound really brings it together. It puts you right into the world of it, and it informs so much of the performance.


Are there any upcoming performances (Firehall or otherwise) that you are looking forward to?

SR: I was meant to have my first season at Bard on the Beach in 2020. The show is being produced this year and I am beyond excited about it. I will be playing my dream role, Puck in a Midsummer Nights Dream.

Young bearded man with dark hair and a beard, against a white background
Jacob Leonard, who plays Charlie

Jacob Leonard: I really want to see Noises Off with the Arts Club. I have wanted to do a bombastic comedy for a while but don’t necessarily think I have the proper skillset at this point in my career. I think seeing Noises off would provide me with many valuable ideas and lessons about the genre.

ER: Beautiful Man at Pi Theatre, Ominous Sounds at the River Crossing at Touchstone Theatre and Six of One at Studio 58!


What has been inspiring you lately? (Theatre or not!)

SR: Working with children has been very inspiring. I teach drama at the Shadbolt Arts Centre and my youngest group I teach is between 4-5 years old. They are such a delight to be in the room with because they are so engaged and committed to their imaginations. It’s wonderful to watch them play and share my love for acting with them.

JL: I’ve been really inspired by HBO’s Succession. It’s one of those rare TV shows where you wonder how its conception was even possible. The directing, writing, producing and acting all just come together perfectly on some cosmic level or something–I don’t know–that sounds whimsical, but it’s true. Shows like this shouldn’t exist on paper. There is just far too much dedication and talent.

ER: I’m obsessed with Euphoria like the rest of the world, as well as Florence Pugh and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

TZ: it’s inspiring for me to see theatre companies like the Firehall creating work for young actors such as myself. Trying to start your career as an actor in the middle of the pandemic is daunting to say the least, but this show gives me hope, and hopefully it will inspire other people too.




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 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
  • Fundraising
  • Partnership Engagement
  • Human Resources (especially in recruitment and succession)
  • Risk
  • 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

Time Commitment
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 ( by November 5, 2021. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. We thank you for your interest.




2021/2021 Reunion Season Announcement

The Firehall Arts Centre is thrilled to announce 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.”

The Firehall’s 2021-22 Reunion Season opens with the world premiere of Raven Spirit Dance’s Chapter 21 from September 29 to October 3. 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.

Paddle Song, running November 9-21, tells the story of Mohawk poet, Pauline Johnson, in this energetic and humorous one-woman musical starring Cheri Maracle, and created by Dinah Christie and Tom Hill. Published and hailed by the literati of England at a time when it was ruled by white men, Pauline Johnson toured for over 30 years across Canada, the U.S., and Great Britain during the late 1800s.

From December 2-12, the Firehall Arts Centre, in association with Touchstone Theatre Flying Start Production, presents Lights. Written by Adam Grant Warren, Lights is a humorous and heartfelt story of a tight-knit family adapting to profound life changes.

The Firehall’s Solstice Greetings returns for a fourth year from December 16-18 to share stories, poems, and songs created by the Grade 6 and 7 students from Lord Strathcona Elementary School in celebration of the holiday season.

The first production of 2022 is a powerful dance/theatre piece that enjoyed sold out performances at the 2019 Dancing on the Edge Festival – John. Scheduled for January 12-15, John is a memoir of Walkley’s oldest brother, who disappeared from Vancouver in May 1969, never to be heard from again. John is choreographed by Helen Walkley and performed by Josh Martin and Billy Marchenski.

Makambe K Simamba’s Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers is a protest for all Black life beyond headlines and hashtags, a prayer for all families left behind, and a promise to the community that all Black lives matter. Running January 20-22, this Tarragon Theatre and Black Theatre Workshop co-production is based on the world premiere production by b current Performing Arts and presented by the Firehall Arts Centre, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, and Touchstone Theatre.

From January 27 to February 20, Elaine Ávila’s FADO – The Saddest Music in the World returns to the Firehall stage after its wildly successful, sold out run in 2019. Part concert, part theatre, the story of a young woman confronting her country’s Fascist past and her own identify is interwoven with the heartbreaking national music of Portugal, known as Fado, which means “fate”. FADO – The Saddest Music in the World is produced by the Firehall Arts Centre and Puente Theatre.

The Firehall Arts Centre presents the world premiere of Manami Hara’s new work, Courage Now, March 2-13. Courage Now tells the story of Japanese Consul Chiune Sugihara who helped over 6000 Polish and Lithuanian Jews escape the Nazis in 1940. Going against his government orders, he issued more than 2000 handwritten visas, risking both his life and his career. Some of those whose lives were saved have families living in British Columbia today. Courage Now is produced by the Firehall Arts Centre in association with Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre.

White Noise will take the stage from April 16 to May 1st. Written by the late Taran Kootenhayoo, White Noise is a comedy about two families who have dinner together for the first time during Truth and Reconciliation Week. It explores what is means to live in Canada from two different paradigms and asks us to consider: How do we deal with internalized racism? Do we keep pushing it away and pretend to live safely in our day-to-day? White Noise is produced by the Firehall Arts Centre and Savage Society.

The Firehall’s 2021-22 Reunion Season closes with the presentation of its production Yellow Fever from May 14 to 28. Written by R.A. Shiomi, Yellow Fever takes audiences into the world of post-war Powell Street as hard-nosed detective ‘Sam Shikaze’ sets out to find the missing ‘Cherry Blossom Queen’ and discovers racism in the local police force.

Tickets not yet on sale.

Passes for the Firehall Arts Centre’s 2021-22 Reunion Season are on sale now and available online at or by phone at 604.689.0926. Four-show passes start at $79.

COVID-19 protocols will still be in place and all patrons will be required to show proof of vaccination upon arrival at the box office.

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.

Request for Proposal

The Firehall Theatre Society is practicing due diligence in putting out a request-for-proposal (RFP) for auditors with an interest and experience in yearly audits for Not-for-profit Charitable Arts Organizations.  The societies mission is to produce and present provocative performing and visual arts reflective of the diversity of Canada. We are committed to the process and look forward to the opportunity to meet some great auditors along the way! The length of the commitment is for the fiscal year’s ending June 2022 to June 2024. If your firm would like further details regarding the RFP please go to the link provided. Click HERE and HERE for more info.

Firehall Update, May 27th, 2021

If you are missing coming to the Firehall, you have three days left to catch the Rice & Beans exhibition, yellow objects! This installation work has been wowing those visiting with its innovative story telling, sans actors, and is one of the most exciting pivots made during this COVID time. Click HERE to learn more about yellow objects!
But, you will be back sitting in our theatre seats soon! With Tuesday’s press announcement by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Dix we were thrilled to hear the Firehall will be able to bring audiences and artists together again for LIVE performances in the near future. And by September, we may even be back to some kind of new normal in the performing arts sector. We will kick off a full 2021-2022 season of theatre, dance, music and more in late September and have our fingers crossed that from then on it will be smooth sailing. It will be fabulous to have artists back in the studio and theatre rehearsing, eating their lunch in the green room and sharing their talents on stage with eager-to-see-them audiences. Watch for the premiere of Chapter 21 at last, R.A. Shiomi’s Yellow Fever, the premiere of Manami Hara’s Courage Now, and much much more. With this season we will celebrate artistically the challenges, the hopes and the resilience of individuals through theatrical stories and choreographies created and shared by some of British Columbia’s most talented artists.
– Artistic Producer, Donna Spencer

Firehall Update: Tuesday, march 9th

Hope you are all well and am sure you are looking forward to the spring. The cherry blossoms are out in the Firehall Courtyard which is a very early sign that spring is coming. When will we be back in the theatre enjoying live performances? It is hard to tell as we approach the one year mark of the shut-down of live performing arts across a great majority of the globe. It seems there may be light at the end of this tunnel, as vaccinations ramp up. I have also been participating with a consortium of leaders of professional performing arts venues from across the province to encourage Public Health to consider our operations in a more accurate manner than casual one off events, as defined in current orders, but as the professionally run not for profit businesses that we are. This process has been slow but discussions are happening and we are hopeful that just as bars, restaurants, museums, galleries and retail outlets are allowed to operate, performing arts venues will also be able to do so soon.

With that first shut-down, the brief re-opening of our spaces for limited audiences and then the second shut-down it has begun to feel like we have lost a part of ourselves in this process. While I am not aware of how the Spanish Flu epidemic impacted cultural activity, I am aware that during the war years theatres were open and people continued to get together to listen to music, attend dance and theatre performances, and visit museums. And now with very few of us having experienced any restrictions on our ability to choose to attend a performance where we can be transported out of our day-to-day routines, a void has been created. So I long, as many do, for these particular restrictions to be over and wonder each day, with so many restrictions lifted, why all of these performing arts venues with COVID-19 Protocols in place continue to be closed. Audience members and supporters tell us how much they long to sit in a theatre and enjoy the unique experience of watching human beings share their artistic talents through music, dance or theatre.

As we look forward to the future, the Firehall is planning its 2021-2022 season. It will include many of the works we were unable to produce that had been planned for presentation in what we are referring to as the pause and pivot year. But before the next season launch, we look forward to sharing the streamed work of the In the Beginning’s discussion and a re-visit to Alan Morgan’s I Walked the Line. We have a mystery project planned for May and in June, will produce R.A. Shiomi’s Yellow Fever. No, it is not a play about a pandemic or yellow fever, the disease, but a play that takes place on Powell Street in Vancouver. A long time gathering place for the local Japanese-Canadian culture until their internment during the Second World War, Powell Street continues to play an important role in Vancouver’s history. This work set in the 1970s, features a Sam Spade-like main character, Sam Shikaze, who must work to unravel the mysteries that surround him. The production will be staged as a live-radio play with artists creating the folio and a small studio audience ( we hope). The work will also be recorded and shared through streaming. Hiro Kanagawa will portray the Sam Shikaze character and the production will be co-directed by Raugi Yu and myself. It is going to be fun to work on this important work and translate it with new tools for audiences online or in the theatre.

We have just had the Talking Stick Festival in the theatre recording many of the festival’s events. It has been so great to have artists in the building and in particular from this Festival. Talking Stick started as a Monday night Indigenous discussion and showcase event in the Firehall’s studio and now twenty years later has become one of the most important Indigenous Peoples Festivals across the Globe. A big congratulations to Margo Kane and her great team for keeping the festival moving forward during challenging times.

The end of this week we wrap our Canada Works program that has allowed us to have three talented young people working with us for eight weeks since the beginning of January working on administrative, marketing, and technical production tasks. Thank you to Mirna, Talya and Charlie for your help and we look forward to staying in touch in the future. Also, thanks to Canada Summer works for providing us with the opportunity to introduce young people into the world of the performing arts.

As a concluding note, today we are celebrating the Firehall’s 39th anniversary. The Firehall first opened its doors on February 25, 1982 with a performance by Axis Theatre, who were managing the venue in collaboration with the Playhouse Theatre Company at that time. Much has changed since that time but we have endeavored to fulfill the Society’s mission of enriching lives and expanding minds through arts and showcasing provocative performing and visual arts reflective of the diversity of Canada. We wish you could all enjoy a performance and the beautiful cherry blossoms blooming in the courtyard with us on this celebratory day.

-Donna Spencer, Artistic Producer

Firehall Arts Centre 2020/2021 Season






I Walked The Line (written and performed by Allan Morgan)
October 15th – October 25th, 2020
A Firehall Arts Centre Presentation
A play about unions, treachery, solidarity, porta potties, baked goods, and hope. Allan Morgan is a luminary of the Canadian stage, having spent a lifetime as a professional actor working with companies such as Bard on the Beach, Arts Club Theatre, Theatre Calgary, The Citadel, Touchstone Theatre, and more. When his acting career slowed down, he did what he had to do – he got another job, which landed him in the mailroom of a union headquarters. In July of 2016, the union went on strike and Allan found himself on the picket line with his union sisters and brothers, which was the impetus for I Walked The Line – a 70-minute performance that takes audiences on a roller coaster ride of emotions, transforming the stage to the picket line in celebration of that solidarity, the people, and the storm of emotions the fight for change brought to all those who walked the line for 132 days. Directed by Ross Desprez, I Walked The Line is produced by Bread and Roses Theatre and sponsored by The Other Guys Theatre.

In the Beginning
November 4th, 2020 – November 7th, 2020
Produced by the Firehall Arts Centre and Vancouver Moving Theatre
Storyteller, filmmaker and performer Rosemary Georgeson, and the Firehall’s Artistic Producer Donna Spencer, delve into the history of the Indigenous peoples in the area that is now called Vancouver prior to and during colonization. This is the second stage of the exploration of the many individuals and groups from different cultural heritages who have made the East Side and in particular Strathcona, Chinatown, Gastown, and Japantown the neighbourhoods they are today.
A Heart of the City Festival event.

The Amaryllis
November 12th, 2020 – November 22nd, 2020
A World Premiere Produced by the Firehall Arts Centre and The Search Party
In this premiere production written by Michele Riml and directed by The Search Party’s award-winning Artistic Director Mindy Parfitt, the audience is transported into the fascinating, quirky world of Lucy and Jeremy Keener (Shawn Macdonald). Lucy is a terrifically talented voice over artist and Jeremy is her troubled agent, who would sooner jump off a cliff before ever following a dream of his own. Sister and brother for better or for worse, these two are inextricably bound. The amaryllis plant – a mysterious gift from a mysterious giver – takes on a strange power over their lives. The Amaryllis is mystery about what it really takes to grow and a comedy about what it really takes to change.

Solstice Greetings
December 10th-12th & 17th-19th, 2020
Returning for a third year, Solstice Greetings is the sharing of stories, songs, and seasonal greetings in celebration of the return of the light.

Chapter 21
January 13th, 2021 – January 16th, 2021
A World Premiere Presented by Firehall Arts Centre and Produced by Raven Spirit Dance, in association with the PHT Creative Hub Cooperative.

In this dance/theatre piece choreographed by Starr Muranko and directed by Yvette Nolan, Chapter 21 explores what happens when a vibrant, active artist comes face to face with a crippling collision of events. Chapter 21 is a reflection on the days that have come to pass, and the art of becoming. A new baby boy; Chromosome 21; the big “C” diagnosis, 21 days between treatments, and 21 days to re-pattern beliefs; Courage; Faith; Resilience.


Please stay tuned for the announcement of additional shows and dates.