Our Story

The Firehall first opened its doors on February 25th of 1982, with a performance by Axis Theatre, who managed the theatre at that time. The Firehall Theatre Society was incorporated in 1983 and in 1985, then established itself as one of the first theatre companies to involve Indigenous and culturally diverse artists within its practice.

The building was built in 1906 and acted as one of Vancouver’s first fire stations until the mid-1970s. Located in the historic heart of the city, the Firehall strives to produce and present work that highlights and supports Canada’s multiculturalism. As the first company focusing on Canadian work with this intent, the Firehall broke through social barriers and helped playwrights, actors, dancers, performers and producers of various cultural backgrounds present work to audiences across the country.

Over the past 40 years, led by Artistic Producer Donna Spencer, the Firehall Theatre Society has evolved into one of Canada’s most well-respected cultural hubs. With her interest in contemporary dance, Spencer also spearheaded the Dancing on the Edge Festival, which has grown to become Canada’s longest-running dance festival and became its own society in 1988.


The Firehall Theatre Society connects communities and encourages a greater understanding of Canada’s cultural pluralism through its productions, presentations, exhibitions and artistic practice.


Artistic Merit and Integrity:
to foster the development, production, and presentation of artistic works which exhibit artistic merit, integrity, and quality to provide creative and employment opportunities for diverse British Columbian professional artists through the sharing of stories reflective of the Canadian experience.

Inclusion and Access:
to create opportunities for First Nations; culturally diverse and gender diverse artists to participate in professional performing and visual arts, and to ensure audiences from a broad cultural, economic, and educational demographic feel welcome to attend and enjoy our productions, presentations, and exhibitions.

Ethical Action:
to conduct the Society’s business in an ethical and transparent manner. This ensures a safe and healthy workplace for staff, contract employees, and artists, as well as an open relationship with audiences, donors/supporters and the community at large.

Community Benefits:
to provide opportunities for artists, staff, and audiences to experience and gain an increased knowledge of artistic disciplines, theatre, and contemporary dance practice as well as the subject matter of the artistic works in which they are involved as artists and as audiences.

to provide opportunities for artists, staff and audiences to experience and gain an increased knowledge of artistic disciplines, theatre and contemporary dance practice and the subject matter of the artistic works in which they are involved as artists and as audiences.

to strive for sustainability within its artistic practice and act in an environmentally sustainable manner when purchasing materials and supplies for our productions and our administration.

People need community, I think, and theatre provides community.
— Donna Spencer, Artistic Producer
Not everyone receives this kind of support... Thank you for believing in me.”
Tracey Power
Creator, Actor, Director, Choreographer of Chelsea Hotel, Glory, Viola

We’re Grateful to Be Here.

The Firehall Arts Centre is located on the unceded and traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations where they lived and gathered together for thousands of years. Acknowledging their connections to these lands is a significant part of what the Firehall considers when choosing the productions and presentations we undertake and how that work shapes and impacts those around us. We ask our community to reflect on what being present here means to you and those around you.