Firehall Fact #26: Staff Favourites

Donna Spencer is the Artistic Producer here at the Firehall, and has been with the company since its inception thirty years ago.  She has directed, advised, produced and even been in a show or two over the years. She is also a certified yoga instructor and loves quantum physics. That stuff will blow your mind. (Preceding statement applies to both yoga AND quantum physics)

Donna in an article about the opening of the Firehall in 1982

My favorite things about the Firehall? 

When I first visited the Firehall as an introduction to the new job, I was taken on a tour and awed by the two fire poles but overwhelmed and amazed by the number of doors there are within the building. Everywhere we went there was a new door that took you to a different world.  For the first while I was on the job, I would get lost – I had no sense of direction within the building.

Since then I have grown to love all of the doors, the brick, the history, the energy within the building and the people that I have met here.  And while I no longer get lost in the building, I do sometimes feel a loss of direction, and strangely enough, the strength of the building and the spirit that resides within help me get back on track.  

Yes indeed, the Firehall is a pretty special place, opening doors to stories both new and old; to performances that provoke contemplation and discussion; to experiences that generate a greater love for the value of the arts in society; and to good times with good friends and great people.  

At the Firehall, we love looking for new doors and the treasures hidden within.  As Ann Mortifee wrote in her song for the play Reflections of Crooked Walking:

Every door is a secret door
hiding something
Every door is a magic door
leading somewhere
Somewhere you’ve never been ever before
To open the door just lift the latch
But once you go in
you might never come back|
For that is the way of the spell.

And that spell is the Firehall.   


Our $30 for 30 Campaign is nearing the end, but you still have time to donate! Do it through our website, give us a call or visit Canada Helps to donate there!



Lyrics to Every Door is a Magic Door from Ann Mortifee’s website.

Firehall Fact #23: Staff Favourites

Internet, meet Michele Hope, the Firehall’s Bar Manager. Michele is an avid traveler. I know people say that a lot, but it’s doubly true for Michele.

I love it when people discover what a friendly and relaxed theatre we are and how welcome they are made to feel. First time patrons to the Firehall always say what a nice place this is and then wander out onto the deck and gasp at our lovely blooming cherry blossom tree, preferably with a beverage from the bar. 

I also receive a lot of comments about what a good Scotch selection we have.

To donate to our $30 for 30 Campaign on our website,click here! To donate via Canada Helps, visit them here.

Firehall Fact #19: Staff Favourites

Today, we hear from Alex Danard,
Box Office/Volunteer Coordinator!

Hello Folks! I’ve worked at the Firehall Arts Centre for 2 years now. I started off as a participant in the In-House Training program in March of 2010 and loved it! After I was hired on as the Outreach Coordinator for Dancing on the Edge and then as the Box Office/Volunteer Coordinator for the Firehall. I don’t have a hard time naming my favourite thing at the Firehall, in fact I have several.

Favourite thing #1: The building itself! Everything about it. I have a tender fondness for anything old, particularly architecture. I enjoy character and history and personality, from the creaking doors/floors to the ripples in the windows.
Favourite thing #2: The staff! Everyone here works so hard at their job and with such a small core staff it has the intimate feel of a family where each person is here to support each other. I’m continually inspired and motivated by each person’s enthusiasm and dedication.
Favourite thing #3: The Firehall’s mission and mandate. Who the Firehall is as an organization. Not only does the Firehall produce and present quality theatre and dance, but it doesn’t shy away from cutting edge and challenging pieces. I think this is crucial in the Arts.

I could go on, but I will stop myself now.

To donate to our $30 for 30 Campaign on our website,click here! To donate via Canada Helps, visit them here.

Firehall Fact #17: Staff Favourites

Today, we hear from Gabriela De Lucca, Marketing and Communications Director!

Hi! It’s hard to choose one thing that makes this place great, but I love that we celebrate Canada’s diversity. One of the first things I noticed about the Firehall was how culturally diverse and varied our productions have been, and I recently learned that the Firehall was the first theatre company in Canada to make cultural diversity a priority. We live in a country comprised of people from all over the world and from every background imaginable, and I’m so proud and happy to be part of a theatre company that embraces and celebrates that.   

To donate to our $30 for 30 Campaign on our website,click here! To donate via Canada Helps, visit them here.


Firehall Fact #16: Staff Favourites

Today we hear from Associate Producer/Operations, Caitlin McKee. She has an abnormal obsession with Hello Kitty. It’s scary.

My name is Caitlin and I am the Associate Producer/Operations for the Firehall Arts Centre.  My position here is actually split part time with the Firehall’s sister organization the Dancing on the Edge Festival, where I also function as the Associate Producer.  I’ve been working with the Firehall for just over two years, but actually first began here 10 years ago in my first arts job as a Box Office and Front of House representative.  After spending two years working here as well as completing a summer internship, I knew I loved what I was doing and everything that was happening within the Firehall and was encouraged to think about making it a career.  Long story short, it led me to my passion as an Arts Administrator and took me to the University of Toronto’s Arts Management program until I was approached 6 years later to return to the Firehall to my current position.

It is incredibly difficult to name my favourite thing about the Firehall.  From the “Firehall Family” that works so hard to make sure everything runs smoothly, to the history and stories that have developed and been retold over the years, to the fact that I get to come to work every day to a job I care deeply about, it’s hard to pick one thing that sticks out from the others.  But if I had to pick one of my top ten things it would be the Firehall’s Youth Training Program.  I’ve been involved with the Training Program from its beginning in 2010.  Since that time we have completed three successful programs and started our fourth earlier this month.  The training program has seen so many successes with all of its participants.  We have seen them go on to the Stage Craft program at Douglas College, continue on to Capilano University in the Acting program, return to school to complete their GEDs, transfer their newly attained skills to full time employment, and continue to work with the Firehall in all sorts of capacities.  Best of all, they continue to come back as volunteers, patrons and supporters of the Firehall, making them some of our strongest advocates.

None of this would be possible without the Firehall’s amazing team who take time out of their already busy days to mentor individuals and help train them in positions like Technical Production, Customer Services, and Marketing.  The training program itself receives a very small amount of funding, and was extremely fortunate this year to receive extra funding from the Vancity Community Foundation, but we continue to look for new means to support the program to ensure we can keep it running for years to come. 


We need your help to maintain the high level of work we do! To donate to our $30 for 30 Campaign on our website,click here! To donate via Canada Helps, visit them here.

Firehall Fact #15: Staff Favourites

Today’s focus: The Firehall’s newest member, Terri!

My name is Terri Le Gear and I am the Administrative Coordinator for the Firehall Arts Centre. I have been with the Firehall since November 2011, and as the newest member of the Firehall family I’d like to say I am thrilled to be here!   

It’s wonderful to be a part of the small group of individuals who are so lovely and who are genuinely passionate and dedicated to keeping the Firehall the respected cultural institution that it is. There are many positive things about the Firehall, which makes it difficult to pick just one aspect that makes working here enjoyable, or that makes the Firehall a special venue for performing and visual arts. However, I value how the Firehall is supportive of the communities it is a part of by supporting emerging artists and by having initiatives that make going to the theatre affordable and accessible to the greater public.

Located in possibly what are Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods (Chinatown and Gastown) I love how the Firehall has a vintage, timeless, as well as edgy quality that is reflected in our programming, and reflective of the two neighbourhoods with which we are connected. I have lived in Vancouver for the last seven years and have been fortunate enough to work in several of Vancouver’s heritage buildings from the Europe Hotel (1909), to the Marine Building (1929), and now the Firehall (1906).   From the beautiful brick work and tile mosaic work to the creaky steps, working at the Firehall makes me feel like I am a part of the greater art history of Vancouver.

To donate to our $30 for 30 Campaign on our website,click here! To donate via Canada Helps, visit them here.

Firehall Fact #14: Staff Favourites

Today we pick on (er, feature) Susan, our Bookkeeper!

Susan is wonderful and keeps us on track financially.  She also likes to bake cakes into unusual shapes, like Storm Trooper helmets and Pikachu. She said she will make one in the shape of the Firehall soon! Wait, would that just be a square?

My name is Susan Shank Day I have been the Bookkeeper at The Firehall Arts Centre for a year and a half.  Physically, I love the intimacy of the theatre space.  Emotionally, I love the fabulous and create staff I get to work  with.  For my eyes and ears I get the amazing experience of both dance and theatre.  I feel very lucky to get to absorb such wonderful art!

To donate to our $30 for 30 Campaign on our website,click here! To donate via Canada Helps, visit them here.

Firehall Fact #13: Staff Favourites

The Firehall has a wonderful, talented and inventive staff. We love this place, not only for its wonderful history and good looks, but each staff member has special reasons as to why we cherish being here.

Today, we spotlight Jamie Burns, the Technical Director here at the Firehall.

Jamie has been with the Firehall for six years, and has been TD for the past two. He’s the go-to guy for anything having to do with the theatre and the building, and he’s a sucker for bubble tea.

My name is Jamie Burns and I am the Technical Director here at the Firehall Arts Centre. I have many favourite things about the Firehall: from the huge stone block foundation to the fire pole in the the theatre to the friendly Firehall ghost. But, I have to say my favourite thing is the variety of the shows we put on: from rocking musicals like Chelsea Hotel to dramas like The Blue Light, East of Berlin and Where the Blood Mixes, the shows we produce and present here always bring something new to the table. You never see the same show twice.

To donate to our $30 for 30 Campaign on our website, click here! To donate via Canada Helps, visit them here.