Date and Venue 17 October 2009 | The Cultch
Reviewer Kim Alison Fraser
An afternoon tea with champagne and electric cello playing in the 100-year-old church turned renowned Vancouver cultural institution, was an apt setting to officially thank those who worked so hard to renovate the Cultch.
The two-hour kick off to the long-awaited return of the Cultch began with Executive Director, Heather Redfern effusively thanking those in attendance, and all levels of government for their support, then handing over the reigns to Kendra Fanconi, Producing Artistic Director of The Only Animal, and Marcus Youssef, Neworld Theatre's Artistic Director whose play Ali and Ali 7 plays the Cultch in April.
.John Mosowich, Cultch Chair, Lisa Barrett from the Vancity Board of Directors, the Honourable Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Culture the Arts as well as Mayor Gregor Robertson shared a sense of pride and accomplishment at seeing the Historic Theatre reach this milestone since it unofficially became an underground venue for the arts back in 1973. Through a million dollar grant from Vancity, nine million dollars from the province (plus an endowment for ongoing operating costs) to rehabilitate the structural foundation of the building, add proper dressing rooms and bathrooms, a laundry room, office space for Cultch staff (who were previously wedged behind the auditorium in what is now the Cultch café/wine bar) and build the new Vancity Culture Lab - where emerging artists can refine their craft.
According to Hugh Cochlin, Principle Architect at Proscenium Architecture and Interiors, great pains were taken to preserve sight lines, acoustics and to ensure the revitalized structure meets LEED standards. The new lobby and expanded box office are also welcome additions to the new theatre. Most importantly, this season promises many one-of-a-kind experienes from Lorne Elliott and Justin Rutledge to Nevermore: The Imaginary Life ad Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe and Bash'd A Gay Rap Opera.
The festivities continue with the gala fundraiser, A Garden of Earthly Delights, on November 14th featuring theatre, dance, music, champagne reception, dinner and live auction to help raise money for operating costs and the funds to complete phase two of the renovation which includes additional parking and renovation of the greenhouse.
© 2009 Kim Alison Fraser