White Rock-raised Ashlie Corcoran is the artistic director of Arts Club Theatre Company. (file photo)

Arts Club stays busy with three-play series on Vancouver stages

Audience cap of 50 patrons for company’s ‘small yet fierce shows’ this fall

While the Arts Club has no immediate plans to tour any productions to Surrey Arts Centre this fall and winter – not yet, at least – the theatre company will produce three shows for its stages in Vancouver.

Ashlie Corcoran, the company’s White Rock-raised artistic director, calls the lineup “a trio of bold, exciting one-person shows guaranteed to reinvigorate our audiences’ love and appreciation for live theatre.”

More than 30 freelance artists have been hired to create the shows, some of them previously contracted to work on shows for the Arts Club’s cancelled 2020-21 season.

“The instability of the pandemic has had an enormous effect on Vancouver’s professional theatre artists,” Corcoran said in a news release. “In addition to the financial impact, it took away their ability to do the work they’re passionate about. We’re looking forward to collaborating with these talented artists to create live theatre once again.”

The three-show series launches Sept. 24 with six-week run of Nilaja Sun’s “No Child…” on the Newmont Stage at BMO Theatre Centre, featuring actors Celia Aloma and Ali Watson, followed by Anosh Irani’s “Buffoon” (Granville Island Stage, starring Kayvon Khoshkam and Andrew McNee from Oct. 22 to Dec. 6) and Ginna Hoben’s “The Twelve Dates of Christmas” (Newmont Stage, starring Genevieve Fleming and Melissa Oei, Nov. 19 to Jan. 3).

Each actor in the “solo” shows will do seven performances per week and then trade off. There are also two stage managers for each show.

The company says all three shows will be staged in adherence to safety guidelines established by the B.C. government, including an audience cap of 50 patrons, staggered admission times, and a mandatory mask policy (with the exception of patrons with respiratory or other health concerns).

In addition to the in-theatre experience, patrons will be given the option to purchase tickets to a digital recording of each of the three productions, which will be available to view for a limited time.

“Though we were heartbroken over cancelling our original 2020-2021 season, we’re excited to begin producing theatre safely once again,” Corcoran said. “The Arts Club won’t be doing any big blockbusters this year, but we are still very much committed to bringing high-quality, inspiring theatre to our stages. These three small yet fierce shows are a testament to the resilience of the performing arts community during this time.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2017: White Rock’s Ashlie Corcoran has been appointed artistic director for Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre.

The performance and rehearsal models are “uniquely designed to be as safe as possible for artists, staff, and audience members,” according to the company. Each show will have two rotating casts and crews, who will do seven performances each week and rehearse in separate halls.

“These smaller, more intimate shows allow us to be nimbler than we would be with larger productions,” said Executive Director Peter Cathie White. “This ‘bubble method’ of alternating casts and crews is a brand-new way of producing theatre for the Arts Club, and we hope it will become a model for performances going forward as we continue to navigate our new normal.”

“No Child…” is billed as a “bold examination of arts education in public schools,” while the tragicomedy “Buffoon” follows the story of Felix the clown as he grows up, falls in love, and has his heart broken at the circus. Later, “The Twelve Dates of Christmas” offers “a bubbly holiday comedy” about finding love in unexpected places.

More details are posted to artsclub.com.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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