VANCOUVER, B.C. —Following the opening of its 82nd premiere last week, The Patron Saint of Stanley Park, the Arts Club Theatre Company announces the next two recipients of its Silver Commissions Project: Nicola Cavendish and Marcus Youssef. Five years ago, with the generous support of Stan and Kathy Hamilton, the Silver Commissions Project launched with the commissioning of five local playwrights: Lucia Frangione (Paradise Garden), Hiro Kanagawa (The Patron Saint of Stanley Park), Shawn Macdonald (The Fall of Sister Judy), the Electric Company Theatre (Tear the Curtain!), and Dennis Foon (Scar Tissue). 2010 has seen three of those works premiere on Arts Club stages: Patron Saint, as well as Tear the Curtain!, and Paradise Garden. The newest round of commissions is made possible with the support of long-time donor, Bonnie Mah.
“To see our passion for new work, and commitment to nurturing a lively community of local artists, reflected in the generosity of our donors and in feedback from our audiences is gratifying and inspiring,” says Bill Millerd, Artistic Managing Director. “Vancouver and the rest of the country can expect to enjoy the fruits of these commissions in the near future and in years to come.”
The Arts Club already has a strong reputation for bringing exciting premiere productions to Vancouver audiences, beginning 30 years ago with Talking Dirty by Sherman Snukal. This priority was significantly aided by the creation of its ReACT: New Plays in Progress development program 10 years ago. Of the 29 plays that have gone through the ReACT series (some works go through the process more than once), 20 have gone on to full productions (16 at the Arts Club and 4 with other companies). This spring the company took another step in the support of new and local work with the opening of the Revue Stage and the premiere of Anosh Irani’s My Granny the Goldfish. Renovated with the generous support of the Vancouver Foundation, the company’s third venue allows both emerging and established artists to premiere their works in an intimate setting that enhances the experience of the performer-audience relationship.
“The commission provides me with both time and resources to create a new piece that is very close to my heart, one that is inspired by my mother's long battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and the extraordinary journals she kept as the disease then took hold,” says Silver Commissions recipient Marcus Youssef. Nicola Cavendish adds, “I am honoured to be commissioned by the Arts Club, bless those responsible for providing me the opportunity and right to take off the acting hat for a while to accommodate my heart's desire, writing.”
“Our Silver Commissions Project gives Bill and I an opportunity to introduce audiences to some of our favourite artists,” says Arts Club Literary Manager Rachel Ditor. “Nicola Cavendish and Marcus Youssef are both very accomplished, with outstanding reputations across the country. It’s a gift to all of us that they make their home and art here in Vancouver.”
Launched in 2006 by the Arts Club, the Silver Commissions Project, named to recognize the 25th anniversary of the first play to premiere at the Arts Club, provides funding and development resources to established Vancouver artists to create original works for the company’s three stages: the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, Granville Island Stage, and Revue Stage.