Watch & Learn Festival
As the title suggests, attendees don't just watch performances and look at art at this festival; they can learn how it's done and create it themselves. Presented by Vancouver Civic Theatres, Watch & Learn features seven craft workshops, that range from preparing a healing salve from local native plants to fashioning leather accessories. Along with expressing your own creativity, you can watch live painting, browse an artisan market and groove to six local bands, including Jody Glenham, Star Captains, and Twin River.
(Vancouver: Aug. 19 - 20)
Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts
Canada’s first ever writers' festival devoted to Canadian writers, this Sunshine Coast institution credits its 35-year success to unwavering community support. Several events are sold-out but act fast and you can score tickets to see witty renaissance man Mark Leiren Young. Winner of the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour, Young is also a filmmaker, playwright, environmentalist and one half of the comedy duo Local Anxiety. His latest book, the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize nominated The Killer Whale Who Changed the World, is the story the first publicly exhibited killer whale.
(Sechelt: Aug. 17 - 20)
Gabriola Theatre Festival
Another festival embraced by community, the ninth annual Gabriola Theatre Festival features eight main stage shows, a free outdoor stage, a Street Art + Street Fair, and puppet and magic shows for kids. Bema Productions, winner of the Best Drama Award at Victoria’s 2016 Fringe, presents Horowitz & Mrs. Washington, Henry Denker's smart, funny study of racism, class and aging. And the unstoppable Charles Ross, of One Man Star Wars/Lord of the Rings/Dark Knight fame, presents his latest one man show: One Man Pride & Prejudice.
(Gabriola: Aug. 18 - 20)
Arbres de Memoire (Trees of Memory)
Among a grove of trees behind Abathau Mansion, visitors will be transported back in time to the Battle of Vimy Ridge. They’ll see archival images of soldiers, nurses, horses and war machines projected on trees, while a soundscape is performed live. LocoMotoArt, a Vancouver collective interested in the integration of natural and digital worlds, recreates the World War I battle in France as a way to honour those who gave their lives there 100 years ago.
(Vancouver: Aug. 17)
Theatre Under the Stars
The joyful and inventive Mary Poppins at Theatre Under the Stars had Colin Thomas crowing, "this is what life is for," and Westender calls The Drowsy Chaperone "flat-out, full-on fun.” For a record-breaking fourth season in a row, TUTS extends the runs of both shows by one week.
(Vancouver: until Aug. 26)
The Fringe Cabaret: Back to School Special
Fringe fans can get their fix almost two weeks before the Festival launches at a variety show featuring sketch, storytelling, dance, burlesque, clown and more, by Fringe performers who also just can't wait any longer, including Jeff Leard, Andrew Bailey, Cory Thibert, David C. Jones and others.
(Vancouver: Aug. 26)
There's a new theatre company in Vancouver and it's called Red Giant—though they see themselves as more of a theatre society. "It is our mission to build respect for live performance entertainment in this city and at the same time harness new and diverse voices within," the society states on its Facebook page. "We do this by promising to share our time, support and resources with other companies around Vancouver: theatre that gives back to our neighbours; theatre that creates a community." Red Giant's first play is Line by Israel Horovitz at PAL Studio Theatre. Line is a one-act absurdist drama about five people waiting in line for an event. It was written in 1967 and has played in the same theatre for 40 years, making it the longest running play in New York.
(Vancouver: Aug. 22 - 25)