Bah Humbug! brings Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to a seasonal classic

by ahnationtalk on November 27, 201837 Views

Bah Humbug brings Downtown Eastside to a seasonal classic

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol comes to life in modern-day East Vancouver with Bah Humbug! The annual production returns to SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts for its ninth year, with evening and matinee performances from December 6-22.

This year Bah Humbug! is directed by award winning Renae Morisseau—who will also reprise her role as Dicken’s narrator; while celebrated actor and Juno award-winner blues musician Jim Byrnes returns in the starring role of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Joining Byrnes on stage is a diverse and exceptional cast of professional and community artists. Through song and irony, they address modern-day realities of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where homelessness, poverty, and addiction are ever-present.

Yet hope shines through this ever-resilient community. Embedded throughout this adaptation is the need for reconciliation, based on the light of truth and mutual respect.

At the darkest hour of a winter’s night, Scrooge, a hawkish pawnbroker, awakes to confront ghosts of the past present and future. Coast Salish spirits, emerge from the urban streets of today, bringing Scrooge face-to-face with buried memories of his past haunt his ongoing selfishness. Mortality stares him in the eye. His time is short and the spirits are there as guides as a last opportunity to reclaim his humanity.

The streets of East Vancouver are thematically illustrated through the colourful animations of the award-winning Richard Tetrault, renowned for his depictions of the area’s unique urban landscape.

“Bah Humbug! deals with large social themes and touches on pressing issues, but it is, above all, a great family story that needs to be eternally retold, sometimes bittersweet, but filled with humour, compassion and a celebration of community resilience,” says Michael Boucher, director of SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs.

The cast includes award-winning Kevin McNulty, a prolific film and television performer, and Tom Pickett, gospel and blues singer/actor. First Nations artists include Jenifer Brousseau, Sam Bob, Jessie Richardson, an award nominee for best actor in the theatre production, Out of the Silence, and Stephen Lytton, recipient of the Governor General Award for Caring (2016).

Also returning is 17-year-old Jason Sakaki, a promising rising talent and graduate of the Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance! program.

With musical direction by Bill Costin, Bah Humbug! includes more than 30 musical numbers ranging from traditional Christmas carols to blues, First Nations songs, soul, and rock, from such artists as Buffy-Sainte Marie and Nine Inch Nails. The production also features the acclaimed Downtown Eastside-based Saint James Music Academy Youth Choir.

Commissioned and co-produced by SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs and Vancouver Moving Theatre, in partnership with Full Circle: First Nations Performance, Bah Humbug! supports the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival, which partners each year with 50-plus Downtown Eastside arts and non-arts organizations. Proceeds from the show support the festival.

Bah Humbug! runs from Dec. 6-8, Dec. 11-15, and Dec. 18-22 at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Dec. 8-9, Dec. 15-16 and 22, at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street.

Tickets are $39 (general) and $24 (youth/students), and can be purchased online at www.sfuwoodwards.ca. Early bird and group discounts are available.

ABOUT SFU WOODWARDS’ CULTURAL PROGRAMS:
SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs (SFUW) aim to enable and promote creativity and leading-edge practices in the contemporary arts as well as public community discourse. By supporting professional activities through partnerships, SFUW engages the immediate inner-city community through unique cultural initiatives with the ultimate goal to create, provoke and transform better ways of community building through the arts.

ABOUT VANCOUVER MOVING THEATRE:
Vancouver Moving Theatre (VMT) is a multiple award-winning Downtown Eastside-based professional arts organization founded (1983) by Terry Hunter (Executive Director) and Savannah Walling (Artistic Director). VMT is dedicated to art creation that celebrates the power of the human imagination and spirit; builds shared experiences that bridge cultural traditions, social groups and artistic disciplines; and gives voice to the residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and beyond. The mandate of VMTs flagship Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival (established in 2004), produced in partnership with over fifty community partners, is to promote the artists, art forms, cultural traditions, heritage, activism, people and great stories about Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

ABOUT FULL CIRCLE: FIRST NATIONS PERFORMANCE:
Full Circle: First Nations Performance was founded in 1992 by Margo Kane (Cree/Saulteaux), an interdisciplinary artist and Indigenous arts leader. Her vision has made a profound contribution to the development of Indigenous performance in Canada. The company creates opportunities for Indigenous artists to express themselves across many artistic disciplines with their annual Talking Stick Festival and programs such as the Ensemble training program and the Indian Acts. Full Circle shares Indigenous values with many audiences so that people of all races and ages have a better understanding of First Nations, Metis and Inuit culture and the artistic expressions that celebrate all Indigenous peoples.

About Simon Fraser University:

As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 150,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.

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Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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Contact:
Ian Bryce, Communications and Marketing, 604-773-8134, ian_bryce@sfu.ca

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sfupamr/albums/72157704075211475

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