As the winter months come to a close and spring approaches, there are plenty of exciting activities and events to look forward to. The city comes alive with a range of cultural celebrations, including the Vancouver International Dance Festival, the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival and plenty of live theatrical and musical performances. With so much to see and do, this is the perfect time to immerse yourself in Vancouver’s rich culture and community!
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To fold; To fault
Feb. 17–March 25
To fold; To fault, being exhibited at North Van Arts, will feature three interdisciplinary artists working with contemporary fibre-based mediations. Each artist considers creative labour as a form of knowledge production, moving through their own practice as forms of translating and presenting bodies of knowledge. This exhibition is an exercise in changing the way knowledge is shared. Taking knowledge systems that are usually presented as separate branches that have to be climbed – like trees – and presenting them as something that is shared, interdependently and easy to experience-like rhizomes, the interconnected root systems that grow horizontally and sprout easily and often. By creating work using materials mostly with plant and animal fibre (pieces that are usually labelled as crafts), naming it as contemporary art, and presenting it in formal art spaces, the artists look to both breakdown and reimagine the boundaries between “art” and “craft.” There will be an artist led tour on Feb. 24.
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The Woman in Black
Feb. 18–March 5
The Woman in Black comes to the Jericho Arts Centre in Vancouver for a limited engagement beginning Feb. 18. With Vancouver favourite Bernard Cuffling directing and starring, The Woman in Black is more than just a play, it’s an experience…and one that attendees won’t soon forget. When aging solicitor Arthur Kipps (Bernard Cuffling) engages a young actor (Aidan Wright) to bring his eerie experiences at Eel Marsh House to life, neither he nor his dramatic collaborator expect the haunting to move into the theatre and curse them both. As ghostly sounds swirl, the audience will struggle to trust their eyes as this show conjures the very essence of “The Woman” herself. The Woman in Black is a theatre-goer’s favourite all over the world.
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29th Annual Rendez-Vous French Film Festival
The annual Vancouver-based Rendez-Vous French Film Festival is happening now until Feb. 26 and provides an opportunity for the British Columbian community to enjoy a rare slice of the award winning global Francophone film industry. All films are presented in their original languages with English subtitles unless otherwise indicated. Online films are geo-limited to viewers in B.C., Alberta and Yukon, with some limited access from elsewhere in Canada. For a complete list of films, check out the festival’s website.
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26th Annual Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival
Feb. 24–March 26
The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival will celebrate their 26th anniversary with a specially curated program that features both in-person and online options. They’ve lined up accomplished guest speakers, engaging workshops and panel discussions and films about climbing, snowsports, adventure, mountain culture, the environment and more! There will be numerous World, North American and Canadian Premieres, showcasing powerful stories that will inspire your next adventure. For a complete list of films, check out the festival’s website.
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Vancouver International Dance Festival
Feb. 27–March 25
The Vancouver International Dance Festival (VIDF) celebrates its 23rd season with many live-streamed and in-person contemporary dance performances happening from Feb. 27 to March 25 at various venues throughout Vancouver. This year’s festival features a provocative and evocative roster of works that viscerally communicate from dancers’ bodies to our own heart centres. The 2023 VIDF will present the world premiere of Montreal’s La Otra Orilla’s production of DEBORDEMENTS, the North American premieres of UK/India’s Aakash Odedra Company’s production of Samsara, Hungary’s Josef Nadj’s OMMA and more. Check out the festival’s website for more information.
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Carousel Theatre’s Oz taking place at the Waterfront Theatre from March 1–26. Set in 1899 Chicago, the play is a whimsically imagined backstory for how L. Frank Baum’s best selling children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, might have been written. Oz invites audiences to witness the unfolding of the classic children’s story, as Baum – with the help of his housekeeper, a playful young girl and a collection of everyday objects – develops the characters and story we all know and love. For showtimes and tickets, check out the Carousel Theatre’s website.
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16th Annual Coastal Dance Festival
Dancers of Damelahamid will host the 16th Annual Coastal Dance Festival, honouring Indigenous stories, song and dance from the Northwest Coast, Canada and around the world, from March 2–5, at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster. As part of this year’s celebrations, Coastal Dance Festival will welcome Indigenous artists from both New Zealand and Australia, and in exchange Dancers of Damelahamid will take part in New Zealand’s bi-annual Indigenous performance festival, Kia Mau, in June 2023. For more information, please visit their website.
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On the Breath of Angels
March 3, 7:30 p.m.
During the height of its popularity, from the mid-16th century into the 18th, the cornetto was frequently depicted in art as an instrument of angels. Paintings, sculptures and engravings abound in which the cornetto takes a prominent place among the choirs of angelic musicians. The connection with angels in this program serves as a point of departure for an aural journey that ranges from 1600 to the present day, exploring the ways in which the cornetto and the human voice can interact, imitate each other and entwine musically. Works by illustrious 17th-century composers Francesco Cavalli and Giacomo Carissimi will be heard. Check out the Early Music B.C. website for more information.
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Black Space Jam
March 3, 8–11 p.m.
The Black Space Jam (BSJ) is a live performance showcase that provides local and international artists of African Descent a platform to share and promote their artwork. The theme of this performance is cultural renaissance. Featuring dance, spoken word, standup comedy, music and a live DJ; the intention of this event is to offer attendees a cultural experience and spectrum of Black art. The event will also host various culturally relevant vendors selling their locally made goods. Join them at the Biltmore Cabaret on March 3, for an evening of multidisciplinary art, followed by a chance to mingle, party and socialize with the artists.
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Outside the Palace of Me
March 4–June 4
Outside the Palace of Me is a major exhibition of new work by Canadian visual artist and performer Shary Boyle, showing at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Inspired by the lyrics in the 2017 song Europe Is Lost by UK poet Kae Tempest, the exhibit assembles Boyle’s ever-mounting anxieties about global and social crises, within the inclusive context of identity theatre. Reflecting on contemporary constructions of self through the language of costume, character, set design and stage effects, Boyle explores how we see each other and how we see ourselves. Outside the Palace of Me is a multisensory installation including drawings, ceramic sculpture, life-sized automatons, two-way mirrors, coin-operated sculpture and an interactive score. Reimagining the museum as a collective performance space, the artist worked closely with a scenic designer, robotics engineer, amusement park innovator and costume artist to joyfully envision a set for humane, playful imagination.