Cultural Calendar

As we awaken to the gentle embrace of spring, which starts today in B.C., a tapestry of cultural experiences unfolds before us. From thought-provoking discussions to captivating performances, this season invites us to explore new perspectives and indulge in artistic delights. Whether you’re drawn to the rhythm of dance, the power of music or the intrigue of theatre, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, as the days grow longer and the air fills with anticipation, why not seize the moment and immerse yourself in the breadth of events awaiting you?

* * *

Dwelling in the Wilderness Modern Monks in the American West

March 21, 6–8 p.m.

What might the lives of contemporary monastics teach us about putting down roots? Whereas many of us are constantly on the go, stressed out and focused on productivity, the life of a monk prioritizes staying put and paying attention. Many monks take a vow of stability that commits them to their home monastery, leading them to develop a deep connection with and knowledge of the land they inhabit. Monastic life teaches those who practice it to move more slowly through the world, and the monastic sense of place may even hold a key to responding to the growing ecological crisis threatening our environment. Join SFU Lecturer in Religious Studies Jason M. Brown as he discusses this topic on March 21 at SFU Harbour Centre.

* * *

Red Velvet

March 21–April 21

It’s 1833, and at London’s Theatre Royal, Ira Aldridge is making history by becoming the first Black actor to tread the boards as Shakespeare’s Othello. As the public and parliament debate the abolition of slavery, how will audiences react to the revolution already taking place on the stage? Be transported to the tempestuous Covent Garden rehearsal hall in this thought-provoking and captivating play within a play about the little-known but true story of the groundbreaking performer. Playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage from March 21 to April 21.

* * *

On Liberal Institutions, Protecting Pluralism & Free Debate

March 22, 7 p.m.

When considering what 2024 has in store, author and The New Yorker contributor Adam Gopnik, feels compelled to share a political message that isn’t about politics. Rather, it’s about how this year, the institutions of liberal democracy are threatened in ways that they have never been before. Gopnik is terrified by what he sees as a lack of understanding among voters –
younger and older alike – of the unique nature of our institutions and democracy within the wider context of human history. And how these institutions that we take for granted – the ones that guarantee everything from free debate to the protection of marginalized people – are in fact very fragile to assault. On March 22, join Gopnik and consider ways to protect the possibility of politics through arguments of history, logic and conscience.

* * *

Côté Danse’s X (Dix)

March 22–23, 8 p.m.

As the global pandemic shrank the world, and the concept of home became a site of comfort, stability and foundational identity, the story of Odysseus took on even greater resonance. Taking inspiration from Homer’s mythic poem, five dancers delve deeply into the idea of an inner compass, not only as a means of navigation, but also as a tool of connection to the elemental forces of the earth. Accompanied by the sculptural sounds of American experimental band Son Lux, X (Dix) charts a course into the unknown, as well as the challenges of finding your way home again. This performance by choreographer Guillaume Côté will happen at the Vancouver Playhouse March 22 and 23.

* * *

Handel: Hallelujah & Trumpets

March 24, 3 p.m.

Experience the splendour of George Frideric Handel’s music at Early Music Vancouver on March 24! Eternal Source of Light Divine was Handel’s first and only court ode and one of his earliest attempts to win the hearts of English listeners with radiant music in their own language. Blessed are they that Considereth the Poor was Handel’s last anthem and a celebration of everyday charity rather than royal power. This concert brings together these two bookends of Handel’s career in England to frame a collection of the composer’s most beloved melodies from the worlds of opera, orchestral, chamber and keyboard music.

* * *


March 27–April 7

Studio 58 students are skilled in areas other than acting and production – they’re also playwrights! FourPlay presents four original one-act plays, written by Studio 58 students. This festival showcases the next generation of contemporary playwrights. The four plays are Pretty Girls by Sweit Eden Haile, Gillty as Fin by Terrence Zhou and Caylen Creative, Panty Sniffers by Jenna Leigh and Fly, Love by Yorlene Bernido. For a brief synopsis, cast information and tickets, please check out the Studio 58 website.

* * *

True Tribal: Contemporary Expressions of Ancestral Tattoo Practices

On view from March 28

Tattoo art by Mo-Naga. | Photo courtesy of Museum of Vancouver.

True Tribal: Contemporary Expressions of Ancestral Tattoo Practices, on view at the Museum of Vancouver from March 28, explores 30-plus years of Indigenous tattooing from around the world and the artists who are reconnecting with traditional skin marking practices. The revival of ancestral tattoo designs and motifs, the re-envisioning of meaning and protocols and the re-fashioning of ancestral application methods is part of Indigenous peoples’ efforts to reclaim their lands, cultures and identities. Tattoo artists Tristen Jenni Sanderson (Woodland and Plains Cree), Terje Koloamatangi (Tongan), Nolan Malbeuf (Métis), Mo-Naga (Uipo Naga), Julie Paama-Pengelly (Māori), Gordon Sparks (Mi’kmaq), Nathalie Standingcloud (Cherokee) and Dion Kaszas (Nlaka’pamux) use contemporary technologies to build upon ancestral design conventions as seen on ancestral belongings. Their work gives power back to Indigenous people to think through and theorize their own world and life views while taking away the colonial tools that separated them from the visual language of skin markings.

* * *

A performance by Aché Brasil is an explosion of colour, energy and music. | Photo by Luciana Freire DAnunciacao

Aché Brasil

March 28, 12 noon

A performance by Aché Brasil is an explosion of colour, energy and music that embodies the exuberant culture and rhythms of Brazil. The company will demonstrate folkloric Afro-Brazilian dances and music, including the famous dance-martial art of capoeira – an astonishing display of acrobatics, breathtaking kicks and self-defence tactics, accompanied by the irresistible sound of the berimbau. Please visit The Dance Centre’s website for tickets and more information.

* * *

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

March 29–April 25

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival starts on March 29, and one of the first free festival events is the Haiku Exhibition where poetry converges with art, featuring a collaborative masterpiece crafted by talented artists inspired by the winning haiku of the previous year. The festival will highlight the many parks throughout the city with cherry blossom trees, and here’s hoping it will be in bloom that day. For more information, please visit the VCBF website.

* * *

Battle of BC 6

March 29–31

The Battle of BC 6 is an international-scale gaming convention taking place in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. Brought to you by Galint Gaming, they will host a weekend of intense competition, camaraderie and community. This year the event has features such as welcoming the fighting game community with competitive brackets for Street Fighter 6 and TEKKEN 8. There will also be more fun side events, exciting exhibitors, special guests and plenty of surprises on the big stage.