Bah Humbug! brings Dickens to today’s Downtown Eastside

December 08, 2016

A sushi-loving Ebenezer Scrooge owns a pawn shop on Hastings Street where he uses his iPhone to time Bob Cratchet’s late arrival to work. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol comes to life in modern-day east Vancouver with Bah Humbug! An annual seasonal tradition, Bah Humbug! returns to SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts for a seventh year, with evening and matinee performances from December 8-17, 2016.

Guided by the narration of Jessie-award winning actress Margo Kane (Full Circle: First Nations Performance), Scrooge, played by Juno award-winning musician Jim Byrnes, and the cast of characters sing their way through modern day realities, such as addiction and the housing crisis, reflecting on the past, present and future.

“We’ve moved the show substantially from its origins with Dickens, changing the theme from extolling charity to social justice,” says Michael Boucher, Director, SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs, “While the content deals with serious issues, Bah! Humbug! is still a family event, sometimes bittersweet, but also filled with humour and compassion.”

Directed by Max Reimer, Bah Humbug! features David Marr as Marley, and gospel and blues singer/actor as Tom Pickett. The cast includes some of the city’s finest First Nation actors, including Stephen Lytton, winner of the 2016 Governor General Award for Caring. Spirits of this classic tale are re-imagined as emerging from Coast Salish territory buried under the sidewalks of today.

East Vancouver comes to life on stage with colourful animations of the art of Richard Tetrault, well known for capturing East Vancouver’s back alleys, crows and houses through large-scale mono-print, linocut projections and murals.

The show includes more than 25 musical numbers ranging from traditional Christmas carols to First Nations songs and arrangements of modern rock, pop, and soul songs, including some by Buffy-Sainte Marie and Nine Inch Nails, directed by Bill Costin. The cast of singing actors are accompanied by the acclaimed Downtown Eastside based Saint James Music Academy Choir. During each performance, audiences may join a sing-along carol session with the cast.

Commissioned and co-produced by SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs with Vancouver Moving Theatre, in partnership with Full Circle: First Nations PerformanceBah Humbug! supports the Downtown Eastside’s Heart of the City Festival, which partners each year with 40-plus Downtown Eastside arts and non-arts organizations. Proceeds from the show support the festival.

Bah Humbug! runs from Dec. 8-10 and Dec. 14-17, at 7:30 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on Saturday, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 and Wednesday, Dec 14 at 1:00 p.m., at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings St. Tickets are $29 (general) and $15 (students/seniors) and can be purchased online at, by phone at 778.782.9286.