Richard Tetrault, Alley Variation #3, woodcut and metal print 2012, with photo of Jim Byrnes by David Cooper.

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Bah Humbug! An Eastside Christmas Carol returns to SFU Woodward’s

December 07, 2017
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Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol comes to life in modern-day East Vancouver with Bah Humbug! This annual seasonal tradition returns to SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts for its eighth year, with evening and matinee performances from December 7-16.

This year Bah Humbug! is directed by Jessie-award winning playwright, actor and director James Fagan Tait; 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 local native and non-native professional and community musicians and actors. Through social satire, heartbreak and compassion, they address modern-day realities, including the housing crisis, poverty, addiction and the need for reconciliation, based on the light of truth and shared mutual respect.

At the darkest hour of a winter’s night, Scrooge, a selfish pawnbroker, awakes to confront spirits of the past present and future. Emerging from Coast Salish land buried under the urban sidewalks of today, they bring Scrooge face to face with memories he tried to forget, relations that may never heal.

Meanwhile the streets of East Vancouver will come to life with colourful animations of the art of award-winning Richard Tetrault, known for capturing the area's urban landscape through large-scale mono-print, linocut projections and murals.  

Bah Humbug! deals with large themes and touches on serious issues, but it is, above all, a family celebration, sometimes bittersweet, but also filled with humour, compassion and a celebration of resilience,” says Michael Boucher, director, 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 award-winning Renae Morriseau, known for her determination to ensure that First Nations voices are heard, and stories told; Sam Bob, Jessie Richardson Award nominee for Best Actor in a theatre production Out of the Silence; and Stephen Lytton, recipient of the Governor General Award for Caring (2016).

Joining the production this year, is the youngest cast member to date, 16-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, including such artists as Buffy-Sainte Marie and Nine Inch Nails. Bah! Humbug! 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. 7-9 and Dec. 13-16, at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Dec. 9, 10 and 16, at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street. Tickets are $35 (general) and $20 (youth/students/seniors), and can be purchased online at www.sfuwoodwards.ca. Family and group discounts are available.