By the end of this course, you should be able to do the following:
- Describe the development of Vancouver theatre over the past 60 years
- Discuss how Vancouver’s evolving social and political viewpoints have been reflected on stage
- Identify Vancouver’s main theatre companies and festivals
Week 1: Vancouver’s theatrical history
To understand Vancouver’s contemporary theatre community, we need to look back at its beginnings. From road shows and vaudeville to resident stock companies, Vancouver established a lively theatre scene in some impressive buildings which reflected its rapid development into a dynamic urban centre.
Week 2: The 1960s: Hello Canada
The birth of a distinctly Canadian theatre happens in the 1960s and Vancouver is front and centre in our burgeoning national theatre identity. With the creation of the Vancouver Playhouse, the Arts Club Theatre and alternative companies, Vancouver artists are beginning to believe that they don’t have to look elsewhere for work.
Week 3: The 1970s: Growing the community
A growing theatre audience encourages even more theatre artists to start producing work. The number of theatre companies explodes along with the production of plays written by Canadians. The federal government is providing financial support and it feels as if you can do anything on stage.
Week 4: The 1980s: Recession and regeneration
Economic recession and the end of free-wheeling government subsidies leaves theatre companies struggling to survive. The Fringe Festival provides ad-hoc groups an opportunity to produce work with little outlay and the development of co-productions splits costs among many companies to help theatre soldier on during this decade.
Week 5: The 1990s: Big ideas
The 1990s bring three new players to the game: theatre impresario Garth Drabinsky tries to expand his empire by building the Ford Theatre for touring Broadway musicals, Christopher Gaze continues Vancouver’s colonial traditions by establishing Bard on the Beach, while women fight to take centre stage with the creation of the Women in View theatre festival.
Week 6: A new millennium
Not surprisingly, a new century brings upheaval. We say goodbye to a mainstay of Vancouver theatre and hello to a new perspective. As the Vancouver Playhouse Company closes its doors, the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival welcomes the new millennium with an attitude that crosses the traditional performance boundaries and embraces interdisciplinary work from across Canada and abroad.
Books, materials and resources
Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.
Academic integrity and student conduct
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