Author Archive for Colin Thomas, Vancouver Editor

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

A motherfucker of a show

The Motherfucker with the Hat

Stephen Lobo and Francisco Trujillo are members of a stellar team in The Motherfucker with the Hat.

My pick this week is The Motherfucker with the Hat, which is playing at the Firehall Arts Centre until Saturday, January 30.

Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis delights in language, even as he uses fuck and shit as casually as most people use commas. And his exploration of addiction and recovery is complex.

The performances in this production are stellar. Kyra Zagorsky and Stephen Lobo will break your heart. John Cassini will lead you down a very dark rabbit hole.

Because it’s 2016: thanks very much

Natalie Wood, Latino representation

Natalie Wood’s performance as Maria in West Side Story provides a strong argument against “brown-face”.

On Monday night, I attended “BECAUSE IT’S 2016: An Open Invitation from the Latino Theatre Community to Discuss Representation”.

The forum arose out of a controversy about the casting of Haberdashery Theatre’s upcoming production of The Motherfucker with the Hat. There are three Latino characters in that play, but, originally, the group of artists who initiated the production didn’t cast any Latinos. Now, there’s one Latino, Francisco Trujillo, in the show.

I really, really appreciated how respectful and nuanced the discussion was—and how vulnerable a number of individuals allowed themselves to be. It took guts for Pedro Chamale and Carmen Aguirre to call the event. And I admire John Cassini from Haberdashery Theatre for showing up, taking responsibility, and sharing his side of the story. Jay Dodge, who was asked to moderate at the last minute, negotiated the evening with welcome intelligence and calm.  [Read more…]

My top ten theatrical pleasures of 2015

Hooray for Vancouver theatre makers!

I’m especially pleased to note that my Top Ten list of theatrical experiences from this past year includes a whole bunch of work from emerging artists as well as seasoned pros.

Okay. I’m going to run through my faves in chronological order, starting with the most recent.


Billy Marchenski, Radix Theatre, TBD, Tibetan Book of the Dead

Billy Marchenski was one of the spirit guides in Radix Theatre’s TBD.

Radix Theatre’s TBD

Inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, this immersive experience altered my emotional landscape.

Every day for 21 days, the folks from Radix Theatre initiated some kind of interaction with every one of the souls in the 75-member audience, leading us through our own deaths to our rebirths. Sometimes participants would simply get text or audio messages. And sometimes deities would show up in our lives. (Radix tracked us, using an app that we all agreed to install on our cell phones.)

Check out the first two Related posts at the bottom of this entry.
[Read more…]

The best holiday show I’ve seen (so far) this year

Hansel and Gretel: An East Van Panto, The Cultch, The York Theatre, Allan Zinyk

Pink brocade turns Allan Zinyk into an evil stepmother in Hansel and Gretel: An East Van Panto. It does not have the same effect on me. (I’ve checked.)

Hands down, my favourite holiday show (so far) this year is Hansel and Gretel: An East Van Panto.

It’s original, it’s community-minded, it’s a little outrageous, and it’s got kids in it. What’s not to like?  [Read more…]

The coolest thing about the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre

Bill Millard, Christopher Gaze, Goldcorp Stage, BMO Theatre Centre

Proud papas Bill Millerd and Christopher Gaze pose outside the newly completed BMO Theatre Centre, which houses the Goldcorp Stage

The coolest thing about the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre is that the stage can be wherever the hell you damn well want it to be.

After the opening of Peter and the Starcatcher, designer Ted Roberts very kindly gave me and my friend Don a tour of the new facilities that the Arts Club and Bard on the Beach are sharing at 162 West 1st.  [Read more…]

The joys of editing—and getting thanked for it


When I write private projects, I have editing colleagues check it over. It’s amazing how much they find. It’s true: everybody needs a good editor. Even editors do.

Full disclosure: this post is essentially an ad for my substantive editing services. You’ve been warned. 🙂 But, you know, read it anyway; you never know when you’re going to need a good editor.

Okay, here goes.

I’m not one of those guys who gets all self-effacing when I’m praised. You will never hear me say, “I’m so humbled to be included in this list of nominees”

I love being nominated for and winning prizes.

And, when the authors whose work I edit thank me, I feel both relieved and celebratory. After all, editing somebody’s book is a very intimate thing to do. And it’s a big deal. [Read more…]

Being reborn the Radix way

These aren't the babies I met on the last night of Radix Theatre's TBD, but I am happy to meet these babies—or any babies—any time.

These aren’t the babies I met on the last night of Radix Theatre’s TBD, but I am happy to meet these babies—or any babies—any time.

This is another note about my experience of Radix Theatre’s TBD, which was inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

It’s over now, but it was an immersive theatrical experience in which participants were guided through an imaginary process of dying, negotiating the afterlife, and being reborn.

I was reborn in the back of a rented van that was parked near my gym. That’s a story in itself. [Read more…]

I was dead for 17 days and I have been reborn for 2

TBD, Radix Theatre, Tibetan Book of the Dead, Stanley Park

This isn’t the stretch of seawall that I walked during TBD, but it captures the feeling.

I really like this dying thing.

I’ve been participating in TBD, Radix Theatre’s immersive theatrical experience. It’s based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is all about guiding the soul through death to rebirth.  [Read more…]

Get yourself a writing mentor through Vancouver Manuscript Initiative

Vancouver Manuscript Initiative, Karen Tulchinsky

Karen Tulchinsky is one of the accomplished mentors who could help you to hone your craft.

Hey writers.

Through a program called Vancouver Manuscript Intensive, you can get yourself a personal mentor.

And the mentors are pretty great. They include: Karen X. Tulchinsky (screenplays), Claudia Casper (novels), and Shaena Lambert (novels and short stories).

The deadline for applications is November 17. Here’s the URL: Get on it!

Heather Redfern: yay!

Heather Redfern, the Cultch

Vancouverites are lucky that Heather Redfern is at the Cultch

I want to give a shout-out to Heather Redfern, the executive director at the Cultch.

Already, this fall, I’ve seen three remarkable shows in Cultch venues.

The Australian acrobats who performed A Simple Space at the York reminded me of the wild joy of being in a body. Their work was like a deep, fresh kiss.  [Read more…]