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VANCOUVER GREENROOM 8: Perfection is the enemy of excellence

by | Sep 21, 2017 | Review | 0 comments

Vancouver Greenroom: theatre is community


Seattle Repertory Theatre has initiated a program called Public Works Seattle.

In Seattle Rep’s version of Homer’s Odyssey, homeless people, vets, and children join professional actors on-stage. (Photo by Jim Bennett)


“Perfection is the enemy of excellence.” Doesn’t that sentence make your shoulders relax? Wouldn’t it be lovely to hear it during rehearsals?

It’s a sentence favoured by Simone Hamilton, one of the driving forces behind Seattle Repertory Theatre’s production of Homer’s Odyssey—a production that involves about 100 performers, including military vets, children, homeless people, bikers, and four professional actors.

This Odyssey is part of a new initiative called Public Works Seattle, whose slogan is, “Theatre of, by, and for the people.” It’s about inviting new folks into the theatre, not just by handing out free tickets, but by encouraging them to perform.

Read all about it in this inspiring article from The Seattle Times.


Women are underrepresented in the top jobs in Canadian theatre.

Erica Whyman will direct Romeo and Juliet at the RSC in the summer of 2018.


It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the top jobs in Canadian theatre. As this article from The Edmonton Journal points out, only thirty percent of the key roles—artistic director, director, and playwright—are currently held by women.

In some quarters, there’s progress. In Vancouver, Ashlie Corcoran is taking over as AD at the Arts Club. And Vancouverites Rachel Peake and Jessie Van Rijn have recently moved to Edmonton to become associate artistic director and producer at the Citadel.

In England, the Royal Shakespeare Company recently announced its summer season for 2018, and all of the directors are female. And, in London, the Globe has committed to hiring women for at least 50 percent of its directing jobs.

Interestingly, Gregory Doran, artistic director of the RSC has refused to make the same commitment to ongoing equity. Potentially undoing the goodwill that his summer-season announcement earned, he has stated ““I’m not going to say we’re going to do it 50:50, because in a way, Shakespeare was writing for a group of blokes, actually, but we try across the board to look at each specific production and try and shift that balance where we can and where we think it’s appropriate to do so” The Stage’s formidable Lyn Gardner has taken him to task for that.

Today (September 20, 2017), the International Centre for Women Playwrights announced the 50/50 Applause Awards, to celebrate companies in which plays by women make up at least fifty percent of the season. Canadian recipients include: the Arts Club Theatre, Carousel Theatre for Young People, and Pacific Theatre in Vancouver; Calgary’s Alberta Theatre Projects; Regina’s Globe Theatre; Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa, Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille; and Prairie Theatre Exchange and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Company in Winnipeg.


Howard Jang was the executive director of the Arts Club Theatre.

Howard Jang is going toe the Banff Centre, which can only mean good things for the arts in Canada.


In the local-kids-make-good file…

Vancouver director Jack Paterson and translator Jennie Herbin have just won The Cole Foundation Award for Emerging Translators, which is administered by Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal. The award includes a cash prize, a translation workshop, and mentorship from translator Maureen Labonté.

Jack will be working on playwright Daniel Danis’s KIWI, which is about a twelve-year-old girl living on the street.

Congratulations, Jack!

And this just in: Howard Jang announced this morning that he is moving to Banff, where he has accepted the position of Vice President for Arts and Leadership at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

Jang, who was the executive director of the Arts Club for 14 years, will be leaving his current position at SFU, where he is head of the Cultural Unit at the Woodward’s campus, and a professor of professional practice.

In his new gig, which begins January 8, Jang will oversee the delivery of arts and leadership training programs in several disciplines including the performing arts, Indigenous arts, visual and media arts, and literary arts.

Go Howard! Remember who your friends are.


Multiple Organism is at Performance Works this weekend.

Who knew overhead projectors could be so much fun?


You’ve only got one more chance to catch Multiple Organism, which was one of my favourite offerings at this year’s Fringe Festival. As part of the Public Market Pick of the Fringe, Multiple Organism is playing this Sunday, September 24, at 6:00 p.m. at Performance Works. Click here for tickets.

It’s about sex. It’s about pooping. It’s about letting your imagination run riot through your body.


Online reaction to my reviews at the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

References to my death—funny or not? Depends on your perspective.


As a critic, I’ve always wanted my reviews to be part of a discussion. Sometimes, that discussion gets a little out of hand. That happened at this year’s Fringe Festival, but there was an unexpected upside—that involved my tombstone.

Want to find out about it? Great! Subscribe to my newsletter, where this little tidbit is exclusive content.

Do you feel manipulated? Well, that’s what’s happening. Let’s hope it works!

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