ARTSMARTS – Janis La Couvée

Spring blooms with art offerings

Poetry, dance, music and theatre – a cornucopia of offerings from established and emerging artists awaits your viewing and listening pleasure in April.

April marks the 17th annual National Poetry Month, and I can think of no better way to celebrate than to encourage the next generation of poets. The sixth annual Victorious Voices, April 13-15, features teams from local high schools in a poetry slam competition April 13 and 15 at the Victoria Event Centre and April 14 at Lacey Lou’s. Tickets at the door.

The University of Victoria School of Music ends the year with two concert of note – celebrating 10 years of The Don Wright Symphonic Winds, April 2 and an alumni concert with Carli and Julie Kennedy – Twin Kennedy: It’s A Love Thing CD Release Tour April 9. finearts.uvic.

Now in its third year, Ballet Étoile has grown audiences incrementally by presenting a signature mix of superb professional dancing, colourful costumes and multimedia projection. Join them for their first show in the larger space of the Metro Studio, April 11/12 for Cleopatra.

Victoria welcomes nationally acclaimed tenor, Michael Burgess, for a premiere performance April 11 at the Victoria Conference Centre. Most renowned for his major theatre credits including the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre, his career spans more than three decades through various musical theatre productions across Canada and the US.

The Belfry Theatre is staging Christopher Durang’s Tony award-winning cheeky homage to all things Chekhov, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike April 14-May 17.

A Place to Listen, April 15, features vocal explorations with respected experimental soprano and voice artist Kathy Fern Lewis. At the James Bay United Church.

To end the year, the Canadian College of Performing Arts presents Smokey Joe’s Café April 16-25 in a new venue, the CCPA Performance Hall (1701 Elgin Rd). This musical revue showcases the fabulous songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and the singers, dancers and actors who will become some of the country’s top emerging stars.

Intrepid Theatre recently announced Victoria’s first queer theatre festival – OUTStages Festival (July 5-12). Victoria’s performing arts community comes together for a multi-disciplinary cabaret in support of the festival April 17 at the Metro Studio.

Now in its 11th season, the Victoria Bach Ensemble returns April 18 to the Church of St John the Divine with an exciting program of instrumental and vocal works, including the world premiere of Michael Drislane’s version of The Musical Offering.

Local comedian, author, improviser, and actor Kirsten van Ritzen of Broad Theatrics brings back the Funny Women Festival in 2016 but you can still celebrate Victoria’s Funny Women at The Merridale Showdown a fun competitive variety show April 19 at the Victoria Event Centre.

Young theatre artists are a bold bunch and don’t hesitate to take the initiative to make their own art and tell their own stories. workingclasstheatre is one of Victoria’s (and Vancouver’s) newest theatre companies. April 28-May 6 they present Henrik Ibsen’s classic play Hedda Gabler at Craigdarroch Castle.

Janis La Couvée is a community builder, writer and arts advocate.


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