February is the month of love but in Victoria it also provides audiences the incredible opportunity to partake in multicultural festivities and events with Black History Month and the return of WorldPlay by Puente Theatre.
Black History Month kicks-off Jan. 30 at the Victoria Central Library. Of note are the Black History Awards Ceremony and Gala Feb. 27 and a Black History Concert Feb. 29, featuring local actor Justin Carter (Son of Africville) as Mifflen Gibbs, Victoria’s only Deputy Mayor, and local award-winning jazz diva Maureen Washington. bcblackhistory.ca. Most events are by donation.
WorldPlay, Puente Theatre’s series of staged reading of plays from around the world, Feb. 13/14 and 18/19 at the Belfry Arts Centre, Studio A, provides a unique chance to hear plays that may never have been presented in Canada. By donation. PuenteTheatre.ca
Theatre openings this month include Stephen Sondheim’s take on fairy tales Into The Woods by Company C (at the Canadian College of Performing Arts Jan. 28-Feb. 6); a work by Canadian playwright Joan McLeod, The Valley (Feb. 2-28) in which a dramatic police encounter binds four people together; Andrew Barrett of Impulse Theatre’s latest physical theatre piece The HUNT, Feb. 6 as part of Intrepid Theatre’s YOU Show; Wild Honey Feb. 11-20 at the UVic Phoenix Theatre – a cocktail party of melodrama and farce set on a provincial country estate; Reader’s Theatre’s The Story Of A Marriage by Horton Foote (Langham Court Theatre Feb. 13); Theatre Inconnu begins 2016 with Bad Jews (Feb. 16-March 5), a vicious and hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy; Sin City The Live Improvised Serial travels to Las Vegas circa 1961, the era of The Rat Pack showgirls and casinos, Feb. 16-21 features a week of shows before settling into a regular Tuesday slot; Paper Street Theatre’s Hand Made Tale is an improvised tribute to the dystopian fiction of Margaret Atwood (Feb. 17-20); Atomic Vaudeville returns with another edition of their latest collaborative project Action Review (Feb. 18-20 at the Metro Studio) which delves into the difference and similarities between feminine and masculine; Kaleidoscope Theatre reprises Robinson and Crusoe, a fascinating story of hostility and friendship, Feb. 26-March 6.
Several important musical events of note are Luke Fest, an evening of sexy rock-and-roll, Feb. 13 at Alix Goolden Hall, honouring the spirit of local musician, Luke Rachwalski who died tragically in a fire in 2014; Oak Bay Music’s I Love Composers New Music Festival, also Feb. 13 at St Mary’s Church, and Poets and Song, Feb. 21 a fundraiser for the Congregation Emanu-El’s Syrian refugee sponsorship program with music by The Klez and readings by published poets who are members of the congregation; Double-Diamond, a musical tribute to Neil Diamond, continues to Feb. 20 at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel’s David Foster Theatre.
Ballet Étoile is a young dance company with a wonderful record of creating original choreography. Join them for The Great Gatsby, an exquisite Jazz-age love story full of decadence and deceit. Feb. 13/14 at the Metro Studio. gatsbyballet.eventbrite.com
It’s also the season of theatre company fundraisers. Theatre SKAM’s Birthday Bash is always a rocking good time with entertainment, food, photo booth and more. Feb. 20. skam.ca
One of Victoria’s newest theatre companies, workingclasstheatre, returns with The workingclass Opera! Feb. 27 at the Atrium. Baritone vocalist Sam Marcaccini performs selections from his repertoire. Workingclasstheatre.com
Vikes Improv at the University of Victoria is a going concern, and regularly fills the David Lam Auditorium. They are mounting an Improv Festival Feb. 25-27. Teams include visitors from UBC, Western Washington University, the University of Alberta and more. By donation. vikesimprov.com
Janis La Couvée is a community builder, writer and arts advocate.