When I Was A Kid

Spoken word performer Shane Koyczan brings his show When I Was A Kid to the Belfry Theatre as part of Spark Festival, opening March 21.

Spoken word performer Shane Koyczan is bringing his show When I Was a Kid to Victoria as part of the Belfry Theatre's Spark Festival.

Spoken word performer Shane Koyczan is bringing his show When I Was a Kid to Victoria as part of the Belfry Theatre's Spark Festival.

Shane Koyczan has a way with words.

Since stepping onto the world stage at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics with his spoken-word homage to Canada, “We are More,” Koyczan has become a household name and a national treasure, inspiring Canadian pride and sparking an interest in spoken-word performance.

Now he’s bringing his show, When I Was a Kid to Victoria’s Belfry Theatre as part of the fourth annual Spark Fest.

When I Was a Kid takes a look at some of the darker times in Koyczan’s life — his childhood.

“I didn’t want to revisit my childhood at all,” says Koyczan. “I’d come from places, you know being bullied and what not, so I spent this last half of my life avoiding my childhood because I thought there was nothing good there.”

When his grandmother gave him some of his childhood journals a few years ago, he was inspired to turn the material into a show, which he mounted for the first time last April at The Cultch in Vancouver. It was there that Belfry Theatre artistic director Michael Shamata became interested in the work and decided to invite him to present at Spark.

“When I was going through and reading the books, it made me remember things that were fun and light and beautiful about my childhood and made me realize that I had thrown the baby out with the bathwater,” says Koyczan. “Why was I ignoring this huge chapter in my life just because there were a lot of bad moments, when there were a lot of moments that shined bright in those dark places?”

When I was a Kid takes a look at chapters of Koyczan’s youth, from monsters under the bed and first crushes to advice from parents and problems with bullying. He’s accompanied by his band, The Short Story Long (Maiya Robbie, Jesse Lee, Olivia Mennell and Jordie Robinson), with which he is about to release a new “talk rock” album — their first in just over four years.

“I tour a lot, I’m constantly on the road and that makes it difficult to rehearse with the band,” says Koyczan. “The reason why we waited so long to record another album is we wanted a chance to develop the sound a bit more and I think people will really hear that on this album, it’s definitely the most mature offering to date.”

The new album, Remembrance Year, is being released on March 16, so Victoria audiences will be able to purchase it after the show. Hardcopies are only available at live performances and include two special tracks that aren’t available on the digital download.

Koyczan says he’s excited to hear reaction to the new album and says he’s hopeful that it will help make headway for spoken word artists in general.

“Maybe this will open a spoken word category in the Junos,” says Koyczan. “Spoken word never really gets recognized, even at the Grammy’s it always goes to books on tape.”

“I don’t think spoken word has been recognized as an art form. When people say spoken word, they think of comedians or people reading books on tape, whereas there really is an artform of spoken word poetry or even storytelling that are deserving of a spoken word album. There’s tons out there, but it never really gets recognized.”

Koyczan’s third book, Our Deathbeds will be Thirsty, will be released next month in Vancouver and he’s currently doing some writing for the upcoming Mad Max animated movie sequel.

“If you’re going to be a writer for a living, you really have to work it. Poetry doesn’t sell like Stephen King,” says Koyczan.

“Basically mounting the show is like inviting people into a museum of me and there are all these things under the display cases that they can look at and interact with and I’m really just acting as a curator, saying ‘Here’s my childhood,’ and so mind your step in this place.” M

 

 

 

When I Was  Kid

By Shane Koyczan and The Short Story Long

Wed, March 21 to Sat., March 24 at 8 pm

Belfry Mainstage

Tickets $20 adult/ $15 post secondary/$10 High school students

250-385-6815 or belfry.bc.ca/tickets

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Ballet Victoria is honouring Rosemarie Liscum, the president of the board of directors who was instrumental in the building the dance company. Liscum died earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Ballet Victoria)
Rosemarie Liscum remembered as dedicated, instrumental builder of Victoria Ballet

The president of the ballet company’s board of directors died at the age of 59

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

A writer studying in England drew from her roots growing up in Sooke for a story that’s been short-listed for a prestigious international prize.
Former Sooke resident up for prestigious writing award

Cara Marks earns nomination for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Three Legged Dog Productions performed Jesus Christ Superstar in 2019. Tim Penney photo
Non-profit plans musical renaissance in the Comox Valley

Three Legged Dog Productions is preparing for a summer residency at Filberg Park

View Gallery curator Chai Duncan admires the work of graduating visual art student Hailin Zhang, one of the artists in the upcoming End Marks grad show. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
VIU visual art grad show presented as virtual gallery tour due to COVID-19

‘End Marks’ exhibition is on display from April 29 to May 30

Most Read