As leaves begin to turn and days shorten, I look forward to a multitude of arts seasons. Victoria’s rich cultural scene supports wordsmiths, improvisers, musicians of all genres, choirs, film, opera, dance, comedy and theatre in halls and performance spaces both big and small. There is truly something for everyone; this column captures a few of my personal highlights.
Sing Your Joy – Victoria’s only free and non-auditioned chorus for young adults age 16 to 29 – begins their fall rehearsal schedule and is recruiting new singers. If you love to sing and meet new people contact them via singyourjoy.ca.
Join in a riotous celebration of all things puppet at the second annual Puppets for Peace Festival Sept. 11-13, sponsored by the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria with events throughout the city, including Puppet Central at the Bay Centre with workshops and displays, a performance day Sept. 12, and Grandparent’s Day, peace ceremonies and parade at the Vining Street Party on the Plaza Sept. 13. puppetsforpeace.org
In support of emerging artists, Intrepid Theatre founded the YOU Show – a chance for artists to prepare, rehearse and mount their show at no cost. SCAPE: Victoria by Ampersand Theatre is a devised piece that “explores life in an urban centre and the seemingly fragile but poignant relationships formed by those who call it home.” Sept. 12 at the Intrepid Theatre Club. Ticketrocket.co.
There’s something for the whole family at the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Open House Party Sept. 12 including a free kids’ concert by Music with Marnie, DJs spinning on the plaza, performances by the School of Classical Music faculty and students, bouncy castles and tasty treats. vcm.bc.ca
Congratulations to the Belfry Theatre on its 40th season which opens with Speed-The-Plow by David Mamet – a savagely funny exposé on Hollywood and the male psyche. Sept. 15 to Oct. 11. Belfry.bc.ca
Sculpture Splash, presented by the Township Community Arts Council in Esquimalt, returns for a second year to beautiful Macaulay Point Park Sept. 19/20. Stroll along the seaside and view sculptures scattered throughout the site. Townshiparts.org.
Victoria is host to any number of regularly scheduled arts events at local venues. Since its inception in 2003 the Victoria Event Centre continues to program a wide variety of styles, from burlesque to comedy, cabaret to improv and now, puppets. Join host Kirsten Van Ritzen of Broad Theatrics for The Merridale Showdown and the very first Puppet Showdown. Seven solo performers vie for cash and the Showdown crown, Sept. 20. victoriaeventcentre.ca
The University of Victoria School of Music debuts its extensive schedule of offerings for the 2015-2016 season (more than 200 concerts, master classes and workshops) with the Orion Series in Fine Arts. Of note in September are several free concerts by world-acclaimed instrumentalists including School of Music alumnus Gordon Wolfe (trombone) performing with Vanessa May–Lok Lee (piano) Sept. 19 and guitar virtuoso Jorge Caballero Sept. 27. finearts.uvic.ca/music/events/
Theatre Inconnu, Victoria’s longest running alternative theatre company, presents If We Were Birds by one of Canada’s most accomplished young playwrights, Governor General Award winner Erin Shields. Based on the ancient Greek myth by Ovid, If We Were Birds is a harrowing exploration of violence and revenge that poetically ties classical and modern together. Sept. 29 to Oct. 17. Theatreinconnu.com
Langham Court Theatre begins its 87th season with the escapist romp You Can’t Take It With You – winner of the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Sept. 30 to Oct. 17. Langhamtheatre.ca
Janis La Couvée is a community builder, writer and arts advocate.