Fall Arts Extravaganza in Vancouver: From Fringe to Film, Music to Theatre

If you’re like me, you look forward to the fall for cooler temperatures, colourful leaves, and a variety of fall arts activities.

Vancouver Fringe Festival

The Vancouver Fringe Festival offers over 85 shows from September 7 to 17. In addition to live shows, there are six online productions. Productions range from theatre, comedy, dance, children’s, drag, music, and spoken word. In addition, the Fringe Bar offers free events including an artist showcase, nightly food trucks, live music and DJs, trivia, speed dating, and karaoke. Venues are mostly on Granville Island, with some productions running off the island at Leap Creative Studios, Pacific Theatre, and Studio 16. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online at What’s On – Vancouver Fringe, by phone at 778-358-5880, or in person after September 6.

Film Festivals

Film buffs have two festivals to choose from, the 21st Vancouver Latin American Film Festival and the 42nd Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). The 21st Vancouver Latin American Film Festival (VLAFF) offers over 75 films from 16 countries. This year spotlights Cuban and Argentine directors and runs from September 7 to 17.

15 Ways to Kill Your Neighbour

Latin-Canadian films include two experimental short films by Montreal-based, Peruvian-Canadian director Carlos Ferrand, Cimarrones and Pirate Mechanics of Lima. Another highlight is the BC premiere of History Will Judge by Colombian-Canadian director German Gutiérrez, a documentary on a member of a guerrilla Colombian camps. VLAFF will screen twelve short films by Latin-Canadian filmmakers, including Vancouver-based Dora Prieto, Dani Rodríguez, Ana Tonso, Pablo García García, and Isabella Dagnino. The festival runs at SFU Woodward’s, The Cinematheque, and Cineworks. For the full lineup and tickets, check out their website at Vancouver Latin American Film Festival – Super fun Latin American Film Festival in Vancouver, BC.

VIFF features over 130 films, 100 shorts, special presentations, and live performances from September 28 to October 8. One special performance is a screening of a documentary on Mr. Dressup, the beloved children’s television show. Other special presentations include Swan Song by Chelsea McMullan, on Karen Kain’s National Ballet of Canada’s production of Swan Lake, and Atom Egoyan’s Seven Veils about a young theatre director dealing with her trauma. Film tickets cost $18 on the VIFF website.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s 105th season begins with a sold-out Yo-Yo Ma performance of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto on September 8. Highlights include Mahler’s Sixth Symphony on September 15 and 16, and Tea and Trumpets on September 21, and two VSO Pops concerts featuring tributes to female soul artists and Louis Armstrong. The Queen of Soul presents songs from Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle on September 22 and 23. Louis Armstrong fans will enjoy classics like A Wonderful World and La Vie en Rose on November 17 and 18. Children will love two kids concerts Something Fishy with Al Simmons on September 24 and Platypus Theatre’s Charlotte and the Music Maker on November 26. Christmas films and concerts include Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas on October 27 and 28, Home Alone on December 13 and 14, The Snowman on December 17 and Elf on December 21 and 21. Seasonal offerings include the VSO’s Traditional Christmas concerts and The Four Seasons on December 9 and 10. Tickets and more information are available at Home – Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

The Arts Club

The Arts Club offers three series of live theatre at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre, Granville Island, and the Newmont Stage at the BMO Theatre. At the Stanley, the hilarious musical Little Shop of Horrors is being co-produced with Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre from September 7 to October 8. This year’s Christmas production for kids of all ages is Elf: The Musical from November 2 to December 31. At the Newmont Series, the first production is a world premiere, Someone Like You, a millennial take on Cyrano de Bergerac from October 5 to 29. Tickets are available at Arts Club Tickets or from the call centre.

Vancouver Opera

Vancouver Opera’s fall production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute runs from October 21 to 29. Tickets are available at Vancouver Opera Tickets.


Dancehouse’s first production is a flamenco production from Spanish company Compañía Rocío Molina from September 27 to 30. Local Vancouver company Kidd Pivot offers a hybrid dance and theatre production featuring eight dancers from October 25 to 28. Tickets are available on their website at DanceHouse 2021/22 | Tickets or from the box office at 604-801-6225.

The Cultch

The Cultch features Western Canada’s newest theatre company The Search Party performing the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fairview, from September 27 to October 8. A unique world premiere performance combines Maori culture and the circus in the Maori language, The Song of the Tui at The York Theatre from October 19 to 29. How Black Mothers Say I Love You by the Frank Theatre Company is at the York Theatre from November 2 to 12. Hurricane Mona shows an upper middle-class family dealing with a climate change emergency in a co-production between Touchstone Theatre and Ruby Slippers Theatre. It runs at the Cultch from November 13 to December 3. This year’s East Van Panto is a family-friendly Beauty and the Beast from November 22 to January 7 at the York Theatre. Tickets are available at What’s On – The Cultch or from the box office at 604-251-1363.

Heart of the City Festival

THE 20TH ANNUAL Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival features more than 100 events at over 40 DTES venues indoors and out, featuring emerging, student, community, and pro artists. The events are held at venues in the Downtown Eastside and online from October 25 to November 5. Highlights include We Live Here II, a large-scale outdoor installation of videos projected onto a building wall. Battle of Ballantyne Pier is a new musical about the violent conflict during the 1935 Vancouver longshore workers’ strike. Guitarist and composer Tony Wilson leads The Homeless Project, a multimedia offering with original music, film, and narration that looks at housing issues in the Downtown Eastside and beyond. Further information is available on the website at Home 2023 – Heart of the City Festival.

BC Ballet

BC Ballet is preparing for its new season in its new home on Granville Island at the former Emily Carr campus. The 18,400 square foot facility features four spacious studios, a studio viewing gallery, a green room and event space, a health and wellness room, and increased office space for administrative and artistic staff. This fall, the company presents HERE. The production features William Forsythe’s legendary Enemy in the Figure, Shahar Binyamini’s world premiere of BOLERO X, set to Ravel’s Bolero and an exciting new creation by Stephen Shropshire. The production runs from November 2 to 4 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet performs perennial Christmas favourite The Nutcracker from December 7 to 10. Tickets are available at Tickets – Ballet BC – Single Tickets, Group Tickets & Subscriptions.

Touchstone Theatre

Touchstone Theatre’s 50th season is the last for artistic director Roy Surette, who is retiring.

Fall Arts Extravaganza in Vancouver: From Fringe to Film, Music to Theatre
Hurricane Mona. Photo by Emily Cooper

The world premiere of Hurricane Mona launches the season, a co-production with Ruby Slippers Theatre at The Cultch from November 18 to December 3. The play chronicles an environmental activist facing the consequences of a protest. Individual tickets or season passes are available at Touchstone Theatre.