After the holidays are over and days are dark, it’s nice to know there are a variety of winter arts activities to look forward to. Here are a few local arts events that we have our eyes on.
Lunarfest runs from February 10 to February 25 and includes craft workshops, an arts market, artist talks, and dragon dance performances. Locations include the Vancouver Art Gallery North, Ocean Artworks pavilion at Granville Island, Pendulum Gallery. On February 13, there will be a special concert at the Orpheum. For further information, check the website at 2024 LunarFest – LunarFest Vancouver.
Just for Laughs
Western Canada’s biggest comedy festival Just for Laughs hits stages and streets across the city from February 15 to 24. Comedy fans will enjoy 10 hilarious days of star powered stand-up, podcasts, improv, and sketch performances. Performers include Bill Burr, Ronny Chieng, Wanda Sykes, Ben Schwartz, Marlon Wayans, and Kathy Griffin. Venues include the Vogue Theatre, The Rio, The Biltmore Cabaret, and the Improv Centre. To purchase tickets, visit Just for Laughs Vancouver | Just for Laughs Vancouver | Tickets.
Vancouver CelticFest runs from February 16 to 17 at Vancouver Art Gallery North. The free all ages festival includes live music, performance, food and drink, Irish dancing, a Celtic-themed market, Irish Wolfhounds, a family zone, sports demonstrations and more. For more information, check the website at Events of CelticFest | Watch this space for details of 2024 Events.
Vancouver International Dance Festival
The Vancouver International Dance Festival runs from February 25 to March 9. It features performances by Compagnie Virginie Brunelle, Catherine Gauchet, Fakenot, and Ferenc Feher. Jazz fans can check out the Jazz Jams after the main dance performances hosted by local guitarist Tony Wilson. Venues include the Vancouver Playhouse, Annex, Roundhouse Performance Hall Centre and Exhibition Hall, and the Woodwards Atrium. Modus Operandi will perform several free performances at the Woodwards Atrium. For further information, refer to their website at About | Vancouver International Dance Festival | VIDF.
Fan Expo Vancouver
If you’re a superhero, sci-fi, comic book or anime fan, you’ll want to check out Fan Expo Vancouver where you can dress in costume and meet some of your favourite actors, artists, and creators. Celebrities this year include Elijah Wood, Joseph Quinn, Charlie Cox, Rose McGowan, and Michelle Hurd. The event will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre from February 17 to 19. For tickets and further details, visit the official website.
The Winter Arts Festival
The Winter Arts Festival from February 23 to 27 will transform Vancouver into an open-air gallery and celebration featuring temporary public art including sculptures, projection mapping, augmented reality (AR), laser art, and free daily live performances. Most events are free except for 19+ events. Works by Lekwungen, Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Black and Asian artists will be highlighted. For more information, go to Winter Arts Festival.
Vancouver Opera has two productions this spring, Don Pasquale by Donizetti (February 10th to 18th) and Carmen by Bizet (April 27th to May 5th). With an all-star cast and music calibrated for virtuosity, Donizetti’s comic masterpiece of inter-generational jealousy and reconciliation, young love, and madcap machinations bursts with vivid colour and endlessly engaging melodies. Carmen is one of the most popular operatic works. Animated by an all-star cast and over the top sets, the conflicting worlds and failed romance of the sensual, rebellious Carmen and the possessive Don José will delight opera fans. Tickets are available here.
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra offers several family-friendly concerts. For Star Wars fans, the London Drugs VSO Pops Star Wars concert on February 2 and 3 plays music from all three trilogy soundtracks, and on February 4 take the little ones to Star Wars for Kids. On February 9 and 10, enjoy Marvel’s Black Panther in concert. Disney fans will enjoy Disney in Concert featuring music from Peter Pan, Moana, Aladdin, The Jungle Book, Frozen, the Lion King and more on March 16 and 17. Indiana Jones fans can watch Raiders of the Lost Art accompanied by the VSO on March 21 and 22.
On February 16 to 18 pianist Alexandra Dariescu performs Debussy and Ravel. Beethoven fans will enjoy his Pastoral Symphony on February 24 and Piano Concerto No. 3 from April 5 to 7. Perennial favourite Holst’s Planets will be performed on April 12. 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. Choir Boy, a co-production with Canadian Stage runs at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage from January 25 to February 25. The hit play is a coming-of-age story with acapella gospel hymns by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the Academy Award–winning screenwriter of Moonlight. At the Newmont Stage, Every Brilliant Thing runs from February 8 to March 3. It is a funny show about depression and love. Father Tartuffe: An Indigenous Misadventure makes its world premiere on the Granville Island Stage from February 22 to March 24. A co-production with Touchstone Theatre, it is a retelling of Moliere’s most popular play. Tickets are available here or from the call centre.
Dancehouse features three productions this spring. The first is a BC premiere by Norwegian choreographer Elle Sofe Sara and is co-presented by the Dancers of Damelahamid at the Vancouver Playhouse on February 23 and 24. This indoor and outdoor performance features seven women performers who combine ritualized movement with traditional mountain songs. It is inspired by a poem about the relationship between the Sámi people and their homeland.
Côté Danse from Toronto presents their new work X (Dix) inspired by Homer’s mythic poem the Odyssey. Five dancers explore the idea of a compass, as a means of navigation and connection to the earth. The performance is accompanied by the sculptural sounds of American experimental band Son Lux, and is a co-production with Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur. The show runs on March 23 and 23 at the Vancouver Playhouse.
American company Dorrance Dance explores the past and future of tap dancing in their production SOUNDspace. The company channels the great tap masters of the past, from Bill “Bojangles” Robinson to John Bubbles. The show is co-presented with the Vancouver Tap Dance Society on April 19 and 20 at the Vancouver Playhouse.
Tickets are available on their website at DanceHouse 2021/22 | Tickets DanceHouse | Astonishing, Sensational, International Dance or from the box office at 604-801-6225.
BC Ballet’s first winter production, Now, features a new commission from LA-based emerging voice Micaela Taylor, the return of The Statement from local Crystal Pite, and a follow-up world premiere from Out Innerspace, a Vancouver-based duo. It is performed at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on March 8 and 9, and the Bell Performing Arts Centre on March 22 and 23.
The second production, Take Form, features seven new dances created by Ballet BC dancers and is performed at the Newmont Stage on April 5 and 6. It was originally conceived as a digital initiative to keep dancers active during the pandemic.
Forever closes the season with three premieres from Ballet BC Artistic Director Medhi Walerski. A powerful tribute to The Rite of Spring, the epic Chamber makes its premiere. SWAY, an intimate exploration of hope, makes its North American premiere. In addition, there is a world premiere, of New Creation, Walerski’s sixth new work created for the company running from May 9 to 11 at the Queen Elizabeth Theater. For tickets, go to Tickets – Ballet BC – Single Tickets, Group Tickets & Subscriptions.