Posted on by Julia

Every year LMPR celebrates World Theatre Day by offering a chance to experience some of the mind-expanding, thought-provoking, heart-wrenching theatre happening in Vancouver!
This year, we’re giving readers the opportunity to see Pi Theatre‘s presentation of Sarah Kane’s iconic and incendiary Blasted.


One lucky Creatively Speaking reader will be awarded two tickets to the performance of their choosing – excluding opening night – at Granville Island’s Performance Works. This highly provocative play is not for the faint, so be prepared for a shockingly bold evening.



Readers have three opportunities to enter:


  • Like us on Facebook (One Entry)
  • Leave a comment telling us why you love Theatre (One Entry)
  • Tweet the following post (One Entry)

Celebrate #WorldTheatreDay! Win tickets to ‘Blasted’ from @pitheatre & @Lauramurraypr. RT to enter! 




Pi Theatre’s Blasted runs April 10-25 at Granville Island’s Performance Works. Tickets are available on the Pi Theatre website.


Posted on by sophie

I am a sucker for a musical comedy, and all the better if it includes love triangles, gender swapping, slightly dirty puns, and clever lyrics. Fittingly, Triumph of Love, performed by UBC’s 4th year BFA students, ticks all of the boxes!


Adapted from Marivaux’s 18th century romantic comedy by American writer James Magruder and directed by Barbara Tomasic, we are whisked away to 1732 in a lush Sparta garden, where the characters, emotions, and double entendres are all running wild, free, and fast.



Corine (Cassandra Szabo) and Princess Leonide (Catherine Ferguson). Photo by Julia Carr.

Patrick Smith’s lush, green set of neatly-trimmed hedges and a very versatile sundial must have taken some serious manpower hours to create, and is perfectly set off by Andrew Pye’s sunsets.


The peaceful lives of Hemocrates (Matt Kennedy), Hesione (Ghazel Azarbad), and Agis (Zach Wolfman) are thrown into turmoil when Princess Leonide (Catherine Ferguson) and her servant Corine (Cassandra Szabo) arrive in search of true love, and in the time-honoured tradition spanning from Twelfth Night to Some Like It Hot to Blackadder, swapping genders (as “dress-passers”) seems like an ideal solution to achieve one’s specific goal. What could possibly go wrong?


All characters sing, act, and, where applicable, dance beautifully, but some highlights for me were Charlotte Wright as Harlequin, whose constant cheeky grin and excellent comic timing make her a delight to watch, particularly in Act 2 when she undergoes a spectacular transformation that could easily slip into caricature, but doesn’t. Azarbad’s melodic voice and intense emotional range mean that she can handle even the most difficult songs with ease, and pint-sized Szabo as Corine steals some scenes as she juggles multiple lovers and situations, but always manages to stay one step ahead without dislodging a single perfectly curled hair.



Trickster Harlequin (Charlotte Wright) and the usually-genteel Agis (Zach Wolfman). Photo by Julia Carr.


Matt Kennedy as the wise and rational Hemocrates also deserves special mention, given that my plus-one and I both assumed from his mannerisms that he was a 40-something member of the faculty, until we took a closer look at his photo in the programme!


Patricia Jansen’s costumes are delightful, with Princess Leonide’s gorgeous purple gown enough to make any Disney princess go, well, purple with envy, and a myriad of wigs, pantaloons, and exquisitely cut coats.


Underneath the comedy there are many universal truths we are all familiar with. Love is blind. Sometimes what we think we want may not in fact be what we need. And, especially true-to-life but also refreshingly true in this fairytale-of-sorts, not everyone lives happily ever after…


…However, it’s so well done that the last line will have you hooting with laughter, just as the evening began. We can only hope that real life awards us as many opportunities. Bravo!


Triumph of Love runs at UBC’s Frederic Wood Theatre until April 4, 2015.


Posted on by Julia

New Host Named for CBC’s Q

After conducting a lengthy search of over 200 applicants, Juno Award winning rapper MC Shad has been named the new host of CBC Q. The cultural affairs program had been looking to hire a permanent replacement following the dismissal of former host Jian Ghomeshi. Though the name of the show will remain the same, Q intends to promote a more conversational tone, as well as feature more musical performances.


CBC Q - New Host Shad


TED Returns to Vancouver

In Vancouver for the second year in a row, TED Talks will be in town from March 16-20. Featuring art exhibits, tech demos, and of course intense conversations and lectures, this year’s TED is being described as the most provocative, invigorating, and mind-shifting experience to date. Aptly named Truth & Dare, this years guests include Marina Abramović, Bill Gates, and Monica Lewinsky among many other accomplished speakers.





CBC to Host National Talent Contest

CBC Music and Radio One have teamed up to launch Searchlight 2015, a talent contest searching for Canada’s best music artist. Musicians of any genre are permitted to enter the nation-wide competition, with their talent subjected to the votes of viewers and opinions of judges Dan Boeckner, Saukrates, and Jenn Grant. The winner of Searchlight 2015 will receive $20,000 in Yamaha Canada Music equipment and a gig at the CBC Music Festival in Toronto.


Searchlight 2015



Architects Design No-Shadow Towers

International architecture firm NBBJ has presented a solution to the darkened streets of todays cities – ‘no-shadow towers’. Designed to diffuse light onto the streets instead of casting shadows, the blueprints were created using a year-long algorithm that tracked the angles at which sun-rays hit the earth. Developers hope to use this design to help improve the quality of urban living.





Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock Take Over The Chan

Piano icons Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock stopped in Vancouver for a sold out show Sunday, March 15 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. Proving their Jazz mastery to the full crowd, the music legends – both in their 70′s – received a standing ovation and glowing reviews.


Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock

LMPR loved the concert!


Posted on by Julia

Exploring etymology, Moving BackWord looks into the history and meaning behind artistic terminology. From its ancient origination to modern adaptation, each word contains a backstory much more detailed than what a dictionary prints.


bal·let  - an artistic dance form performed to music using precise and highly formalized set steps and gestures


Characterized by precision and grace, classical ballet is widely known for it’s highly complex technique, steps, and gestures. The dance itself developed during the Italian Renaissance and was brought to France by Italian-born French Queen Catherine de’ Medici. It wasn’t until the reign of King Louis XIV that classical ballet came to be created, establishing standards and certifications for the art form that still stand today.


Though it is obvious why the terminology of Ballet stems from French vocabulary, what is it that inspired the name of the dance itself?


Ballet Kelowna

Ballet Kelowna – The Ashley Bouder Project. Photo by Alexis Ziemski

The word Ballet has a long history of constant transformation. Stemming from the ancient Greek word Ballizein, meaning ‘to dance’ or ‘to jump around’, the verb quickly switched from Greek to Latin, and Ballizein became Ballare – simply, ‘to dance’. Followed closely by the Italian noun Ballo, ‘a dance’, and its diminutive Balletto, ‘a dancer’, the French followed suit when they adopted the craft in the mid 17th century. From Balleto came Ballet, thus bringing about its modern form.


Adopted into the English language in approximately 1630, Ballet isn’t the only term to have come from its Greek route Balliezein. British dance parties, or Balls, also came from the word– one may also be known to say that they are “having a ball”, all influenced by the verbs original meaning ‘to dance’ or ‘jump around’.




Posted on by sarah

Tweed & Taffeta is a series from Laura Murray Public Relations that explores costuming in celebrated performances – the varying interpretations from one production to the next and the subtle yet sweeping influence of wardrobe on a show’s overall texture.


This week, we spoke with Carmen Alatorre, costume designer for ITSAZOO Productions’ The Competition is Fierce – a satirical world premiere from playwright Sebastien Archibald where ‘climbing the company ladder’ entails gladiatorial combat to the death. Set in the future and performed in an up-close-and-personal performance “arena,” costuming for this unique production was above and beyond that of your typical theatre performance.


Andrew Wheeler stars as Carlyle in The Competition is Fierce.

Andrew Wheeler as Carlyle in The Competition is Fierce.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your design process.


I came from Mexico City about nine years ago to do my MFA in Theatre Design at UBC. I have been based in Vancouver and designing costumes ever since.


In my design process I first read the play a couple times. The first time, just to get a general idea. The second time, having a more analytical eye in terms of number of costumes, possible concepts, especial needs, etc.


Then I meet with the Director to get more clues and to agree on a concept. After that, I research context, background, find appropriate inspirational images, and do a first set of sketches before the final renderings get approved. Final renderings are the green light for sourcing and/or starting the costume construction.


Where did you look for inspiration when designing the costumes for The Competition is Fierce?


I’ve got the first design clues from the script itself and then from our Director Chelsea Haberlin, who was originally inspired by Italian artist Enrico Castellani’s Superficie Nera, a fascinating art piece made out of poked black leather.


The main design hints for this show were: near future, high-end, sleek, bondage, tribal.


So within that frame, we started imagining which elements would change in the office fashion of the future, being careful to not go too much over the top. We looked for just the right amount of “futureness” to keep the characters real. For the final part of the play, we discussed the possibility of using the traditional men’s suit and deconstructing it into “office gladiators” incorporating office supplies as well, which was really fun.


Rachel Cairns stars as Claire in The Competition is Fierce.

Rachel Cairns as Claire in The Competition is Fierce.

How does the process of creating costumes for a world premiere differ from creating costumes from a work that has already been presented?


Quite a bit, actually. Designing work that has been done beforehand will always provide a previous reference for inspiration or research that many of us use as a guide, which makes the process a little safer whether the design concept stays similar or not.


When designing new work, new information is constantly coming from the rehearsal process and there is always the potential for design choices to suddenly not make sense anymore. So designers (the whole team, really) should stay very flexible and be ready to re-design if needed.


What special considerations need to be taken when designing costumes worn in such an intimate, up-close-and-personal performance venue?


The level of detail. In most proscenium theatres – even though we aim for great quality – we are also aware that small details usually won’t read from the audience. In this show’s space (particularly against a white background, which is so unusual for theatre) I am constantly concerned about thread strings, lint, small rips, and stains. But hopefully our audiences will have other much more interesting things to pay attention to!


What do you love most about your job?


A lot of things! I get a lot of joy from the people I get to work with, many of whom I have become close friends with along the way. I also enjoy having the privilege of being able to integrate my visual ideas into a story somebody else wrote. Most importantly, it’s an absolute pleasure to work in the theatre community in our city, which is constantly creating challenging, compelling and interesting work.


The Competition is Fierce runs until March 22, 2015 at the Shop Theatre at Renegade Studios (125 East 2nd Ave). For more information visit


Posted on by shona

Just in time for Spring Break, the team at LMPR is pleased to share On the Page: Assigned Reading (Part Two).


This week we discuss two novels that explore dystopian futures and a novel that takes us through the courageous life of a woman in the Australian Outback.


Hanah Van Borek – The Giver by Lois Lowry  


cq5dam.web.1280.1280Never did I imagine my spring break reading assignment would cause me to have a paradigm shift.


In this dystopian story, the world is black and white and everyone’s life has been planned out, unless they’re born to be a “receiver”, someone with a special gift to transmit memories psychically from the elder “giver” of the community. These emotional visions in technicolor evoke joy, sadness, pain and fear, all emotions naturally felt by the average person, but not the citizens of this robotic-like realm.


Among its major themes, the book examines the importance of agency, critical thinking, the collective memory and discourse – all big ideas for a nine year old to digest. Nonetheless, my peers and I returned to school completed fixated on these concepts from a fundamental level and it’s most likely because of our desire to question the rules.



Sophie Gardner – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin 


my-brilliant-careerThis 1901 novel has been an Australian school list staple for decades – but it is the gumption and wit of its protagonist, Sybylla Melvyn, who “makes no apologies for being egotistical” makes me certain that today, she’d be hosting a wickedly popular YouTube series.


Keeping herself amused amid turn-of-the-century Outback drudgery and her exasperated family, who wish she would just settle down, she refuses to let her gender define her. She stoically turns down many a marriage proposal to pursue her true love of writing, in an era when this was widely frowned upon.


Miles Franklin’s vivid descriptions conjure the smell of the gum leaves, the breathtaking beauty of the landscapes and above all the relentless, searing heat. I also love the film, which features a very young Judy Davis and Sam Neill!



Julia Gabriel – 1984 by George Orwell 


georgeorwellxobeygiantprintset-1984coverbyshepardfaireyDespite being an avid bookworm, required reading never sparked my interest until ‘1984’ by George Orwell was assigned to my grade 12 English class. Though at first I was disinterested, it wasn’t until I wrote a test on the novel that I realized how riveting this book was.


Set in a heavily oppressed nation ruled by the omnipresent Big Brother, a leader intent on eliminating individuality, ‘1984’ follows the thoughtless life of Winston Smith.


Restricted from actions that had potential to create rebellion, citizens were slowly being brainwashed, and it isn’t until meeting the lustrous Julia that Winston attempts to break free. ‘1984’ introduced me to a darker and more thoughtful side of literacy, which I have carried with me since.