Today, Vancouver is celebrated as a cosmopolitan oasis of art and culture on Canadaâ€™s west coast. But it wasnâ€™t always that way.
Just 50 years ago, live theatre was almost unheard of in the city. Thatâ€™s when a little company called the Arts Club opened its doors in a converted gospel hall in a rough-and-tumble section of downtown.
Fast-forward to the present and the Arts Club is Western Canadaâ€™s largest theatre company, staging more than a dozen world-class productions every year at three state-of-the-art venues around the city. Offerings range from timeless dramas and musicals to edgier, alternative shows that represent the cutting edge of the cityâ€™s drama scene.
Hereâ€™s a look inside the Arts Clubâ€™s three stages and whatâ€™s on tap this spring:
- Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage: Located on trendy South Granville Street, this Art Deco classic was rescued from the wrecking ball and reopened as a swanky, 650-seat theatre in 1998. Grab a seat on the balcony and enjoy the hit musical Dreamgirls this month, which traces the rags-to-riches story of a group of Motown singers. Dreamgirls runs May 9-July 7. Tickets start at $29.
- Granville Island Stage: This waterfront, 450-seat theatre is located on scenic Granville Island, downtown Vancouverâ€™s hub of food and artisan culture. Premiering later this spring is the decidedly adult Broadway musical Avenue Q, which follows a bright-eyed college grad looking for love, purpose and puppets on New York Cityâ€™s streets. Avenue Q runs June 20-Aug. 3. Tickets start at $29.
- Revue Stage: Just next door on Granville Island, the Revue Stage is an intimate venue for unconventional, experimental and alternative performances. This spring, catch Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata. This sidesplitting production sets the Internetâ€™s weirdest classified ads to music, exploring humanity in the digital age. Do You Want What I Have Got runs April 18-May 18. Tickets start at $25.