Vancouver’s Biggest Youth Arts Festival: Ignite! April 25-30

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A one-act play about four friends moving into their first apartment.  A musical showcase ranging from classic rock to classical guitar.  An experimental piece of theatre about a young girl’s dream vision and ensuing battle with a giant spider.  These are just a few of the offerings at the annual Ignite! Youth Festival , held in the historic Cultch theatre in East Vancouver from April 25-30.

Hundreds of young people from age 13-24 are involved in planning and staging a full week of programming in Vancouver’s largest youth culture festival.  The event showcases music, dance, spoken word, one-act plays, a visual arts exhibit and variety shows featuring improv, drag and circus arts.

What makes this offering even more unique is that virtually every aspect of the festival – from promotion and stage management to set design and script writing – is run by a panel of young people, many of whom are still in high school.  The result is a highly creative and surprisingly edgy repertoire of performances that broaches subjects ranging from gender roles to environmentalism and the cult of materialism.

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Plus, it’s a whole lot of fun.  The week is organized around a series of theme nights, and the audience is invited to dress up accordingly.  For instance, Monday, April 25, is the Toast of the Town night: Vancouver’s best young musical acts will be performing – everyone from rock guitar gods to classical virtuosos – and the dress code calls for “’50s attire.”  Wednesday is Danse Cabaret night, with performances of hip-hop, vaudeville and bhangra dancing.  The dress code  for the occasion calls for tuxedos and CanCan attire.   A complete list of events can be found on the Ignite! website.

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Tickets for each evening’s events are $10 ($6 for students and seniors; $2 for youth under 19) and can be purchased at the door or in advance on the websiteOne-act plays are staged at 6 p.m. and themed shows start at 8 p.m., every night from Monday, April 25-Saturday, April 30.   The historic setting for the week’s festivities is the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, a century-old restored church on Venables Street more commonly called the Cultch.

Has anyone been to an Ignite! event before?  What were your impressions?  Please share your feedback below.

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