Chutzpah! Festival to Stream Music, Dance, Comedy and Theatre in November

The Chutzpah! Festival returns with an exciting lineup of performances this November 21-28, 2020, all available online, with special opportunities to attend intimate shows live-streamed from the stage of the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre.


UPDATE, NOV 20: In accordance with the public health order issued on November 19 from the BC Ministry of Health and to protect the safety of artists, staff and patrons, the Chutzpah! Festival is not able to welcome audiences to Idan Cohen’s World Premiere of Hourglass (Nov. 25 at 7pm) and our Closing Night Comedy Event featuring The El-Salomons (Nov. 28 at 7pm). Virtual performances are able to proceed. Ticketholders for either of these performances, will be contacted with ticketing options.


The Chutzpah! Festival celebrates its 20th milestone year of presenting Vancouver audiences with new and exciting, critically acclaimed artists from all over the world. This will be the first Festival presented in a digital format, and the first helmed by new Artistic Managing Director, Jessica Mann Gutteridge.

The lineup will include concerts, comedy, new dance works, and previews of theatre works-in-progress, paired with stimulating conversations and opportunities to interact with creative artists. Audiences will have the opportunity to attend special live music*, dance and comedy performances, with safety protocols in place, or to alternately enjoy simulcasts from the comfort of their own homes.

Single tickets start at $18 (plus applicable fees and service charges) and are available online in October at

*[EDIT] In accordance with the latest health orders issued on November 8, some in-person shows may now be delivering a recorded concert. Please visit for more details.



Iris Bahr  | November 26

The Festival will be hosted by Iris Bahr, the award-winning writer, actor, director, producer and host of the hit podcast X-RAE. Her critically acclaimed solo show, DAI (enough), was featured in the 2019 Chutzpah! Festival. Bahr will lead interactive conversations with Festival artists as part of each presentation, and will also perform her famed stand-up, balancing “pungent humour, bittersweet pathos, and a sublime charm.” (LA Weekly)

Iris Bahr

The El-Salomons  | November 28 (Festival Closing)

The El-Salomons are a married Jewish-Palestinian lesbian comedy couple (Jess Salomon & Eman El-Husseini) who after years of performing solo decided to add yet another challenge to their relationship: A duo act. Now they tell jokes about one another, in front of each other! A sacrifice they make for the fans. Jess and Eman mix jokes and stories inspired by the politics of their relationship with observational humour about love in general.

Joined by local comedians (live at the Norman Rothstein Theatre) with El-Salomons (live streaming from Brooklyn)



Shtumer Shabes (Silent Sabbath) by Playwright Rokhl Kafrissen | November 22 (work-in-progress)

New York-based Rokhl Kafrissen’s new work-in-progress Shtumer Shabes (Silent Sabbath) is about the discovery’ of a lost’ avant-garde Yiddish play. Grad student Jess Berman is on the verge of being kicked out of school. Aided by best friend Gareth, Jess meets 90-something Yiddish theatre diva, Sonja Szajnfeld. Jess comes to believe that Sonja is in possession of a copy of a long-missing Yiddish play called Shtumer Shabes. Its one performance in Warsaw, 1939, caused a riot in the theatre. Jess is determined to get her hands on the text, salvage her academic career, and write Sonja back into theatre history. But first, she has to convince Sonja that she wants that, too. In ‘Shin is for Shtumer Shabes’, Rokhl will talk about the development of the play and members of the cast will perform short excerpts.

Rokhl’s work on Yiddish culture, feminism, and contemporary Jewish life have appeared in publications all over the world. She is a regular Tablet columnist and was a recipient of a LABA fellowship for 2019/2020.

Rokhl Kafrissen

Old Friends by Playwright Tamara Micner Live Streaming | November 22 (work-in-progress)

Chutzpah! presents Tamara’s new work-in-progress. An exploration of Old Friends who tried and tried but couldn’t manage to stay together. Everyone wanted them to continue. Eventually, they gave up. Every so often they reunited, amid euphoria and jubilee. And left a legacy in their wake. Why did they fall apart? Why do we long for their reunion?

Tamara is a celebrated writer, performer and theatre-maker in London England, who hails from Vancouver.

Her work tends to look at the past in new ways including the pre-gentrified East End of London, the Second World War/Holocaust, the postwar period, and experiences of living in their wake to explore how we can see our past, present and future in ways which are liberating, healing and joyful.



Ben Caplan | November 21

Combining timeless melodies with a contemporary folk-rock twist, singer-songwriter Ben Caplan explores the immigrant experience with profound understanding and wry humour on his latest album, Old Stock. Adapted from the acclaimed music-theatre piece Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, the genre-warping album is inspired by the true story of two Jewish Romanian refugees coming to Canada in 1908. Through their travails, Caplan weaves a captivating concept album that reflects on modern issues from immigration to religion to sexuality through his dark, funny and urgently heartfelt songs. Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story has been an international smash hit, winning dozens of awards and performing extended theatrical runs in more than 20 cities. Between theatre performances, Ben Caplan has been touring these songs with his magnificent band. With his enormous beard, unruly mane, intimately booming voice and beguiling charm, Caplan brings a striking presence to the stage.

Ben Caplan

Guy Mintus | November 24

Israeli pianist and composer Guy Mintus is a true citizen of the world. Coming from a mixed heritage of Iraqi, Moroccan & Polish Jews, he is based between Tel Aviv and New York while constantly on the go having recently performed in Brazil, India, Bulgaria, Switzerland, France, Germany and different cities in the US/ Canada. Mintus is active in the Jazz, World music and contemporary scenes. His boundary-crossing music portrays the imaginative journey of a young individual searching for truth, beauty and freedom. Guy’s music is a meeting point between different rivers of inspiration flowing freely into each other. A trained concert pianist with the energy of a rock-star and a jazz musician’s sense of adventure who’s unafraid to throw into the mix his native Middle-Eastern scales and rhythms. Guy brings together elements from Stride piano to Turkish Makams, Indian rhythms to Bach-styled counterpoint, Jewish melodies and American jazz standards, all weaved together in his own signature style.

Guy Mintus



Idan Cohen / Ne. Sans opera and dance | November 25

Idan Cohen was born and raised in Israel on Kibbutz Mizra, a socialist community, which had a tremendous impact on his life and artistic work. He performed with Israel’s world-renowned Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and has been creating and teaching as an award-winning choreographer since 2005.

Directing opera through contemporary dance opens a whole new world of collaborative opportunities.

The company’s ambition is to create exciting, thought-provoking, artistically challenging art and to strengthen and inspire their community.

For more information on the 2020 Chutzpah! Festival, please visit


Until November 23, BC residents are strongly encouraged to avoid non-essential travel to, from, and between the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Sea-to-Sky, and Sunshine Coast regions. Let’s do our part by following provincial health orders and continuing to support local businesses in accordance with the latest health orders. For residents living outside of the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions, continue to travel smart, and #exploreBC safely and responsibly.

If you have questions about the latest provincial health orders, please visit the BC Government website.


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