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It's Happening Here!

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Announcing Our 2014/15 Season!

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Download the 2014/15 Season Brochure

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Sessional Teaching / Theatre Studies: January 2015 to April 2015 (2014W Term 2)

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Theatre and Film Teaching Assistantships: 2014/2015 Academic Session.

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New course open to all UBC students: INTRODUCTION TO FILM ACTING (FIPR 269A). No Audition Required. UBC 1st year students and invited to apply!


Proudly Supporting our Students, Alumni & Faculty

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Leos Roar for UBC Theatre & Film! Congratulations to our many students faculty and alumni from UBC Theatre & Film whose artistry was recognised by Leo Awards this year and kudos to those who’s work received a Leo.

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The Department of Theatre and Film is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Hallie Marshall to the position of Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies.

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Northern Gateway Pipeline Video Contest Launched!

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Leo Nominations – Theatre & Film at UBC: Huge congratulations to our talented students, alumni and faculty who have had work recognized at this year’s Leo Award Nominations!

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Alumna Rebekka Sorensen Recognised by Daytime Emmy Awards.

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Congratulations to our staff member Lynn Burton on being recognised by Celebrating Women at UBC!

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Associate Professor Kirsty Johnston’s book "Stage Turns: Canadian Disability Theatre" shortlisted for Canada Prize in the Humanities.

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Assistant Professor Siyuan Liu receives review for his book Performing Hybridity in Colonial-Modern China

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Theatre at UBC was recognised for it’s “boffo programming” this year in the magazine’s annual Best of Vancouver issue! 

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Theatre at UBC is a Positive Space!

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Gifts to Theatre at UBC ensure that today's Theatre students have access to the resources that give them the best education possible.


Theatre at UBC

Faculty & Staff News


event imageThe Department of Theatre and Film is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Hallie Marshall to the position of Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies.

Dr Marshall is an expert in theatre history in contemporary context, particularly modern approaches to classic Greek drama, and also in 18th &19th-century neo-classical art and architecture and the history of books and reading.  She holds a SSHRC Insight Development grant, an Apollo Visiting Fellowship, and has been published by Oxford University Press, Bristol Classical Press, and Blackwell Publishing (among others). She will be a terrific addition to the Theatre Studies program and the Department.


Celebrating Women at UBC Profiles Lynn Burton

Congratulations to our staff member Lynn Burton on being recognised by Celebrating Women at UBC! Lynn is the Properties Specialist for our Department of Theatre and Film. She is fantastic at her job and working alongside her to make props is always one of our BFA Production and Design students' choice work placements (also available to non-theatre majors who enrol in theatre as an elective). In her interview she talks about her views on feminism and her role here in the Department.

Celebrating Women at UBC is a blog dedicated to the promotion and visibility of some of the interesting, intelligent, creative and passionate women-identified bodies at the University of British Columbia.


event imageAssociate Professor Kirsty Johnston’s book "Stage Turns: Canadian Disability Theatre" shortlisted for Canada Prize in the Humanities.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Kirsty Johnston, her book "Stage Turns: Canadian Disability Theatre" has been announced by The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences as one of five finalists for the Canada Prize in the Humanities.

Celebrating the best Canadian scholarly books across all the disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, the Canada Prizes are awarded in four categories to books that make an exceptional contribution to scholarship, are engagingly written, and enrich the social, cultural and intellectual life of Canada.

This nomination is one of several well deserved kudos for the book - it was previously named as “Best Book in Canadian Studies” by the Canadian Studies Network-Réseau d'études canadiennes in 2012. "Stage Turns" also received an Honourable Mention with regards to the Ann Saddlemyer Award for best book-length publication in English from The Canadian Association for Theatre Research (2013) and it received a very appreciative review from Petra Kuppers in the University of Toronto Press who cited Stage Turns as a “ground breaking work."

The four winners of the 2014 Canada Prizes will be announced at the beginning of May and the prizes, each valued at $2,500, will be presented at the awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at York University's Glendon College in Toronto. The awards ceremony will be open to the media and will feature keynote remarks by Michael Adams, President of Environics and a member of the jury.



event imageAssistant Professor Siyuan Liu receives review for his book Performing Hybridity in Colonial-Modern China

Congratulations to Dr. Siyuan Liu, Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Theatre and Film, for receiving a tremendous in-depth peer review of his book “Performing Hybridity in Colonial-Modern China” from John B. Weinstein (PhD,MPhil and MA, Columbia University).  

Weinstein writes that “Performing Hybridity in Colonial-Modern China fills a crucial gap in studies of modern Chinese theater by providing an in-depth study of the genre of wenmingxi (civilized drama)... Liu shows how crucial it is for scholars of modern Chinese theater to utilize Japanese materials and answers questions about productions of Chinese theater that cannot be studied through Chinese sources alone... Liu’s copious use of Japanese sources is the methodological element that distinguishes this book from the norm in the Chinese theater field.”Weinstein’s primary area of research is modern Chinese theatre and performance. The review was published by MCLC Resource Center (March 2014).

Dr. Siyuan Liu Ph.D. (Pittsburgh), researches 20th century Chinese and Japanese theatre, intercultural performance, and Asian North-American theatre. He has published widely in such journals as Asian Theatre Journal, Theatre Journal, TDR, and Text and Presentation and book anthologies such as Avant-garde Performance and Material Exchange: Vectors of the Radical (ed. Mike Sell). He has published many book reviews and contributed dozens of entries to The Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre and The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance. His is a guest editor of the First Generation Asian Theatre Scholars series for Asian Theatre Journal (Fall 2011). 

Read the full review at 



event imageLegendary UBC Theatre professor and director Klaus Strassmann dies

Dr. Klaus Gerhard Strassmann passed away peacefully on March 3, in the company of close friends. 


A memorial service will be held to celebrate the life of Klaus Strassmann.
Sunday May 25, at the Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC. (1:00 to 2:30 pm Main Program; 2:00 to 3:30 pm Reception). Map:

Klaus joined the UBC Department of Theatre in July of 1964, teaching acting, directing, and history of theatre during the 1970s and 1980s to many of UBC’s distinguished alumni. His work with Joy Coghill on Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit and  Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days were two notable productions during his early years at UBC. 

event imageHe directed dozens of highly regarded productions during his career, many of those while at UBC, including Pinter’s The Lover and The Birthday Party, Euripides The Trojan Women, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Molliere’s Tartuffe, Wedekind’s Spring’s Awakening, Brecht’s Three Penny Opera and Mother Courage, and Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters  (during the 1970’s and 80’s).

Klaus retired from the Department in 1991 and afterwards spent his time travelling the world and seeing as much of it as he could.

He will be very fondly remembered by UBC faculty, staff, and alumni. Klaus is survived by his son Kirk (wife Danielle), former wives and good friends Satya Danu and Edel Walsh, and many other dear friends. A memorial service will be on Sunday May 25, at the Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC. (1 to 2pm Main Program; 2:00 to 3:30 pm Reception). Map:

Please visit UBC’s Dr. Klaus Gerhard Strassmann Memorial site to share your memories of Klaus by adding stories, photos and videos.

In honour of Klaus’ amazing legacy and contributions to the Canadian theatre community, a scholarship is being established in his name. This will be awarded as either an annual award or as a one-time, special scholarship, depending on the amount raised. This named scholarship is a fitting tribute to a man who believed so passionately in the combined power of education and theatre, and who influenced so many theatre students at UBC.


event imageMonday, April 14, 7-9:00pm 
Publicity Workshop
with alumna Deb Pickman
$10 for non-Fringe artists | 2014 Fringe Festival artists FREE!

Are you trying to get media attention for your event but not having any luck? Or are you a marketing hot shot that craves even more media coverage? The Fringe Festival is hosting the workshop you need! BA Theatre alumna Deb Pickman, co-artistic director, ensemble member of the Vancouver theatre company shameless hussy productions, and Communications & Marketing Specialist for Theatre at UBC, will return to host Hot Copy, a marketing and publicity workshop to help you get all the media attention you need!

While the workshop will focus on marketing a Fringe Festival show, the low and no-cost tips and tricks are ideal for all independent artists looking to promote themselves and their events. Learn the basics of a press release and when to contact media outlets, what are the key elements to choosing promotional images for posters and flyers, and social media tips. Plus, Deb will answer as many questions as time allows!

WhenMonday, April 14, 7-9:00pm 
Where: Carousel Theatre Studio, 1411 Cartwright Street on Granville Island 
How Much?: Free for confirmed 2014 Fringe Festival artists; $10 for non-Fringe artists 

RSVP to Shantini Klaassen at administration[at]vancouverfringe[dot]com by April 11, 2014


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Photo Credit: Tim Matheson
Model: UBC Alumna Bronwyn Malloy

Fashioning Cancer: The Correlation between Destruction and Beauty
Free Public Presentation
Graduate Research Seminar Series:
Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC
March 25, 2014 | 12-1pm


Fashioning Cancer: The Correlation between Destruction and Beauty is a “dramatic” new interdepartmental research project at UBC made possible through a Research Mentorship Grant from the Peter Wall Institute For Advanced Studies

Can fashion design inspire deeper conversations about disease for women? Assistant Professor Jacqueline Firkins in the UBC Department of Theatre and Film believes it can. Firkins aims to encourage a dialogue about cancer, beauty, and body image by designing and exhibiting 10 ball gowns inspired by microscopic photos of cancer cells and cellular systems. These images were captured by her collaborator Professor Christian C.G. Naus, a Peter Wall Distinguished Scholar in Residence and Canada Research Chair in Gap Junctions and Disease, along with his colleagues in UBC’s Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences and Life Sciences Institute. 

Many women who have battled cancer express a disconnect with the fashion imagery that commonly represents the disease. The most prevalent is the pink ribbon, a signature for breast cancer awareness and a useful tool for marketing campaigns that support cancer research. Firkins’ research is intended to generate artistic imagery that is more connected to the disease itself, and since it is being expressed in fashion, the imagery is also connected to body image. 

‘My hope is that somehow through fashion, I more closely tap into what a woman might be feeling about her body as she undergoes the disease, but simultaneously reflect a strength, beauty, and resilience.‘ - Jacqueline Firkins

Please join us at our first public exhibition where the researcher will introduce her project. A talk back will follow with an opportunity for you to provide your insights about the gowns: Are they too pretty to reflect something as destructive as cancer? Do they encourage you to tell your own story? Do they evoke any emotions related to your own experience?  Note: Contact our communications coordinator Deb Pickman at if you would like to host a presentation of this project.

UBC Department of Theatre & Film Graduate Research Seminar Series

Fashioning Cancer: The Correlation between Destruction and Beauty – the presentation of research undertaken by UBC’s Department of Theatre and Film and Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences and Life Sciences Institute made possible through a Research Mentorship Grant from the Peter Wall Institute For Advanced Studies. | Tue. March 25, 2014 | Time: 12-1pm Frederic Wood Theatre, 6354 Crescent Rd., UBC | MAP: Box Office PH: 604.822.2678 | TICKETS: Free 


event imageAssociate Professor Catherine Burnett choreographs alumni in BEGGAR'S OPERA
March 4th to March 14th

Seven Tyrants Theatre presents
Adapted and Directed by David Newham
Music Composed and Directed by Daniel Deorksen
Choreography by Catherine Burnett

Based on the classic opera by John Gay's Beggar's Opera: the timeless story of Mack the Knife as you've never seen or heard it before.

In BFA Acting alumnus David Newham's exciting adaptation of John Gay's classic script, the action is jam-packed into ten explosive fantasias' - each a unique, live theatrical music video - coming together to realize an opera distinctly for the modern age.

Fellow BFA Acting alumnus Daniel Deorksen's original musical score draws boldly on a range of styles, from the sublime tones of classic Jazz to a world of Tom Waits meets Frank Zappa and The Muppets. The music is performed live by Deorksen with a trio of musicians and the cast of 15 performers - including BFA Acting alumni Gord Myren and Keegan Macintosh - on a range of classical and modern instruments.

The musical numbers are brought to life by renowned choreographer and Theatre at UBC associate professor Catherine Burnett, whose cutting-edge style embraces Jerome Robbins and Pina Bausch with the light-heartedness of a Monty Python sketch.

The Jericho Arts Centre (1675 Discovery Street, Vancouver)

event imageProfessor Emeritus Errol Durbach Speaks February 11

Senior Scholars’ Series Presents: Errol Durbach

Please join us at the Green College Coach House on Tuesday, February 11th at 4:30 (lecture at 5pm) with English and Theatre Professor Emeritus Dr. Errol Durbach who will be discussing “Drama, Theatre, and Performance: Practicing the Discipline – Before and After Retirement” as part of the Senior Scholars’ Series: The Passions that Drive Academic Life.

Dr. Durbach, M.A. (Rhodes), M.A. (Cantab.), Ph.D. (London). (Theatre History, Dramatic Literature) is author of Ibsen The RomanticA Doll’s HouseIbsen’s Myth of Transformation and many articles on modern, comparative, and Commonwealth drama. He joined the faculty at UBC in 1967, serving as Head of Theatre from 1987 to 1994 and Associate Dean of Arts between 1995 and 2000. He has adapted several plays and books for the stage including Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (Theatre at UBC/Blackbird Theatre 2006/07), Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (Blackbird Theatre 2011) and Importance of Being Earnest (co-produced by Persephone Theatre and Western Canada Theatre 2012/13).

He is currently the resident dramaturg at Blackbird Theatre.

This series is convened on behalf of Green College and the UBC Association of Professors Emeriti. It provides opportunities for senior academics to describe their personal experiences and journeys through their own academic careers.

Complimentary tea and coffee are available in the Piano Lounge of Graham House at Green College from 4:30 pm onwards. 

For more information: 

GINGER SNAPS at Vancity Theatre: Jan. 24, 10:30 pm 

event imageProfessor Ernest Mathijs will introduce this special screening of the Canadian horror film Ginger Snaps at Vancity Theatre. Mathijs is the author of the recently published book "John Fawcett’s Ginger Snaps". Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC.




See Professor Mathijs’ recent interview on The Rush here:

Professor Tom Scholte joins Student & Alumni in Vancouver Film Critics Circle Nominations

event imageUBC Department of Theatre and Film Associate Professor Tom Sholte has received a nomination for “Best Actor in a Canadian Film” from the Vancouver Film Critics Circle for his performance in The Dick Knost Show. Scholte is also a BFA Acting and MFA directing alumnus and the film was written and directed by his long time collaborator MFA Film Production alumnus Bruce Sweeney

MFA Film Production alumnus Charles Wilkinson’s Oil Sands Karaoke is nominated for “Best British Columbia Film”, along with Jason DaSilva’s When I Walk. MFA Directing student Cari Green was an Associate Producer for When I Walk. The recipients of the awards will be announced January 7, 2014 at The Railway Club.



Alumni Take on New Roles at UBC 

event imageWelcome to Alumnus Cam Cronin – Our New Department Acting Administrator:

It is our great pleasure to announce that Mr. Cam Cronin has stepped into the position of Acting Administrator for the UBC Department of Theatre and Film. Cam is a graduate of the Department (B.A. Theatre) and comes with a strong background in both Theatre and Film. 

Most recently Cam worked at the HR MacMillan Space Centre as Manager, Public Programmer and Digital Media Specialist. He also has worked independently as a Technical Director and as an Actor in Theatre, Film and Television. Of his new appointment here Cam says “I look forward to helping launch a new generation of young artists from this fine Depatment.”

Cam takes over from our former Administrator Gerald Vanderwoude who has moved over to the Dean’s office to become Assistant Dean, Faculty of Arts.


event imageAlumnus Gerald Vanderwoude Takes a New Role as Assistant Dean of Arts:

Theatre at UBC MFA Directing alumnus Gerald Vanderwoude was one of UBC’s most unusual students. While studying for his Masters degree in directing in 1988, he actually lived under his desk in the Frederic Wood Theatre for the entire first year of his degree.  “It was such a long trip from Kootenay loop to UBC and if you missed the bus at 11:00pm in those days… well you were stuck on campus. One night I fell asleep on the theatre set I was building and I kind of just kept doing that.”

A specialist in the work of Samuel Beckett, Gerald has built 42 productions, directed 53, and designed lights and sound for 12. He started in the box office of Theatre at UBC and in 2005 became the Administrator and Business Manager for the Department of Theatre and Film. On December 6th he moved on to his new position at UBC in one of our largest faculties as Assistant Dean of Arts. Gerald is the 2010 recipient of the UBC President’s Service Award for Excellence. 

We will miss him greatly and wish him all the best in his new office. 

Staging Chekhov at the VPL

event imageMonday December 9, 2013
Staging Chekhov
Hosted by the Vancouver Public Library

UBC Professor of Theatre and Film Jerry Wasserman moderates a panel conversation with three artists from the recent and upcoming productions of works by Anton Chekhov: Directors John Wright is a UBC Theatre and Film professor emeritus, Kathleen Duborg, a MFA Directing student and actor David Bloom join in the discussion. 

John Wright will be staging Uncle Vanya with his company Blackbird Theatre from Dec. 23 – Jan. 18, 2014, director Kathleen Duborg mounts The Seagull here at Theatre UBC from Jan. 23 – Feb 8, 2014) and actor David Bloom performed this past spring in Only Child Collective’s Three Sisters

The dialogue examines the playwright's unique dramatic qualities and the approach each artist has taken in bringing them to the stage. 

Vancouver Central Library
Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Rooms, Lower Level
350 West Georgia Street | 7:00 pm-8:30 pm – Admission FREE

Assoc. Professor Stephen Malloy directs alumnus Ryan Beil in The Odd Couple

event posterFaculty, Alumni, Little Mountain Gallery & Main Street Theatre present one of the most famous comedic plays ever written: Neil Simon's The Odd Couple!

Nov. 28-Dec. 10, 2013 (HELD OVER)
(no show Dec. 2 or 9)

7:30 PM (Doors @ 7:00)  
Little Mountain Gallery 


Directed by Theatre at UBC Assoc. Professor Stephen Malloy.

Starring: BFA Acting Alumnus Ryan Beil and Mike Wasko.

With: Lindsey Angell, Josh Drebit, Kyle Jespersen, Sebastian Kroon, Michael P. Northey, and BFA Acting Alumna Melanie Reich.

Stage Management by: BFA Design/Tech alumna Collette Brown.

Pay What You Can. Suggested $20
Ticket reservations: (604) 992-2313

Check out this rave review from Jo Ledingham!
“Under Stephen Malloy’s direction this is one of the funniest opening scenes ever.”

Main Street Theatre is back with a fresh offering for Vancouver audiences. After successfully tackling the complicated nuances and heart wrenching drama of Shepherd, Mamet and Beckett the company has set their sights on something a titch more lighthearted: Neil Simon’s classic comedy, The Odd Couple.

See more at:

Professor & PhD students present at international conference
In the Balance: Indigeneity, Performance, Globalization conference

event imageProfessor Jerry Wasserman and Theatre at UBC PhD students Selena Coutureand Lindsay Lachance recently travelled to London (UK) to present papers at an international conference on aboriginal performance called In the Balance: Indigeneity, Performance, Globalization. The conference was held in  conjunction  with  two  international  events:  the Origins  Festival  of  First  Nations  and  a   performance based  exhibition, Ecocentrix: Indigenous Arts, Sustainable Acts.  An extensive film program was also  included.  

More at

Professor Jerry Wasserman Lectures at Museum of Vancouver

event imageThursday, November 28, 2013 ­ 7:30 at Museum of Vancouver
History of Theatre in Vancouver
Speaker: Jerry Wasserman

Most theatre goers within Vancouver are aware of the state of theatre within the period they attend but are perhaps not familiar with the changes that have taken place over the long run. For example, during its years of unbridled civic optimism preceding 1912, theatres and opera houses, mainly for vaudeville, sprang up throughout the young city. Very different was the period after the bruising of WWI in which a retreat into British roots competed with the strong vaudeville influences from American theatre. An explosion of Vancouver and BC based original theatre of the 1970s and 80s reflected a growing confidence of time and place. Vancouver theatre has and will continue to be a moveable feast moving with the times.

Jerry Wasserman, an actor and author of several books on Canadian theatre, is currently professor of English and Theatre in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of British Columbia.

More at

Faculty & Alumni Offer Cocktails at Pam’s

event imageNovember 13-30 
Cocktails at Pam's 
by Stewart Lemoine, directed by Theatre at UBC professor Stephen Heatley

Studio 1398, Granville Island 

Alumni founded Staircase Equity Collective presents the BC premiere of Cocktails at Pam’s by Stewart Lemoine. In this hilarious, 11 person comedy, we learn that being the perfect hostess is not easy; it's a fine art of pearls and gowns, repartee and knowing the difference between the maid and the cook. But Pam believes she has everything under control- until the unthinkable happens. 

The production is directed by Theatre at UBC professor Stephen Heatley. The creative team includes set design by BFA Design alumni Lauchlin Johnston (The Foreigner) and Christina Dao (Speech & Debate). The acting ensemble includes BFA Acting alumni Yoshie BancroftGeorgia BeatyDaniel DeorksenMaryanne Renzetti, and Joanna Williams with Anousha Alamian, Sebastien Archibald, Brent Hirose, Stefania Indelicato, Shauna Johannesen and Liz Kirkland.



UBC Theatre and Film Alumni & Faculty Steal the Spotlight at VIFF Awards

“The debut award for Best B.C. Film went to The Dick Knost Show — Film at UBC alumnus Bruce Sweeney’s new comedy about an abrasive talk show host who thinks concussions are comedy fodder until he sustains one himself. UBC Prof and Theatre and Film alumnus Tom Scholte, who plays the title character, accepted the award on behalf of Sweeney in front of an audience gathered for the awards presentation and the BC Spotlight gala screening of Down River. 

A statement from the jury praised the film’s storytelling, performances and overall execution. The award consists of a $10,000 development bursary from Astral's Harold Greenberg Fund and $10,000 in post-production services credit from Finale Editworks.

The Dick Knost show has two remaining screenings -- Oct. 09 at 01:00 pm at SFU Woodwards, and Oct. 11 at 9:15 pm at The Cinematheque.”

The BC Emerging Filmmaker Award went to Theatre at UBC alumnus Matthew Kowalchuk for his comedy Lawrence and Holloman.

In an acceptance speech peppered with “wows”, the first-time director offered a special thanks to playwright and UBC Creative Writing alumnus Morris Panych, who wrote the script the film was adapted from. Panych, a longtime fixture of the Vancouver theatre scene who now lives in Toronto, is a two-time Governor General’s Award winner.

Kowalchuk received a $7,500 cash prize courtesy of UBCP, ACTRA and AFBS and $10,000 equipment rental credit from William F. White.

Read the full article here:

Video: The Province Online:

See Tom Scholte interviewed by The Vancouver Province’s film critic Glen Schaefer in “Outside the Actor’s Studio”


Faculty, alumni & students in "The Dick Knost Show" at Toronto International Film Festival 

event image"The Dick Knost Show" 

Opening Tuesday September 10 at the Toronto International Film Festival and later in September at Vancouver’s VIFF.

Kudos to UBC Dept of Theatre & Film Alumnus Bruce Sweeney (The Last Wedding) who is the director of one of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival’s most talked about comedies "The Dick Knost Show". Alumnus and Associate UBC Professor Tom Scholte stars in, and is a producer of, the film - and Adjunct Professor Rafi Spivak is an editor. A true actor's director, and one of Canada's most daring filmmakers, Bruce Sweeney draws sharp and generous performances from his cast, which includes several regulars from his previous films.

"The Dick Knost Show" is a  keenly observed and wickedly funny media satire about a self-absorbed sports-radio shock jock (Tom Scholte) whose controversial social-media missive makes him the target of network scrutiny. 

Also in the acting ensemble are BFA Acting Alumni Laara Sadiq, Cam Cronin and Jen McLean. BFA Acting student Nicole Sekiya also makes an appearance in the film.

BFA Production & Design students Scott Zechner and Sarah Melo as well as recent MFA Design grad Matthew Norman and Adjunct Professor Jayson McLean were all technicians on the film – and they also appear in it as themselves.

Hilarious! But decide for yourself - check out the trailer on YouTube: More:


Latest issue of  Theatre Research in Canada features Adjunct Prof and Student

event imageAdjunct Professor Reid Gilbert is co-editor of the latest issue of  Theatre Research in Canada, entitled “Canadian Performances/Global Redefintions.” The magazine features an article by PhD Theatre student Alex Lazaridis Ferguson, and four other theatre scholars, who “explore some of the ways in which Canadian performances are being reconfigured in our age of globalization.” 

In his article Lazaridis Ferguson applies and questions Csikszentmihalyi, Dewey, Fischer-Lichte and, especially, Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic capital to describe exchanges among performing arts festivals in Canada and Europe, “demonstrating how cultural systems both enhance and hamper cross-cultural exchange.” 

Reid Gilbert is now at work on an issue of Canadian Theatre Review due out in 2014, which will publish an article by our MFA Design student, Ines Ortner.


Assistant Professor Siyuan Liu receives Hampton Grant

event imageCongratulations to Assistant Professor Siyuan Liu on being awarded a UBC Hampton Fund Research Grant for his project "Lady Sunrise—Imagining a Modern Chinese Theatrical Classic in the Context of Contemporary Canada." Lady Sunrise will be an adaptation of the modern Chinese playwright Cao Yu's Sunrise (1936) reset in contemporary Canada. Liu will be working with Theatre at UBC Adjunct Professor John Cooper as the director, and Toronto-based Chinese-Canadian playwright Majarie Chan as the adapter. Playwright Cao Yu is one of China’s most revered modern dramatists and a playwright of international reknown. His most well-known works are Thunderstorm(1933), Sunrise (1936) and Peking Man (1940). It is largely through the efforts of Cao Yu that the modern Chinese "spoken theatre" took root in 20th-century Chinese literature (as opposed to sung Chinese opera).


event imageMark Harris, dedicated UBC Theatre & Film faculty member, dies at 62.

The Department of Theatre and Film is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Mark Harris, a UBC alumnus, long-time faculty member, and wonderful colleague.

click here View Memoriam details and eulogies


Event ImagePerforming Hybridity in Colonial-Modern China

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Siyuan Liu on the upcoming launch of his book “Performing Hybridity in Colonial-Modern China.” He has published over a dozen peer-reviewed essays on twentieth-century Chinese theatre in edited books and academic journals such as Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, TDR, Asian Theatre Journal, and Text & Presentation. He is the current President of Association for Asian Performance.

Liu’s new book “Performing Hybridity in Colonial-Modern China” examines the beginning of modern Chinese theatre. In Shanghai during the early portion of the twentieth century, a hybrid theatrical form emerged that was based on Western spoken theatre, classical Chinese theatre, and a Japanese hybrid form of kabuki and Western-style spoken theatre called shinpa (new school drama). Known as wenmingxi (civilized drama), this form has, until recently, largely been ignored by scholars in China and the West as it does not fit into the current binary "traditional/modern" model in non-Western theatre and performance studies. This book places wenmingxi in the context of its hybridized literary and performance elements, giving it a definitive place in modern Chinese theatre. Performing Hybridity in Colonial-Modern China is published by Macmillan and is part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre Performance History series and will be available March 13, 2013. 



Event ImageCongratulations to Theatre at UBC's Professor Stephen Heatley who has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance Development in the Visual and Performing Arts.

This biennial is award given out by the Faculty Research Awards Committee to recognize faculty who have made outstanding contributions to (and performances in) art, music, creative writing, theatre or film.

Established in 1999 the award pays tribute to a legendary UBC figure, Dorothy Somerset, former director of the UBC Players' Club and the driving force behind the establishment of the Frederic Wood Theatre.

The Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance Development in the Visual and Performing Arts is deemed to be one of UBC¹s highest honours in the Arts and Education disciplines.

More at


Event ImageFaculty, alumni & students get curtain call: Courier Year in Review

The Vancouver Courier’s reviewer Jo Ledingham has singled out many alumni and current students who were part of her most memorable stage moments in 2012.

Professor Stephen Malloy’s Main Street Theatre company was applauded for their production of Endgame in the Tremors Festival. Malloy directed the cast which included BFA Acting alumni Sasa Brown (as Nell) and Ryan Beil (Clove) along with Daryl King (Nagg) and Josh Drebit (Hamm). Ledingham remarked “Known for productions of David Mamet's plays, this small company proved once again its versatility and virtuosity with Beckett's apocalyptic tale.” 

Theatre at UBC’s production of The Duchess: aka Wallis Simpson, directed by alumna Sarah Rodgers, was also standout for Ledingham: “It was still summery in October when UBC opened The Duchess: a.k.a. Wallis Simpson. It didn't matter if the facts had been toyed with because the show was so stylish thanks to Michael Bock's art nouveau set and Miriam Thom's period gowns. Not in Linda Griffiths' original script but added by the divinely inspired director Sarah Rodgers was singing, piano-playing Alexander Keurvorst as Noel Coward. The music was such a bonus it's hard to imagine The Duchess without it. Pippa Johnstone was so headstrong and swanky as Mrs. Simpson, the woman who stole Edward VIII's heart, I'm certain Eddie would have fallen for Ms. Johnstone, too.

More alumni noted in the season review: MA Theatre student Katrina Dunn (Touchstone Theatre artistic director) for her direction of Eternal Hydra with BFA Acting alumni John Murphy and Laara SadiqTil Death Do We Part: The Six Wives of Henry VIII, written and directed by MFA directing student Ryan Gladstone. MFA Directing alumnus David Mackay for his direction of Race by Mitch and Murray Productions and BFA Acting alumnus David Adams was applauded for his work as Tevye in Gateway Theatre's production of Fiddler On The Roof

Read Jo Ledingham’s entire roundup of Vancouver’s most memorable theatre of 2012 here


event imageCongratulations to UBC Associate Professor in theatre and film Kirsty Johnston, whose new book, Stage Turns: Canadian Disability Theatre, has won this year’s award for “Best Book in Canadian Studies” from the Canadian Studies Network-Réseau d'études canadiennes.

Stage Turns: Canadian Disability Theatre examines how Canadian theatre artists are challenging traditional theatre practices and reimagining disability on stage.

Over the past three decades, disability theatre artists have claimed greater space on Canadian and world stages. While disabled figures and themes are theatre mainstays, productions tend to employ disability figuratively rather than engage with actual disability experience. In reaction, disability theatre pursues an activist perspective that dismantles stereotypes, challenges stigma, and re-imagines disability as a valued human condition.          

Stage Turns documents the development and innovations of disability theatre in Canada, the aesthetic choices and challenges of the movement, and the multiple spatial scales at which disability theatre operates, from the local to the increasingly global. 

Kirsty Johnston provides histories of Canada's leading disability theatre companies, emphasizing the early importance of local efforts in the absence of national coordination. Close readings of individual productions demonstrate how aesthetic choices matter and can be a source of solidarity or debate between different companies and artists. This comparative approach allows for a nuanced consideration of disability theatre's breadth and internal differences.

Stage Turns highlights the diversity of disability theatre, underlining how this is critical to understanding the challenge it poses to mainstream aesthetics and to fulfilling its own artistic goals.

Review quotes

"Enlightening and provocative, Stage Turns is a solid introduction to the complexities surrounding political and aesthetic issues in disability arts communities." - Carrie Sandahl, Institute on Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois

Kirsty Johnston is associate professor in theatre and film at the University of British Columbia.

Stage Turns: Canadian Disability Theatre is published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.


Malloy Directs/Dramaturges It's About Time for Main Street Theatre

event imageAssociate Professor Stephen Malloy directs and dramaturges a new work by Patrick Keating, It's About Time.

Main Street Theatre event
Sunday, November 25 at 8 PM
Little Mountain Gallery

Also featuring:

A curtain warmer by Charles Demers, one of the funniest men in Vancouver - a much-loved stand up comedian.

And entr'acte:

Max Zipursky, one of Vancouver's hottest new players from The Star Captains, will entertain us on piano.

Tickets by donation
For reservations call: (604) 992-2313

More at: Main Street Theatre


November 24, 2012

event imageFree lecture! Professor Jerry Wasserman, Head, Theatre and Film Department, UBC will be addressing the Vancouver Institute  on November 24, 2012 at 8:15 p.m., Lecture Hall No. 2 in the Woodward Instructional Resources Centre , University of British Columbia. All are welcome.

Being at Home With Elvis: Canadian Theatre and American Power

Professor Wasserman is an academic, actor and critic. His books include Modern Canadian PlaysTheatre and AutoBiography: Writing and Performing Lives in Theory and Practice (co-edited with Sherrill Grace), and Spectacle of Empire: Marc Lescarbot’s Theatre of Neptune in New France, as well as numerous articles, chapters and conference presentations on drama, fiction, popular performance and blues music. He has received UBC’s Killam Teaching Prize and Dorothy Somerset Award, and was recently honoured with the Sam Payne Award from the Union of BC Performers/ACTRA. A theatre critic for over 25 years for CBC radio, The Province newspaper, and his website,, he also has more than 200 professional acting credits for stage and screen.


events imageLynn Burton Props us up!

One of Theatre at UBC's unsung heroes is celebrated in The Ubyssey's cool "Our Campus" feature.

Lynn, our head of properties for Theatre at UBC is one of those people for whom no challenge is too big - or too small. It's the details that really make theatre magic, isn't it? Get some insight into Lynn's amazing world in this interview by Karina Palmitesta:


events imageAdjunct Prof Changes the Wood in Hollywood

(Photo: Jeff Vinnick for The Globe and Mail)

Theatre at UBC adjunct professor in design, Garvin Eddy, also works in hollywood and advocates for the use of responsible wood in set design. A new environmentally responsible sustainable wood alternative called ScenicPly was developed by Oregon company PlyVeneer in consultation with Eddy and it's being used on the TV Series Grimm.

Eddy has taken a stand against the wood, Lauan, that has been the industry standard for some 30 years. The harvesting of Luan has caused widespread environmental damage and led to the displacement of indigenous people from their land, mostly in Southeast Asia. Eddy was recently profiled about this issue in the The Globe and Mail by Marsha Lederman.

More at: 


events imageLights Cameras... Sustainable Set Design
Emmy-winning ‘green’ set designer Garvin Eddy joins UBC’s Dept. of Theatre and Film

UBC’s newest film professor Garvin Eddy has worked in Hollywood long enough to learn more than a few  dirty secrets. One of those, says the Emmy-winning set designer of such classic TV shows as The Cosby Show, Rosanne, and That 70’s Show, is that many of the sets are built of wood that is forested illegally from Asia.

Hoping to change that, Eddy has helped to develop a new environmentally friendly set construction product, which is being piloted in NBC’s new hit TV series, Grimm, which airs Fridays at 9 p.m. Read the full story in UBC Reports here:


events imageProfessor Stephen Heatley stars in Two Blondes with a Passion Do Death in Venice - A Musical Joyride

Featuring Professor Stephen Heatley and Richard Link.

Gustav, the central character of Death in Venice, is the inspiration for this cabaret, performed by two men who met when they were much younger and much blonder. Come on this personal musical journey to define what is right for all of us, as we enter “the best years of our lives”.

Show times are:

September 6- 8:55 pm (Half Price Show!)
September 8 - 7:15 pm
September 12 - 5:00 pm
September 13 - 9:45 pm
September 14 - 6:55 pm
September 16 - 1:00 pm

Studio 1398 - 1398 Cartwright on Granville Island


events imageCongratulations to UBC Department Theatre & Film Associate Professor Tom Scholte, who has earned his third Leo Award.

At the recent awards night was presented with Best Supporting Performance by a Male in a Feature Length Drama for his work in Carl Bessai’s Sisters&Brothers. "" Here he is in a scene from the film with actress Amanda Crew.


Event ImageThe UBC department of Theatre and Film is very pleased to announce that in recognition of her dedication to students and excellence in teaching Dr. Kirsty Johnston has been awarded a prestigious 2011-12 Killam Teaching Prize.

Kirsty Johnston is an associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Film where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in theatre theory and history. Her research focuses on intersections between theatre, disability and health with particular interests in contemporary theatre and performance.  This year, McGill-Queen¹s University Press will publish her book Stage Turns: Canadian Disability Theatre. She is currently working on a SSHRC-funded research project entitled "Stages of access: theatre and inclusion in Canada".


Event ImageKudos to Theatre at UBC alumna and staff member Deb Pickman who has been named by The Ubyssey newspaper as one of "the people on the campus who have shaped the issues UBC talked about" this year."


Pickman, who is Marketing and Communications manager for Theatre at UBC, along with Wilson Wong from UBC Athletics, joined five other staff, alumni, students and faculty who were  highlighted. Pickman and Wong were singled out in this, the Ubyssey's final issue of the year, as "The Unsung Communicator's." 

There are plenty of games screenings and performances happening on campus nearly every weekend of the school year. But aside from periodic write-ups from this paper, most of the students competing and performing would go unnoticed if not for the yeoman's work of Deb Pickman and Wilson Wong, who handle communications for UBC Theatre (Pickman) and UBC Athletics (Wong). They write up previews of events, tweet anything related to their respective performers and work diligently to raise the profile of some of the most involved students on campus." - The Ubyssey 

Earlier this year The Ubyssey profiled Pickman for their Our Campus feature: 

In tandem with her career in communications, Pickman is also an theatre creator, she is a two time Jessie Richardson Award nominated actress and recipient of the Vancouver Sun's People's Choice Award. She is presently an active ensemble member of the Vancouver company she co-founded in 1992 with BFA Acting alumna Renee Iaci and Costume Designer Lana Krause - shameless hussy productions. The company has a mandate of "telling provocative stories about women, to inspire the hand that rocks the cradle to rock the world." More at

Event ImageUBC professor and Department of Theatre and Film Head Jerry Wasserman is to be honoured by the Union of BC Performers/ACTRA, at an awards ceremony on Friday April 27, when he will be presented with the Sam Payne Award. 

This award is given annually to honour of one of Canada’s well loved and respected professional actors. The Sam Payne Award recognizes professional performers “displaying humanity, artistic integrity and encouragement of new talent” –  all attributes that were often used to describe Sam Payne’s personal qualities and his contribution to Canadian theatre, film, radio and television.

Originally from New York City, Jerry Wasserman started acting at college in the mid-60s. Moving to Vancouver in 1972 to teach English and later Theatre at UBC, Jerry became an integral part of Vancouver’s burgeoning professional theatre scene, performing on stage as well as in many American and Canadian film and television shows. He is now a well-known theatre reviewer and sees part of that function as a responsibility to encourage and in some cases showcase new talent. In addition, Jerry is Editor of Modern Canadian Plays, the anthology used in many Canadian theatre courses. In the 40 years that Jerry has been teaching, thousands of drama students have been influenced by his mentorship, tutelage and enthusiasm for the craft of acting.

A hearty congratulations from all of us on this well deserved recognition!

event imageFaculty Stephen Malloy & Alumni founded Main Street Theatre presents:

By Samuel Beckett
April 19-28. Please note: this run has SOLD OUT

Main Street Theatre presents Samuel Beckett's timeless avant-garde classic Endgame as part of Rumble Theatre's 2012 Tremors Festival. The production is directed and designed by Theatre at UBC Professor Stephen Malloy and features BFA Acting Alumni Sasa Brown and Ryan Beil with Josh Drebit and Daryl King.

Endgame is the story of Hamm, who is trapped between life and death with his young servant, Clov. Together they engage in a chess match of wits in this vivid exploration of the end of life. Along with Waiting For Godot, Endgame is considered one of Samuel Beckett's finest works.

ABOUT MAIN STREET THEATRE: Main Street Theatre is a Vancouver based theatre company dedicated to producing contemporary classic plays in an intimate environment with a focus on storytelling. With four hit shows and 11 Jessie nominations under their belt, the company is ready to surprise Vancouver audiences again. More:

The Tremors festival will take place April 10 ­ 28, 2012
At two venues: The Cultch (1895 Venables St) and at Little Mountain Gallery
(195 26th Ave at Main).

ENDGAME at Little Mountain Studio
Individual Tickets from $15 + s/c
Tremors Festival passes also available - $40 + s/c
Contact the box office at or 604.251.1363

Rumble Productions' emerging arts festival, Tremors, returns to showcase contemporary works created by some of Canada's most innovative new companies. For a list of all the participating works see

Event Image

Vancouver's The Province engages Professor Jerry Wasserman!

>>read details


Congratulations to our Department of Theatre & Film Head, Professor Jerry Wasserman, who's recently been re-engaged as resident theatre critic for The Province newspaper. Wasserman reviewed plays for CBC Radio's Afternoon Show in Vancouver for over 15 years and for The Province for five years before a brief hiatus from  2008-2010. Jerry is also the proprietor of the informative and entertaining web site. A professor of English and Theatre at UBC since 1972, Wasserman is just winding up his term as Department Head.

For all the latest news in what's happening in Vancouver theatre bookmark his theatre blog at

Event ImageOur fearless Head of the UBC Department of Theatre and Film, and Vancouver Plays Editor, Jerry Wasserman is on the hot seat at THE LIFE GAME. 

Studio 1398, 1398 Cartwright Street, Granville Island, Sunday Jan. 8 at 8pm

Jerry’s night in the hot seat was reviewed in The Vancouver Courier:

TheatreSports meets autobiography in The Life Game
Jo Ledingham

“What a fascinating evening at the theatre...Wasserman was an excellent subject: candid, thoughtful, funny and fearless.” Read complete review

The Life Game ensemble (including Brian Anderson, Jeff Gladstone, Ryan Gladstone,  Denise Jones, alumnus Tom Jones, David Milchard, Veena Sood, Lori Triolo and Tallulah Winkelman)  will tell Jerry’s life story using renowned improvisation artist Keith Johnstone’s Life Game technique – and presto - a magical piece of improvised theatre.

Venue: Studio 1398  (in Festival House – top floor)
1398 Cartwright Street, Granville Island
Tickets: 17.50 advance $20.00 at the door 
Box Office: or 604.684.2787
More info:
Studio 1398
1398 Cartwright Street, Granville Island
Sunday Jan. 8 at 8pm


Event ImageTheatre & Film at UBC’s Mo Bros are a Hair Raising Success!

Is it a new western being staged ‘round these parts? Nope, but congrats are in order - and not just for our men of Theatre & Film at UBC’s remarkable ability to grow hair on demand.

During the month of November these brave souls raised over $1,500 in donations going towards men’s health. During November each year, “Movember” is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in Canada and around the world. With their “Mo’s”, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer. 

A challenge between faculty and staff drove the fun spirited competition to reach over $1,500 on the final day. Our Movember Bros send heartfelt thanks to women in their lives, Mo Sistas, and their clean shaven male counterparts for the donations. Canada took the lead in fundraising with $39,116,661 being raised by 246,480 registrants and worldwide $109,668,459 was raised. More at

Check out our team page on the Movember Canada website to see their progress:

Event ImageAssociate Professor and co-Artistic Director of Main Street Theatre Stephen Malloy, directs and designs Sam Shepard's TRUE WEST

Main Street Theatre, Little Mountain Studios
Nov. 29-Dec. 10, 7:30 PM
Please note: this run has SOLD OUT

by Sam Shepard
Main Street Theatre
Little Mountain Studios
195 East 26th Ave & Main Street 
Nov. 29-Dec. 10, 7:30 PM
Pay-what-you-can (suggested $20)
tickets: 604-992-2313

Main Street Theatre, one of Vancouver’s favourite independent theatre collectives, is set to open Sam Shepherd’s True West. This award winning, darkly humourous script is an enthralling examination of brotherhood, blood connections, and the dusty emotional landscape of a dysfunctional family. Shepard's characters are locked in a deadly dual as they struggle to create a screenplay for a contemporary Western, based on a true story. Their journey into the unknown territory of the imagination turns into an excavation of their collective past.

Theatre at UBC faculty Stephen Malloy returns to Main Street to direct a stellar cast of Theatre at UBC BFA acting alumnus Ryan Beil, Josh Drebit, Daryl King and Barbara Pollard. Stage managed by Theatre at UBC BFA production alumna Stephanie Meine. Design by Stephen Malloy.

Staged at the company’s home base, Little Mountain Studios (195 E. 26th Ave.) the “super-intimate”, “film-like” style that has become Main Street’s signature, will again be at play.

by Sam Shepard
Main Street Theatre
Little Mountain Studios
195 East 26th Ave & Main Street 
Nov. 29-Dec. 10, 7:30 PM
Preview: Nov. 28
Pay-what-you-can (suggested $20)
tickets: 604-992-2313

7:30 PM Start Time.


For reservations call: 604-992-2313

event image

Professor Emeritus John Wright directs alumnus Anthony F. Ingram in Blackbird Theatre's Waiting for Godot. The Cultch.

Dec. 27-Jan. 21


This holiday season, treat yourself to a classic - and laugh till you cry.

Blackbird Theatre presents Samuel Beckett's profound comedic masterpiece 
Waiting for Godot
Previews: Dec. 27 & 28 | Opening: Dec. 29 - January 21, 2012  
Vancouver East Cultural Centre

Directed by Professor Emeritus John Wright 
Starring Alumnus Anthony F. Ingram with Simon Webb, William Samples, Adam Henderson.

The Creative team includes BFA Acting Alumna Kathy Duborg (Assistant Director) Adjunct Professor Jayson McLean (Production Manager)

Blackbird Theatre has turned everything it’s done so far into gold and... there’s no end in sight.” 
- The Vancouver Courier

"It's harrowing, it's funny, it's human: go and see it, and laugh till you cry." - Charles Spencer, Time Out (London) 2010

Brilliant? Absurd? A lot of meaningless nonsense? Blackbird Theatre presents that play - Samuel Beckett's harrowing, funny, and deeply human masterpiece. The award-winning company behind 2009's smash hit Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? brings to life a seminal work of the 20th century where nothing happens...twice. Find their blog and more at

DEC 27, 2011 - JAN 21, 2012
Dec 27-30, Jan 3-7, 10-14, 17-21: 8PM
Jan 1, 8, 15: 2PM
Post-show talkbacks: Jan 1 & 3
Tickets: From $16 Online: Phone: 604.251.1363

event poster imageDepartment Head hits the boards:

Reality Curve Theatre presents
Asymmetry by Rick Robinson
Tuesday, October 25 - Sunday, October 30, 2011


event poster imageHavana Theatre, 1212 Commercial Drive

Asymetry chronicles the halting first steps of three fledgling relationships, as six damaged people fumble for intimacy and balance. Each of these broken relationships comes to a head in one night, in the same physical space, each couple unaware of the others even as their stories intertwine.

Starring UBC Department of Theatre and Film Head Jerry Wasserman with Jessica Charbonneau, Leah Gibson, Cara McDowell, Paul Piaskowski and William C. Vaughan. Stuart Aikins directs. More:

"...Robinson creates a perfectly balanced play about the imbalance that seems so painfully inherent in every relationship."‹Backstage West

Sexual Content and language not suitable for young audiences.

event poster imageLunch Time Theatre Talks: Out of India

Theatre Professor Bob Eberle talks about his visit to India's National School of Drama in Delhi last year.

Thursday, Oct. 20, 12 noon

Frederic Wood Theatre (Offices & Classrooms, Room 112 Map:

"The National School of Drama, located in Delhi, is one of the foremost theatre training institutions in the world and the only one of its kind in India. Training in the School is highly intensive and based on a thorough, comprehensive, carefully planned syllabus that covers every aspect of theatre and in which theory is related to practice. The NSD operates a wide variety of other exciting and innovative programs." More:

Presented by


event imageAwards Season: It rains, it pours!

Congratulations to Professor Robert Gardiner who won Edmonton's Sterling Award for Outstanding Lighting Design and BFA Acting alumnus Gavin Crawford who won Toronto's Dora award for Outstanding Actor, Leading Man!


Congratulations to Professor Robert Gardiner who recently won Edmonton's Sterling Award for Outstanding Lighting Design for his work on Studies in Motion ­ a play which was work shopped and first premiered here at the Frederic Wood. Studies in Motion was written by alumnus Kevin Kerr who is a co-founder of Electric Company Theatre.

More awards news ­ our favourite funny man, BFA Acting alumnus Gavin Crawford (of TV's This Hour Has 22 Minutes fame), won Toronto's Dora award for Outstanding Actor, Leading Man for his performance in Sky Gilbert's new play The Situationists which premiered at Canada's renowned Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

Kudos to all our talented faculty, students, alumni - and yes even staff - who continue to inspire us with their dedicated work in theatres both near and far.

Photo Credit: David Hawe
Caption: Alumnus Gavin Crawford (BFA Acting) in Sky Gilbert's The Situationists. (Actors L-R: Haley McGee, Gavin Crawford and Gil Garratt)

event image11 Jessie Richardson Awards
Recognize Alumni, Faculty and Students

Congratulations to our talented alumni and faculty who were recognized at this year’s Vancouver professional theatre awards – the Jessie Richardson Awards!

In the small theatre category, Professor Stephen Malloy was named outstanding director for the Main Street Theatre equity co-op production of A Lie of The Mind (actress Barbara Pollard earned best supporting actress for that production, as well.) Alumna and adjunct professor Susan Bertoia won outstanding lead actress for the Firehall Arts Centre/Western Canada Theatre's Mambo Italiano. Outstanding costume design for small theatre went to alumna Farnaz Khaki-Sadigh for Touchstone Theatre's Mimi; or A Poisoner's Comedy.

In the large theatre category the alumnus founded Arts Club Theatre Company came away the biggest single winner of the evening, taking 10 Jessies for six of its productions. Professor and alumna Alison Green took outstanding set design and alumnus Phillip Clarkson won outstanding costume design for George Bernard Shaw's The Philanderer at the Arts Club Theatre. The innovative multimedia production Tear the Curtain!, an Arts Club co-production with Electric Company Theatre, earned two prizes – one for lighting design going to alumnus Alan Brodie (with Brian Johnson) and another for outstanding original script which went to alumnus Kevin Kerr (with Jonathon Young).

Two of the evening’s most notable awards went to alumnus Dave Deveau, who received the Sydney Risk Award for emerging playwright for My Funny Valentine, and alumnus Evan Frayne who received the Sam Payne Award for most promising newcomer.

The artistic achievement award in Theatre for Young Audiences went to alumna Yulia Shtern, Al Frisk, Jeff Harrison, Jeff Tymoschuk and Heidi Wilkinson), the design team behind Carousel Theatre’s Pharaoh Serket and the Lost Stone of Fire.

Last but not least distinguished UBC alumna Jane Penistan earned the Georgia Straight’s Patron of the Arts Award.

A round of applause is due to our entire Vancouver theatre community for an inspirational year in our theatres – bravo! Read about all the winners at:

event imageCongratulations to all of Theatre at UBC’s Faculty, Students and Alumni who received a total of 27 nominations in the 28 categories announced at the annual Jessie Richardson Awards nominations party!


Professor Stephen Malloy earned a well deserved Jessie nod for his direction of Main Street Theatre’s Lie of the Mind, which was recognized with four additional nominations for Outstanding Performances and another one for Outstanding Production.

Faculty member and alumna Alison Green was nominated for both Outstanding Costume Design and Outstanding Set Design for The Philanderer - Arts Club Theatre Company.

One of our very own 2010 -11 season shows Jade in the Coal, a co-production with Pangaea Arts, received nominations for both Significant Artistic Achievement and Outstanding Costume Design.

See our 27 nominations below – and a complete list at

29th Annual Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards:


Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role, Large Theatre

  • John Murphy
    Much Ado About Nothing - Bard on the Beach

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role, Large Theatre

  • Dawn Petten           
    Tear the Curtain! - Arts Club Theatre Company (in association with Electric Company Theatre)

Outstanding Lighting Design, Large Theatre

  • Alan Brodie           
    Noel Coward's Brief Encounter - Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company
    (co-production with Manitoba Theatre Centre)    
  • Alan Brodie           
    Tear the Curtain! - Arts Club Theatre Company
    (in association with Electric Company Theatre)

Outstanding Set Design, Large Theatre

  • Alison Green           
    The Philanderer - Arts Club Theatre Company 

Outstanding Costume Design, Large Theatre

  • Phillip Clarkson
    The Philanderer – Arts Club Theatre Company
  • Alison Green           
    Dangerous Corner - Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company
  • Rebekka Sorensen           
    The 39 Steps - Arts Club Theatre Company
  • Sheila White           
    Don Quixote - Arts Club Theatre Company
    (in association with Axis Theatre; co-produced with Centaur Theatre)

Outstanding Integration of Film/Video

  • Kevin Kerr (with Kim Collier and Jonathon Young)
    Tear the Curtain! - Arts Club Theatre Company
    (in association with Electric Company Theatre)           


Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role, Small Theatre

  • Susan Bertoia           
    Mambo Italiano - Firehall Arts Centre
    (co-production with Western Canada Theatre)

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Small Theatre

  • Ashley O'Connell           
    The Pillowman - Wild Geese Equity Co-op

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Small Theatre

  • Kathleen Duborg           
    A Lie of the Mind - Main Street Theatre

Outstanding Lighting Design, Small Theatre

  • Lauchlin Johnston           
    Playland - Pacific Theatre

Outstanding Set Design, Small Theatre

  • Lauchlin Johnston            
    My Name Is Asher Lev - Pacific Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design, Small Theatre

  • Farnaz Khaki-Sadigh             
    Mimi, or A Poisoner's Comedy  - Touchstone Theatre 

Outstanding Direction, Small Theatre

  • Anthony F. Ingram           
    Playland - Pacific Theatre
  • Stephen Malloy             
    A Lie of the Mind - Main Street Theatre
  • Richard Wolfe             
    The Busy World Is Hushed - one2theatre

Outstanding Production, Small Theatre

  • A Lie of the Mind - Main Street Theatre 

Significant Artistic Achievement, Small Theatre: Outstanding performing Ensemble

  • Meghan Gardiner (with Greg Armstrong-Morris, Lauren Bowler, and Shawn Macdonald)
    Home Shark - Equity Co-op           

Significant Artistic Achievement, Small Theatre: Outstanding Work of International Collaboration

  • Jade in the Coal - Pangaea Arts (co-production with Theatre at UBC)           


Outstanding Design, Theatre for Young Audiences: Outstanding Scenery & Props Design

  • Kevin McAllister
    500 Words - Green Thumb Theatre

Significant Artistic Achievement, Theatre for Young Audiences: Outstanding Design Team

  • Al Frisk and Yulia Shtern (with Jeff Harrison,  Jeff Tymoschuk, and Heidi Wilkinson)
    Pharaoh Serket & The Lost Stone of Fire - Carousel Theatre

Significant Artistic Achievement, Theatre for Young Audiences: Outstanding Ensemble Performance           

  • Naomi Wright (with Gaelan Beatty and Josue Laboucane)
    Bird Brain – Carousel Theatre

Outstanding Original Script:

  • Dave Deveau
    My Funny Valentine – Zee Zee Theatre
  • Kevin Kerr (with Jonathon Young)
    Tear the Curtain! - Arts Club Theatre Company (in association with Electric Company Theatre)

There are additional awards that will be presented at the Jessie ceremony – the Georgia Straight Patron of the Arts Award, the Mary Phillips Prize, the Ray Michal Prize for Emerging Director, the Sam Payne Award for the Most Promising Newcomer, the John Moffat & Larry Lillo Award, the Critics’ Choice Innovation Award sponsored by the Vancouver Sun and the GVPTA Career Achievement Award.

The 29th Annual Ceremony will again be held at the beautiful Commodore Ballroom, 868 Granville Street, on Monday, June 20, 2011, doors open at 5:30pm, ceremony at 6:45pm. Tickets are $25.50 plus service charges, through Ticketmaster 1-855-985-5000 or online at The ceremony is being produced and directed by Vancouver TheatreSports who will produce a festive evening.

See a complete list of the nominees and find out more about the awards party on Monday, June 20th at

event imageFaculty, students & alumni in Songfire Festival

The Vancouver International Song Institute and the SONGFIRE Festival of Song present: All the World’s a Stage. An extraordinary night of Song and Theatre. Saturday June 11 8:00 pm. UBC FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE ~ CONCERT: SONGFIRE THEATRE

Part One: To honour the Bard, “SHAKESPEARE’S KINGDOM” sets the stage with a medley of texts from his era sung by glorious VISI sopranos and mezzo-sopranos, with stage direction by Alan Corbishley.

Part Two: TRY ME GOOD KING: LAST WORDS OF THE WIVES OF HENRY VIII. Two divorced, two beheaded, and one sacrificed in childbirth. All five swept up in the tumultuous reign of England’s most notorious monarch, Henry VIII. While gasping for breath on his deathbed, a startling series of ghostly visitations brings Henry face to face with the human cost of his tragic legacy. Libby Larsen’s stark and searing settings of historical texts are fused with rich excerpts from Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, framed with original dramatic text, illuminated with cutting edge digital scenography, and ignited by the explosive power of Bard on the Beach’s Dean Paul Gibson, soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen, pianist Terence Dawson, and actress Barbara Kozicki (UBC BFA Acting alumna) in the premiere of a SONGFIRE Theatre work created and directed by Theatre at UBC Associate Professor Tom Scholte

Production Team for BOTH shows: Stage Manager - Collette Brown (BFA Theatre Design and Production), Sceneographer - Wladimiro Woyno (BFA Theatre Design and Production), Costume Design - Diana Sepulveda (BFA Theatre Design and Production), Director of Photography - Laura Good (BFA Film Production)

$25 Adults, $23 Senior or VISI member, $10 Student
More information about the Vancouver Institute of Song and SONGFIRE June 4 – 25, 2011at


event imageProfessor Emeritus Charlie Siegel presents and directs adaptation at Jericho Arts Centre

Written & Directed by Theatre at UBC Professor Emeritus Charles Siegel



A theatre piece adapted from the writings of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Horace Walpole & Alexander Pope 

Written & Directed by Theatre at UBC Professor Emeritus Charles Siegel

This is a chance to meet Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Flamboyant, talented, and controversial, she was an important figure in the history of English letters. 

Before tweets, there was letter writing. In the 18th Century complete sentences were more valued than klvr abbr, and Lady Mary was one of the best. Much of the play is assembled from material written in the 18th Century by Lady Mary and her friends - Horace Walpole, Lord Hervey, and especially, Alexander Pope. 

Lady Mary was a woman of great courage and determination, eloping at the age of 18, travelling to Turkey with her ambassador husband, introducing small pox inoculation to England on her return, casting all aside at the age of 40 to pursue a young Italian nobleman. Alexander Pope, the poet laureate, was besotted with her, and his love letters make up a large part of this piece. Walpole single-handedly started the Gothic revival that dominated architecture and design for the next century. He also wrote the first gothic novel (about mother/son incest).

In this theatre piece, Walpole tries to find out the truth about Lady Mary’s questionable reputation as a brilliant, but sexually irresponsible, woman. He gets more than he bargained for! This production brings together two of Vancouver’s finest actors, Jessie Richardson award winning Theatre at UBC alumnus Anthony F. Ingram and Gwynyth Walsh.

Writer/Director Charles Siegel is also an accomplished actor for film and stage. He directed Mrs Klein last fall for the United Players and is a former Chair of the Theatre Program at UBC.

More at:

at the Jericho Arts Centre 
1675 Discovery
June 6 - June 22, 2011
Monday through Wednesday, at 8 pm
Tickets $16

Online reservations:
or 604 224 8007, ext. 3


event imageJean Driscoll-Bell gets 25 years!



Congratulations to Theatre at UBC’s Head of Wardrobe Jean Driscoll-Bell on her induction into UBC’s 25 Year Club. 


Photo (above): Jean Driscoll-Bell with Theatre at UBC Business Manager Gerald Vanderwoude. Photo Credit: Don Erhardt

Jean began her tenure with UBC Theatre Dept. in 1987 as Costume Specialist working with Design Prof. Brian Jackson, Mara Gottler and Alison Green and Wardrobe Head, Rosemary Hezelton.  Following Rosemary’s retirement in 1998, and Jean’s appointment as Head of Wardrobe, the Costume Shop was moved from the Trap Room to the current space, the original Dorothy Somerset Studio. This move corresponded with the completion of the Telus Theatre. With new responsibilities and a new space, Jean designed and began teaching UBC theatre courses in sewing and costume pattern making along with insuring the costume needs for all main stage shows at the Fredric Wood Theatre and the Telus Theatre. 

Prior to Jean’s arrival at UBC, she was co-owner of Cissor’s Studio along with business partner Leslie White, worked as a cutter/sewer for the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre for 4 yrs,  CBC, Arts Club Theatre, The Stratford Festival in Ontario and numerous local smaller theatre companies.   Outside of her theatre costuming work, Jean’s interests included serving as an executive member of the Abreast In A Boat, a breast cancer survivor dragon boat team for 7 yrs, a 5 yrs winning fundraising Team captain with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - RUN for the CURE and President of the sports club The Inside Edge Club.  Prior to discovering professional theatre, Jean was a publicist for Presentation House and politically active with the B.C. Liberal Party. She enjoys skiing, bridge, gardening and more recently quilting. 

We’re so appreciative of Jean’s impact on our students in the classroom and as an integral part of the production team for every show in our season over the past 25 years. For a sampling of Jean’s prowess in bringing both our student and professional costume designer’s visions to life have a look at our recent production shots posted on Flickr.


event imageLeo Awards Roar for Students, Faculty and Alumni: UBC Department of Theatre and Film

The 2011 Leo Award Nominations have been announced and the UBC Department of Theatre & Film has much to celebrate!

With a total of over 30 nominations, no less than 25 students, alumni and adjunct professors are honoured in categories ranging from Best Student Film and Best Documentary to Best Music Video and Best Feature Length Drama.

Highlights include the first Student Production nomination since the launch of the revitalized UBC Film Production program for the short Little Big Kid.

Multiple nominee Terry Miles’ feature A Night for Dying Tigers, produced by UBC alumni and Film Production Alumni Association President Sidney Chiu, is nominated for four Leo Awards.

Other multiple award nominees include Mark Ratzlaff’s short drama Voodoo, which is nominated for a total of 11 Leo Awards – 8 of which are for UBC alumni including one for Camille Sullivan in the category of Best Performance.. Cinematographer Lindsay George and director/cinematographer Glen Winter are both nominated for two awards each.

A hearty congrats to professor (and BFA Acting, MFA directing Alumnus) Tom Scholte who along with co-star Ben Ratner has received a Leo Award nomination in the category Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Feature Length Drama for work in the film Fathers & Sons

We wish al our UBC Theatre & Film alumni luck at the Leo Celebration Awards Ceremony June 8th at Club 560 and the Gala Awards Ceremony June 11th at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

The Leo Awards celebrate excellence in British Columbia film and television, for a complete list of nominees, please visit: 

Drum roll please? And the UBC Department of Theatre and Film nominees are....


Best Student Production
Kathleen Jayme – Little Big Kid


Nominee for Feature Length Drama
Stephen Hegyes – Producer - Gunless
Nominee for Best Direction in a Feature Length Drama
Terry Miles - A Night for Dying Tigers
Nominee for Best Screenwriting in a Feature Length Drama
Dennis Foon – Life, Above All
Terry Miles - A Night for Dying Tigers
Nominees for Best Cinematography in a Feature Length Drama
Gregory Middleton - Gunless
Terry Miles & Lindsay George - A Night for Dying Tigers
Nominees for Best Editing in a Feature Length Drama
Chris Bizzocchi – Altitude
Richard Martin - Transparency
Terry Miles - A Night for Dying Tigers
Mark Shearer – Repeaters
Nominee for Best Sound Editing in a Feature Length Drama
Anka Bakker, Jeff Davis, Dean Giammarco, Gord Hillier, Maureen Murphy –Altitude
Nominee for Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Feature Length Drama
Tom Scholte – Fathers & Sons


Nominee for Best Feature Length Documentary Program
Yves J. Ma, Sturla Gunnarsson, Janice Tufford – Producers – Force of Nature
Nominee for Best Short Documentary Program
Eric Hogan, Tara Hungerford, Lauren Grant, Murray Battle – Producers – A Window
Looking In


Nominee for Best Direction in a Dramatic Series
Glen Winter – Smallville
Nominee for Best Cinematography in a Dramatic Series
Glen Winter – Smallville


Nominee for Best Direction in a Youth or Children’s Program or Series
Brenton Spencer – Smallville


Nominee for Best Performance by a Female in a Short Drama
Camille Sullivan - Voodoo
Nominees for Best Short Drama
Amy Belling, A.J. Bond – Producers – Madam Perrault’s Bluebeard
Mark Ratzlaff, Jessica Cheung- Producers – Voodoo
Nominees for Best Direction in a Short Drama
Mark Ratzlaff – Voodoo
Nominees for Best Screenwriting in a Short Drama
Mark Ratzlaff – Voodoo
Nominees for Cinematography in a Short Drama
Amy Belling – Madam Perrault’s Bluebeard
Lindsay George – Voodoo
Nominees for Best Editing in a Short Drama
Lauren Mainland – Voodoo
Nominees for Best Musical Score in a Short Drama
Adam Locke-Norton – Voodoo
Nominees for Best Production Design in a Short Drama
Madeleine Grant – Voodoo
Nominee for Best Production Design in Short Drama:
Karen Mirfield - Hop the Twig


Nominee for Best Music Video
Chris von Szombathy, A.J. Bond – Producers – Soft Serve by Audio Ahdeo Awdio


Nominee for Best Information or Lifestyle Series
Sarah Groundwater, Producer – The Wedding Belles
Nominee for Best Host – Information or Lifestyle Series:
Sarah Groundwater - The Wedding Belles "Food or Wong Foo"


Nominee for Best Web Series
Maureen Bradley, Julia Dillon-Davis, Eliza Robertson, Daniel Hogg – Producers –
Fisherman’s Wharf

Find out more at

event imageAfter 19 Theatre at UBC Seasons, Properties Artist Janet Bickford Retires

This April, Janet retires from her work with us after 19 Theatre at UBC seasons, gallons of hot glue and paint, rooms full of break away chairs, an armory’s worth of weaponry, countless hours of sourcing rare items... [continue reading]

Props is one of the few aspects of the theatre that, when done perfectly, often doesn’t get noticed. It blends so well into the fabric of the play that it becomes practically invisible. Yet, when properties are executed with expertise these creations amplify the enjoyment of audience and actors alike, immeasurably. Properties can be one of the most powerful sources of theatrical magic and, here at Theatre at UBC, we’ve been fortunate to have UBC Alumna Janet Bickford, one of the very best Theatrical Properties artists in the business, working her wizardry.

This April, Janet retires from her work with us after 19 Theatre at UBC seasons, gallons of hot glue and paint, rooms full of break away chairs, an armory’s worth of weaponry, countless hours of sourcing rare items, the never ending high wire act of balancing budgets with creative vision - and a tireless dedication to guiding students in the way of the “Prop Tart”. 

During her colourful career, Janet has worked for many notable stages including The National Arts Centre, Shaw Festival, Vancouver Opera, Bard on the Beach, Holiday Theatre and as Head of Properties for the Vancouver Playhouse. She also worked on numerous feature films for companies including Disney and Universal, as well as on projects for two World’s Expositions.

We will miss Janet's talents on our team, her camaraderie, delightful Christmas and end of season parties amid the props as well as her unfailing dedication to our theatre. Please visit our blog for the story of her career told in her own words.



event imageArts Club's The Graduate features Grads & Faculty!

Theatre at UBC BFA Acting & MFA Directing alumna Lois Anderson directs fellow alumni Camille Mitchell and Ashley O'Connell along with Professor Jerry Wasserman in The Graduate at the at the Arts Club Theatre Company's Granville Island Stage!

Adapted for the stage by Terry Johnson
April 14-May 14, 2011
at the Granville Island Stage

Mrs. Robinson, Are You Trying to Seduce Me? Benjamin Braddock (Kayvon Khoshkam) is a little worried about his future. Just out of college, he doesn't know what he wants from life—but it sure isn't plastics. Then he meets Elaine (Celine Stubel). The only problem? She's Mrs. Robinson's (alumna Camille Mitchell) daughter!

The Graduate is adapted for the stage from the popular 1967 romantic comedy film that starred Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft in the iconic roles of Benjamin Braddock and Mrs. Robinson. The story of Benjamin finding his way in life after college spoke to a generation about the ways of the adult world, and the loss of innocence.

"For The Graduate, I wanted a director who could balance the sensibilities of the play. Enter [alumna] Lois Anderson," says Bill Millerd, Artistic Manager Director of the Arts Club. "Lois has a warm, generous sense of humour and a singular style of theatricality that has its roots in the clown work that she did early in her acting career. The adaptation of the film into a play brings with it very challenging design and staging questions—just the kind of problem that directors like Lois relish tackling. And there's no doubt that her vision will bring fresh energy to this classic story."

The film is ranked as the seventh greatest of all time on the American Film Institute's 100 Years…100 Movies list, and in 1996, it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the National Film Preservation Board of the U.S. Library of Congress and added to the National Film Registry.

Adapted for the stage by Terry Johnson. Based on the novel by Charles Webb and the screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Starring Lisa Bunting, Bill Dow, Kayvon Khoshkam, Ashley O'Connell, Celine Stubel, Jerry Wasserman, and Camille Mitchell as Mrs. Robinson. Director Lois Anderson. Costume Designer Nancy Bryant. Set Designer Amir Ofek. Lighting Designer Ted Roberts. Stage Manager Marion Anderson. Assistant Stage Manager Ingrid Turk.

The Arts Club Theatre Company presents The Graduate at the Granville Island Stage (1585 Johnston Street) from April 14 to May 14, 2011 (MEDIA OPENING: April 20). Monday to Saturday at 8 pm, and Wednesday & Saturday at 2 pm. Tickets are $29 to $49, inclusive of taxes and fees. Call the Arts Club Box Office at 604.687.1644 or visit

event imageBFA Acting Alumnus, MFA Directing Alumnus and current Faculty member Tom Scholte stars in The Philanderer

event imageby George Bernard Shaw
Arts Club Theatre Company
Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
Mar. 17-April 17
604-687-1644 or

Directed by MFA Directing Alumna and Adjunct Professor Rachel Ditor, set design by MFA Design Alumna and current Faculty member Alison Green, sound design by Adjunct Professor Patrick Pennefather, stage managed by Alumna Pamela Jakobs.



event imageProfessor Ernest Mathijs publishes new Cult Cinema primer

event imageCongratulations to UBC Theatre and Film Prof. Ernest Mathijs on the launch of his new book "Cult Cinema"

"Cult Cinema: an Introduction" presents the first in-depth academic examination of all aspects of the field of cult cinema, including audiences, genres, and theoretical perspectives.It represents the first exhaustive introduction to cult cinema and a scholarly treatment of a hotly contested topic at the center of current academic debate. This important new work covers audience reactions, aesthetics, genres, theories of cult cinema, as well as historical insights into the topic

From the back cover: “At once subversive, strange, and wondrous, the world of cult cinema is a wildly popular culture that blurs genres, crosses boundaries, and defies easy categorization. So what exactly do we mean, then, by the term "cult cinema"? Cult Cinema presents the first in-depth academic examination of all aspects of the field of cult cinema, including its primary audiences, myriad genres, and the theoretical perspectives that inform a film's "cult" status. Cult Cinema addresses the well-known aspects of cult cinema -- midnight movies, exploitation films, fans of various cult sub-genres, issues of censorship, cult-film festivals, and fanzines – but it also unravels many of cult cinema's deeper mysteries, tackling such issues as representations of gender, transgression, subcultures, religious cultism, music, and meta-cults (cult movies about cult movies). 

Topics are presented in sections that are organized thematically around issues relating to reception, aesthetics, and theories. Among the films discussed are such cult classics as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Donnie Darko, Blade Runner, Plan 9 From Outer Space, El Topo, Eraserhead, Freaks, Casablanca, Suspiria, The Room, and many others. For cinephiles and scholars alike, Cult Cinema is the ticket to the most complete source of information about a fascinating phenomenon in the history of film.”

About the Authors

Ernest Mathijs is Associate Professor in Film Studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada. His books include The Cult Film Reader (co-editor), three books on the reception of The Lord of the Rings, and The Cinema of David Cronenberg: From Baron of Blood to Cultural Hero.

Jamie Sexton is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, Northumbria University, UK. He is the author of Alternative Film Culture in Inter-War Britain (2008), editor of Music, Sound and Multimedia: From the Live to the Virtual (2007), and co-editor (with Laura Mulvey) of Experimental British Television (2007).


event imageStephen Heatley takes on the mantle of “Fearless Leader” at UBC

The Department of Theatre and Film announces the appointment of Professor Stephen Heatley as their interim Department Head a.k.a. “Fearless Leader”. He takes over the post temporarily from Professor Jerry Wasserman who is on Administrative Leave.

Stephen Heatley has worked as a professional theatre artist for over 35 years, specializing in directing for theatre. Before coming to UBC he spent 12 years as Artistic Director of Edmonton’s acclaimed Theatre Network, where he directed 30 world premieres.  He also spent five years as Associate Artistic Director of the Citadel Theatre, and five years as resident director of the Free Will Players. He holds an MFA in Directing for Theatre from the University of Alberta and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Drama and English from Brock University. Heatley joined the faculty of Theatre and Film at UBC in 1999 and will be its Head from January through June, 2011.

During his Administrative Leave Professor Wasserman will be working on his 5th edition of Modern Canadian Plays and also continuing his research on the 19th century performance troupe Captain McDonald's Indians, which is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Wasserman, who has been a professor of English and Theatre at UBC since 1972 and Department Head for the past three years, is also one of Vancouver’s most versatile actors. While away from UBC he’ll be acting in a play at one of Vancouver’s major theatres - watch for an announcement in the coming months. In the meantime, he’s off to Southeast Asia for some well deserved r&r.


event imageFaculty Tom Scholte stars in feature film: Fathers & Sons

Fathers & Sons
Runs in Vancouver at the Cineplex international Village (formerly Tinsletown) January 21 - 27.

Professor and UBC alumnus Tom Scholte stars alongside Stephen Lobo, Manoj Sood, Tyler Labine, Vincent Gale, Hrothgar Mathews, Blu Mankuma, Viv Leacock, Jay Brazeau, Benjamin Ratner, Sonja Bennett. Carl Bessai directs.

Fathers & Sons is an alternative feature length drama that employs aspects of the documentary and the conventional drama in its creation and execution.  Following the lives of four very different families as they confront a pivotal moment in their relationships, the film celebrates those unchosen bonds that shape our lives, the blessings and burdens.


event imageAssociate Professor Stephen Malloy and co-Artistic Director of Main Street Theatre, directs and designs Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind to rave reviews

Please note: this run has SOLD OUT

Starring Theatre at UBC Alumni Ryan Beil & Kathleen Duborg, Josh Drebit, Daryl King, Rebecca Auerbach, Lara Gilchrist, Patrick Keating and Barbara Pollard. Stage managed by alumna Stephanie Meine.

>> Recent reviews:

  • "Stephen Malloy directs a strong cast who, to a man and woman, understand that this masterpiece of manipulation sneaks its subtle ideas into our subconscious by shouting them out."
    Peter Birney, Vancouver Sun. >>Read review
  • "Malloy ensures that the actors honour the words and rhythm of the play like a partnered dance that flows between scenes nailing the humour and the pathos in equal measure."
    Andrea Rabinovitch, The Vancouver Observer. >>Read review
  • " of the best shows of the year."
    Jerry Wasserman, >>Read Review
  • "It's an actor's playground where each character is so meticulously crafted with psychological quirks--or downright psychoses--that once the actor has grasped the character, he or she can just let it rip. And rip they do."
    Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier. >>Read Review

event imageWelcome to our new Theatre Studies SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Heather Davis-Fisch

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow
Theatre Studies
Send Email

Heather Davis-Fisch holds a PhD in theatre from the University of Guelph. Her research interest is in intercultural performance in the nineteenth century, with a focus on the Canadian Arctic. She has two articles forthcoming: the first, for Theatre Research in Canada, examines the connection between square dancing and interracial sexual liaisons on whaling ships; the second, for Performing Arts Resources, addresses the methodological and evidentiary challenges posed by an 1869 account of an Inuit re-enactment of a pantomime performed by Franklin expedition survivors. Heather is in the final stages of revising a manuscript adapted from her dissertation, which argues that performance is a crucial way of understanding the affective impact of the disappearance of the Franklin expedition. Her current project, entitled “Royal Arctic Theatricality: Shipboard Performance and Intercultural Contact in the Arctic, 1818-1876” examines the ways that the British Navy’s long tradition of shipboard theatre and contact performances between British and Inuit together shaped intercultural relations and understandings of race during this period.

event imageWe're in Canadian Theatre Review!

August’s issue of Canadian Theatre Review which is focused around the topic of improvisation features wonderful papers by both assistant Professor (and alumnus) Tom Scholte and alumnus Alex Lazaridis Ferguson.

The Stanislavski Game: Improvisation in the Rehearsal of Scripted Plays – by Tom Scholte

Abstract: Throughout theatre history, the power of improvisation to forge a deeper connection between actor and text has been made abundantly clear. And yet, in seventeen years as a professional actor in Canada, I have never once seen improvisation used in the rehearsal process for a scripted play. In the increasingly truncated rehearsal periods common to professional theatre practice in Canada, “exploratory” techniques such as improvisation may seem like an impossible luxury. However, I have come to believe that the integration of such techniques, rooted in the neglected “Later Legacies” of Konstantin Stanislaski, might, in fact, be the most effective way to make our work go further faster and to make the most of the extremely limited time available to Canadian theatre practitioners in a professional rehearsal context. This article outlines my ongoing research into the potential adaptation of these rehearsal practices to the reality of contemporary Canadian production.

Improvising the Document – by Alex Lazaridis Ferguson

Abstract: In a documentary play in which actors represent living or
historical people, textual artefact is replaced by creatively embodied document. Every stage of the construction of that document, from a subject's recall of events, to a researcher's transcription of the subject's testimony, to performance, is an act of improvisation. Reflecting on Nanay: a testimonial play, this paper examines the document as a necessarily creative construction. It describes improvisative decisions made at every stage of the rehearsal process, how they resulted in naturalistic or non-naturalistic staging, and how spectators and researchers correlated truth claims to the various theatrical genres employed. Referencing cognitive and event theories, Ferguson argues that the spectator engages with embodied performance somatically, and that “identification” based on mutual embodied encounter becomes critical to the spectator's acceptance or rejection of a documentary play's truth claims.

Published quarterly by the University of Toronto Press each issue of Canadian Theatre Review includes at least one complete playscript related to the issue theme, insightful articles, and informative reviews. CTR continues to delve into the urgent issues of Canadian theatre, providing theatre scholars with a starting point for further study of current developments in the field. Recent themes detailed by the Canadian Theatre Review include Native Theatre, Actor Training, Canadian Women Playwrights, and Scenography. Canadian Theatre Review is the major magazine of record for Canadian theatre. More at

photoProfessor Heatley - Huzzah!

Congratulations to faculty member Stephen Heatley who has been promoted to Full Professor.

A real honour and well deserved for one of our most accomplished colleagues. Currently Stephen is Coordinator of the MFA Directing Program and before joining UBC he spent twelve seasons as Artistic Director of Edmonton's Theatre Network where he directed over thirty world premieres.

He is former Associate Artistic Director of the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton and has directed for many other companies in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Toronto, Blyth, and Victoria. He has taught courses at Brock University and the University of Alberta - but now he is all ours.

Reid Gilbert, Adjunct Professor of Theatre, has been awarded an International Chair at l'Universite Libre de Bruxelles (Brussels University) for 2011.

He will be in residence for a month discussing issues in Canadian drama, especially the intersections among traditional and new voices in early 21st century theatre in Canada. Congratulations to Reid, who will be teaching Drama 300 for Theatre at UBC this fall.

Congratulations to three Theatre and Film faculty who have just been awarded Hampton Research Grants for three fascinating projects.

Brian McIlroy for "Vancouver Goes to the Movies: Towards a Social and Contextual History of Cinemagoing and Film Exhibition in Vancouver, 1889-1929"

Rachel Talalay for "Lewis Carroll in Wonderland: A 3-D Short Musical Film"

Steven Liu for "Cumberland: An Original Chinese Canadian Intercultural Theatrical Production"

photoUBC’s Top Staff Award Comes to Theatre & Film!
Gerald Vanderwoude, MFA directing Alumnus and Department of Theatre and Film Administrator & Business Manager, has been selected as one of the recipients of UBC’s President's Service Award for Excellence 2010.


"[Gerald’s] dedication and willingness to go beyond the call of duty have been truly outstanding, and I extend my warmest congratulations" - Stephen J. Toope, President, University of British Columbia

“I can think of no one with whom I’ve worked in my 37 years on faculty at UBC who better exemplifies the values of service excellence for which the President’s Award is given.” - Jerry Wasserman, Head, Department of Theatre and Film

“His business and administrative acumen is bar none, one of the best.” - Brian Lee, Director of Finance, Faculty of Arts

“[Gerald is] a man of extraordinary integrity and compassion whose ministrations go far beyond the job-description that he fills so extraordinarily well.” - Errol Durbach, Professor Emeritus, UBC Department of Theatre and Film

A medal and prize of $5,000 will be awarded to Mr. Vanderwoude at one of the ceremonies during Spring congregation (May 26-28 and June 1-2) or Fall congregation (Nov 24-26). Staff, faculty and students alike benefit daily from Gerald’s hard work, dedication, talents and extreme generosity. We heartily join in congratulating him for this richly deserved recognition.

Aside from his multitude of achievements as Administrator & Business Manager for the Department of Theatre & Film, Gerald has directed over 40 theatrical productions in Vancouver and specializes in works by Samuel Beckett. Recent credits include Errol Durbach’s new adaptation of The Master Builder, Bella Luna’s acclaimed productions of FUTURISTI! and The Return of FUTURISTI! (co-directed with Susan Bertoia) and Beckett Cent, a centenary celebration of the work of Samuel Beckett. Gerald’s publications include Framing Beckett: The success and failure of Beckett on Film (2005) and the play Chaplin Cargo Freight (1994).

About the President's Service Award for Excellence:

This is the top award presented to staff in recognition of excellence in personal achievements and contributions to UBC and to the vision and goals of the University. The President’s Service Award for Excellence (PSAE) has been awarded on campus since 1991 and since then, 92 employees have received the award.

The award is given to an individual who has accomplished some or all of the following:

  • Excelled in their area of work and in personal achievements
  • Excelled in their work over and above their job description
  • Improved the value, efficiency and sustainability of the services they provide
  • Maintained a consistently high quality of service to their clients (students, faculty, etc)
  • Displayed commitment to community enhancement in either the UBC community or service to another community
  • Exemplified good citizenship through personal volunteerism or by helping to position UBC as a good citizen in the wider world
  • Made outstanding contributions to UBC


It is with deep sadness we announce the loss of a long-time favourite faculty member and friend in the Theatre program, Master Teacher Award-winner Stanley Weese.

Stanley taught acting and directing in the department from 1966 until his retirement in 1988. He had a particular affinity for classics of the modern theatre, directing memorable Freddy Wood productions of O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night and A Moon for the Misbegotten, Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Endgame, Miller’s The Crucible and All My Sons, Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, Strindberg’s The Father, and Synge’s Playboy of the Western World. Stanley was also a very fine actor appearing in a number of productions around Vancouver and on the Frederic Wood Stage.

The Department wishes to honour Stanley’s request not to have a memorial service, however contributions to the charity “A Loving Spoonful” ( in Stanley’s name would be appreciated.


event imageCongratulations to Theatre at UBC Professor Robert Gardiner, this year's recipient of the Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance and Development in the Visual and Performing Arts.

>>More about Robert

Robert will be honoured in March at the Celebrate Research Awards gala.

As an award-winning professional scenographer, designing lighting and sets for theatre companies across Canada, Professor Gardiner has sustained a national reputation for over two decades. At the same time he has carried out cutting-edge technological research in scenographic projection that has garnered international attention, helping make UBC’s Theatre program one of North America’s leading sites of research in theatrical design. More about the award at

event imageCongratulations to Theatre at UBC Associate Professor Tom Scholte! Tom has sold his self-produced (and -directed and -starred) first film, Crime, to Superchannel.

>>More about Tom

Crime will begin screening in rotation on a TV near you at the end of March.

Tom Scholte is, perhaps, best known for his starring roles in the films of Bruce Sweeney: LIVE BAIT, DIRTY and LAST WEDDING for which he received a Genie (Canadian Oscar) nomination for Best Supporting Actor. As a writer, he co-authored the story for Sweeney’s DIRTY. As a feature-film producer, he was part of the team behind Larry Kent’s THE HAMSTER CAGE (in which he also starred) which had its premiere at the 2005 Montreal World Film Festival before appearing at international festivals around the world in. On television, Tom has been seen in many internationally broadcast television series and movies including THE X-FILES, THE DEAD ZONE, GOLDRUSH (THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY), and a Gemini winning performance on the acclaimed crime drama DA VINCI’S INQUEST.

On stage, he has performed with a number of Canada’s top theatre companies in both Vancouver and Toronto. He was also one of the founding members of Vancouver’s Neworld Theatre and directed the company’s first two productions: EVENING IN A STRANGE LAND by Bahram Beyzai and HONEYMOON by Gholamhoseyn Sa’edi. He also founded Vancouver’s Theatreshop where he produced and directed I AM YOURS and THE CRACKWALKER both by celebrated Canadian playwright Judith Thompson. CRIME is his feature-film directing debut.


event imageIs Avatar's social impact virtual, too?

By Patrick Pennefather (Theatre at UBC Adjunct Professor) Special To The Sun

>>Read article

Vancouver Sun
February 6, 2010

Nancy Gallini, Dean of Arts, UBC

Box-office champ and nine-time Academy Award nominee Avatar has hit a nerve with the public, triggering an outpouring of responses online. A virtual tsunami of reviews, blogs and commentaries on the movie reveal insights into our ideas about storytelling and technology, and the relationship between them in our lives.

Witnessing the triumph of the eight-foot-tall blue Na'vi is far more satisfying to us than contemplating the real-life fate of first cultures, few of which have not been dominated and subdued by governments seeking natural resource treasures. However, Avatar isn't just a movie made to assuage culturally inherited guilt. It also gives us an opportunity to examine the film's significance as a high-tech storytelling vehicle.

Online, a common theme emerges in most opinions of the movie: The story is predictable, but the visuals are amazing. So is it a question of technology versus story, or can technology be used to serve the story?

Google "Avatar" and "story" and you find a mashed-up hero story re-purposed from centuries of hijacked myths, but despite that, Avatar succeeds in mesmerizing even the harshest cynic with its mind-blowing visuals.

Avatar makes geeks of us all, who wish we could transplant our minds and souls into dragon-flying Na'vi in tune with nature. The story is unsurprising, but who cares? Personally, I was too busy watching translucent jellyfish float around my face.

There's no question that innovative new technology supports the director's story by allowing him to put actors into real-time interaction with fantastical settings and characters. And as technology continues to advance, reincarnations of Avatar will surface to provide us with an even better tech fix -- hopefully with more comfy glasses.

What remains to be seen is whether the impact viewers feel will translate into change in the way we live. But that's not the filmmaker's responsibility; it's ours. Avatar does not propose new ways to stop our momentum toward destroying ourselves and our planet. Some argue that the film only provides temporary solace. It gives the moviegoer a resolution more enduring than what can be found in the real world.

Yet, Avatar also reveals that the journey of the individual is the first step toward lasting change. This is nothing new, but it's a theme that needs persistent repetition.

Composer Patrick Pennefather is an adjunct professor at UBC's film and theatre department, where he teaches sound design.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

event imageAssociate Professor Stephen Malloy directs sold-out David Mamet hit American Buffalo, starring Theatre at UBC Alumnus Ryan Beil, Josh Drebit and Daryl King

>>Read reviews

By David Mamet
Main Street Theatre Company
Little Mountain Studios
195 E. 26th Avenue (26th and Main)
Jan. 14-26, 8 PM (Now Held Over to Jan. 26)
Pay-what-you-can (suggested $12)

Malloy really proves his worth, directing his cast to not only spit dialogue but do so with a sharp sense of Mamet's gift for uncovering the reality in his rhythms...This production offers the clearest interpretation I've ever seen of American Buffalo..."
Peter Birnie, Vancouver Sun

"Malloy’s direction is as unadorned as the set...It’s a pleasure watching these guys work at such close quarters, watching them making Mamet’s warped world feel so real...American Buffalo is a great theatrical pleasure. "
Jerry Wasserman,

"Great news, David Mamet fans. Main Street Theatre Equity Co-op (producers of the critically acclaimed Glengarry Glen Ross in 2008) is back with a scorching production of American Buffalo....Under Stephen Malloy's direction, this trio absolutely nails Mamet's distinctive style..."
Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier

Please note: The regular run of American Buffalo is now SOLD OUT. However, Main Street Theatre has just added 3 extra shows – Sunday (24th), Monday (25th) & Tuesday (26th). All proceeds from the Tuesday show will go towards relief in Haiti. Tickets: 604-992-2313.

From the theatre company that brought you last year’s sold-out hit GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, Main Street Theatre Equity Coop proudly presents David Mamet’s AMERICAN BUFFALO.  

Little Mountain Studio, 26th and Main, Vancouver. Run: January 14-26, 8PM. Preview on Wednesday, January 13th.

Directed and designed by Theatre at UBC faculty Stephen Malloy, AMERICAN BUFFALO stars Theatre at UBC Alumnus Ryan Beil, Josh Drebit and Daryl King.

  • Click here to read Peter Birnie's (Vancouver Sun Theatre Critic)
  • Click here to read Jerry Wasserman's ( Editor & Theatre Critic); and
  • Click here Jo Ledingham's (Vancouver Courier Theatre Critic) rave reviews of Stephen Malloy's production of American Buffalo...

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