IN THE COMMUNITY
The Inaugural George and Dr. Lee Grills Award
We are incredibly excited to share the news that longtime patron Dr. Lee Grills has stepped forward with a commitment to an annual award to support a ten-week internship at the Arts Club. In partnership with Capilano University, the Arts Club will award one annual internship from either the School for Performing Arts or the Arts & Entertainment Management program. This ten-week internship allows for on-the-job experience at a professional theatre company and provides networking opportunities and references for future employment.
The annual award is named in recognition of George and Dr. Lee Grills for their incredible contribution to the Arts Club.
George and Lee first became involved as ticket buyers at the Seymour Stage and soon became subscribers, donors, and eventually, George joined the Board of Directors in 1998. George would help lay the groundwork for what the organization is today. One of his first suggestions was to eliminate the general “rush” seating that meant standing in long lines and coming at least an hour before the show to get a good seat. Having sat on other charitable boards, including for the Vancouver Playhouse, it was George who insisted that the board members pay for their seats and become donors. Up until this point, free tickets were considered a perk, but George argued that the board members were key advocates and should be supporting the organization financially. He also maintained that building a strong donor base was the only way an arts group could thrive. It was shortly thereafter that the Artistic Director’s Circle (ADC) was formed.
George and Lee, along with a small number of dedicated theatre lovers would gather at the Stanley Theatre’s Bruce Milley Lounge. While the ADC was initially no more than a dozen, it has now grown to include more than 130 households.
George was also adamant that the Arts Club needed corporate support. He introduced Vancouver business leaders to the company and put tremendous energy into persuading companies that they had a role to play in the Arts Club’s future.
Lee, who continues to be a staple at Arts Club’s events, whether it is an opening night or a fundraising dinner, said, “Our interest in theatre stemmed from childhoods where we depended on friends and neighbours for entertainment. Funding education for worthy people stemmed from our own life experiences. George from teaching math in his Peace Corps days in the Philippines. Mine from being really poor and being denied a scholarship to UBC as it would be 'wasted on a girl.' I am really pleased to be able to give a young person an opportunity to intern with the Arts Club."
The first recipient of the award is Danelle Schiele from Capilano’s Arts & Entertainment Management program. Danelle described her experience thus far: “Now in my first practicum semester, being involved in the Arts Club has been very enlightening and helpful as I have been able to put everything I have learned in this program into practice. I have discovered how much work it takes to run a theatre company and the vast amount of people who are behind the success and execution of these amazing shows. I am looking forward to continuing my growth in this position!”
The Arts Club is incredibly grateful to Lee Grills for making this opportunity possible.
Artists for Afghanistan
In collaboration with Carey Perloff, the director of the American Conservatory Theater's production of A Thousand Splendid Suns, and Haysam Kadri, the director of the Arts Club's, we’ve produced this video to help the theatre community support the ongoing crisis both within Afghanistan and amongst refugees. Three short sections of the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns are being read that speak to this moment. Reading these sections are Afghan-American actors Fatima Wardak, Yousof Soultani, and Kris Zarif.
We encourage you to take the time to watch this video and learn more about organizations supporting Afghan refugees.
Community members (aged 18+) are invited to several free and social online theatre sessions. Get creative, playful, and meet new friends!
Master Workshop Series
Join us for the Master Workshop Series, a unique program for youth offered by the Arts Club and Arts Umbrella! This eight-class series offers budding actors aged 13–18 a chance to hone their skills and learn from the industry’s best as they explore podcasting, puppetry, fight choreography, physical theatre, and more!
The Shoe Project
The Shoe Project is an inspirational night of storytelling about immigration and resilience. It brings to the stage twelve amazing women who share their stories of arrival and adaptation to Canada—through a pair of shoes.
From India, Kurdistan in Iran, Eritrea, Israel, China, Bangladesh, Syria, Russia, Kenya, and Brazil, the performers have been coached in writing by author Caroline Adderson and in performance by voice coaches Sindy Angel and Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg. Their stories of migration will walk you far beyond your daily experience.
The Shoe Project is generously supported by The Fund of Gender Equality. The Fund for Gender Equality is supported by a collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada and the Equality Fund, with support from the Government of Canada.
Symposium: Theatre and Accessibility in a Digital World, October 2019
“How can we use digital technology to provide access for theatre patrons, artists, and community members living with disabilities who currently encounter barriers to the traditional theatre experience?” This question was explored during the symposium, organized jointly by the Arts Club and Bard on the Beach, in October 2019. Visit theatresymposium.com to continue the conversation.
This symposium was made possible by the generous support from the Canada Council’s Digital Strategy Fund
Culture Days, September 2019
Our annual participation with Culture Days aims to spread the joy of theatre with the Arts Club Fun House at the BMO Theatre Centre, an interactive session for adults and children. Our amazing staff presented costumes, props, and special effects and shared the magic of theatre-making!
Citizenship Ceremony, April 2019
The Arts Club is proud to host an annual Citizenship Ceremony. Last spring, we celebrated with 36 new Canadians at the BMO Theatre Centre.