By Ellen Close and Braden Griffiths

In partnership with Vertigo Theatre

February 6–March 7, 2020
Granville Island Stage
Hipster noir meets conspiracy thriller

After 63 years, the Beacon Hill Body remains a Vancouver Island cold-case murder. Forensic toxicologist Grace Godard thinks her scientific expertise is leading her close to an answer, closer than anyone has come before. But when she meets Aqeel Saleemi, a young man with a personal stake in the mystery, their efforts to crack the case have consequences neither of them imagined. This theatrically innovative and exhilarating world premiere will keep you on the edge of your seat.

“Everything leaves a trace, if you know how to look for it” —Grace in Cipher

  • Showtimes
    Monday 7:30 PM
    Tuesday 7:30 PM
    Wednesday 1:30 PM & 7:30 PM
    Thursday 7:30 PM
    Friday 8 PM
    Saturday 2 PM & 8 PM
    Sunday Closed
  • Special Performances
    VocalEye Performances
    Feb 25, 2020 – 7:30 PM
    Mar 6, 2020 – 8 PM

  • Seat map
  • Directions & Parking
    1585 Johnston Street
    Vancouver, BC
    V6H 3R9

    Parking Tips
  • Restaurants
    Present your same-day theatre ticket at one of our restaurant partners to receive an exclusive 15% discount on food! View full list of restaurants.
  • Audience advisory
    Theatrical devices such as herbal or electronic cigarettes, water-based fog and haze, and mature content may occur in some productions. Please contact our box office for more information.

Artistic Team


  1. Praneet Akilla as Aqeel Saleemi
  2. Delia Brett as The Nurse and Emma
  3. Ellen Close as Dr. Grace Godard
  4. Braden Griffiths as The Agent and Clive
  5. Arash Khakpour as The Beacon Hill Body

Creative Team

  1. Craig Hall Director
  2. Ellen Close Playwright
  3. Braden Griffiths Playwright
  4. Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg Choreographer
  5. Narda McCarroll Set Designer
  6. Stephanie Kong Costume Designer
  7. Parjad Sharifi Lighting Designer
  8. Jamie Nesbitt Projection Designer
  9. Torquil Campbell Sound Designer and Composer
  10. David Mesiha Dramaturg
  11. Jessica Anne Nelson Assistant Director
  12. Rick Rinder Stage Manager
  13. Jenny Kim Assistant Stage Manager


Q&A with Playwrights Ellen Close and Braden Griffiths

What inspired you to write this play? Is this story based on, or inspired by, true events? Were the characters, or any aspects of the story, drawn from personal experience?  The play is inspired by…

Source: Arts Club Theatre Company
Read More

Detailed Synopsis (Spoiler alert)

ACT ONE             1956: The body of a man that at first appears lifeless suddenly awakens. He (“the Body”) is aboard a ferry approaching Victoria, B.C. He writes cryptic notes inside a small book—the cipher,…

Source: Arts Club Theatre Company
Read More

“Canada’s Sherlock Holmes”

In Vancouver in the 1930s, forensic scientist and toxicology expert John F.C.B. Vance was the only forensic scientist on staff at a police department in the country.

Source: Vancouver Police Museum
Read More

How the conspiracy thriller infiltrated cinema

The conspiracy thriller: where do-gooder, unsuspecting protagonists often find themselves uncovering sinful schemes beneath a polished exterior.

Source: Slate
Read More

The chemistry of murder

The solving of the 1850 murder of Gustave Fougnies in Belgium changed the history of toxicology and helped lay the foundation for modern forensic science.

Source: Wired
Read More

From the New York Times Archives

This 1983 article from the New York Times reports on the opening of the first university program in the U.S. to prepare students for a career in toxicology.

Source: The New York Times
Read More