Mrs. Kay Meek could be considered a visionary of the theatre arts. She wanted to create a place that inspired the community and brought it together before the stage. To that end, she financed the Kay Meek Centre, a cultural hub that blends classic touches into a uniquely modern venue. With blond wood, soft pink brick, and purple fabrics, the main theatre is timeless, with acoustics that enhance every musical performance and stagehand’s whispered wish to be famous. The studio theatre, on the other hand, provides a more intimate experience, with adjustable seating able to adapt to any show.
Founded in 1919, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra enriches Vancouver with interpretations of classical and popular music at 13 performance venues. Music lovers get to hear the sonorous synchronization of the VSO's musicians and conductors throughout a diverse schedule of performances, including pops concerts and celebrations of Bach and Haydn. An army of woodwinds, strings, and brass joins forces with special guest musicians throughout May, including violinist Augustin Hadelich tackling Sibelius on May 1 and 2 and pianist Alessio Bax interpreting Mozart on May 7 and 9. Most shows take place at the VSO's home in the historic Orpheum Theatre, a former vaudeville house and designated National Heritage Site where many a prime minister got a start in ventriloquism.
The Global ComedyFest corrals some of the best and brightest comedians on the international circuit into Vancouver for a marathon of laughs, fun, and moderately uncomfortable first dates. Big names such as zany former MTV staple Tom Green perform alongside up-and-comers in more than 30 performances throughout the festival. Eschew the everyday monodimensional comedy with a combination stand-up and comedy 3-D video show featuring Canada's own Reza Peyk, Jy Harris, and Gary Fong, or opt for a night of “it’s funny because it’s true” laughs at the Gerry Dee show. The Edge of the Fest performance pushes the festival’s edgiest artists to the limits of social acceptability, while the Best of the Fest showcases top comedians such as Greg Behrendt and Peter Chao.
The members of Instant Theatre founded the Vancouver International Improv Festival to not only bring performers from across the globe together, but to also spotlight fresh comedy around the corner. Improvisers from faraway lands such as Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle share the stage with Vancouver natives, performing in their own troupes and mixing into ad-hoc ensembles for memorable sketches. The week culminates with a super-group performance by the International Ensemble—a group of participating artists that forms for one week only to tackle new forms and forge new collaborations.
Indie electropop duo Uh Huh Her lights up the stage with hypnotic, pulsating beats on a night that celebrates the release of its new album, Nocturnes, and draws attention to October’s National Breast Cancer Prevention Month. The pair’s dance-friendly vibe and swoon-friendly looks belie the sophistication of the melodies featured on their debut LP, a collaboration that draws from their former jobs as piano movers and diverse musical backgrounds. While ivory-tickler Camila Grey channels her classical training into soft and seductive synth phrases, Leisha Hailey keeps the rhythm with aggressive bass licks honed during her time in ‘90s indie duo The Murmurs. Supporting songsmith Jarrod Gorbel kicks off the night with a set of earnest tunes that will have punks pogo-ing in slow, poetic cadences while he recites lyrics of quiet lament tattooed across his arms.