Introducing the Belfry’s 40th Anniversary Season

Date posted: March 30, 2015

Late yesterday, the Belfry announced its 40th Anniversary Season. Here’s the first round of information. Scroll down to watch our Season Launch video.

Belfry 40th Anniversary Season

September 15 – October 11, 2015

Speed-The-Plow

by David Mamet

Directed by Michael Shamata

“scathingly comic” Newsweek

“The deftest and funniest of Mamet’s works” The New Republic

“So damned entertaining” New York Post

“…Infinitely more than a brutal satire on Hollywood. It is a study of male panic and the denial of redemptive grace.” The Guardian

“Fresh and scintillating…coiled and dangerous.” Hollywood Reporter

Art or money. Lust or money. Hollywood producer Bobby Gould has just been handed a sure-fire hit – a blockbuster “prison film” – that could catapult him and his old friend Charlie Fox into big money. Or, he could make the “important” art house flick that his oh-so-attractive office temp is urging him to do. A savagely funny exposé on Hollywood and the male psyche.

Why I Chose This Play I have a book in which I keep notes on all the plays that I read. After re-reading this script I wrote, “Just do it!” It’s a guilty pleasure – sexy and funny and slightly nasty. Mamet wrote this play shortly after directing his first film, so he uses his black and edgy humour to thoroughly skewer Hollywood. I love its combination of baser instincts and a not-quite-absent moral compass. Michael Shamata, Artistic Director

October 20 – November 15, 2015

Chelsea Hotel

The songs of Leonard Cohen

Conceived and directed by Tracey Power

(Firehall Arts Centre production, Vancouver)

“Chelsea Hotel is a knockout… The harmonies are as thick as cabaret smoke and the performers exhale them with astonishing ease. Freakishly talented” Georgia Straight

“Chelsea Hotel finally made me understand what my parents love about Cohen” Sad Magazine

“Overwhelming inventiveness… Ingenious creativity.” The Globe and Mail

Lover. Monk. Singer. Poet. Leonard Cohen is the epitome of cool. In this stylish musical you’ll check into New York’s infamous hotel and be transported into a world of music, mystery and desire. With extraordinary new arrangements, six performers play 17 instruments in this exuberant tribute to Cohen’s most transcendent songs. Sexy and captivating, this eclectic cabaret celebrates loves lost and won.

Why I Chose This Play Leonard Cohen and his music and lyrics have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. And his songs become even more profound the older I get. He is a storyteller with a completely unique voice – there is no one else like him. This clever and stylish show creates a story simply by the order in which these great songs are sung. And they are sung by six incredibly talented actor/singer/musicians. MS

February 2 – 28, 2016

The Valley

by Joan MacLeod

Directed by Roy Surette

“A wonderful piece of writing…not to be missed” Toronto Star

“Relentlessly topical – and deeply empathetic” The Globe and Mail

“Macleod has a wonderful ear and eye for the everyday details of Canadian life.” Calgary Herald

The strength and fragility of everyday people is the cornerstone of Joan MacLeod’s work and The Valley is her latest gem. In this timely and moving story, a dramatic police encounter binds four people together – a mother and her teenage son, a policeman and his wife. How they – and all of us – are connected is the stuff of great drama.

Why I Chose This Play Canadian plays speak to us in a way that plays from other countries don’t. There is a common language, and Victoria’s Joan MacLeod, winner of the Siminovitch Prize and the Governor General’s Award, speaks that language better than any writer I know. Her writing is subtle; it is calm on the surface with floods of emotion running underneath. This mother’s pain and helplessness in the face of her son’s depression affected me deeply

when I saw this play. Roy’s production of Joan’s Homechild was the first play I ever saw at the Belfry, and I’m so happy he’s coming back! MS

April 12 – May 8, 2016

Puttin’ on the Ritz 

The music and lyrics of Irving Berlin

Conceived by Don Shipley

Directed by Glynis Leyshon

“The greatest songwriter that has ever lived” George Gershwin

“Irving Berlin has no place in American music – he is American music.” Jerome Kern

In celebration of our 40th anniversary we’ll reprise the musical that started it all. With no formal training, Irving Berlin wrote many of the greatest songs in history. His simple, uncomplicated music sparked dance crazes and moved a nation. This timeless revue, featuring incredible dancing and tunes like “Always”, ”Count Your Blessings”, ”Blue Skies”, and “Cheek To Cheek”, is a real treat for everyone.

Why I chose this play I chose this musical revue, conceived by Don Shipley 40 years ago,because it opened the Belfry, and has had a cherished place in this theatre’s history ever since. Twenty-two years ago, it opened the newly-renovated Belfry, in a production directed by Glynis Leyshon, who returns to direct it once again. The cast of both previous productions included the wonderful Bill Hosie, and his daughter Sara-Jeanne returns to Victoria to star in this revival! Oh – and it has some of the best songs ever written. MS

Summer Production

August 4 – 23, 2015

Boom

Written, directed and performed by Rick Miller

“A visual feast! Rick Miller’s best solo show to date!” The Globe and Mail

“A tour-de-force performance!” Canada AM

“Riveting! The most talented one-man-show-maker in the country!” Jazz FM

“Brilliant!… Miller is one of the country’s most gifted, versatile artists” NOW Magazine

“A visual splendor of multimedia magic…this is your story told brilliantly. GO. NOW! SEE IT.” CBC Radio

Rick Miller (Bigger Than Jesus, MacHomer) returns with an explosive new solo performance documenting the music, culture and politics that shaped a generation. BOOM takes us through 25 turbulent years, giving voice to over a hundred influential politicians, activists and musicians – a mind-blowing experience for audiences of all generations.

Produced by KDOONS and WYRD Productions.

Why I Chose This Play Memories are powerful and emotional things, so I am convinced that this piece – examining as it does the music, events and people of the baby boom generation – will resonate profoundly with everyone in our audience. Add the fact that it brings the talented Mr. Miller back to the Belfry, and it’s impossible to resist! MS

Single tickets on sale May 19, 2015

Christmas Production

December 1 – 20, 2015

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens

Adapted and directed by Michael Shamata

“a Christmas ghost story with soul…a visual delight” Times Colonist

“Couldn’t possibly be better…the best holiday show I know…guaranteed to fill your heart, lift your spirit and moisten your eyes.” Toronto Star

“A superb production … sublime” Globe & Mail

A ghost story for Christmas, the Belfry’s acclaimed 2012 production returns, along with some of the best-loved Dickensian characters of all time.  A story of love, generosity and second chances, it takes us through the darkness and into the light of true joy and celebration!

Why I Chose This Play I first adapted this tale of redemption in 1990, and it still moves me profoundly. Scrooge’s memories of being hurt, his rejection of love and the eventual opening up of his heart is incredibly affecting. After numerous productions, I still get teary when Scrooge presents himself at his nephew Fred’s house and rejoins the world. MS

2016 SPARK Festival

The Gay Heritage Project

Written and performed by Damien Atkins, Paul Dunn and Andrew Kushnir

Directed by Ashlie Corcoran

(Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, Toronto)

“celebratory, upbeat and deeply moving” Toronto Star

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Iceland

By Nicolas Billon

Directed by Ravi Jain

(Why Not Theatre, Toronto)

2013 Governor General’s Award for Drama

“an intelligent, gripping tale” The Globe & Mail

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Huff

Written and performed by Cliff Cardinal

Directed by Karin Randoja

(Native Earth Performing Arts, Toronto)

“veering from hilarious to harrowing…Huff is mind-blowing theatre” Halifax Herald

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21 Ways to Make the World Last Longer

by James Fagan Tait and Cathy Stubington

(Runaway Moon Theatre, Grindrod, BC)

An exquisite and charming piece of puppet theatre celebrating regular folks and the small ways in which they can make a difference to the world around us.

PHOTO: The cast of Chelsea Hotel from the Firehall Arts Centre production/ Photo by David Cooper