MAY 2021 | Volume 203


Production image

Photo of Tetsuro Shigematsu by Raymond Shum.

1 Hour Photo
by Tetsuro Shigematsu
Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre
The Cultch
May 28-30
From $29 or 604-251-1363

TetsuroShigematsu's1 Hour Photo returns to The Cultch as part of its unprecedented virtual tour!

The Cultch is pleased to join vAct's (Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre) virtual tour of 1 Hour Photo, a cinematic adaptation of Tetsuro Shigematsu's award-winning play. The Cultch will stream 1 Hour Photo, May 28-30, 2021.

1 Hour Photo is the story of Mas Yamamoto, a man whose life was swept up by the major currents of the 20th century. From growing up in a fishing village on the banks of the Fraser River, to being confined at a Japanese Canadian internment camp during World War II, to helping build the Distant Early Warning Line in the Canadian Arctic during the height of the Cold War. "Mas' life is a story of resilience, and the triumph of the human spirit," says playwright, Tetsuro Shigematsu.

In 2017, 75 years after Japanese internment, vAct premiered 1 Hour Photo at The Cultch, to sold out crowds. Mas Yamamoto's story, gleaned from hours of recorded interviews with Shigematsu over the kitchen table, illuminated a snapshot of Canadian history, which in many ways had gone unrecounted. It resonated with audiences, and went on to win a Jessie Richardson Award for Significant Artistic Achievement, while also being short-listed for a Governor General's Award for Drama. 

Now, almost four years later, 1 Hour Photo is back at another juncture in history where the story is needed more than ever. "Back in 2017, 1 Hour Photo was a highly personal celebration of my friendship with Mas," says Tetsuro Shigematsu. "But now, with hate crimes against Asians on the rise, this story has become a timely reminder that the best way to fight xenophobia is by feeling the kind of empathy only powerful storytelling can incite." 

Under the strong leadership of Producing Artistic Director, Donna Yamamoto, vAct made the decision to take this important story on tour in the only way possible. "Our theatre/film hybrid came about when I was trying to figure out a way of filming our touring show, 1 Hour Photo, that had quality, and the feel of a live audience, by bringing them into a conversation with the playwright at the end of each show," says Yamamoto. By bringing Vancouver based film production company Brightlight Pictures on board, vAct was able to produce a high quality, cinematic adaptation of 1 Hour Photo that could be toured across the country (and to Los Angeles) digitally*. The Cultch is honored to be a stop on this one-of-a-kind tour, and to continue to share Mas Yamamoto's incredible life story with their audiences.

"1 Hour Photo is a powerful piece of writing that insists that the complex history of Canada, including the wrongs imposed on groups of people, must be remembered."
— University of Toronto Quarterly

"Wrestling with questions of life and death, 1 Hour Photo is most heartfelt in its exploration of Yamamoto's life. Ultimately, we are all a little better off for his willingness to share it through Shigematsu." — Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

"1 Hour Photo animates an extraordinary life with vivid props and projections...the play is a buffet of sensory textures." — Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

Playwright/Performer: Tetsuro Shigematsu
Director: Richard Wolfe
Stage Manager: Susan Miyagishima
Production Manager/TD: Adrian Muir
Set Designer: Pam Johnson
Lighting Designer: Gerald King
Assistant Lighting Designer: Harika Xu
Sound Designer/Composer: Steve Charles
Video Designer: Jamie Nesbitt
Model and Miniature Designer: Susan Miyagishima
Costume Designer: Laura Fukumoto
Costume Design Mentor: Barbara Clayden
Dramaturg: Heidi Taylor
Audio Dramaturg: Yvonne Gall
Virtual Tour Host: June Fukumura

vAct Team:
Producing Artistic Director: Donna Yamamoto
General Manager: Annie Jang
Associate Producer: Susan Miyagishima
Marketing Consultant: Ricky Choi

Filmed in association with Brightlight Pictures

1 Hour Photo was developed in dramaturgical collaboration and partnership with Playwrights Theatre Centre

Full details of the tour.

WHEN: May 28-30, 2021
MAY 29: 7:30PM
MAY 30: 12PM 

*all showtimes in PDT

WHERE: ONLINE — streamed pre-recorded performances, followed by a live online talkback with the playwright.

TICKETS: Tickets from $29. Single tickets on sale now through The Cultch's Box Office: 604-251-1363 or 


Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre began as a community theatre in 2001. In 2013, Donna Yamamoto became Artistic Director, rapidly transforming it into one of the most exciting professional theatre companies in Canada and an incubator for some of the best Asian Canadian talent in the country.

Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre occupies a unique role within the ecology of Canadian theatre.
We are only one of two professional companies in Canada whose mandate focuses on Asian
Canadian theatre artists, and one of the only diversely mandated companies committed to creating new Canadian work.


Since 1973, The Cultch (formally the Vancouver East Cultural Centre) has been one of Vancouver's most diverse and innovative arts and cultural hubs. The organization operates three theatrical venues, a gallery, and various ancillary spaces in the heart of East Vancouver. The Cultch offers dynamic contemporary programming in theatre, dance, music, and the visual arts, bringing world-class cultural presentations to thousands of citizens each year through its own programming and through providing rental opportunities for community users. Our purpose is to provide a venue for performance that serves a diverse and engaged public and provides space for artistic experimentation and development, building an audience for local companies and presenting cutting-edge national and international work.







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