APRIL 2021 | Volume 202


Production image

Marcus Youssef and Meghan Gardiner. Photo by Matt Reznek.

The Boy in the Moon
by Emil Sher
Neworld Theare
The Cultch
May 6-9
From $29 or 604-251-1363

After facing postponement in 2020, The Boy in the Moon finally finds its [digital] audience this May!

The Cultch and Neworld Theatre, in partnership with Rare Disease Foundation, are thrilled to present The Boy in the Moon, May 6-9, 2021, streamed live from the Historic Theatre.

"He is the sort of boy no one person can manage alone. That is the price and the marvel of his life." 
– Ian Brown

The Boy in the Moon, from playwright Emil Sher, based on the memoir of the same name, by Canadian journalist, Ian Brown, tells a deeply moving story about a family raising a child with a severe disability. Ian and Johanna Schneller's son, Walker, was born with a rare genetic disorder, Cardiofaciocutaneous (CFC) syndrome. It makes him unable to talk, eat properly, or take care of himself. The family must face complex issues most of us do our very best to avoid. "What I love about this play is that it is a deeply intimate, deeply personal story of a family dealing with a not completely unique situation—but a pretty extraordinary situation—raising their beloved son who can't communicate verbally, and barely physically," says Neworld Senior Artist, Marcus Youssef. "And the play doesn't shy away from their challenges."

The Boy in the Moon was originally scheduled to be performed at The Cultch in early April 2020. It was postponed due to COVID-19. Now, a year later, Neworld Theatre brings back the original team for an online production that will stream live to houses and families all over the world. Directed by award-winning director, and Artistic Director of Neworld Theatre, Chelsea Haberlin, The Boy in the Moon will feature award-winner, Marcus Youssef as Ian Brown, Meghan Gardiner, as Johanna Schneller, and Synthia Yusuf as Hayley—Ian and Joanna's daughter. 

The relationship with Rare Disease Foundation and Neworld Theatre has been part of this production of The Boy in the Moon from the beginning. With the move to an online production, the partnership finds particular resonance, as Director Chelsea Haberlin recently discussed with Art Unite. "Our partners at the Rare Disease Foundation said to us early in the process in 2019, 'Is there a way you can bring this play into people's homes? Can you film it?' and we said, that wasn't something we did," saysHaberlin. "But now, because of the pandemic, it will be all live streamed, and it's amazing because that's exactly what their community wanted. I feel really excited about telling a story that speaks specifically to individuals that haven't had their stories centered in this time, and brings the play to them in the way that they asked for."

"This story gets right at the heart of why and how we connect to others, the investment we put into those we love that gives them meaning to us. I found The Boy in the Moon deeply moving and can't recommend it highly enough." —Mooney on Theatre 

"A heart-aching invitation into the home of four unimaginably courageous humans...There are no heroes or villains.  There are only humans —imperfect, with an immense capacity for love."   
—Broadway World 

"What is so brave about the play is how it prevents any sentimentalization of its subject."   
—Stage Door 

 "A tribute to the reconciliations that we all make in the name of love."   
—Jeniva Burger, Scene Changes 

"Masterfully adapted for the stage by Emil Sher... A deeply moving night at the theatre."   
—Karas Reviews

Written by: Emil Sher based on the book by Ian Brown
Director: Chelsea Haberlin
Performers: Marcus Youssef (Ian), Meghan Gardiner (Johanna), Synthia Yusuf (Hayley)

Costume Designer: Carmen Alatorre
Set and Prop Designer: Drew Facey 
Assistant Set and Prop Designer: Stephanie Wong
Lighting Designer: Andrew Pye
Composer/Sound Designer: Marc Stewart
Projection Designer: Candelario Andrade
Choreographer: Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg

Stage Manager: Susan Miyagishima
Apprentice Stage Manager: Sharon Wu
Technical Director: Matt Oviatt
Production Manager: Andrew Pye
Emotional Support Program Coordinator: Natasha Zacher

WHEN: MAY 6-9, 2021
MAY 7: 7:30PM
MAY 8: 2PM & 7:30PM
MAY 9: 12PM 
*all showtimes in PDT

Post-Show Artist Talkbacks on Zoom, with members of the cast and creative team, will follow every performance. Emotional Support Workers will be available.

WHERE: ONLINE - streamed live from the Historic Theatre

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

We create, produce and tour plays and performances that explore who we are through different perspectives, privileges, and lived experiences. We challenge existing systems of oppression by telling stories that are as complicated and contradictory as the world we live in.

The Rare Disease Foundation was founded in Vancouver, British Columbia in February 2008 by a group of parents to children with a rare disease and two physicians. Disheartened by their firsthand experience of lack of support and resources for families impacted by a rare disease, they united their efforts to find clinical answers and provide concrete solutions to rare disease patients, families and their caregivers. 

Part of the problem in finding clinical answers lay in the unique nature of these rare disorders, which meant research and pre-existing treatments were unavailable. However, the main obstacles were the financial and administrative barriers to access research grants for rare diseases. As traditionally, grant funding is allocated to diseases that impact greater global populations, those affected by a rare disease were rendered invisible, with no voice and ability to be heard.  

The Rare Disease Foundation was built on the principle to be a catalyst for change through our microgrant research funding program and support services. 


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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