JANUARY 2021 | Volume 199


Production image

Alex Samaras, Derek Kwan, Neema Bickersteth and Andrea Koziol in The Cave. Photo by Delal Hagos.

The Cave
by Martha Ross, John Millard, and Tomson Highway
J Mar Electric
The Cultch
Jan. 22-24
From $29 or 604-251-1363

The Cultch broadcasts an apocalyptic cabaret about animal refugees and the climate crisis!

The Cultch is thrilled to present J Mar Electric's The Cave, conceived by Martha Ross, John Millard, and Tomson Highway. This pre-recording from the 2019 Luminato Festival, will be streamed live January 22-24, 2021.

Be transported to The Cave, part forest dwelling, part nightclub. The stage is set, our MC, John Millard, is ready with his band, the cabaret unfolds. Join a group of animals fleeing from a vicious forest fire who seek refuge in Bear's cave. Waiting out the inferno, they reflect on their lives, their lost garden, and their impending doom. These unlikely and singed bedfellows share their stories and take comfort in their newfound community while the fire encroaches. Performers: Alex Samaras, Derek Kwan, Neema Bickersteth, and Andrea Koziol transform the characters of Bear, Moose, Beaver, Skunk, Snake, Wolf, Crow, and Fox into cabaret sensations. With a rousing collection of songs in Cree and English—music by John Millard, lyrics by Tomson Highway, and book by Martha Ross—The Cave is an interspecies song-cycle told with song and narration through the perspective of animals, who bring this unique nightclub to life. 

Over the past few years, Cultch Executive Director, Heather Redfern, has become increasingly interested in how theatre can join the important conversations facing us with the realities of our current climate crisis. Alongside discussion with the board of directors, The Cultch staff, the Youth Program, and the community, she also began to seek out work that can bring light to the plight of our planet, and lead conversations of transformation. Work like The Cave is an important starting place for these exchanges. Sometimes funny and sometimes tragic, it stimulates discussion about our planet's precarious survival. "I was born and raised in the completely natural environment, specifically in Manitoba where it meets Nunavut and Saskatchewan. It was completely safe, and a blissful experience to live in that 'garden'. And a true garden it was," renowned playwright, Tomson Highway, lyricist of The Cave, reflects. "Now, a half-century later, it is no longer safe to live up there. The reason? Forest fires. Hundreds of them every summer. In Fort McMurray's fire some 2,000 people lost their homes. How many animals lost theirs? The destruction was, and is, gargantuan. That is to say, the current state of global warming is THEIR eviction from the garden. And it is ours."

From the beginning, creators of The Cave have intended that it be shared as widely as possible, reaching communities and cities all over the world. It started its life in 2018, with a residency at Soulpepper Theatre, and a webcast performance, and when it was part of Luminato in June 2019, an integral element was the livestream broadcast. In this time, when touring continues to be impossible, The Cultch is thrilled to bring this piece to its audience through live-broadcast, and spread the message from the animals of The Cave.

"Maybe it's time to listen to the animals... All of these creatures and more are hanging out in a super-moody makeshift nightclub in the Distillery District, singing gorgeous songs written by John Millard with lyrics by Cree playwright/national treasure Tomson Highway."
 –KAREN FRICKER, The Toronto Star 

WHEN: JAN 22-24, 2021
JAN 22, 23: 7:30PM
JAN 24: 12PM

All showtimes in PST

WHERE: ONLINE - Live broadcast of a filmed production

TICKETS: Tickets from $29. Single tickets go on sale January 11 through The Cultch's Box Office: 604-251-1363 or

ADDED VALUE: All shows will be accompanied by online post show events, to be announced.

Music by: John Millard
Lyrics by: Tomson Highway
Original Concept by: Martha Ross, John Millard, and Tomson Highway 
Book by: Martha Ross
Director: Adam Paolozza
Music Director: Gregory Oh
Producer: Victor Pokinko

Sound Design: Christopher Ross-Ewart 
Lighting Design: Andre du Toit
Set Design: Trevor Schwellnus 
Costume Design: Allie Marshall
Digital Producer: Gregory Sinclair
Webcast Producer: Lisa Marie DiLiberto with Theatre Direct Canada 
Streaming Consultant: Robert Metcalfe and Links Live Media 
Production Manager/Associate Technical Director: Courtney Pyke 
Technical Director/Associate Production Manager: Wesley Babcock
Stage Manager: Tamara Protic

Performers: Alex Samaras, Derek Kwan, Neema Bickersteth, Andrea Koziol
Musicians: Gregory Oh, John Millard, Rob Clutton, Germaine Liu, Karen Ng, Matti Pulkki.


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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