OCTOBER 2020 | Volume 196


Production image

 First Nations camped Alexander Beach ca. 1898.

In The Beginning
by Rosemary Georgeson & Donna Spencer
Firehall Arts Centre & Vancouver Moving Theatre
Firehall Arts Centre
Nov. 4-7
$20/$15 or 604-689-0926

The Firehall Arts Centre and Vancouver Moving Theatre Present as Part of the 2020 DTES Heart of the City Festival 
In the Beginning: A Cultural Sharing

The Firehall Arts Centre and Vancouver Moving Theatre are thrilled to produce and present, as part of the 2020 DTES Heart of the City FestivalIn the Beginning: A Cultural Sharing from Wednesday, November 4 to Saturday, November 7, 2020. 

The five cultural sharing events, which will take place over four days, include Over the MountainsFrom the WatersMusqueamTsleil-Waututh, and Squamish.

Storyteller, filmmaker and performer Rosemary Georgeson (Coast Salish/Dené) and the Firehall's Artistic Producer Donna Spencer delve into the stories and history of the Indigenous peoples in the area that is now called Vancouver prior to and during colonization. Over five evolving events, Georgeson, Spencer, and moderator Kim Haxton are joined by Indigenous elders, knowledge keepers, and artists from the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh homelands; and those who came down the rivers, across the waters or across the mountains to area. 

Stories of the land told by people of the land with images projected of the land and waters as well as historic and personal photos. This is the second stage of the exploration of the many individuals and groups from different cultural heritages who have made Vancouver's East Side, and in particular Strathcona, Chinatown, Gastown and Paueru Gai (Powell Street), the neighbourhoods they are today. 

During the Firehall 's 2019-2020 season, and the 2019 DTES Heart of the City Festival, Rosemary Georgeson and Donna Spencer, with assistance from Vancouver Moving Theatre's Artistic Director, began an exploration of the history of the neighbourhood surrounding the Firehall Arts Centre. Drawing on materials collected from a wide number of different sources, they explored the neighbourhood through reference materials and found information on the many different cultural communities who lived and worked there and contributed to the rich history of the neighbourhood as well as the city of Vancouver. But, during this project, they kept coming back to the question of "where are the Indigenous voices in this history?" — so they began the process of seeking out those who could help reveal and unwrap the stories of those who lived in that area prior to contact, colonization, and settlement. This and the hope to create a greater understanding is what In the Beginning: A Cultural Sharing is about.

Performance Times:  Wednesday & Thursday, 7:30pm | Friday & Saturday, 8:00pm | Saturday, 3:00pm
Ticketing Info:  Single Tickets: from $20 | Tickets for Downtown Eastside community members: $15 | Series 5-Pack: $90 | Available online at or by phone at 604.689.0926

For more information on the Firehall Arts Centre, please visit the following platforms: 


For more information on the 2020 DTES Heart of the City Festival, visit

About the Firehall Arts Centre:
The Firehall Arts Centre continues to open doors through the arts in celebration of the Canadian experience. Located in a heritage fire station that was built in 1906, the Firehall Arts Centre is one of the most unique cultural institutions in Vancouver, hosting over two hundred performances each year and bringing diverse audiences together to enjoy, discuss, question, and explore artistic works that reflect the society and world in which we live. With Artistic Producer Donna Spencer at the helm, the Firehall Arts Centre produces and presents theatre that is innovative, eclectic and at times politically-charged, as well as exquisite, cutting-edge dance performances and interdisciplinary works that challenge assumptions. The venue also acts as a host to visual arts exhibitions and performances from other performing arts organizations, supporting local and national artists. The Firehall Arts Centre is proud to support emerging artists and companies, and strives to program work that is inclusive, culturally rich, and reflective of the many voices and perspectives in Canada.



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Vancouver's arts and culture website providing theatre news, previews and reviews