goPlaying with the Sharks and the Jets

November 2nd, 2011

Touchstone’s new goPLAY Youth Theatre Club got thrillingly off the ground on Thursday Oct 27th, as Artistic Director Katrina Dunn took twenty high school students to see Vancouver Opera’s production of West Side Story. It began with a backstage tour of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, where we felt out the amazing acoustics in the newly renovated space, poked our heads in the orchestra pit, and learned how to watch the conductor on video feed while doing a love scene. Then two of the performers, Steven Greenfield (Touchstone’s musical director on Mimi) and David Adams gave us a short introductory on the piece: it’s twist on the Romeo and Juliet Story, it’s unique creation story, and the sensation it caused at it’s premiere. Then we tucked into our fabulous $150 seats (thanks for the amazing student discount rate Vancouver Opera!) and enjoyed the beautiful production. 38 people on stage, 30 musicians in the pit and stunning set, lights and costumes made for a treat for all. It was very interesting for all to see the mix of musical theatre performers with opera trained singers in the leads as Maria and Tony. This was only the first of many fascinating outings for goPLAY, so stay tuned for more updates.



A chat with Anton Lipovetsky

September 27th, 2011
True Love Lies starts its second week tonight and I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn more about some of our cast members. True Love Lies marks the professional acting debut of Anton Lipovetsky, so I asked him to tell us a little bit about his experience putting up the show.
Joel: Tell everyone a bit about yourself.
Anton: I’m an emerging actor, writer and composer from here in Vancouver. In April I graduated from Vancouver’s Studio 58 Acting Training Program where I acted in a bunch of shows, Comedy of Errors, Andy Thompson’s stage adaptation of 1984 among others, and also very fortunately got the chance to co-write and co-musical direct THE PARK, a musical, which saw two productions at Studio 58 and won an Ovation Award for Outstanding New Work. Since graduating I’ve toured an original one-man show to the Edmonton Fringe Festival called “FLOP! a one-man musical,” and this October I’m headed to the Chemainus Theatre Festival to perform in “Countryside Christmas.” It’s been a busy and exciting year!
J: How did you get involved with True Love Lies
A: Having worked with Katrina (director of True Love Lies and Artistic Director of Touchstone) as a student in her monologue class, and on the In Tune Conference (Touchstone Theatre’s new-musical workshop) she asked me to audition for True Love Lies, and I jumped at the opportunity. Touchstone is one of my favourite theatre companies in Canada…they’re always doing exciting and local plays. Creating and performing in new works is exactly what I wanted to do right out of school, and I feel so lucky to be doing it.
J: What has been the most exciting part of this show?
A: Staging and memorizing Brad Fraser’s 50 scene play in 10 days has been a bit insane. When we did our first run through that was certainly the most exciting part of rehearsals. The scenes are so short and so fast-paced and so immediately following one another, it’s sort of like being on a roller coaster–an unstoppable ride, and hopefully the audience will feel that way too.
J: Is there a difference between working on this show and working on shows for school or your own touring show?
A: The biggest difference I’ve noticed is a shift in responsibility… It’s not just a controlled educational exercise anymore, the stakes are higher, and more is expected at a quicker pace. I guess I expected this to be stressful but the added pressure has been exciting and helpful and even motivational. But I constantly remind myself how lucky I am to be working on a project with people so dedicated to the material: Brad Fraser’s play has really inspired this wonderful, talented and hard-working team that has assembled to bring it to life. I’m really just trying to suck in as much experience as I can, observing the more experienced actors and trying to learn as much as possible from them. As for the difference between this and a self-written show… I definitely feel less control, I have to give over a lot of trust to the writer and the director and the designers, but I believe in the show, and want to do anything I can to support it. And since the script is written and unchangeable it becomes this constant investigation, and I have to keep rereading a script like this to find out more and more about the person that I’m portraying.
J:What’s your favorite thing about your character? Least favorite thing?
A:I play the teenage son of the family, Royce, who is a troubled loner in his last year of high school. Royce has an amazing biting wit, and there are some really mean remarks he spits at his family, which are terribly fun to play. But Brad Fraser’s characters are diverse and multi-dimensional, and I think Royce has flaws, particularly that he doesn’t quite know how to “let people into his world,” and social and emotional norms are beyond him. Though maybe that’s what will make him an endearing character…
J:What is your favorite line in the show? Why?
A:It’s very rude and very funny and I laugh each time I hear it: “*** is the new ******” You’ll have to see the show to find out what the stars mean!
Anton is doing a fantastic job in the show with Peter Birnie from the Vancouver Sun calling his performance a “well-balanced portrayal of the poor kid’s deeply screwed-up psyche”
True Love Lies is running until Saturday October 1st.
See you at the theatre.
Operations Manager

Media Galore

September 20th, 2011

We are getting ready for opening night of True Love Lies on Thursday, September 22nd and there is lots to read and watch about this show.  First of all, here are two videos that we made.  The first one is a scene from the show, the other is an interview with Katrina:



As well, from Vancouver’s most established newspapers to personal blogs, tons of people are talking about True Love Lies. Here are some choice links and we will keep updating as more roll in.


Gay Vancouver


Vancouver Sun


We were on CTV’s Best Of BC

An interview with Katrina on Gay Vancouver -

The Georgia Straight’s Fall Arts Preview:

Sabrina Evertt talks about the shows she’s most excited for in the fall on the Twenty-Something Theatre blog:

If you haven’t already gotten tickets you can still purchase a Season Subscription right here.  You can also buy single tickets by going to the Cultch’s website.

True Love Lies Rehearsals Begin.

September 6th, 2011

We began rehearsals for True Love Lies in the Cultch Historic Theatre on Tuesday with a read through of the entire play with everyone involved with the show present.  It’s always a fantastic way to start the rehearsal process.  I thought, in light of the beginning of the season it would be fun to do a little Touchstone Theatre history.

At the Table

The Cast and Crew of True Love Lies

True Love Lies is not the first play we have produced by Brad Fraser.  In fact, over our 36 year history Touchstone has produced – including True Love Lies - 3 shows by Brad.

Our first show by Brad was Wolfboy in 1982.  Wolfboy premiered in 1981 at the 25th Street Theatre in Saskatoon featuring Keanu Reeves in his first professional performance and was almost immediately picked up by Touchstone for production.  Wolfboy follows Bernie, a young man who has been admitted to a hospital for the mentally unstable after attempting suicide.  He finds himself confronted by two very different realities: one from his over-demanding father; the other from David, the boy in the adjoining room who believes that he is a werewolf.  The show was turned into a musical last year with lyrics by Leon Paris and book by Russell Labey and ran at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Our production went up at the Firehall Theatre on October 15thand was very well received, being called “one of the best pieces of theatre at the moment” by Bob Allen of The Province.  The show was directed by John Cooper, stared John Destry Adams, Baul Batten, Elizabeth Dancoes, John Moffat and Christine Willes with set and costumes designed by Pearl Bellesen and an Original Score by Ross Douglas.

Nine years later we openedUnidentified Human Remains and the true Nature of Love. The play centers around David McMillan, a former actor, current waiter watching his twenties tick away. Together with his book reviewing roommate Candy and his best friend Bernie, David encounters a number of seductive strangers in their search for love and sex. However the games turn ugly when it appears one of their numbers might be a serial killer. First presented by Alberta Theatre Projects in 1989, the play immediately stirred controversy because of its brash sexual nature and it’s frank violence.

So Touchstone picked it up.  Our production ran February 2 – 24 1991and was a huge hit for us.  Patrick Healey of Angles found the show “so compelling [he] went back for more” and  Harald Gravelsins from The Ubyssey called it “a production that triumphs beyond the success of a remarkable script.” Human Remains was directed by Bonnie Gibson and featured an amazing cast of Vancouver mainstays including Allan Morgan.

True Love Lies will run September 21 – October 1.  Tickets available through The Cultch

You can save over 25% on a full season of tickets when you purchase one of our season packs.  Click here for more info.


Touchstone Announces 2011/12 Season!

June 17th, 2011

It’s here! Touchstone’s new season is unveiled and it explores the role of the dissident and the provocateur in society. Whether in the social or political realm, what is the legacy left to us by those who refuse the rules? It all begins with Brad Fraser’s hot new play at The Cultch in September 2011, and doesn’t wind down until the World Premiere of another Flying Start project closes in June 2012. Season packs go on sale August 1st 2011. Go to the Media page of Touchstone’s website to see a full press release.


May 17th, 2011

Touchstone is thrilled to announce the winner of the Touchstone Theatre scholarship – given to a Studio 58 student – is Dustin Freeland. Congratulations Dustin!

Artistic Director Katrina Dunn with Dustin

Our Next Flying Start Playwright

March 10th, 2011

Flying Start is a partnership of Touchstone and PTC that gives a stage to new playwrights who have yet to be professionally produced. The selected play is developed over a period of a year and a half, culminating in a small scale, fully professional showcase production. The playwright chosen is Peter Boychuk. Peter and his play Shelter from the Storm, were selected from a pool of 26 applicants.

Peter Boychuk is currently completing a M.F.A. in Playwriting at the University of Victoria under the tutelage of Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Joan MacLeod. His one-act plays include Afterglow, which is published in the anthology Two Hands Clapping and has been produced in schools and universities across the country; Fortunate Son, which has won the Stanley Mills Purchase Prize, Honourable Mention in the Canadian National Playwriting Competition, and Best of the Fest at ACToberfest 2007; and Chainmail Bikini, which premiered at the Calgary Fringe Festival. He works across BC as a freelance director and dramaturg. Shelter from the Storm is his first full-length play, and it will close Touchstone’s 2011/12 Season.

Peter Boychuk

Our Punk Odyssey

February 8th, 2011



Our punk odyssey has finally come to a close. Hard Core Logo: Live wrapped on Sunday night after a great run at the Rickshaw Theatre. Thanks so much to everyone who was involved over the years (and there were many!). It was a wild ride with a lot of adventures along the way. As well as the run of the show, we had a great time creating punk-themed satellite events. These included sets by Joe Shithead and Mecca Normal and Bev Davies’ amazing photo display in the lobby of the Rickshaw. You can still catch Post No Bills – excerpts from the Vancouver Punk Collection – a display of vintage punk posters, zines and paraphenalia at the Museum of Vancouver until February 26th. Totally free – totally punk!

Hard Core Logo comes alive after three years of work

January 25th, 2011

With our partners, November Theatre and Theatre Network, Touchstone has been hard at work developing the live stage version of Hard Core Logo for the last three years. After its premiere run in Edmonton in the fall it is going through a few changes and will be up and running at the Rickshaw Theatre as part of the PuSh Festival starting tomorrow night. The show has been getting tons of press and we’re thrilled to bring all the experiements to Vancouver FINALLY in the form of finished show. See you in the mosh pit!


We’re wigging out!

November 9th, 2010

Check out some of the fantastic creations of wig designer Christine Hackman for Mimi, or A Poisoner’s Comedy! How I’d love to wear one of these around the office… (Click on each photo to view a larger version.)