>> Mark Dusseault

More than 80 theatre artists from across Canada will descend on Fernwood this March for the Belfry’s annual SPARK Festival – an opportunity to see some of the best theatre in the country.

SPARK will kick off on March 9 with the premiere of the musical BlissKrieg from Victoria’s Atomic Vaudeville. AV’s last musical, Ride the Cyclone, opened on Broadway last fall.

Brooke Maxwell & the Neighbourhood Hootenanny Time Machine Band will perform at Hootenanny, our free all-ages live dance party on Sunday, March 12. Bring your kids out for this very family-friendly event.

If you’re in the mood to sing, we’d love to see you at Why We Are Here! at the Royal BC Museum on Monday, March 13. This is an interactive singing experience that brings friends and strangers together to create and experience an invigorating theatrical event about right here and right now.


Evalyn Parry stars in SPIN, her tour-de-force performance celebrating the Bicycle as muse, musical instrument and agent of social change. (March 14 – 18) Photo: Jeremy Mimnagh

SPIN is inspired by the incredible true tale of Annie Londonderry, the first woman to ride around the world on a bicycle in 1895. One part documentary and another part musical activism, Evalyn Parry cleverly peels back layers of history to reveal a very contemporary heart to her theme of liberation.

If you are politically minded, This is Not a Conversation explores the conflict between cultures. Itai was born in Israel and Dima was born in Lebanon to a Palestinian family.  Both are natural storytellers and improvisers and both know a lot about the political context and history of the Middle East, of which few people in Canada have any real or nuanced understanding. This is Not a Conversation is a personal journey for Itai and Dima.

Joan, a new piece from Victoria’s Theatre SKAM, explores the life of Joan Mans, who in 2007 entered extended care after she fell and was declared incapable. Actor and playwright Matthew Payne decided he would be her voice. This journey is at the heart of this project.

What a Young Wife Ought to Know

Liisa Repo-Martell and David Patrick Flemming star in What a Young Wife Ought to Know. (March 21 – 25) Photo: Timothy Richard

Halifax’s 2b theatre (they co-created The God That Comes with Hawksley Workman at SPARK 2015) returns with What a Young Wife Ought to Know by one of Canada’s hottest playwrights, Hannah Moscovitch.

Victoria based actor and sound designer Brian Linds will premiere his site-specific performance piece, Reverberations, in a secret location in Fernwood.

The festival closes on March 26 with Belfry 101 Live, a brand new play written and created by high school students over their Spring Break.

Throughout SPARK we’ll host a number of free events, like our ever-popular mini plays, performed throughout the building. These tiny 10 minute gems run a couple of times each evening Wednesdays through Saturdays. We’ll also present a free reading of Mustard by Kate Sandler, winner of the 2016 Dora Award for Best Play on Monday, March 20.

For complete details, pop by the Belfry and get a SPARK Brochure or visit belfry.bc.ca/spark or sparkfestival.ca.