›› Mark Dusseault

With a klezmer musical, a hip-hop ­protest piece, a curious and hopeful show about global warming, and a comedy about ­taking your mom back to Vietnam all ­making appearances, this year’s Spark ­Festival is as eclectic as ever.

This March, Spark celebrates its tenth anniversary of bringing innovative theatre from across Canada to Victoria, some of it created in our own backyard.

Comedian Mike Delamont has had a tremendous impact on Victoria’s comedy scene and is now making his mark across North America, appearing at the Halifax Comedy Festival, Just For Laughs, and on CBC Radio’s The Debaters.

Mama’s Boy is his true story about being raised by a single mother who struggled with an addiction to alcohol her entire life. Mike is a talented storyteller who will have you in stitches and in tears.

Filmmaker Franco Nguyen went to Vietnam looking for inspiration for his first feature film and found an unexpected subject—his mom. Good Morning Viet Mom is authentic and irreverent, as Nguyen delves into the personal, sharing stories about visiting Vietnam for the first and being re-introduced to the mother he thought he knew.

In Sound of the Beast, Toronto emcee Belladonna the Blest (Dora Award-­winning playwright DM St. Bernard) shares stories of coming up in Toronto’s budding hip-hop scene, the intersections between conscious rap and political activism, and the sacrifices we make for the things we believe in.

Fresh off tours to Australia and the UK, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story rolls into Spark from March 20 – 24. ­Musicals at the Belfry are always a joy and Old Stock: A ­Refugee Love Story is a very special musical. It was nominated for six Drama Desk Awards (in New York) including ­Outstanding Musical.

Starring international Klezmer sensation Ben Caplan, Old Stock is inspired by the true story of Hannah Moscovitch’s grandparents who came to Canada in 1908. Hannah teamed up with Ben and Christian Barry to create this dark folk tale woven together with a high energy concert.

With Pathetic Fallacy, actor and ­director Anita Rochon set herself the challenge of creating a touring piece with a touring party of zero. For each performance, we’ll cast a different local person who will take on the central role and explore the line between ancient weather gods and our present-day climate crisis.

Spark closes at the end of March with a one-off performance by high school ­students enrolled in Belfry 101. They come from public and private schools across the region and they always create a gem of theatre.

As always at Spark, we’ll have ­dozens of free events you can attend—plays ­readings, hootenannies, miniplays, and cabarets will abound. You won’t be able to see ­everything, but you should try.

Ticket and show information is ­available on our website belfry.bc.ca/2019-spark-festival or at sparkfestival.ca.