About Chutzpah!

Welcome from the Artistic Managing Director

ml-photo2It’s our 15th Anniversary and we’re celebrating by inviting you to join us on an invigorating, creative, hip adventure to downtown clubs and venues such as The Imperial, RedRoom Ultra Bar, Electric Owl, Scotiabank Dance Centre and, of course, our home – the beautiful Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre at the JCC.

I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: “the Festival stands behind the unwavering belief that the performing arts are an important vehicle of communication that holds us together as a culture and inspires us with new ideas and unexpected ways of looking at the world.” I also strongly believe that artists should be seen as independent from their countries’ political leadership in the absence of clear evidence to the contrary.

Speaking of international artists, this year’s Festival includes the very hot one-of-a-kind Tel Aviv-based dance company, Maria Kong; the stunning Idan Sharabi & Dancers; director/choreographer Aharona Israel’s three actors running a Marathon; a reggae band with a unique Ethiopian influence (Zvuloon Dub System and the up and coming Twin Wave opening for them), Israel’s Jewish-Muslim-Arab-Beduin music group Diwan Saz; France’s Les Yeux Noirs in an eagerly awaited return visit; our international resident company BODYTRAFFIC with four Canadian premieres; Berlin’s Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird with their punk-folk Alienation Klezmer, three politically incorrect comedians in You’re Funny, But You Don’t Look Jewish; the multi-talented comedian Wendy Hammers’ one-woman stand-up/play RIPE; and closing everything, a Chutzpah!PLUS concert – the popular and multi-talented Ethio-soul singer/songwriter Ester Rada.

Our BC artists include three world dance premieres – Glory from Shay Kuebler Radical System Art, our multi-week local resident dance company; Wells Hill from Vanessa Goodman, danced by six beautiful local dancers; Monsieur Auburtin from choreographer/writer/poet and painter Serge Bennathan; and a full length composition by Paul Alexander featuring the Borealis String Quartet, Eric Wilson and Boris Sichon. Included in our Canadian presentations is the ‘Namgis T’sasala Cultural Group; emerging playwright Tamara Micner’s What You’re Missing directed by John Cooper; and Alon Nashman in his one-man tour de force play Kafka and Son.

Todah rabah, thank you, to our talented and dedicated artists. Thank you to our generous funders, sponsors, donors, volunteers, partners and the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver. Thank you to both our new and returning audience members!

Mary-Louise Albert

Remembering Lisa Nemetz

lnemetzBWMarch 31, 1955 – May 17, 1997
Lisa Nemetz was a dancer, a lawyer, a lover of the arts and a tireless advocate for the treatment of women with breast cancer. She was also active in promoting the arts as a member of the Community Arts Council. Lisa was a devoted wife to her husband David Levi, mother to children Yoni and Miri and shared her love with her sister Laurie, extended family and many close friends. Chutzpah! The Lisa Nemetz International Showcase of Jewish Performing Arts is named in her memory.

For 2015 we are honoured to dedicate all of our dance programming to Lisa.

A Message from the Board

As President of the Vancouver West Side Theatre Society and Executive Board Member of the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver please join me in congratulating Mary-Louise, her talented staff, our generous funders, sponsors and donors and our dedicated volunteers. A big welcome from all of us to all of you!

Enjoy our 15th Anniversary!

Esther Chetner

A Message from the Government

Photo-Min-Glover_ColorOn the road to Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate everything that makes this such a remarkable country—including the vibrant arts and culture that bring vitality to our communities and help define who we are as Canadians. This is why our Government is proud to support the Chutzpah! Festival, a gathering that shines a spotlight on the talented artists of this city and the creative energy they bring to our cultural landscape.

On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada, I would like to thank the Vancouver West Side Theatre Society and all the organizers, artists, and volunteers who helped bring this year’s Chutzpah! Festival to life.

The Honourable Shelly Glover
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

A Message from the Premier

christy-clark-photoAs Premier of the Province of British Columbia, I am pleased to extend my warmest greetings to all those attending the 2015 Chutzpah! Festival.

In British Columbia, we are so fortunate to live in a place that highly values its multicultural and creative history. The Chutzpah! Festival is an excellent opportunity for all ages to come together to celebrate art and culture. The Festival will feature many dynamic and innovative performances to include dance, comedy, and other theatrical productions.

I know a lot of preparation goes into hosting an event of this magnitude. I would like to take this opportunity to commend all of the event organizers, sponsors, performers, and volunteers for their hard work and dedication to making this Festival a success.

Again, welcome! I hope that you have an enjoyable and memorable experience.


Christy Clark

A Message from the Mayor

Mayor_Gregor_Robertson_8x101On behalf of my colleagues on Vancouver City Council, I am pleased to offer my sincere best wishes to the 2015 Chutzpah! Festival.

Vancouver has become one of the most diverse cities in Canada, both in our multicultural fabric as well as the high calibre entertainment available all year round. The Chutzpah! Festival is a great opportunity to enjoy a vast array of artistic expression. Vancouverites are fortunate to have such rich performing arts community and this festival helps to nurture this designation with performances in music, dance, comedy and theatre.

I hope everyone takes in as many performances as possible and my very best wishes to the performers, artists, volunteers and organizers for a wonderful festival!

Yours truly,

Gregor Robertson