Forget the stuff. Your family already has too much stuff. Your friends already have too much stuff. Heck, the planet already has too much stuff.
But if you feel the need to give something tangible for Christmas, don’t despair: a couple of tickets to a concert or play may be just the thing for a stocking stuffer or a waste-free gift.
To help in your Christmas shopping quest, we’ve compiled this list of some upcoming 2020 shows – music, dance and theatre - that may make perfect gifts for someone on your list. Check it out:
Maybe you were already a fan. Maybe you first encountered her at the 2018 Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival. Or maybe you’re just ready to discover this rising Canadian star. Alexa Dirks, a.k.a. Begonia, is onstage at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts on Friday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. She’s been described as having “one of Canada’s most extraordinary voices,” and NPR pegged her as “the place where synth-pop meets old soul and scrappy meets sexy.”
2. SHREK THE MUSICAL
Align Entertainment returns to the Michael J. Fox Theatre stage (7373 MacPherson Ave.) Jan. 31 through Feb. 15. With Align Entertainment’s team at the helm, you can be guaranteed of a big, colourful spectacle packed full of singing-and-dancing talent – and a storyline that’s great for the whole family. Not to mention a big bonus: affordable ticket prices (starting at $20). Don’t miss out; shows are already selling out. You can find all the details at www.alignentertainment.com, or buy tickets through www.vtixonline.com/align-entertainment/.
3. GOD’S LAKE
This Castlereigh Theatre production promises to be a powerful and emotional night at the theatre. God’s Lake is an original work of documentary theatre about the people of the remote fly-in reserve of God’s Lake Narrows, Manitoba, following the murder of a teenage girl in the community. The story is told verbatim from interviews conducted in 2017.
“Using bold northern imagery, an original live score by Ziibiwan, and heightened physicality, God’s Lake offers a unique opportunity to witness the complex issues facing people living in a remote community and provides an understanding for those who might have no comprehension of the reserve system, let alone what it’s like to live on a remote First Nations reserve,” says a write-up about the show.
It’s onstage Wednesday, Feb. 5 through Saturday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. in the Studio Theatre at Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, 6450 Deer Lake Ave. Tickets are $36 regular, $15 for youth, or $15 for all seats on Wednesday night. Buy through tickets.shadboltcentre.com.
4. ARTS CLUB THEATRE
Yes, Burnaby audiences can continue to enjoy Arts Club on Tour productions right here at home, with two upcoming shows at Shadbolt Centre for the Arts (6450 Deer Lake Ave.) First up, on Saturday, Feb. 8 and Sunday, Feb. 9, it’s Morris Panych’s The Shoplifters, a comedy that centres around Alma, a career shoplifter, and her anxious sidekick – who find themselves caught by an overzealous security guard and his good-natured mentor.
Then, on Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15, it’s Kim’s Convenience, a comedy by Ins Choi about a Korean shopkeeper who’s grappling with a changing neighbourhood and a divide between him and his children. (You may recognize it as the CBC TV show inspired by the play.)
Regular seats are $49, with seniors’ tickets priced at $45; some $29 tickets are available. Book online at tickets.shadboltcentre.com or call 604-205-3000.
5. EMILIE-CLAIRE BARLOW
For the music lover on your Christmas list, here’s your chance to hear Emilie-Claire Barlow, the two-time Juno-winning Canadian jazz singer, arranger, record producer and voice actor. She’s known for her reimaginings of classic pop and jazz songs, which she’s released on 11 self-produced albums on her own label, Empress Music Group.
She’s onstage at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts’ Studio Theatre (6450 Deer Lake Ave.) on Friday, Feb. 14 – so it’s a perfect night out for you and your valentine. Tickets are $36 regular, or $15 for youth, available through tickets.shadboltcentre.com or 604-205-3000.
6. MADAMA BUTTERFLY
Whether you’re an opera aficionado or a newbie to the whole scene, Burnaby Lyric Opera serves up excellent productions starring rising talents in the world of professional opera. This year’s production is Madama Butterfly, running Saturday, Feb. 22 to Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts (6450 Deer Lake Ave.). Puccini’s classic opera tells the tragic story of a beautiful young geisha, Cio-Cio-San, who falls in love with and marries an American naval lieutenant, B.F. Pinkerton. The opera includes the famous aria Un bel di vedremo, as well as the renowned Love Duet – and musical theatre fans may also be aware that it was the opera that inspired by Broadway hit Miss Saigon.
Discover it for yourself at either an evening show (8 p.m.) on Feb. 22, 27 or 29, or a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 24 and 26. Tickets start at just $15. Buy tickets through tickets.shadboltcentre.com, or check out www.burnabylyricopera.com for more information.
7. THE JERRY CANS
Never heard of the Jerry Cans? Neither had we – but as soon as we read “a unique mix of traditional Inuit throat singing and roots-rock sung in the Indigenous language of Inuktitut,” it seemed a decidedly worthwhile night out. The Jerry Cans create music inspired by their hometown – Iqualuit, Nunavut – and life in the Arctic, and they’ve taken their music to audiences in places as far-flung as Australia, Scotland, Greenland, Cuba and Norway. Now, you get to hear them right here in Burnaby, on Friday, March 13 at 8 p.m. the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, 6450 Deer Lake Ave. Buy tickets through tickets.shadboltcentre.com or 604-205-3000, or find out more about the band at www.thejerrycans.com.
8. SPOOKY ACTION
This one’s for the dance fans – an interdisciplinary work by Inverso Productions inspired by Einstein’s famous phrase referring to particles so closely linked they share the same existence. The performance extends that theory to human connections.
“Spooky Action brings together thought-provoking dance, cutting-edge scenography, original composition and engaging narrative to probe the mysterious ways we act on each other’s lives,” says a write-up about the show.
It’s onstage at the Shadbolt Centre’s Studio Theatre. This one’s coming up Wednesday, April 22 to Saturday, April 25, but it’s not too early to snag your tickets. Buy them through tickets.shadboltcentre.com or call 604-205-3000.
No list of must-sees would be complete without some Celtic music to get your toes tapping. With Coig – coming Wednesday, April 29 to Shadbolt Centre for the Arts – you get to experience “the best in traditional music, in a non-traditional way,” as their show is billed. Coig is an Atlantic Canadian group made up of four multi-instrumentalists (Chrissy Crowley, Rachel Davis, Darren McMullen and Jason Roach) who serve up centuries-old tunes and original songs featuring vocals, fiddles, piano, guitars, banjo, mandolin, viola, bouzouki, whistles and more. Tickets are $36 regular, or $15 for youth, available at tickets.shadboltcentre.com or 604-205-3000.
10. HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
Yes, we know, this one’s not onstage until May – but how can you resist getting tickets for this off-Broadway-turned-Broadway rock musical? It tells the tale of a genderqueer rocker from East Berlin who’s touring North America with her band while telling her life story – and following the former lover and bandmate who stole her songs. Victoria-based Atomic Vaudeville is bringing the show to the stage at Shadbolt Centre for the Arts from Wednesday, May 20 to Saturday, May 23.
If there’s anyone on your Christmas list who’s drawn to 1970s glam rock and early punk, then you’ve gotta get them tickets for this one. Save your seats now at tickets.shadboltcentre.com or call 604-205-3000.