10th Anniversary of the Downtown Eastside Community Play

The Old One & Nicole (Steve Lytton and Priscillia Tait)

The Old One & Nicole (Steve Lytton and Priscillia Tait)

Ten years ago a ground-breaking creative project took place in the Downtown Eastside – In the Heart of a City: The Downtown Eastside Community Play. Featuring tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, this wild joy ride through 100 years of laughter and tears was coproduced by Vancouver Moving Theatre and the Carnegie Community Centre in honour of the Carnegie building’s 100th anniversary. Building the play turned into an epic year-long event that involved over 2000 volunteers, 50 organizations, 60 artists and employees. Community members were involved in every aspect – from research to creation, workshops to parades, rehearsal to production.

The play told the story of a young First Nations woman arriving in today’s Downtown Eastside to carve out a new life for herself. Searching for her Aunt Rita and looking for a job, she encountered the life and times of the neighbourhood past, present and maybe even the future. Stories from the community came to life in words and music, song and dance, giant puppets and shadow puppets, and in memories of struggles for human rights and dignity by people who fought back, spoke out and changed their lives. Directed by James Fagan Tait, the play featured over 80 performers young and old (including an appearance by Mayor Larry Campbell); and premiered in eight sold-out performances and standing ovations at the Japanese Hall for audiences from throughout the Lower Mainland and for residents of the Downtown Eastside.

“A vibrant Downtown Eastside theatre community has been created. People are getting to know each other. People connected to the play are greeting each other on the street. They know that their play refl ects the strength, pain and beauty of our multicultural Downtown Eastside that rises like the phoenix from one generation to another.”
– Sandy Cameron, Carnegie Newsletter

As a result of the community play’s success and impact, in 2004 the Carnegie Community Centre and Vancouver Moving Theatre launched – with the help of a host of community partners – the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival. The vision: to provide an annual and sustainable event to promote our community, serve as a bridge-building presence within the community, and give voice to our artists, cultural traditions, history, activism, people and great stories.

– Savannah Walling

    Raven’s Eye Open Studio

    Open Studio
    October 23 – 25 & October 28 – November 1, 12pm – 4pm 
    Raven’s Eye Studio, 458 E. Hastings

    Jerry Whitehead

    Jerry Whitehead

    On weekday afternoons during the Festival, the artists of the Raven’s Eye Studio will open the doors to host an ongoing First Nations artist studio. A group of artists work in the studio on a regular basis and they are happy to talk with you. See the artwork, talk to the artists. Artists include studio coordinator Jerry Whitehead, painter and muralist, and sculptor Gary Oliver. Make sure you take the opportunity to talk with Jerry about the spectacular mural, Through the Eye of the Raven, on the side of the Orwell Hotel where the studio is based on the ground floor. Free

      Program Guide Locations

      Program Guides have been distributed at the following locations. We cannot guarantee there will be guides at all locations as people pick them up on a first-come, first-serve basis. We do refill as best we can.

      West Hastings
      Potluck Café – 24 W. Hastings
      Bean Around the World – W. Hastings at Cambie
      Opus Art Supplies – W. Hastings at Cambie

      West Pender
      SUCCESS – 28 W. Pender

      West Cordova
      SFU Woodwards
      JJ Bean – 146 W. Cordova

      Downtown Library – Georgia St. @Hamilton
      Roundhouse Community Centre – 181 Roundhouse Mews

      East Hastings
      InterUrban Gallery –  1 E. Hastings
      EWMA Store – 56 E. Hastings
      Co-op Radio Café  – 101 E. Hastings
      Pat’s Pub – Patricia Hotel – 400 block E. Hastings
      DTES Neighbourhood House – 501, 573 E. Hastings
      Spartacus Books – 648 E. Hastings
      Gulf & Fraser (G&F) Credit Union – 803 E. Hastings
      Fromage – 845 E. Hastings
      Ray-Cam Community Centre – 920 E. Hastings
      Aboriginal Friendship Centre – 1607 E. Hastings
      Sweet Tooth Café – 2404 E. Hastings
      Hastings VPL Library Branch – 2674 E. Hastings
      Laughing Bean Café  – 2695 E. Hastings
      Hastings Community Centre – 3096 E. Hastings

      East Pender
      Chinese Cultural Centre – 50 E. Pender
      Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens – 50 E. Pender
      Ukrainian Hall – 805 E. Pender

      East Cordova
      Gallery Gachet – 88 E. Cordova
      Firehall Arts Center – 280 E. Cordova

      East Side
      Oppenheimer Park Club House – 400 E. Powell
      Dunlevy Café – 400 Dunlevy
      Ironworks – 235 Alexander St.
      Japanese Language School – 487 Alexander St.
      Strathcona Community Centre – 500 Keefer St.
      Strathcona Library – 500 Keefer St.
      The Wilder Snail – Keefer St. @ Hawks
      Finches – 501 Georgia St.
      Benny’s Market – 598 Union St.
      Union Market – 810 Union St.
      Hogan’s Alley Café – 789 Union St.

      Main St.
      Deacon’s Corner (Restaurant) – 101 Main St.
      Aboriginal Front Door – 386 Main St.
      Carnegie Centre – 401 Main St.
      radha yoga – 728 Main St.

      Native Education Centre – E. 5th Ave @Scotia
      Whip Café – E. 6th Ave @Main St.
      Western Front – 303 E. 8th Ave.

      Mt. Pleasant
      Mt. Pleasant Library & Community Centre – Kingsway @Main St.
      Gene Café –  Main St. @Kingsway
      Bonchaz Bakery – Main St. @Broadway
      Our Town Café – Kingsway @Broadway
      Heartwood Community Café – 317 Broadway
      Bean Around the World – 2528 Main St.

      Riley Park
      Bean Around the World – 3598 Main St.
      Liberty Bakery – 3699 Main St.
      Locus – 4121 Main St.
      Splitz – 4242 Main St.

      Uprising Bakery – 1697 Venables
      Vancouver East Cultural Centre – 1895 Venables

      Commercial Drive
      Adelina’s – 950 Commercial Drive
      Food Co-op – 1034 Commercial Drive
      Britannia Library/CC
      Vera’s Burgers – 1438 Commercial Drive
      Euro Café – 1468 Commercial Drive
      Washing Wells Laundry – 1910 Commercial Drive
      Bon Bon Laundromat – 2010 Commercial Drive
      Print Shop – 2089 Commercial Drive
      Café Deux Soleils – 2096 Commercial Drive
      JJ Bean – 2206 Commercial Drive
      Grandview Lanes – 2195 Commercial Drive