California comes to the Arts Club

The largest tour of California wines comes to the Arts Club Theatre Company on Monday, April 25. Held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the 2016 California Wine Fair brings 400 premium wines from 150 of California’s top producers to one of the Arts Club’s largest annual fundraisers.

Guests toasting the 2015 California Wine Fair. Photo by Mark Halliday

Wineries like Meiomi Estate, Signorello Estate, and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars will pour their signature selections exclusive to this event.

Rounding out the rich array of 400 premium wines is an extensive silent auction featuring premium California wines, luxury goods, and entertainment and travel packages.


A guest bids on one of the numerous auction packages available. Photo by Mark Halliday

As the Arts Club’s signature spring fundraiser, all proceeds from event ticket sales and auction packages go toward the development of new Canadian plays and staging world-class theatre created by Vancouver artists.


$90 each, or $75 for groups of 10 or more. (Must be purchased together by phoning the box office at 604.687.1644. Limited quantities available.)

For more information about the event and to purchase tickets, visit our website.

Posted in General, Special Events

California Wine: The Judgment of Paris

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris, a blind wine tasting competition that changed the world’s view on California wines forever.

In 1976, Stephen Spurrier, an Englishman who ran a wine shop in Paris, arranged a blind wine tasting in celebration of the American Bicentennial activities in Paris. Spurrier intended to promote his French-exclusive wine shop at this event by proving that France produced the most superior wines in the world. For the tasting, he gathered together the best French judges, the finest French wines, and a few Californian wines from small upstart wineries. French judges conducted two blind tastings: French Bordeaux vs. California Cabernet Sauvignon, and French Chardonnay vs. California Chardonnay.

What happened next was a shock to everybody—California wines won first place in both tastings. The Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, crafted by Mike Grgich, won with the highest total score, while the Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, crafted by Warren Winiarski, won first place against the best Cabernet or Bordeaux. This day marked a pivotal moment in California wine history, a day that changed the way the world viewed the Californian wine industry.

CWF_2 Sarah England

The 2014 California Wine Fair. Photo by Sarah England

It is harmonious, then, that on the 40th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris, the Arts Club will be hosting Vancouver’s 36th annual California Wine Fair. As the largest tour of California wines in Canada, this tasting event is the perfect opportunity to raise a glass to the Judgment of Paris as a pivotal anniversary for California wine.  In addition, the California Wine Fair will feature Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon for tasting, as well as a 2012 Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon in a double magnum (3 litre bottle) for sale at the Silent Auction.

California Wine Fair Ballroom Tasting
Monday, April 25, 2016
Vancouver Convention Centre East
7–9:30 PM

P.S. In the lead up to the fair, we will also be hosting two wine pairing dinners! The first dinner is at Sienna Restaurant on Sunday, April 10, featuring a multi-course meal paired with the best of California wines from E&J Gallo Winery. The second dinner location and date are still yet-to-be-determined, so stay tuned for details!

Must be 19 and older to attend. This is an Arts Club fundraiser, presented in partnership with BFL Canada, California Wines, US Consulate in Vancouver, Winestains Wine Academy and Konet Systems.

Presenting Sponsor:

Must be 19 and older to attend. This is an Arts Club fundraiser, presented in partnership with BFL Canada, California Wines, US Consulate in Vancouver, Winestains Wine Academy and Konet Systems.
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Interview with MTI alumna, Courtney Shields

The Arts Club’s own Musical Theatre Intensive program (MTI) will be entering its 15th year this summer. This program provides youth, aged 12–19, with the opportunity to train with industry professionals to hone their singing, acting, and dancing skills. MTI has also started to see its alumni from both the Surrey and Vancouver programs utilizing these skills and branching out into the theatre community at-large. Arts Club’s Education Coordinator, Kevan Ellis had the pleasure of sitting down with one of these MTI alumni students, Courtney Shields to talk about her journey from aspiring student to a career in theatre: including her upcoming work with the Arts Club!

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Students of the 2014/2015 Musical Theatre Intensive. Photo by Mark Halliday

Q – How were you first involved with the Arts Club?

In 2004, I was 16 and I applied to MTI.

Q – How was that experience for you?

It was fantastic. The program was still young then. I just met Peter at an audition and he was like, “you should do this thing.” And I didn’t know what it was, I had never heard about it. So, on a whim, it was like this chance thing and I ended up doing it. Literally it changed my life. It really set me on a different path. I’m really grateful that I did it.

Q – How did it change things for you?

Well, at the time musical theatre was my favourite thing that I was doing recreationally, but it was just a hobby. I never had even conceptualized the idea that it you could do this as your career. You can make a life in the theatre and support yourself. I thought, “No, people can’t really do that.” Peter Jorgensen (MTI Program Director) really taught us at a young age that if you are dedicated and you really apply yourself and seek out different kinds of opportunities, and make yourself really versatile, there are lots of different kinds of work you can do in theatre. You don’t just have to be an actor, as it’s hard to support yourself just as a performer, but if you find other ways to stay involved, you can make it your whole life.

Q – How did the MTI experience help you with your career?

I did the Musical Theatre Intensive three times and I was getting a little bit older and closer to graduation each time I did it. At the time when I started I was just 15, I was like “it’s just this fun thing that I do.” The next year Peter started asking me “What theatre schools are you applying to,” and I was like “Haha, Theatre Schools. I’m going to be a lawyer”. And Peter said, “OK. Just let me know when you want a reference letter.” He didn’t even say, “IF.” It was more, “WHEN you want a reference letter, you let me know.” And then, as graduation got closer I was feeling waffley about what I wanted to do and where I was going to go. I was studying musical theatre at a dance theatre at the time as well, and my voice teacher taught at Capilano and asked me if I had thought of applying there. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I talked to Peter about it and he said, “I think you should do it… And here’s your letter.”

That convinced me to audition for the musical theatre at Capilano University. I don’t think I would have been accepted had I not already had that next level of preparation that the Intensive gives you. MTI did mock auditions and they teach us how well-rounded you have to be in all three areas of dancing, acting, and singing and how to combine all those things to tell a story. So I think I wouldn’t have felt ready to audition had I not done MTI. At the time there was not a whole lot of training like that out there for teenagers and I don’t think is now, other than the Intensive. For young people wanting to take that next level, you can do high-school dramas or there are young programs that you can do for fun. But when you’re hungry for something more I think that’s when the Intensive can take you to that next level.

Q – What is your current involvement with the Arts Club?

I’m currently assisting Peter Jorgensen, who is directing the upcoming Arts Club production of Rock of Ages.

Q – How did your involvement with Rock of Ages start?

Peter asked me!! It was kind of fun. He sent me an email when they were about to go into the first round of call-backs and he wanted to do a dance call. Peter is also choreographing the show because he is a really well-rounded guy. He can do it all! He wanted someone who is female to demo the choreography because he thought it would make more sense on the female form. There is a big strip number in the show where there are pole dancers and he was looking for someone to assist with call-backs. He asked, “Would you be interested?” and I said “Of course! It sounds like a blast.” We worked on the choreography together a little bit and I was just coming to do the dance call and I thought it would be fun to be on the other side of the table for a change. As we got further along with the process it eventually became clear that I was going to get to stay onboard for the whole show!

Q – So what’s it like working with Peter as a colleague rather than as an instructor?

Peter has got such a great vision so it doesn’t matter in what capacity that you interact with him. It doesn’t change whether you’re his student or you are working with him and he’s directing you or now to be working on his team, it’s kind of the same. My responsibilities have changed but he has been very consistent in that he has such a great vision, he’s really excited and he just wants to get everyone involved.

Q – What else are you doing right now?

Since doing the program at Capilano, I also decided that I wanted a university education to go with my acting training, so I did the acting program at UBC and used that to get my undergrad so that I could apply for the education program. I got my teaching degree and I’m now working as a teacher-on-call in the Vancouver School District. Mostly teaching drama!

Q – What advice would you give people considering applying for MTI?

If you’re looking for similar-minded artists your age; people who are just as passionate as you are and really incredible instructors who are going to give you the summer of your life, and you want to have a serious professional experience at a young age, then this is the program for you. My advice for you would be: jump in and absorb everything that you can!

The deadline to apply to the Musical Theatre Intensive is April 15!

For application information, visit our website at artsclub.com/participate/musical-theatre-intensive.


Posted in General