Women stage diverse cabaret fundraiser

To celebrate feminine creativity, an all-female variety show rolls out soon at Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver. A benefit for the North Shore Women’s Centre on March 20, the event is produced by and for women to raise money to provide services for women throughout the year.

Supriya Ryan is the development and outreach co-ordinator for the women’s centre who has worked on organizing the Crimson Cabaret since it started three years ago.

“The event started because we wanted something more than a fundraiser,” Ryan said. “We wanted to support and exhibit women’s diversity and artistic abilities in Vancouver.” She said it’s an eclectic program every year and it involves many women, including producers, technicians, entrepreneurs, advertisers, singers, dancers and more. There will be 13 performances with each one coming from a different art and experiential background as well as different age groups.

“[It’s] exciting because of what women bring to it,” said Ryan. The performances include comedy, mime, drumming, opera, First Nations dance, belly dancing, and Filipino folk funk music. Some of the performers are well-known artists like singer/songwriter Veda Hille, West African dancer Jacky Essombe, and singer/songwriter MJ Cyr from Toronto. The Hot Flash Hoofers are a tap dance group of about 30 women, all 55 years and more, who regularly tour around the world. Dancers from Vancouver’s Tomorrow Collective and First Nations group Full Circle will also performance.

Additionally, there will be a silent auction for the audience to bid on. It includes 25 baskets with items donated by various individuals and businesses from across the Lower Mainland, including trips for two to Hollyhock or Whistler.

Ryan said the upcoming benefit show is also very important because it raises money to fill in the gaps that don’t receive funding from other sources. “We can spend it where we see fit,” she said. Many of the grants the centre now receives target particular programs and as a result they are restricted to specific expenses. As a result some costs are not covered, like fixed overhead expenses that keep the centre open on a daily basis. Five years ago, the provincial government cut funding 100 per cent of its funding to 37 women’s centres across British Columbia.

The North Shore Women’s Centre has been a drop-in resource centre for 36 years. It focuses on preventative programs to empower women to make informed choices. The centre provides women with access to information, support and referrals in topic areas like housing, employment, health and relationships. As well, it provides a number of programs and services, such as a single mothers’ support group, peer counseling, one-to-one computer training, a legal clinic, emergency food and supplies, and a resource library. They also have a girls’ group program which includes a two-week summer program.

The North Shore Women’s Centre is located at 131 E. 2nd St. in North Vancouver. For more info, see northshorewomen.ca. Cabaret tickets are $30.00 in advance, available at the centre or via the Centennial Theatre box office.

About Kerry Hall

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