An intercultural experience awaits the audience at this year’s variety benefit for the North Shore Women’s Centre.
The Crimson Cabaret on March 12 features an array of performers taking the stage to raise critical funding for women’s services.
“It’s exciting, stimulating and vibrant,” said Supriya Ryan, NSWC development and outreach co-ordinator, about the event.
“We’re looking forward to another amazing line-up. It’s a very eclectic program that gets a lot of artists together from different genres. The show is holistically a cross section of women’s talents and backgrounds.”
She said the centre has four main goals for the event—to raise much needed money, increase their visibility on the North Shore and in the Lower Mainland, showcase the talent of female artists and bring the community together.
Juno-award winning singer Kinnie Starr brings her unique style of alternative rock to the stage. Maobong Oku is an African dancer who will perform traditional Nigerian dancers. Heidi Muendel, an operatic soprano, will sing with pianist Karen Lee-Morlang. Asha Diaz is a talented teenage songwriter/singer from the North Shore. Chinese ballet dancers from the Lorita Leung Dance Academy and Silk Road, a Chinese-Vietnamese string trio, will appear. A number of other performers are also on the bill.
The event also coincides with the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day which provides the community with an opportunity to consider the progress women have made to date.
“We want to acknowledge how far we’ve come and the transformative strides we’ve made,” said Ryan. “But there’s still a long way to go in Canada.”
She said the position of women is actually deteriorating. They are seeing an increased demand for services as poverty becomes more prevalent in the Lower Mainland. Women and their children are more vulnerable as a result of the housing crisis, low minimum wages, high cost of living, reduced legal aid and low social assistance rates. She agreed that this is contradictory to B.C.’s slogan as “the best place on earth” to live.
“We need to address these oppositions, recognize that they exist, and come up with some strategies to address them,” said Ryan. There is a growing disparity between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’ She said many of the problems are systemic, rather than individual, and they need systemic solutions.
Government has slashed the women’s centre funding on an ongoing basis over the past number of years, Ryan said, and they are expecting more to come. The cabaret brings in crucial funding that allows them to fill in the gaps that other sources do not cover. She hopes this year’s event will see a better turn out than in 2010. In the wake of the Olympics, people were tired and didn’t come to the event.
NSWC provides support programs like computer training, peer counselling, and a law clinic.
The cabaret takes place at Centennial Theatre, 2300 Lonsdale Ave., N. Vancouver. Advance tickets, $30.