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21st Annual Chutzpah! Festival Lineup Announced

Ted Littlemore, Solo for Orpheus. Photo: Andi McLeish

The Chutzpah! Festival returns with an exciting and dynamic lineup of performances this November 4-24, 2021, presenting music, theatre, comedy, and dance that reflects the joy of coming back together. For over two decades the Chutzpah! Festival has been an eagerly anticipated and annual highlight of Greater Vancouver’s arts season. Artists will once again grace the stage of the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre, our festival hub, and share their work in person and via digital streams. Single tickets start at $18 (plus applicable fees and service charges) and are available online on September 15 at or by phone at 604.257.5145.


The 21st Annual Chutzpah! Festival will include concerts, comedy, new dance works, film, theatre, and storytelling, paired with stimulating conversations and opportunities to interact with creative artists. Audiences will have the opportunity to attend in-person performances, with safety protocols in place, or to enjoy digital streams from the comfort of their own homes. With an emphasis on artists from across Canada, the Festival will also present work from Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

“Artists and arts enthusiasts alike have been eagerly awaiting our chance to come back together to share our stories,” says Jessica Mann Gutteridge, Artistic Managing Director. “With the joy of reconnecting comes the knowledge that our lives have profoundly changed over the past year and a half. The Chutzpah! Festival will explore and celebrate the many ways we tell stories now, with a variety of ways to experience and participate in the work.”

There’s so much to experience at Chutzpah! 2021, and we invite everyone to immerse themselves in the depth and breadth of the amazing performances in store.

Announced today, the Chutzpah! Festival is pleased to present the following lineup:


A Night at the Opera with Interactive Concert by City Opera VancouverNovember 4 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre

What better way to welcome audiences back to the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre than with the pinnacle of Jewish comedy – a special screening of the Marx Bros. classic A Night at the Opera. To kick off the festivities, City Opera Vancouver will sing the operatic music parodied in the film, with fun and surprises in store. The 30s cinema experience will include festive treats, glamour, and a costume contest.


Avi Liberman
November 20 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre

Israeli-American stand-up comedian Avi Liberman’s quirky style has made him a favourite in comedy clubs from Los Angeles to New York. Born in Israel, raised in Texas, having gone to college in New York, and now living in Los Angeles, his style is a winning combination of life experiences and topical issues told through a varied blend of characters and voices with worldwide expertise. Avi has performed stand-up comedy on CBS’s “Late Late Show” with Craig Ferguson, on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” and “Make Me Laugh” as well as NBC’s “Friday Night!” He has appeared at the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival. Since 2001, Avi has successfully produced and performed at the widely acclaimed stand-up comedy tours in Israel to help boost morale while donating all the proceeds to a charity. Avi will be joined by special guest Jacob Samuel and host Kyle Berger.

Ophira Eisenberg
November 10 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre

Canadian-born, New York-based stand-up comedian, storyteller, and writer Ophira Eisenberg is host of NPR’s comedy and trivia show Ask Me Another , airing nationally on more than 400 stations. She has appeared on Comedy Central, This Week at The Comedy Cellar, Kevin Hart’s LOL Network, HBO’s GirlsGotham LiveThe Late Late ShowThe Today Show, and VH-1. The New York Times called her a skilled comedian and storyteller with “bleakly stylish” humour. She was also selected as one of New York Magazine‘s “Top 10 Comics that Funny People Find Funny,” and hailed byForbes.comas one of the most engaging comics working today.

Iris Bahr
November 23 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre

Iris Bahr wowed Chutzpah! audiences in 2020 with her deft festival hosting and interactive artist interviews and her critically acclaimed solo show, DAI (enough), was featured at the 2019 Chutzpah! Festival. The award-winning Israeli-American writer, actor, director, producer and host of the hit podcast X-RAE will perform her new solo show, balancing “pungent humour, bittersweet pathos, and a sublime charm.” ( LA Weekly)


Project inTandem – Deep END & moving through, it all amounts to something
November 6 & 7 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre – digital stream available

Contemporary dance featuring the works of Calgary’s award-winning producers and choreographers Sylvie Moquin & Meghann Michalsky, who co-founded the company only 4 years ago in 2017. This double-bill explores themes of female struggle and empowerment, in its BC premiere. Michalsky investigates how movement can accumulate and evolve through set rounds and repetition. Moquin’s work is Inspired by the concept of neuroplasticity and the journey of rewiring one’s patterning.

Shay Kuebler/Radical System Art – world premiere of Momentum of Isolation
November 13 & 14 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre – digital stream available

Internationally renowned choreographer and dancer Shay Kuebler, along with his younger ensemble of dancers, returns to Chutzpah! as resident artists with a new premiere. The company aims to expand the art of physical performance through the lens of a versatile amorphous language of dance, martial arts, theatre, music and other forms. The goal of the company is to create a visceral, risk-taking physicality and give it precision, detail and structure. Presciently, Shay began researching social isolation in 2018 after reading about the UK hiring a Minister of Loneliness. The first “chapter” of the work was developed via zoom in 2020 – solos in isolated spaces. The second “chapter”, MOI -the partitions was showcased at the Dancing on the Edge Festival earlier in 2021 with sold-out live performances. This new work is even more relevant today and will be completed during a multi-week residency at the Rothstein Theatre. M.O.I. promises to be dynamic, active, and reflective of our current moment.

Alexis Fletcher Vancouver premiere of light in the rafters
Ne.Sans Opera & Dance world premiere of Solo for Orpheus
November 16 & 18 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre – digital stream available

2019 and 2021 Chutzpah! resident artist Alexis Fletcher returns with a solo performance, integrating movement and the visual art of Vancouver painter and HIV/AIDS activist Tiko Kerr. For this Vancouver Premiere the 2019 gallery version will be re-imagined for the NRT stage incorporating newer art pieces that will be woven into this fully realized production . Alexis is a dance artist, creator, and producer, who has danced with Ballet BC for 14 years and holds the position there of Artist in Residence.

2020 and 2021 Chutzpah! resident artist Ne.Sans Opera & Dance , led by Israeli-Canadian Artistic Director Idan Cohen, returns to create and premiere a new solo drawing inspiration from the myth of Orpheus, and Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice. It is a contemporary comment on Orpheus as the mimesis of an artist, during difficult times for the performing arts. Idan Cohen performed with Israel’s world-renowned Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and has been creating and teaching as an award-winning choreographer since 2005. For this work, Cohen will collaborate with Ted Littlemore (aka Mila Dramatic), a contemporary dancer, musician, and drag queen.


Lilach Dekel-Avneri & The Pathos-Mathos Company – The Eichmann Project – Terminal 1
November 8 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre – digital stream available

This multidisciplinary stage event created by innovative Israeli theatre artists revisits one of the seminal events in the history of Israel – the Eichmann Trial and the public storm that followed. This adaptation for the screen continues Dekel-Avneri’s practice of challenging the stage-audience relationship and creates a new bond between the performers and the spectators via the camera, giving rise to a new hybrid art form. Screening followed by a live digital conversation with the creator.

The Flame – An Evening of Storytelling
November 17 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre

Under the stewardship of artistic director Deborah Williams, The Flame is a fiery, Vancouver-based grassroots storytelling series where Real People share their personal True Stories in front of a live audience. This special edition created for Chutzpah! invites a multicultural group of storytellers, including Stephen Aberle , Glenda Zenoff, Eleanor Lipov and Helen Schneiderman, with special musical guest Anton Lipovetsky. Deborah will be offering an in-depth weekend workshop prior to event to hone aspiring storytellers’ craft.

Surplus Production Unit – A Timed Speed-Read of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Trial Transcript
November 21 at 6pm and November 22 at 11am & 7pm, Wosk Auditorium

In this immersive theatre piece, Halifax-based Surplus Production Unit, under the direction of Alex McLean, races against time to tell the true story of the fire that devastated the Jewish and Italian immigrant communities of New York in 1911, setting new standards for workplace safety and sparking a worldwide movement. With only a stopwatch and a stack of paper, and some theatrical magic, the story comes to life. School matinee tickets available.


Josh “Socalled” Dolgin – Di Frosh
November 19 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre – digital stream available

Canada’s own Josh “Socalled” Dolgin is a pianist, accordionist, producer, journalist, photographer, filmmaker, magician, cartoonist and puppet maker based in Montreal, Quebec. He has lectured and has led master classes in music festivals around the world, from Moscow to Paris, from London to LA, and from Krakow to San Francisco, and has performed on every continent. With 6 solo albums to his name, he has performed all over the world for more than 10 years, and his list of collaborators knows no generational, social, cultural nor religious boundaries. Dolgin, accompanied by a local string quartet, leads this evening of rediscovered Yiddish songs, with stories and perhaps a little magic!

Guy Mintus Trio – A Gershwin Playground
November 24 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre – digital stream available

Chutzpah! favourite, the magnificent Israeli jazz combo Guy Mintus Trio, performs A Gershwin Playground . Pianist and composer Guy Mintus is a true citizen of the world. Coming from a mixed heritage of Iraqi, Moroccan & Polish Jews, he is based between Tel Aviv and New York. He is a trained concert pianist with the energy of a rock-star and a jazz musician’s sense of adventure, and he’s unafraid to throw his native middle-eastern scales and rhythms into the mix. The Guy Mintus Trio started with a need to create a musical home in which his different identities and influences can co-exist and come together as a unique, unified voice. The electricity between the three musicians is palpable and has been described as capable of “taking the entire hall’s breath away” (Barka Fabianova, Full Moon Zine Magazine). The Guy Mintus Trio’s A Gershwin Playground is both healing and inspiring, as it channels the genius of the legendary George Gershwin into a display of brilliant contemporary art.

Guy Mintus. Photo: Ella Barak


Iris Bahr – Artist Conversation Series
Throughout the Festival

Iris Bahr is the award-winning Israeli-American writer, actor, director, producer and host of the hit podcast X-RAE. Her critically acclaimed solo show, DAI (enough), was featured in the 2019 Chutzpah! Festival and her spirited and insightful hosting of the 2020 digital Chutzpah! Festival won rave audience acclaim and critical reviews. Bahr’s famed stand-up balances “pungent humour, bittersweet pathos, and a sublime charm.” (LA Weekly). Iris re-joins Chutzpah! as co-curator of an ongoing series of conversations with some of the most interesting and influential artists and intellectuals today, including this special edition featuring Festival artists, featuring her inimitable stand-up and hilarious cast of characters.

Tamara Micner Old Friends
November 8-12, Theatre, Installation, Sidney & Gertrude Zack Gallery, By Donation

Chutzpah! Festival favourite, UK-based theatre artist Tamara Micner, transforms her theatrical work-in-progress (workshopped in the 2020 festival) into an audio installation, creating an intimate, one-on-one experience. Audience members will be invited into the Zack Gallery to listen to Micner’s reading of letters written to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, reflecting on how their music informs her feelings about friendship, activism, Jewishness, and art, and to share their own thoughts. There will be opportunities to “meet” the artist via video stream for conversations about her work and ideas, including special guests representing the vibrancy and diversity of Vancouver’s arts scene.

For more information on the 2021 Chutzpah! Festival, please visit the following platforms:




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