The Chutzpah Festival is a performing arts festival hosted by the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver at the Norman Rothstein Theatre each year.
The 2021 festival ran from Monday, November 4th, until Wednesday, November 24th.
For the event’s official website click Vancouver Chutzpah Festival.
The Chutzpah! Festival
Pronounced with a silent “C” and featuring theatre, music and dance, the Chutzpah Festival, in recent years, has taken place between mid-February and mid-March. As of 2019, however, its dates shifted from its usual spring season to the fall.
In 2019 the Chutzpah Festival ran from October 24th until November 24th. In 2020, because of the coronavirus, it ran only from November 21st to 28th and the shows were all online.
The 2021 festival ran from November 4th until the 24th. Performances could be watched in-person or online.
2022 festival dates and details are to be confirmed.
Chutzpah Festival Location
In years when there isn’t a global pandemic, Chutzpah Festival performances take place primarily at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver’s 318-seat Norman Rothstein Theatre. A small number of shows are also sometimes at other venues including the Vogue Theatre, the WISE Hall and Rickshaw Theatre.
The Norman Rothstein Theatre is located at 950 West 41st Avenue in Vancouver.
About the Chutzpah Festival
The Chutzpah Festival draws talented musicians, comedians, dancers and actors from around the world including from Israel, New Zealand, Italy and the United States. Ticket prices usually range from $24 to around $60.
To give you an idea of what to expect, performances and show times from the 2021 season are listed below.
Note: Show times and details are subject to change.
Comedy Performances in 2021
The list of Chutzpah Festival comedy shows from 2021 are as follows:
- Ophira Eisenberg – a Canadian-born comedian who hosted the NPR radio show Ask Me Another for nearly a decade. She took the stage at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on November 10th.
- Avi Liberman – joined by guests Jacob Samuel and Kyle Berger, Liberman is a stand-up comedian with experience on NBC and CBS. He performed at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on November 20th.
- Iris Bahr – returning to the Chutzpah Festival for the third straight year, her solo act was on November 23rd at the Norman Rothstein Theatre. She was also the co-curator of a special series of artist interviews and discussions.
Dance Performances in 2021
Dance performances at the Chutzpah Festival in 2021 included the following:
- Project inTandem – a double show that included two pieces from collaborators Sylvie Moquin and Meghann Michalsky. Both centred around the idea of female empowerment. They performed November 6th and 7th at the Norman Rothstein Theatre.
- Shay Kuebler Radical System Art – Shay Kuebler was a resident artist at the Norman Rothstein Theatre in 2021. His piece Momentum of Isolation premiered on November 13th and 14th after a couple years of development.
- Alexis Fletcher & Ne.Sans Opera and Dance – another double show that featured two solo performances. Both are BC-based performers and they took the stage back to back on November 16th and 18th at the Norman Rothstein Theatre.
Musical Performances in 2021
Concerts and musical performances at the Chutzpah Festival in 2021 included the following:
- Josh “Socalled” Dolgin with Strings – a Canadian artist with experience performing in a number of styles around the world. On November 19th he performed at the Norman Rothstein Theatre with a local string quartet.
- Guy Mintus Trio – returning to the Chutzpah Festival for another year, this musical group performed a set inspired by the American composer George Gershwin. This took place at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on November 24th.
For the event’s official website click Vancouver Chutzpah Festival.
Theatre & Multi-Disciplinary in 2021
Theatre and multi-disciplinary performances at the Chutzpah Festival in 2021 included the following:
- A Night at the Opera – the opening night for the festival on November 4th included a screening of this classic Marx Brothers film at the Norman Rothstein Theatre. City Opera Vancouver performed some songs in tandem with the film and there was a costume contest along with other fun.
- Digital Theatre: The Eichmann Project-Terminal 1 – this show was a screening of a theatre production at the Norman Rothstein Theatre. Shown on November 8th, it told the story of the Eichmann trial using a variety of styles and multi-disciplinary techniques.
- Old Friends – this theatrical piece by Tamara Micner was performed at the 2020 festival. For 2021 it was turned into an audio installation at the Sidney & Gertrude Zack Gallery. Open from November 8th to 12th, it was a short individual experience with admission by donation.
- Storytelling with The Flame’s Deborah Williams – a storytelling workshop that took place at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver on November 17th. Open to those of all experience levels, Williams gave advice on how to improve your ability to perform.
- An Evening with The Flame – a series of storytellers took the stage at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on November 17th. A follow-up to the workshop earlier in the day, with the opportunity for those who took part there to also participate in this show.
- Surplus Production Unit – this Canadian theatre group performed on November 21st and 22nd at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver. They told the real story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which devastated New York in 1911.
2021 Chutzpah! Festival Video
The following video showcases some of the performers from the festival in 2021.
Note: The photos in the above slideshow video were taken by the following photographers:
- Cindi Wicklund (photo of Alexis Fletcher)
- Meged Gozani (photo of Guy Mintus Trio)
- Andi McLeish (photo of Ne.Sans Opera & Dance)
- Mike Katzif (photo of Ophira Eisenberg)
- David Cooper (photo of Shay Kuebler/Radical System Art)
- Alex McLean (photo of Surplus Production Unit)
- Christa Holka (photo of Tamara Micner)
In case you were curious about what Chutzpah means, synonyms include the words audacity, effrontery, cheek, gall and supreme self-confidence.
The Chutzpah Festival is one of Vancouver’s top performing arts festivals and in 2021 it celebrated its 21st year.
(Note: The above photos are of performers at the festival in 2021. In the top row from left to right are (1) Lilach Dekel-Avneri, (2) Avi Liberman and (3) Iris Bahr. In the bottom row are (4) Martin Renner-Wallace, (5) Alexis Fletcher and (6) Michelle Koebke.)
For more information see the Chutzpah Festival website.
For information about other similar events at other times of the year, see Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s October, November and December Calendars
- Vancouver Shows & Entertainment
- Lower Mainland Rainy Day Activities
- Theatre in Vancouver
- History & Culture in Vancouver