Giving a voice to Vancouver’s missing

The Department of Theatre’s Creative Ensemble took to the stage on April 7 with a new play, titled Vacancy, which they collectively wrote and directed. It runs until April 9 with performances at 7:30pm and a 1pm matinee today in the Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre in the Centre for Film & Theatre on York’s Keele campus.

Vacancy is a dark journey, based on the 31 prostitutes who mysteriously vanished over the past 14 years in Vancouver’s “Low Track”, a 10-block slum in the city’s Downtown East Side neighbourhood. With its rundown hotels, pawn shops, gutters and alleys littered with garbage and discarded hypodermic needles, Low Track is an urban wasteland populated by junkies, prostitutes and gangs who defend their turf with brute force.

For the 18 fourth-year theatre students who make up the Creative Ensemble, the shared starting point in Vacancy is a poster from the missing women task force, illustrating the faces, names and dates last seen of 69 sex trade workers in Low Track. “The play was created to give voice and vision to the missing women that may otherwise have been given none,” says ensemble member Koby Rogers Hall.

The members of the Creative Ensemble don’t restrict themselves to familiar territory. Trained in the process of collective creation, the ensemble devises a wide range of works based on numerous sources of inspiration, all built from the ground up. “Working together within unbounded parameters of imagination and risk-taking, we bring to the stage what we believe to be relevant theatre today,” says Rogers Hall.

The students are: Julia Ainsworth, Heather Marie Annis, Sarah Dineen, Jordan Kennedy, Tom Kerr, Paul Lacey, Amy Lee, Duncan McCallum, Liam Morris, Kristy Piper, Serge Plourde, Maya Rabinovitch, Koby Rogers Hall, Shannon Roszell, Jason Sharman, Sadie St. Denis, Cassandra Togneri and Andrea Winzer.

Admission is pay-what-you-can with a suggested donation of $5. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the box office in the lobby of the Centre for Film & Theatre, by telephone at 416-650-3303, or by e-mail to or at the door.

Visit the Creative Ensemble Web site for more information about the ensemble, the play Vacancy and its cast.

This story was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena, publicist, Faculty of Fine Arts.