The Virtual Stage

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The Virtual Stage
Formation 2000
Type Theatre group
Purpose multimedia theatre
Artistic director(s)
Andy Thompson

The Virtual Stage is a professional multimedia theatre company based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Founded in 2000 by Artistic Director Andy Thompson,[1] The Virtual Stage focuses on the investigation of emerging technologies in theatre and often utilizes cinematic techniques and elements of film in its live productions.[2][3]


Shortly after incorporating as The Virtual Stage Arts Society in 2000, the company created a short film entitled Game Over on the theme of violent children's entertainment.[4]

The following year, the company produced its first full-length play with the acclaimed[5] Canadian premiere of Don DeLillo’s play Valparaiso at the Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver.[6] This show was the first of three that the company produced as "The Virtual Stage Co-op" under the Canadian Actors' Equity Association Equity Co-op guidelines.

In 2002, the company produced the world premiere of Andy Thompson's play The Birth of Freedom, directed by Alex Lazaridis Ferguson at Performance Works on Granville Island.[7] The Birth of Freedom went on to garner three nominations at Vancouver's Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards: Outstanding Original Play or Musical, Sydney Risk Award for Outstanding original Script by an Emerging Playwright and winning the company's first ever award with Outstanding Performance by an Actress In a Supporting Role (Colleen Wheeler).[8]

In 2004, the company once again produced Valparaiso, directed by Craig Hall[9] at Performance Works on Granville Island. This production was its last under the Equity Co-op framework.

After a year-long mentorship with the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company,[10] The Virtual Stage produced the world premiere of Andy Thompson's science fiction comedy play SPANK! at the Roundhouse Community Centre in 2006.[11] SPANK! went on to garner three nominations at Vancouver's Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards: Significant Artistic Achievement for Outstanding Technical Design, Outstanding Costume Design and winning for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress (Sasa Brown).[12]

In 2008, The Virtual Stage co-produced a "live-cinematic interpretation" of Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit with Electric Company Theatre at the Centre for Digital Media, directed by Kim Collier. The production was highly acclaimed,[13][14] leading the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards small theatre category with eight nominations, winning for Outstanding Production and Critics’ Choice Innovation Award.[15] The success spawned a Canadian tour of No Exit in the 2009-2010 theatre season, with productions in Kamloops (produced at the Sagebrush Theatre by Western Canadian Theatre), Toronto (presented by Nightwood Theatre at the Buddies in Bad Times theatre)[16] and Calgary at The High Performance Rodeo (presented by One Yellow Rabbit and Theatre Calgary).[17]

The Virtual Stage made its US and international touring debut with No Exit at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco in 2011.[18] Also in 2011, The Virtual Stage produced the world premiere of Andy Thompson's multi-media stage adaptation of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, co-produced by Langara College's Studio 58 and directed by Ron Jenkins at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.[19] Later that year, The Virtual Stage entered the Film Racing Grand Prix, an international 100-hour filmmaking competition. Its entry in the race, a superhero spoof directed by Andy Thompson entitled Repair Man, was the top-ranking Canadian film of the competition, finishing third overall.[20]

In 2012, the company produced Andy Thompson's site-specific theatrical scavenger hunt The Zombie Syndrome in which audience members with smartphones used GPS to navigate from scene to scene on the streets of Vancouver. The Vancouver Police Department was involved in the process to ensure no violent scenes with zombies appeared in public.[21] The interactive show was acclaimed for its originality and compared to the Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks of the 1980s and 1990s.[22][23][24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Henderson, Paul J. (March 18, 2011). "A balanced brain". Chilliwack Times, p. A29. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  2. ^ Retrieved August 19, 2011 from
  3. ^ Lederman, Marsha. (May 28, 2011). "Show-stopping stages: When the backdrop becomes the star". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  4. ^ Retrieved August 25, 2011 from
  5. ^ Thomas, Colin. (February 22, 2001). "Valparaiso Is Worth the Wait". Georgia Straight.
  6. ^ Retrieved August 19, 2011 from
  7. ^ Retrieved August 19, 2011 from
  8. ^ Retrieved August 19, 2011 from
  9. ^ Thomas, Colin. (May 13, 2004). Georgia Straight. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  10. ^ Retrieved August 19, 2011 from
  11. ^ Thomas, Colin. (October 12, 2006). Georgia Straight, p.56. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  12. ^ Retrieved August 19, 2011 from
  13. ^ Birnie, Peter. (May 5, 2008). "No Exit sets another benchmark of brilliance". Vancouver Sun, p. C6. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  14. ^ Thomas, Colin. (May 8, 2008). "No Exit 's fresh hell is diabolically inventive". Georgia Straight.
  15. ^ Retrieved August 19, 2011 from
  16. ^ Crew, Robert. (November 13, 2009). "No Exit: Collier gives heavenly direction in Sartre's hell". Toronto Star, p. E7. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  17. ^ deMello, Jessica. (January 29, 2010). "No Exit: four shows to go in Calgary". National Post. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  18. ^ Hurwitt, Robert. (April 15, 2011). "No Exit review: Welcome to Hotel Sartre". San Francisco Chronicle, p. F1. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  19. ^ Birnie, Peter. (March 29, 2011). "Theatre review: Stage adaptation of 1984 shows a thorough understanding of Orwell's warning". Vancouver Sun, p. D11. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  20. ^ Schaefer, Glen. (November 22, 2011). "Vancouver superhero spoof takes podium at NYC short film contest". The Province. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  21. ^ Fleming, Andrew. (October 18, 2012). "Drawn to the Dead". Vancouver Sun Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  22. ^ Savcic, Anja. "News Flash! Vancouverites save the world with Smartphones!" Vancouver Weekly. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  23. ^ Thomas, Colin. (October 15, 2012) "The Zombie Syndrome is a surprising trek" Georgia Straight. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  24. ^ Jones, David C. (October 14, 2012) "Walking Dead tonight...Zombie Syndrome now!" The Charlebois Post. Retrieved March 29, 2013.

External links[edit]