The Catalogue of Independent Arts

It’s been a rough year for us in the Independent Vancouver Theatre Scene. The biggest thing that rocked our world this year was the closing of the Playhouse. But, life goes on, there is still tons of theatre in the city, and we’re gearing up for the Fringe. A local company has taken over the Playhouse’s props department, and will be renting them out to anyone who needs them.

Another piece of good news: See Seven has been reborn. A while back, a group of theatre companies in Vancouver banded together to create a marketing campaign called See Seven. You could join, and have your show be part of an independent Vancouver Theatre pass, which allowed patrons to pick and choose seven shows for one low rate over the course of the year. Fantastic idea. However, many of the companies lost their gaming grants, and See Seven disbanded for a bit. Well, they’re back, and they have something new, bigger and better.

Here’s a bit about it:

The Catalogue of Independent Arts – or the CIA, for short – will be a full-colour, glossy, magazine-style guide to promote the independent arts in Vancouver. It will function as a directory of independent music, dance, theatre, literary and visual arts. The CIA is a diverse advertising campaign that capitalizes on the appeal of different artistic disciplines and creates connections through a joint venture.

Independent arts and artists now more than ever needed profile and support, but the old format was not meeting the glaring needs any longer. –Diane Brown

Initially the magazine would be published once a year, accompanied by a launch event in the fall of 2012. 5000 copies will be printed in the inaugural run. They will be distributed to the existing mailing list of See Seven, and to coffee shops, galleries, venues, tourism information centres (such as Tourism BC), and medical offices. There will be an initial distribution in the early fall, and two top ups throughout the year. There will also be an E-version of the Catalogue distributed to over 9000.

I interviewed Diane Brown, AD of Ruby Slippers Theatre and the gal in charge of CIA.

RC: Tell me how the CIA came to be.

DB: The idea of a marketing initiative of some kind came out of group discussions. I met with a group of like-minded individuals, some former See Seven Board members, but most not, and we were discussing the needs of the community right now rather than trying to re-create something that worked in the past. This is where the catalogue idea came up, a catalogue with profile pages that highlight whatever the company/artist wishes to highlight about themselves. It could be a visiting artist, an artistic director, a project, a season, or a piece of history. The flexibility of the catalogue idea and the simplicity (ie. no subscribers or tickets or passes…messy messy business) was very appealing. You didn’t even have to have a ‘show’ of any kind to participate. It was as though we took all of the best of See Seven–the year-long profile, working collaboratively, attaining very cheap and excellent marketing–and expanded it to include all independent artists and organizations.  We are all connected, share audience, and can build more creatively and financially if we work as a whole together. The catalogue will be distributed throughout the City of Vancouver and (this is the exciting part) we will also be disseminating an E-version of the catalogue to over 9000 people! All the of the participating orgs and artists will be distributing the catalogue to their people. And the CIA Website will provide info and links to everyone’s websites!

RC: So, what exactly is the CIA?

DB: It is exactly what the thing is, a catalogue of independent arts in Vancouver. It also has the nice double entrendre, the ramifications of which are quite delicious. It will function as a directory of independent music, dance, theatre, literary and visual arts. The CIA is a diverse advertising campaign that capitalizes on the appeal of different artistic disciplines and creates connections through a joint venture. This is what makes us different: we are a vehicle for multi-disciplinary independent artists and organizations. We are not just advertising shows, we are profiling artists, ideas, trends, venues, whatever people wish to highlight.

RC: Thanks, Diane! Good luck!


The catalogue will be officially launched on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 from 7-10 PM with a launch party at Calabash Bistro. This exciting evening will feature a variety of performances including drag by Peach Cobblah of Zee Zee Theatre, hip hop by Urban Ink and music by Creaking Planks.

See Seven Performing Arts Society presents the Catalogue of Independent Arts & Launch Party | Venue: Calabash Bistro, 428 Carral St., Vancouver | Map:| Tickets: $5 | September 12, 2012, 7-10pm| More:

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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