Vancouver Moving Theatre (VMT) is an award-winning professional interdisciplinary company co-founded by Savannah Walling (Artistic Director) and Terry Hunter (Executive Director) in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (1983)- the homeland of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh; Canada’s poorest postal code; home to the largest Aboriginal “unofficial urban reserve” in Canada; home to the second largest historical Chinatown in North America; and home to a series of immigrant residential communities.
VMT is dedicated to creation of art that celebrates the power of the human imagination and spirit; we do this by supporting the voice of the residents of the Downtown Eastside and beyond; building shared experiences that bridge diverse cultural traditions, social groups and artistic disciplines; aspiring to be a leader in interdisciplinary and community-engaged art; and creating legacies for the future.
Since 2004, VMT has produced, in partnership with over fifty community partners, the annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival. This annual cultural and heritage flagship event serves as a high impact bridge-building force that supports the Downtown Eastside community and its low income residents, cultural communities and neighbourhoods.
VMT has a long-standing history of intercultural collaborations created with Indigenous playwrights and dramaturgs including Drew Hayden Taylor (Suckerfalls: a Musical about Demons of the Forest and the Soul); Renae Morriseau and/or Rose Georgeson (The Downtown Eastside Community Play; We’re All in this together, Storyweaving, The Big House, Against the Current, the national tour of Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way).
Plays co-produced or workshopped by VMT at the DTES Heart of the City Festival include Beneath the Surface (imagi’NATION Collective) for which VMT and imagi’NATION Collective received the TELUS Innovation Award; Women in Fish (Marie Clements/urban ink productions); Red Mother (Muriel Miguel); Gravity and The Douglas Chronicles (Tricia Collins); MISSING (Marie Clements/Vancouver City Opera/Pacific Opera Victoria); útszan (Yvonne Wallace).
Public art projects supported by VMT include a Canoe Launch ceremony (A’wila/The Perfect Storm by carver Mervyn Child/lead -Constant Arts Society; installation of welcome poles (carvers Wes Nahanee and Chief Henry Robertson Jr/lead-Constant Arts Society), and The Survivors Totem Pole raising and potlatch witnessing ceremony (carver Bernie Skundaal Williams/Gul-Kitt-Jaad- Golden Spruce Woman/lead-Sacred Circle Society).
Other projects include an Artist in the Atrium Aboriginal Showcase and Art Market curated by Lou Ann Neels. VMT productions and its Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival regularly feature Indigenous professional, emerging and /or community performers and cultural presenters.
Awards –Vancouver Moving Theatre co-productions are recipient of multiple Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards including Outstanding Production (The Good Person of Setzuan and Crime and Punishment) and Significant Artistic Achievement in Spectacle Design. Vancouver Moving Theatre was honoured with the City of Vancouver Cultural Harmony Award (2008), and co-awarded the TELUS Innovation Award (2016) with the Indigenous group imagi’NATION Collective. In recognition for their contributions to arts and community in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, VMT founders and directors Hunter and Walling have been honoured with the British Columbia Community Achievement Award (2008), Vancouver Mayor’s Award- Community-engaged Art (2010) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013).