Who We Are

ts Vancouver Moving Theatre (VMT) is an award-winning professional interdisciplinary company co-founded in the Downtown Eastside (1983) by Terry Hunter (Executive Director) and Savannah Walling (Artistic Director), co-founding members of the Mime Caravan (1973-74) and the avant-garde movement collective Terminal City Dance (1975-83). The Downtown Eastside, located on unceded Coast Salish Territory, is made up overlapping historic districts and is home to the largest Aboriginal “unofficial urban reserve” in Canada, the second largest historical Chinatown in North America, and to a succession of immigrant residential communities. For over fifteen years, VMT toured with drum dances and masked dance-dramas The Festival Characters, Drum Mother’s Gifts, Samarambi: Pounding of the Heart, Ab audire and Blood Music before co-producing original plays, concerts, and interdisciplinary events.  Seasoned professionals on the festival and school touring circuits, VMT has presented over 4,000 performances to over half a million spectators on four continents; created over forty-five original interdisciplinary creations; originated four community residency templates; developed Drum Dance and Integrated Performer Training Programs;  co-produced fifteen annual inter/multi-arts festivals and completed sixteen tours of B.C., six tours of Western Canada, five Canadian tours, and seven international engagements (Australia, Asia, Europe and USA).   VMT has co-produced with partners: Young People’s Theatre (Luigi’s Kitchen, Hot Music/Cool Tales: The Art and Science of Sound); innovative interdisciplinary adaptations of classical literature for the main-stage, including the annual Bah! Humbug! and Bharata Natyam based Tales from the Ramayana; and award-winning and nominated The Good Person of Setzuan, SuckerFalls: A Musical about Demons of the Forest and the Soul, Crime and Punishment and The Idiot.  After touring internationally for fifteen years, VMT shifted focus towards an evolving series of professional produced, critically acclaimed festivals and community plays: pioneering arts-based community development projects tailored with, for and about the Downtown Eastside community.  Highlights include the Strathcona Artist at Home Festival (1999-2004); multi-disciplinary annual flagship Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival (2004-present), a twelve day festival that features hundreds of artists and residents at over one hundred events at over forty-five venues throughout the Downtown Eastside); In the Heart of a City: The Downtown Eastside Community Play (2003), co-produced with Carnegie Community Centre assisted by 2,000 volunteers and eighty community actors performing to sold-house houses and standing ovations; the giant shadow screen production We Are All In This Together: The Shadows Project – Addiction and Recovery (2005-07);  clown-based A Downtown Eastside Romeo and Juliet (2008); puppet and promenade-style The Minotaur Dreams (2011) co-produced with BC’s Runaway Moon Theatre; and tributes to the East End’s Black, Aboriginal and Ukrainian communities: Spirit Rising Festival (2011) and East End Blues and All That Jazz (2008/09/11) with Centre of Integration for African Immigrants); Storyweaving (2012) with Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre; and Bread & Salt (2013) with Association of United Ukrainian Canadians. Vancouver Moving Theatre’s broad-ranging activities include New Directions: 4th National Canadian Community Play Symposium; Downtown Eastside Artfare Institutes, leadership training in community-engaged arts co-produced with Toronto’s Jumblies Theatre; the Artists in the Atrium Indigenous Art Market and, with C3 Society, Black Strathcona interactive new media project. VMT’s productions and projects have been supported by co-producing international partnerships: The Canada Project, Nordiskteaterlaboratorium/Odin Teatret; national and regional partnerships: Toronto’s Jumblies Theatre, Calgary’s Trickster Theatre, Enderby, BC’s Runaway Moon Theatre; local partnerships: Axis Theatre, Firehall Arts Centre, Mandala Arts & Culture, New World Theatre/ PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Ruby Slippers Theatre, Savage God Theatre, SFU/Woodwards Cultural Programs, Touchstone Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company; and community partnerships, including among others: Association of United Ukrainian Canadians, Carnegie Community Centre, Centre of Integration for African Immigrants, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, and the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall.  Awards VMT co-productions and its directors have received multiple Jessie Richardson Awards, including Outstanding Production (The Good Person of Setzuan and Crime and Punishment), and Significant Achievement in Spectacle Design.   Savannah Walling was the first recipient (1988) of the Halla Kaiulani Keali’inohomoku Memorial Research Choreographer-in-Residence (Cross-Cultural Dance Resources, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA). Vancouver Moving Theatre received the 2008 City of Vancouver Cultural Harmony Award.   In recognition for their significant contribution to arts, community bridge building and cultural harmony, VMT’s Terry Hunter and Savannah Walling are recipients of the 2008 British Columbia Community Achievement Award, the 2009 Vancouver Mayor’s Award - Community Art , and the 2013 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal