Pacific Theatre continues to nourish us: Empire of the Son opens 40th season

Empire of the Son runs from September 29 to October 21 at Pacific Theatre.

Have you noticed the staggering surge in ticket prices for live events lately? Oy! Either our society is flush with disposable income, or the allure of a live experience justifies the cost. Hundreds of thousands of people spend a mortgage payment on a live experience. Why?

Imagine we are chatting about last night’s championship game. Then someone says, “Yeah, I was there.”  Instantly, the status in the group changes. All attention turns to the expert – no one knows like the one who was there. We douse the person with questions to slosh the residual energy from them. We long to vicariously be there; we jealously slurp their anecdotes.

Lucky bloke. They were part of the verve of the crowd pulling in the same direction. They were part of the momentum between action and crowd. They were part of the vitality of being there. They were part.

And the rousing enjoyment from a live experience lasts much longer than a digital event. Because all of our senses are ignited, the memory is more saturated, more profoundly embedded, more intensely relived.

We know this about sports and concerts, but theatre?  Why not theatre?

The reason is simple: people think that a device is the storykeeper. We were raised on the tele and the ‘net, and made this a diet to live off. If fast food were all we had ever tasted, it would define our notion of ‘food.’ How could you describe to someone a handcrafted dumpling, a delicately folded samosa or a thickly dipping stew? Theatre is the best-kept secret because we remain fast-foodies.

But changing gathering for a meal, having only ever gone to a drive-through, could be intimidating. So, too, coming in for live theatre is a novel experience. At the table together, we savour and experience, with the energy of attachment. This collaborative experience makes theatre nourishing, not just ‘filling.’

And no one does this like Pacific Theatre. The proximity is so close that your senses cannot help but tingle. You breathe and beat with the actors. They impress the stories, poignant and witty, right into your heart. Although the table is small, the meal is mighty, and there is always room for more. Tuck in, friend, and nibble what you want.

Oh, and if you still can’t afford a mortgage in Vancouver, it’s not because of PT’s exceptional-value ticket prices!

About Pacific Theatre

PT celebrates 40 years this season. The first show of this milestone year, Empire of the Son by Tetsuro Shigematsu, which opens September 29 and runs until October 21. Pay-what-you-can preview Thursday, September 28.

This show contains strong language and is suitable for ages 13+. For more information, please visit or call 604.731.5518. We hope to see you at the theatre!

Founded in 1984, Pacific Theatre, Pacific Theatre aspires to delight, provoke and stimulate dialogue by producing theatre that rigorously explores the spiritual aspects of human experience. With over 150 productions ranging from established classics to original premieres, our theatre engages top talents from Vancouver and beyond, aiming to inspire dialogue and reflection.

Behind the scenes, Pacific Theatre’s reach stretches far beyond the plays we produce. We are also committed to nurturing emerging artists and cultivating new works, providing a creative haven for novices and seasoned practitioners. Through our apprenticeship program, young theatre talents receive training, shadow professionals and contribute to mainstage events, often springboarding them to successful careers.

Sharon Johnsey serves on the Pacific Theatre board of directors. Her plays have been published and produced in the US and Canada. She works as an educator and writing coach, is pursuing her PhD in Arts Education at SFU, and enjoys the playful company of her two adult children and the shenanigans of their brother cats. 

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1 comment for “Pacific Theatre continues to nourish us: Empire of the Son opens 40th season

  1. Such a well written article! The playful and tastefully cheeky tone in which this piece is written is rarely found in typical ‘churchy’ magazines or other publications.

    It’s wonderful to see CHRIST taking back the arts, as often happens HE is finding a way to draw in his children through a medium that holds and nurtures one close to the soul.

    Praise be to GOD and may he bless Pacific Theatre and this marvelous 40th season, the production of Empire of the Son and all who go to enjoy the Theatre Arts!

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