The Birds

This event occurs custom recurrence
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
$11.50 - $24.50

Artwork by Jonathan Wood

The Birds

By Yvette Nolan
Directed by MFA Director Michelle Olson

Dorothy Somerset Studio
March 16-25, 2023 | 7:30 PM
Preview: March 15

Two humans seeking freedom and a better way of life travel to the land of the birds in this irreverent adaptation of Aristophanes’ classic comedy. While one has little regard for the land’s occupants and sets about constructing their own utopian “paradise”, the other begins to listen and respond to the birds with openness and curiosity. Unravelling typical notions of form and the colonial narrative, The Birds reflects on pressing contemporary issues of colonialism and reconciliation.


Wednesday, March 15
7:30 pm

Thursday, March 16–Saturday, March 25
7:30 pm

Friday, March 17

No performance on Monday, March 20.



Dorothy Somerset Studio
6361 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

We acknowledge that the UBC Vancouver campus is situated within the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam.

Ticket Prices

Adult: $24.50 Senior: $16.50 Student: $11.50 

We recommend purchasing ahead of time due to the limited capacity of this venue. Tickets at the door will be available for purchase with cash or debit only.


The Birds includes references to (but no depiction of) sexual violence 

Travelling from the edge of this play to the centre of it has been a journey that is weeks, months and years in the making. From the moment I stepped into my first Indigenous-run rehearsal room over 20 years ago and subsequently traversing the landscape of my performance practice since then, I have arrived in the land of The Birds. Upon this arrival, I have unpacked a bundle that holds the values taught to me by my mentors, colleagues, and elders. These values have been my orientation, my touchstone and my grounding. I am forever grateful. 

Through this adaptation of The Birds, Yvette Nolan has invited us into the world of birds that is grappling with the invasion of humans and the colonial legacy that trails behind them. Stretched out before us like hide on a frame, the images and story scrape the hide clean, so we too can see the story of our country. Yvette is asking all of us to sit with the consequences of this colonial mess and open our hearts to the truths. The word truth can roll off the tongue with ease when it takes a shortcut to the brain, avoiding any felt sense of the word. Then add in reconciliation in the same way and we are lost. The only way through is through, with our hearts, bodies and mind intact. Awakening to the violence in the making of this country, we must challenge the perpetual remaking of it in its own image. 

So, this is supposed to be a comedy, eh? It seems incongruent but it is not. Laughter and tears are twin sisters that enter the rehearsal room together. The more tears that are shed the deeper the belly laughs. The louder the howl, the more uncontrollable are the giggles. In presencing yourself in the moment and accepting that first impulse of a laugh or a cry, no matter which way it goes, there is reparation, there is healing. And of course, there is joy. 

During the last rehearsal before Reading Week, the cast, stage management and the creative team had a feast for the ancestors. As I was making the stew the night before, I was a little worried that there would not be enough food. I am well versed in this practice of feasting as a part of process but it was a new concept for our team. When I arrived, my worries fell away. The table was full of food—salad, pasta, rice, veggies, fruit, homemade apple pie and cake and snacks that would take us to the end of the day. There was such generosity in this feast, showing up with what one is able to contribute and offering it up to others. That is all one can ask at such a potluck and that is all one can ask in the rehearsal room. The performers who embody these characters and this story have come to it with such care, respect and enthusiasm. I appreciate their willingness to come on this journey and infuse it with their energy and insight. 

I thank you for being here and being witness to this work. Let us dream ourselves forward. 

“Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming.” 

-Alice Walker 

Michelle Olson Director


Rachel Angco Nightingale
Simon Auclair-Troughton Gulliver (Loon)
Christian Peter Billet Jack (Peacock)
Ripley Twardzik Ching Humming bird, Priest, Agent
Julia Eckert Yellow Warbler, Poet
Sera Jorgensen Raven
Kristi McQuade Eagle, Kingfisher
Belle Nightingale Chickadee, Surveyor
Nico Pante Hoopoe
Talia Peck Heron, Lawyer
Peihwen J. Tai Sandpiper 

Michelle Olson Director
Russell Wallace Composer & Choral Director
Amanda Testini Movement Coach
Shelia Langston Voice Coach
Sophie Fougere Costume Design
Midori O’Connor Asst. Costume Design
Shaliya Ma Sound Design & Co-Lighting Design
Jasmine Liu Co-Lighting Design
Taylor Wen Asst. Lighting Design
Anjali Mandapaka Scenic Design
Jack Macleod Mosher Associate Scenic Design & Asst. Director
Vincie Lin Asst. Sound Designer
Stephanie Barclay Stage Management
Julia Sassi Asst. Stage Management
Holly Theobald Stage Management (Swing)
Kathleen Baldakin Production Assistant
Kristine Wu Stage Management PA
Carol Tu Stage Management PA 

Harlow Nguyen, Freddi Li LX Board Operator
Vincie Lin Sound Board Operator
Steven Chu, Maddie Steppler Stage/Costume Run Crew
Isabelle Barlow Head Scenic Artist
Tariro Motsi Asst. Scenic Artist 

Set Crew
Sam Cheng, Damien Kwan, Jack Macleod Mosher, Cooper Mortimer, Jules Sassi, Huda Shawwash, Amelia Wagenaar, Kristine Wu, Hana Yaguchi 

Costume Build Crew
Colton Albee, Rachel Chan, Wren Harlow- Gillepsie, Harlow Nguyen, Elly Ich, Lauren Rankin, Marília Sarto, Stephanie Shih, Grycel Tercero 

Lighting Crew
Cooper Mortimer, Huda Shawwash, Stephanie Shih, Jaddi Sze 

Paint Crew
Aaron Au, Luella DeGeer, Nicola Eriksen, Nyssa Estrella, Kaileigh Funnell, Michelle Lee, Victoria Moo Pak Hei, Yun Shim, David Siu, Nina Yu 

Props Crew
Aaron Au, Isabelle Barlow, Sophie Fougère, Shiori Hatamoti, Nishi Praveen Kumar, Damien Ted Kwan, Victoria Moo Pak Hei, Cooper Mortimer, Jules Sassi, Amelia Wagenaar, Mary Anne William 

Stephen Heatley Department Head
Leora Morris MFA Direction
Brad Powers Technical Production Advisor
Emily Dotson Scenic Advisor
Lorraine West Scenic Paint Advisor
Mimi Abrams Lighting Advisor
Mishelle Cuttler, Patrick Pennefather Sound Advisor
Christine Reimer Costume Advisor
Inga McLaughlin Stage Management Advisor 

Borja Brown Production Manager
Cam Cronin Department Administrator
Ryan Murcar, Jeremy Vreeken Scenic Technical Direction
Lynn Burton Head of Properties
Jodi Jacyk Head of Wardrobe
Erika Champion, Abby Levis Production Staff
Amy McDougall, Holly Andersen Staff Costume Support
Linda Pitt Communications Specialist
Sarah Crauder Film Program Administrator
Tony Koelwyn Audience Services Manager
Dmitri Lennikov Film Collections Coordinator
Stuart McFarlane Film Equipment Manager
Mia Faircloth Academic Administrator
Karen Tong Theatre and Film Studies Graduate Secretary
Kirsten Dougans Assistant to the Head
Bhagyashree Chatterjee Communications WorkLearn Assistant
Sophie Fougere, Madeleine Polak Costume WorkLearn Assistants

Kaileigh Funnell, Finnley O’Brien Properties WorkLearn Assistants

Jonathan Wood Graphic Designer
Javier R. Sotres Photographer
Gracie, Oz, Lolo, Teddy Mascots 

Steve Matthews & Josef Chung at Innovation Lighting, Andrew McCaw, The Cultch, UBC Maintenance & Grounds 

Grand entry — “The Journey Song”, composed by Russell Wallace and gifted to the production 

Post show music — “The Waters Will Cleanse Me” composed by Russell Wallace 

“Creation Story Live Song” and “Nightingale’s Song” composed by Rachel Angco 

For any questions, please contact our box office: 604.822.6835 or