Sunrise Betties – Inspired by East Van’s Gritty 1970’s Gang Era

Comments 6 by Rebecca Bollwitt

ITSAZOO  presents Sunrise Betties, a hard-hitting world premiere inspired by dark and long forgotten East Vancouver history. Playwright-in-Residence Cheyenne Rouleau draws on the city’s sordid past to weave a fictional tale of an all-female gang operating at the height of Vancouver’s street gang crisis in 1972. Enter to win tickets below »

Directed by local luminary Jamie King, the work promises to transport audiences 50 years back in time to a once notorious low-income, blue-collar East Vancouver neighbourhood where gangs clash for control of the drug trade, police openly practice corruption, and danger lurks in every alley.

Sunrise Betties Photo by Chelsey Stuyt
(Left to right): Patti Allan, Kaitlyn Yott, Kelsey Kanatan Wavey, Meaghan Chenosky. Photo by Chelsey Stuyt
  • Dates: February 21 to March 10, 2024 at 8:00pm
  • Location: Russian Hall (600 Campbell Avenue, Vancouver)
  • Tickets: Purchase online. $30 Regular $20 Previews/Discounted Performance; $25 Student/Senior/Underemployed rate available
    • AUDIENCE ALERT: This show contains Graphic Violence and Course Language. Not suitable for people under the age of 16. Contact [email protected] for more detailed content guidance.

Set in 1972, the story follows the fictional Betties, a fiercely loyal, all-female street gang, run by a powerful matriarch, who operate a small-time drug trafficking operation. When the gang inadvertently starts a turf war with a prominent mobster, a corrupt Vancouver Police officer mysteriously shows up offering to-good-to-be-true promises. This challenges the gang’s loyalty, revealing their tight-knit “family” may have a rat amongst them.

To accurately evoke the gritty setting and hard-living characters, Rouleau enlisted the insights and expertise of four consultants: Vancouver historian Aaron Chapman, author of The Last Gang In Town: The Epic Story of the Vancouver Police vs. the Clark Park GangKim Brucker, one of the only surviving female Clark Park members of the era; Danny “Mouse” Williamson, a high ranking Clark Park member; and John Grywinski, a retired VPD Inspector & founder of the VPD’s Integrated Gang Task Force. In addition to ensuring the play’s historic and tonal accuracy, each consultant will participate in post-show talk backs throughout the run.

Performed in the basement of East Vancouver’s historic Russian Hall, director King’s meticulously-crafted vision includes 360 degree staging to immerse audiences into the world of the play creating a visceral connection with its characters and events.

Enter to Win

I have a pair of tickets to give away to the performance date of the winner’s choosing! Here’s how you can enter to win:

Win Tickets to Sunrise Betties

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6 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Shelley ButcherFriday, February 9th, 2024 — 7:32pm PST

    This play sounds really interesting! 🙂

  2. Tabby72Saturday, February 10th, 2024 — 6:19am PST

    This sounds like such an interesting topic, would love to see it!

  3. EileenSaturday, February 10th, 2024 — 1:08pm PST

    Would love to go!

  4. LeaneSunday, February 11th, 2024 — 6:20am PST

    I think this would be interesting to watch

  5. Jason BMonday, February 12th, 2024 — 3:03pm PST


  6. Chance McKeeFriday, February 16th, 2024 — 9:20am PST

    Would love to see this and learn more about the history of Vancouver. Thank you for offering!

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