• Main Stage
  • Youth Pass

The City and the City

Showing on January 24–February 5, 2017

Playing at Russian Hall

The City and the City, Upintheiar/The Only Animal, 2017 PuSh Festival
Photo: Matt Reznek

Upintheair Theatre/The Only Animal (Canada)

From China Miéville’s award-winning novel comes this unique theatre experience from Upintheair Theatre and The Only Animal. The play itself is a tale of two cities, with a twist: the cities are in the same place. UI Qoma and Besźel are “split” cities, where residents with distinct cultures occupy overlapping geographical spaces and are forbidden from seeing each other, with penalties enforced by a cadre of invisible agents known as Breach. Our protagonist is a detective working a murder case. As in many of the best detective stories, his investigation spills out into wider territory, exposing cracks in the established order.

The performance has several players… but those are just the professionals. Audience members are “cast” upon arrival at the venue, equipped with ear buds and a transmitter, and given audio cues throughout the play. Whether asked to act as part of a group, or given a speaking part, the point is to empower the spectator—to draw them into the realm of creation. In this intriguing new play of mysteries within mysteries, it will take a team of many to crack the case.

If shows in town were even half as entertaining as the ones that Upintheair Theatre put on, we would have no problem replenishing season subscriber lists…

—The Boards

The City and the City, Upintheiar/The Only Animal, 2017 PuSh Festival
Photo: courtesy of the artist

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Artist Bio


Russian Hall

600 Campbell Avenue, Vancouver


January 24–February 5
100 minutes, no intermission

8:00PM (January 24, 25 – Previews)
8:00PM (January 26–28)
2:00PM & 8:00PM (January 29)
8:00PM (January 31–February 2)
7:00PM (February 3)
2:00PM & 8:00PM (February 4, 5)



Buy tickets via Theatre Wire
Or call 604.449.6000

PuSh Pass
Eligible on the PuSh Pass and Youth Pass.


Please note:
This show involves audience participation and requires audience members to move through the space as part of the performance. Audience members will be seated in unconventional seating (i.e. not chairs).

The February 3 performance is at 7:00PM (it was previously advertised at 8:00PM).

Post-show talkback
January 27, February 2

ADAPTED FROM THE NOVEL BY China Miéville AUDIO FROM A CONCEPTUAL SEED FROM Darren Boquist DIRECTOR Kendra Fanconi PLAYWRIGHT Jason Patrick Rothery STAGE MANAGER Stephanie Elgersma SOUND DESIGNER Nancy Tam LIGHTING DESIGNER Jonathan Kim MOVEMENT DIRECTOR Nita Bowerman ADDITIONAL DESIGN CONTRIBUTORS Florence Barrett, Emma Hendrix, Jerguš Opršal CREATIVE, DRAMATURGICAL SUPPORT BY Brian Quirt, Playwrights Colony at Banff Centre for the Arts SUPPORTED BY City of Vancouver, BC Arts Council, BC Direct Access Gaming, Canada Council for the Arts, The Hamber Foundation, The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation