British Columbia

'Artistic twist' on Vancouver's housing crisis comes to the stage

Satellites tells the story of an activist author trying to stop offshore buyers purchasing local property, only to discover that her teenage neighbour is a “satellite kid” from China, left to fend for himself in a mansion.

'You write what you know and I’m writing what I know about Vancouver,' says playwright

"Satellites" puts the story of housing affordability in Vancouver on the stage and runs until Nov. 26. (Aaron Bushkowsky/Solo Collective Theatre)

Stories of Vancouver's housing crisis circulate daily, and one local playwright is bringing those struggles for affordability onto the stage.

Satellites tells the story of an activist author trying to stop offshore buyers purchasing local property — only to discover that her teenage neighbour is a "satellite kid" from China, left to fend for himself in a mansion.

"Part of what we are doing is giving an unusual story, and a story that really is preoccupying Vancouver, an artistic twist," said Aaron Bushkowsky, playwright and producer of the show.

The play is more about people than it is about housing problems though, he told CBC host of The Early Edition Rick Cluff.

"The play is about our world that we are living in Vancouver, but it's more about trying to find connection," said Bushkowsky. "We're all satellites and we're all orbiting each other."

Bushkowsky decided to write the play after he and his wife struggled to buy a house when they were married.

"You write what you know and I'm writing what I know about Vancouver," he said.

“We’re all satellites and we’re all orbiting each other and that’s the important theme,” says playwright Aaron Bushkowsky (Aaron Bushkowsky/Solo Collective Theatre)

Affordability and the arts

Issues of affordability in Vancouver seem to touch nearly everyone at some level, Bushkowsky said, and its effects can be felt in the world of local art.

"Friends I know, artists, are moving away and moving out because of the unaffordability factor," he said. "It becomes an issue for people coming to plays as well because they have less disposable income to spend money on entertainment."

Aaron Bushkowsky says he was inspired by his own experiences with housing affordability in Vancouver. (Christine Coulter/CBC)

Bushkowsky said although the play offers no easy answers or solutions to Vancouver's housing crisis, he hopes the audience is left with a message of hope.

"We can't just throw blame around, I think that's not going to solve anything," he said. "We don't want to give people no solutions and a feeling of no hope. The hope is in the connections that they have with each other."

Satellites previews Nov. 16 and runs until Nov. 26 at Performance Works on Granville Island. 

To hear more, click on the audio link below:

With files from The Early Edition.

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