APRIL 2023 | Volume 226


Production image

Photo by Alexis McKeown.

First Métis Man of Odessa
by Matthew MacKenzie and Mariya Khomutova
Punctuate! Theatre (Edmonton)
The Cultch Historic Theatre
May 25-June 4
From $25 or 604-251-1363

This true story reveals the heartache and humour of a love born in a tumultuous time!

The Cultch is pleased to present First Métis Man of Odesa, a new show from Edmonton's Punctuate! Theatre, playing at the Historic Theatre, May 25 to Jun 4, 2023.

First Métis Man of Odesa tells award-winning theatre artists and real-life married couple Matthew MacKenzie and Mariya Khomutova's true Odesa-to-Alberta love story. 

After meeting on a research trip in Kyiv, Matt, a Canadian playwright, and Mariya, a Ukrainian actor, spark up a romance that takes them from the beaches of the Black Sea to the frozen riverbanks of the North Saskatchewan River. Together, they weather a global pandemic and face the personal impacts of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine while sharing many moments of joy, including marriage and the birth of their son.

First Métis Man of Odesa premiered at Kamloops’ Western Canada Theatre in early March before touring to Toronto and Edmonton—gaining great reviews along the way. It comes to Vancouver before finishing its national tour in Saskatoon and Winnipeg. "I love the energy at The Cultch," says MacKenzie. "When we brought my show Bears there a few years ago (2018) it felt like we were being welcomed into our home."

"Tender, funny and truthful, this is one of the best shows of the year...[Khomutova's] performance is clear, deeply felt and intelligent. She's an exquisite actor. ★★★★★ "
— Glenn Sumi, Go Ahead Sumi

"The script finds a perfect balance between honesty and humour" — Liliia Smichenko, Intermission Magazine

"First Métis Man of Odesa puts a human face on war, and shows the resilience of the human spirit when love is involved"  — Lynn Slotkin, The Slotkin Letter

"Matthew and Mariya are both phenomenal storytellers and it was a joy to witness them tell us about their lives. Matt's physical comedy is hysterical and perfectly timed. Mariya's grace and elegance makes her performance a dazzling one." — Janine Marley, A View from the Box

Written and Performed by: Matthew MacKenzie and Mariya Khomutova
Directed by: Lianna Makuch*
Production Design by: Daniela Masellis
Projection Design by: Amelia Scott
Composition by: Daraba
Sound Design by: Aaron Macri
Choreographed by: Krista Lin
Stage Managed by: Lore Green*
Rehearsals Stage Managed by: Kiidra Duhault
Production Managed & Technical Directed by: Trent Crosby
Design Consultation & Scenic Artwork by: Dawn Marie Marchand
Beadwork by: Maria Nelson & Krista Leddy
Dramaturgy by: Matt McGeachy
Produced by: Sheiny Satanove
Associate Produced by: Alyson Dicey
Associate Produced by: Desirée Leverenz
Head Scenic Painting by: Emily Randall
Painting by: Amy Powell & Ashley Hiibner
Drape Stitching by: Theatre Garage
Fabrication by: art lab

*The participation of these Artists is arranged by permission of Canadian Actors' Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance Opera Theatre Policy (DOT).

WHEN: MAY 25 - JUNE 4, 2023

MAY 25–27, 30–31: 7:30 PM
JUNE 1–3: 7:30 PM
MAY 27, 28: 2:00 PM
JUNE 3: 2:00 PM
JUNE 4: 2:00PM – VocalEye Performance

WHERE: Historic Theatre, 1895 Venables St., Vancouver, BC

TICKETS: Tickets from $25. Single tickets on sale now through The Cultch's Box Office: 604-251-1363 or

Punctuate! Theatre is an Indigenous-led Dora and Sterling Award-wining professional theatre company based in Edmonton, Alberta. Punctuate! Theatre works to create accessible, relevant, and subversive theatre that entertains and provokes thought amongst diverse audiences. We endeavor to provide professional opportunities for Edmonton artists that give them local, provincial and national exposure. 

Working with producer-playwrights, we not only work with creators to develop their plays, but also to develop funding and production plans. With a focus on working with Indigenous artists and bringing our work to both urban and non-urban Indigenous communities, Punctuate! has built a unique touring network that allows our company to bring work, both small and larger scale, to communities that fall outside typical touring networks. 

Since 1973, The Cultch (formally the Vancouver East Cultural Centre) has been one of Vancouver's most diverse and innovative arts and cultural hubs. The organisation operates three theatrical venues, a gallery, various ancillary spaces in the heart of East Vancouver, as well as our RE/PLAY digital platform that reaches international audiences. The Cultch offers dynamic contemporary programming in theatre, dance, music, and the visual arts, bringing world-class cultural presentations to thousands of citizens each year through its own programming and through providing rental opportunities for community users. Our purpose is to provide a venue for performance that serves a diverse and engaged public and provides space for artistic experimentation and development, building an audience for local companies and presenting cutting-edge national and international work.

The Cultch is located on the unceded Indigenous land of the xwməϴkwəýəm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil‑Waututh) Nations.






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Vancouver's arts and culture website providing theatre news, previews and reviews