VITAL SPARK theatre was formed in Vancouver in 2002.  It is dedicated to breathing fresh life into the old; shining lights in dark corners; and giving voice to the unheard and the forgotten of B.C. history.

Past  productions:  

Our critically acclaimed first production in 2003 was an adaptation of Constance Skinner's Birthright. The play, though written by BC's first professional playwright in 1905,had never before been produced in Canada despite its acclaim in the US and Skinnersí enormous fame there. Joan Bryans' adaptation of Birthright has been published by Playwrights Canada Press (2005).

This production was followed by:

Two Years in Nicola, (2005) a new play by Joan Bryans based on the life of Jessie and Annie MacQueen (two sisters who came west from Nova Scotia to the interior of British Columbia in 1887).

Socrates on Trial (2008) adapted by Andrew Irvine from the works of Aristophanes and Plato

By Some Divine Mistake (2008) by Joan Bryans concentrated on the story of Alma Rattenbury, famous song writer and seductress, who was charged, with her lover, with the murder of her husband, BC's famous architect Frances Rattenbury.

Theatrics at Mansfield Park (2010)a Regency Winter Entertainment by Joan Bryans, based on the work of Jane Austen.

Spring Forward (2011) book by Joan Bryans, music by Pat Unruh. A celebration of all that is good, bad, sad frustrating, hilarious and amorous about this time of year.

Rebel Women (2014, remounted 2015), a theatre verbatim play by Joan Bryans based on the words of the militant suffragettes in the UK.

Mrs. Barbour's Daughters by A.J. Taudevin, about a Glasgow family which for 100 years has been influenced, for good and bad, by Mrs. Barbour, leader of a rent strike in 1915.


Joan Bryans has been involved in live theatre as actress, producer, writer and director for way more years than she really cares to remember.

For Vital Spark, Joan has written and directed Birthright (later published by Playwrights Canada Press), Two Years in NicolaBy Some Divine Mistake, Theatrics at Mansfield Park, Spring Forward! and Rebel Women.
In past years Joan has created and directed for United Players several productions based on the life and works of Jane Austen: Jane Austen's Holiday FayreLooking for Mr. Darcy, and Regency Revels.   Past directing credits also include The Apartment (Women at Play(s) 3), Socrates on Trial  (UBC),  Shadowlands, Pride and Prejudice (United Players) and Emma (Metro). 

Recent acting credits include The School Teacher in The Government Inspector,
The Stage Manager in The Habit of Art, the title roles in Mrs. Klein and Hecuba,  Frances in The Breath of Life,  Bridget in There Came a Gypsy Riding. Mama in Wreckage, Pegs in I Am Yours, Gertie in Fuddy Meers, Clytemnaestra in Electra, Ruth in If We are Women and lead roles in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Trojan Women and The Road to Mecca.

Joan Bryans