Rainbow House Royalty: The Empress of Vancouver

Rainbow House Royalty: The Empress of Vancouver

Dates & Times

  • Fri. Apr 14, 2023 (7:00 pm)


Live In-Person


Centre Stage Events


  • Admission $24.50

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Box Office



Presented By: Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society
Sponsored By: Sid Williams Theatre Society & Pride Society of the Comox Valley

A cinematic and intimate collision of drag, queer history, and performance art, a musical and genre-bending irreverent documentary that follows trans icon Oliv Howe as she prepares for the 40th anniversary of her coronation.

Oliv Howe always looks absolutely fabulous. After all, she is the 10th Empress of the Vancouver Dogwood Monarchist Society, a crown bestowed on her back in 1981. In Oliv's story of self-actualization (relayed with wit and compassion) we are transported back to Vancouver's drag subculture back in the before times, and to the deep-seated ignorance and naked homophobia faced by the queer community. This is fascinating social history, but it's also a celebration of lives lived out loud and proud.

A Q&A with the director will follow the screening.

With a wealth of well shot footage, archival material, and pop art animations, Vancouver director Dave Rodden-Shortt creates an affectionate portrait of an icon of Vancouver’s LGTBQ+ community, long-time drag artist and activist Oliv Howe. The film recounts how the now 69-year-old Howe made a splash in the 80s gay scene, trading a dash of punk attitude and performance art for the title of 10th Empress of Vancouver by the Dogwood Monarchist Society. While Oliv-focused, Rodden-Shortt contextualizes Howe in time, delivering a great history of the Vancouver community and the struggles and challenges overcome.
Never content to allow the even archival black and white photos to be stilted but functional, the film is notable stylistically for its constant additions of colour and movement. Those with a passing interest in the world the film celebrates will be sure to find many points of entry and education, especially in Oliv’s “real talk” approach to life. To those with an investment in drag and queer history, this is practically required viewing. – Victoria Film Festival

About Gukwa̱s sa Wagalus - Rainbow House Project
This event will raise funds for Dawn to Dawn's Gukwa̱s sa Wagalus - Rainbow House, a new and innovative project aiming to house indigenous and non-indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA+ youth who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in the Comox Valley. In partnership with the Pride Society Comox Valley and the Sid Williams Theatre Society, Dawn to Dawn is pleased to present the Rainbow House Royalty Weekend Showcase.

All funds raised by this showstopper of a weekend will go directly to making Gukwa̱s sa Wagalus a reality.

PLEASE NOTE: The trailer below contains coarse language.

Required Safety Protocols

There are no required safety protocols, but this is subject to change in accordance with BC public health and/or municipal guidelines.

Masks are not required, but we strongly encourage patrons to continue to wear masks during events, now optional, for the benefit of all in our community. We recommend the use of masks rated N95 or higher.