LIVE Biennale: Queen Tilly and the Marys

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Saturday, October 14, 2023
Saturday, October 14, 2023

Queen Tilly and the Marys is a raucous response to musical theatre that explores comedic absurdity, camp materiality and the radical potential of intergenerational play. Developed during the height of the pandemic, the work is a tragic-comic ode to a group of women elders raised within the marginalized immigrant communities of East Vancouver (the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. These 80 and 90 year-old Croatian women and their close neighbourhood friends take center stage in the work, re-enacting their personal history with masquerade, gender play and hyperbolic theatricality. Working alongside Milton, her mother and aunts re-thread the relics of their performance histories through filmed musical numbers that reference feminist punk, slapstick comedy and folk tradition. Technicolor video projections spill beyond the screen into a boisterous mess of live dance and ad-hoc sculpture that exalts lineages of DIY pageantry.  Queen Tilly and the Marys preserves local history through a mode of storytelling that reverberates with the vulgar glory of maximalist femininity, Slavic bravado and comedic criticality.

This project was made possible through generous support from the British Columbia Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Doors at 7:00 pm
Performance at 7:30 pm

Venue Accessibility

VIVO is located in the homelands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples in a warehouse space at 2625 Kaslo Street south of East Broadway at the end of E 10th. Transit line 9 stops at Kaslo Street on Broadway. From the bus stop, the path is paved, curbless, and on a slight decline. The closest skytrain station is Renfrew Station, which is three blocks south-east of VIVO and has an elevator. From there, the path is paved, curbless, and on a slight incline. There is parking available at VIVO, including wheelchair access parking. There is a bike rack at the entrance. The front entrance leads indoors to a set of 7 stairs to the lobby.

Wheelchair/Walker Access

A wheelchair ramp is located at the west side of the main entrance. The ramp has two runs: the first run is 20 feet long, and the second run is 26 feet. The ramp is 60 inches wide. The slope is 1:12. The ramp itself is concrete and has handrails on both sides. There is an outward swinging door (34 inch width) at the top of the ramp leading to a vestibule. A second outward swinging door (33 inch width) opens into the exhibition space. Buzzers and intercoms are located at both doors to notify staff during regular office hours or events to unlock the doors. Once unlocked, visitors can use automatic operators to open the doors.


There are two all-gender washrooms. One has a stall and is not wheelchair accessible. The other is a single room with a urinal and is wheelchair accessible: the door is 33 inches wide and inward swinging, without automation. The toilet has 11 inch clearance on the left side and a handrail.

To reach the bathrooms from the studio, exit through the double doors and proceed straight through the lobby and down the hall . Turn left, and the two bathrooms will be on your right side. The closest one has a stall and is not wheelchair accessible. The far bathroom is accessible.

About the 

Elizabeth Milton is a performance and media artist who lives as an uninvited guest on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations in Vancouver, Canada. Her video and photo-based works utilize absurdist character-play and camp materiality to explore identity and affect. Involving a range of participants, from family members to opera singers, her interdisciplinary and collaborative works aim to critically investigate the visual language and power structures of amateur spectacle. Through hyperbolic expressivity, comedic excess and processes of endurance, Milton examines the performative potential of maximalist femininity, novelty store glamour and the garish refuse of commercial culture.

Her work has been exhibited and performed in Canada, The United States and Europe at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Artspeak, Access Gallery, the Grunt Gallery, VIVO Media Arts Centre, the Western Front (Vancouver); the Surrey Art Gallery; the Nanaimo Art Gallery; Gallery TPW, Nuit Blanche (Toronto); Platform Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts (Winnipeg); Neutral Ground (Regina); Deconstrukt Projects (Brooklyn), Dynasty Handbag’s Weirdo Night (Los Angeles) and Altes Finanzamt (Berlin).

Milton holds an MFA in Studio Art from the University of British Columbia and a BFA in Visual Art from Simon Fraser University. She is a faculty member in the Department of Fine Arts at Langara College where she instructs studio courses in Media and Performance.

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