Skip to content

Port Coquitlam cabaret performer exposes 'The C-Word' at Vancouver Fringe Festival

Kyrst Hogan, aka Burgundy Brixx, wrote "The C-Word" during cancer treatments. Her show will be at the 2022 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
Kyrst Hogan, aka Burgundy Brixx, performs at the Vancouver Fringe Festival in September.

Kyrst Hogan, aka Burgundy Brixx, has quite a story to share.

And she’ll soon be doing that on a Vancouver stage.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hogan, a cabaret performer who lives in Port Coquitlam, switched to a new doctor after her general practitioner retired.

She went in for a routine colonoscopy, which uncovered a tumour in her colon.

“I was shocked,” she said. “My first fear was that it spread to my ovaries.”

Like her mother, who had ovarian cancer, Hogan had mutations in the BRCA2 gene, but she took good care of herself to avoid the disease.

However, the cancer hadn’t touched Hogan’s ovaries. Instead, it attacked her liver.

Last year, she had the tumour surgically removed from her colon.

Six months of chemotherapy ensued and, in February of this year, she underwent an operation on her liver. Her right ovary was also taken out.

For most people, the rapid journey to Stage 4 colon cancer and the medical procedures that followed can be physically debilitating and emotionally exhausting.

But Hogan never let her spirit waver.

After the first surgery, she started to write about her cancer experiences “because I have to find humour in everything to cope with it,” she said.

At first, her stories were blogs that family and friends read.

Then she dreamed bigger: Why not turn the material into a theatrical show?

Though her writing was still in the works, Hogan applied to the Vancouver Fringe Festival in the middle of chemo treatments.

And she got in.

“It was like the universe telling me that it was time to tell my story,” she said. “I didn’t know what the end would be, but the show gave me focus and a lot of stability and direction while I was going through everything. It’s been very healing.”

Fringe Festival

Her show, titled The C-Word, is a mix of tales, musical theatre, burlesque and comedy about battling cancer — an illness that affects two out of five Canadians during their lifetimes.

She hopes the production will draw people who have had cancer, as well as anyone who has or had a loved one with cancer.

Hogan called it The C-Word “because we’re all afraid to say it out loud, but I think it needs to be addressed and talked about more freely. You need to find the levity in some of these moments.”

Today, Hogan isn’t technically in remission, but doctors have been encouraging as they see her results. She gets regular scans, takes supplements prescribed by a naturopath and keeps her energy up.

“I never stopped working the whole time,” Hogan said, adding, “My mentor at my university was a nun who lived until she was 99. She was sharp and always stayed busy.”

During the pandemic and at the start of her cancer journey, the entertainer performed singing telegrams around the Lower Mainland. “I was bringing joy to somebody’s life, which healed me at the same time.”

Still, she recognizes cancer will be with her for the rest of her life.

“The mortality rate is so much lower than it used to be because the research has advanced,” she said. “My progress is good. I’m going to become that old woman with the silver, braided hair.”

Tickets at $15 to seeThe C-Word” at the Vancouver Fringe Festival can be purchased via

On Sept. 7, Hogan is also hosting Fringe For All at Performance Works (1218 Cartwright St., Vancouver).

Dates and times:

  • Sept. 9: 7 p.m. @ Performance Works
  • Sept. 11: 1 p.m. @ Performance Works
  • Sept. 11: 10:30 p.m. @ Performance Works
  • Sept 12: 7 p.m. @ Leap Creative Studios (1675 West 2nd Ave., Vancouver)
  • Sept. 15: 4:45 p.m. @ Performance Works
  • Sept. 15: 8:45 p.m. @ Performance Works
  • Sept. 18: 8:45 p.m. @ Performance Works
push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks