logo for Advance Theatre Festival

Jan. 30 - Feb. 3, 2023 (Week 1)
Feb.16 & 17, Dil Ka (Week 2)

Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, All readings at 8 PM.

The Advance Theatre Festival 2023, produced by RST in association with the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and Playwrights Guild of Canada, is curated by Yvonne Wallace. The festival showcases new works written and directed by female identifying and gender non conforming artists who also identify as IBPOC.
 
Week one are staged readings. Week two is a workshop production of an Advance Theatre offering from last season, Dil Ka by Lee Nisar, directed by Patricia Trinh.

Curated by Yvonne Wallace (Ucwalmicw), Artist In Residence 2021/22 and Advance Theatre Curator 2023
Patricia Trinh, Artist In Residence 2022/23 and Advance Theatre Curator 2024

Shadbolt Centre for the Arts Logo

The Readings

Sandra

Monday, January 30, 2023, at 8 pm.

Inspired by a true story, Sandra is a contemporary, fantasy drama about a courageous woman, who seeks closure to the violence in her life, and to the relationship with her mother. She finds guidance through the spirit of a childhood acquaintance, who leads the woman to a place of peace. 
At her elementary school, Monica encounters Sandra, who discloses a painful secret to Monica. While the two girls barely spoke in elementary school, Sandra’s experience created a deep impact on Monica for the rest of her life. Later in life, Monica loses her own mother, and struggles to reconcile her life and the complicated relationship the two of them shared. Through a series of flashbacks, we discover Monica’s own painful past with violence and rape. Guided by Sandra, Monica is able to move forward with her own life. 

Laura Di Cicco, Playwright
(She/her)

About the Playwright

Laura Di Cicco (She/her/hers)

Laura’s career as an actor, singer, writer, director and producer has spanned over 30 years. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BFA in Acting, and most recently graduated from UBC with an MFA in Directing. Her thesis show was Machinal which premiered at the Frederic Wood Theatre in December of 2021. Laura has worked in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

Vancouver acting credits include work with theatre companies such as Green Thumb Theatre, Ruby Slippers, Theatre Conspiracy and Axis Theatre. Laura has also played the (in)famous Leni Riefenstahl in Mieko Ouchi’s The Blue Light. She also played the ultimate diva, Maria Callas, in Masterclass for Opera Mariposa. Laura was a co-recipient of a Jessie Richardson Award for a tour with Axis Theatre. Vancouver film and television credits include Saving Milly, The League of Lefties, Noah’s Arc and Traveler and the award-winning independent film entitled, Floating Away. In 2004 Laura founded Fugue Theatre, a theatre company dedicated to the commissioning and production of original Canadian operettas, musicals and plays with music. As an artist transitioning into directing, Laura hopes to continue expanding her craft through learning with as many diverse artists as possible in a spirit of respect, integrity, equity, and inclusion.

Laura’s career as an actor, singer, writer, director and producer has spanned over 30 years. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BFA in Acting, and most recently graduated from UBC with an MFA in Directing. Her thesis show was Machinal which premiered at the Frederic Wood Theatre in December of 2021. Laura has worked in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

Vancouver acting credits include work with theatre companies such as Green Thumb Theatre, Ruby Slippers, Theatre Conspiracy and Axis Theatre. Laura has also played the (in)famous Leni Riefenstahl in Mieko Ouchi’s The Blue Light. She also played the ultimate diva, Maria Callas, in Masterclass for Opera Mariposa. Laura was a co-recipient of a Jessie Richardson Award for a tour with Axis Theatre. Vancouver film and television credits include Saving Milly, The League of Lefties, Noah’s Arc and Traveler and the award-winning independent film entitled, Floating Away. In 2004 Laura founded Fugue Theatre, a theatre company dedicated to the commissioning and production of original Canadian operettas, musicals and plays with music. As an artist transitioning into directing, Laura hopes to continue expanding her craft through learning with as many diverse artists as possible in a spirit of respect, integrity, equity, and inclusion.

Sitting on the Edge

Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at 8 pm.

After a long bout of “writer’s block” Clarisse is finally writing again, but she now finds herself writing a play that is semi-autobiographical. She is finding the play difficult to write because she is forced to revisit some very painful memories; and her train of thought is constantly being interrupted by her alter ego Mavis who prefers that she write a comedy. 

Image of Celeste Insell
Celeste Insell, Playwright
(She/her)

About the Playwright

Celeste Insell
(She/her)

I was born in the United States and immigrated to Canada in 1971. I attended TMU (then called Ryerson) Acting program (1971-1972) in Toronto; and later transferred to York University’s Drama Studies program. Throughout the late 70’s and 80’s I divided my time between Toronto, Vancouver, and New York. During the Summer of 1983, I studied at the HB Studio (NYC). I finally settled down in Vancouver in 1991; and it has been my home for about the last 30 years. I have written articles on Black Theatre History; and a couple of my plays were showcased at various theatre festivals in the 1990’s. “Sitting on the Edge” is my third play.

I was born in the United States and immigrated to Canada in 1971. I attended TMU (then called Ryerson) Acting program (1971-1972) in Toronto; and later transferred to York University’s Drama Studies program. Throughout the late 70’s and 80’s I divided my time between Toronto, Vancouver, and New York. During the Summer of 1983, I studied at the HB Studio (NYC). I finally settled down in Vancouver in 1991; and it has been my home for about the last 30 years. I have written articles on Black Theatre History; and a couple of my plays were showcased at various theatre festivals in the 1990’s. “Sitting on the Edge” is my third play. 

Parifam

Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at 8 pm.

Detached from family and friends, Parifam Mana draws and paints in her private studio—a place where memory and inspiration are in a continuous battle. Parifam’s world is turned upside down when her childhood friend Ramak re-enters her life. Parifam and Ramak grapple with the hidden truths that linger in their past—soon to be revealed in an exhibition at a museum they built together. 

Image of Aki Yaghoubi
Aki Yaghoubi, Playwright
(she/her)

About the Playwright

Aki Yaghoubi
(she/her)

Aki Yaghoubi is a Canadian-Iranian award-winning film and theatre artist. She moved to Canada in 2009, bringing her love and passion for theatre. In 2017 she won the grant DémART-Mtl from the Conseil des arts de Montréal and another grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to write her first play in English Parifam. In 2019, she performed in the movie Sin la Habana and won the Outstanding Actress Award from the Reelworld Film Festival 21. In 2021 she won another grant from Canada Council for the Arts to write her second play in English, Tara’s Barrier.

 

Aki Yaghoubi is a Canadian-Iranian award-winning film and theatre artist. She moved to Canada in 2009, bringing her love and passion for theatre. In 2017 she won the grant DémART-Mtl from the Conseil des arts de Montréal and another grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to write her first play in English Parifam. In 2019, she performed in the movie Sin la Habana and won the Outstanding Actress Award from the Reelworld Film Festival 21. In 2021 she won another grant from Canada Council for the Arts to write her second play in English, Tara’s Barrier.

ReZonance

Thursday, February 2, 2023, at 8 pm.

TBA

Image of Yvonne Wallace
Yvonne Wallace, Playwright
Ucwalmicw

About the Playwright

Yvonne Wallace | Ucwalmicw

Yvonne Wallace (Ucwalmicw) is from the Lil’wat Nation. She graduated the Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree program at Capilano University and is currently working on her Master’s in Education Leadership at UBC. Her enthusiasm for theatre began while she worked at The Centre for Indigenous Theatre. Later, she graduated with honours from Humber College Theatre Acting program.She has written three plays: “Smothered Sweetly,” “The Last Dance,” and “ustzan (to make things better),” a play dealing with language reclamation and her first language fluency progression. Utszan premiered in Whistler, in 2019, Yvonne’s traditional Territory; and has toured to Dawson City, Whitehorse. She is looking forward to honouring her bookings that were scheduled as playwright and performer as soon as our current situation becomes safe. Yvonne can be found in N’quatqua working on her fourth play, “ReZonance.” 

Yvonne Wallace (Ucwalmicw) is from the Lil’wat Nation. She graduated the Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree program at Capilano University and is currently working on her Master’s in Education Leadership at UBC. Her enthusiasm for theatre began while she worked at The Centre for Indigenous Theatre. Later, she graduated with honours from Humber College Theatre Acting program.She has written three plays: “Smothered Sweetly,” “The Last Dance,” and “ustzan (to make things better),” a play dealing with language reclamation and her first language fluency progression. Utszan premiered in Whistler, in 2019, Yvonne’s traditional Territory; and has toured to Dawson City, Whitehorse. She is looking forward to honouring her bookings that were scheduled as playwright and performer as soon as our current situation becomes safe. Yvonne can be found in N’quatqua working on her fourth play, “ReZonance.” 

Surrender

Friday, February 3, 2023, at 8 pm.

A group of twenty-somethings navigate life, transitions, and friendship in the face of unimaginable loss. This witty and acerbic coming-of-age tale is an exploration of the different ways we deal with grief, together and apart.

Image of Jessie Liang | 梁巧潔
Jessie Liang, Playwright
梁巧潔
(She/her)

About the Playwright

Jessie Liang | 梁巧潔
(she/her)

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Jessie Liang has appeared on the stage and screen including Netflix’s MAID, CW’s Supergirl, and the Arts Club’s touring production of Kim’s Convenience. Since graduating from Studio 58, she has also delved into playwriting, coaching actors, and leading the Business of Acting workshop at Studio 58 and Realwheels Academy. Coming up on July 15th, 2022, an excerpt of Jessie’s sophomore play, Canta Karaokê, will be presented by rice & bean’s DBLSPK program. Connect with her @jessieliang21 on social media for more!

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Jessie Liang has appeared on the stage and screen including Netflix’s MAID, CW’s Supergirl, and the Arts Club’s touring production of Kim’s Convenience. Since graduating from Studio 58, she has also delved into playwriting, coaching actors, and leading the Business of Acting workshop at Studio 58 and Realwheels Academy. Coming up on July 15th, 2022, an excerpt of Jessie’s sophomore play, Canta Karaokê, will be presented by rice & bean’s DBLSPK program. Connect with her @jessieliang21 on social media for more!

Week 2

Week 2

Workshop production

Dil Ka

Dramaturg & Playwright: Lee Nisar
Director: Patricia Trinh

The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts
February 16 & 17, 2023 at 8pm

Dil Ka (Urdu for ‘of the Heart’) follows potential bride-to-be, Zahra, a 26-year old Pakistani woman who is attempting to make biryani to bring to a potential suitor’s house. While she fusses and delves into the dish, desperate to make a good impression and please her loving-but-traditional family, Zahra begins treating the kitchen (when her parents or siblings aren’t sneaking in and stealing bites of food) as a sort of confessional, coming to terms with what – and who – she really wants, and how it drastically differs from the desires she has been spoon-fed since birth.

Lee Nisar
Lee Nisar, Playwright
(she/they)

About the Playwright

Lee Nisar (she/they)

Lee Nisar (she/they) is a 22-year old writer, director, and filmmaker, living and working in Toronto, Canada. Lee’s work explores issues of place-based trauma, identity, and the intersections of queerness and race (particularly within the context of colonialism). Lee graduated from the University of Guelph with a BA in Theatre Studies and Geography, where she had the opportunity to direct various plays under her school’s play festivals, including Wanderlust (2018), Respect for the Dead (2019), and Shakespeare in the Park(ing lot) (2020). Their other interests include singing karaoke with friends, annoying their cat, and bugging the people around her to participate in photoshoots. Lee is currently an MFA Candidate in Documentary Media at X University. Dil Ka is their first full-length play.

Lee Nisar (she/they) is a 22-year old writer, director, and filmmaker, living and working in Toronto, Canada. Lee’s work explores issues of place-based trauma, identity, and the intersections of queerness and race (particularly within the context of colonialism). Lee graduated from the University of Guelph with a BA in Theatre Studies and Geography, where she had the opportunity to direct various plays under her school’s play festivals, including Wanderlust (2018), Respect for the Dead (2019), and Shakespeare in the Park(ing lot) (2020). Their other interests include singing karaoke with friends, annoying their cat, and bugging the people around her to participate in photoshoots. Lee is currently an MFA Candidate in Documentary Media at X University. Dil Ka is their first full-length play.