Neworld Theatre

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Neworld Theatre




"Neworld Theatre is an award-winning, Vancouver-based theatre company that creates, produces and tours new plays and performance events. We tell stories that reflect Canada's diversity in the broadest sense – cultural, linguistic, social and economic. We use popular forms to examine our lives in the context of who counts, who doesn't, and what our relationship is to the people we may think we aren't.

Since 1999, Neworld has won more than 20 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards (from over 50 nominations), the Alcan Performing Arts Award, the Vancouver Sun Innovation Award, the Seattle Times Footlight Award, the Canada Council Theatre for Young Audiences Award. Neworld's productions have been seen in major festivals across North American and in Europe. These include Ali and Ali and the aXes of Evil, Mixie and the Halfbreeds, Adrift, Crime and Punishment and Asylum of the Universe. In 2009, Neworld also co-founded PL 1422 a cultural hub in East Vancouver co-managed with three other indie theatre companies.

In addition to its mainstage productions, Neworld produces a range of events, from cabaret nights to live readings to public lectures and interviews. Neworld also works closely with community groups, pairing professional artists with non-professionals from different communities to help them create performances that address their self-defined aspirations and concerns.

The company is led by Artistic Producers Marcus Youssef and Adrienne Wong."[1]

What Our Work is About[edit]

  • "Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, and Vancouver one of its most multicultural cities. Our plays are about the many stories, issues and ideas that emerge from this unique place and time.
  • Neworld productions investigate borders between cultures, styles, and disciplines
  • Neworld tells stories that reflect our city's diversity in the broadest terms possible - cultural, linguistic, economic and social - and examine our lives in the context of who counts, who doesn't, and what our relationship is to the people we think we aren't.
  • We create plays and performances that are about “here” (Canada) and “there” (other parts of the world) and “us” (people we identify with) and “them” (people we are told are different from us)"[2]


  • "Neworld Theatre has received the Alcan Performing Arts Award, Canada's largest arts commissioning prize, the Vancouver Sun Innovation Award, the Canada Council Theatre for Young Audiences Award, the Seattle Times Footlight Award, and 18 Jessie Richardson Awards (which are Vancouver's professional theatre prizes)
  • Our shows have been presented by major festivals including the Magnetic North Theatre Festival (Canada's premiere English-language theatre festival), the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and our work has toured locally and to On The Boards in Seattle, WA and the 2008 International Festival of Authors, Brno, Czech Republic
  • We are one of four companies (Boca del Lupo, Electric Company & Rumble Productions) who have come together to found Progress Lab 1422, a shared administrative and rehearsal space in East Vancouver
  • Neworld is one of the most recognized small theatre companies in Canada, and is cited by both the National Post and the Globe and Mail as one of the companies driving the nationally recognized renaissance in independent Vancouver theatre"[3]


"Neworld Theatre was the lovechild of Founding Artistic Producer Camyar Chai, who conceived the company while at the University of British Columbia, birthing it with co-conspirators Mara Coward and Tom Scholte.

From these humble beginnings Neworld Theatre has remained pretty humble. An artist-run company with 2 Artistic Producers and a full-time Managing Producer, we ROCK THE WORLD.

First productions were primarily folk-style adaptations of classical Iranian texts and/or myths, reflecting both Camyar's cultural background and the sizeable population of Persian Canadians in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver. While mostly produced with no resources (ie: Camyar's credit card), over two or three years these shows developed a strong following in the Iranian-Canadian community, regularly selling out the 250 seat Vancouver East Cultural Centre. Early productions included Love, Quest and Evening in a Strange Land.

Numerous productions of the multiple-award winning plays about Mordecai Vanunu by Camyar Chai and Mara Coward, and a national tour of the show with Rumble Productions (, marked the company's first foray into non-didactic, politically-engaged productions and national touring, both of which have become company signatures.

Devil Box Cabaret (1999), a site-specific collective creation based on the play The Four Boxes by Iranian writer Bahram Beyzaee, marked both a move toward a more hybridized performance style and Neworld's full emergence as a significant company in the independent theatre scene. Winning numerous awards and selling out its run, Devil Box anticipated the move to site-specific work that has dominated recent independent Vancouver theatre.

For the next three years (1999 – 2002) the company produced the Leaky Heaven Circus. What was meant to be a 'one-off' millennium project became a four-show phenomenon that culminated in the formation of a new company, The Leaky Heaven Performance Society (

In 2005, longtime Neworld associate Marcus Youssef became an Artistic Producer, and Adrienne Wong joined the AP team soon after. In 2007, Camyar took on a new challenge as Executive Director of Leave Out Violence (LOVE) BC, and Marcus and Adrienne engaged Managing Producer Kirsty Munro."[4]


Marcus Youssef- Artistic Director[edit]

"Marcus' plays include Winners and Losers (with James Long), How My Love Has Affected You, the war-on-terror satires Ali and Ali and the aXes of Evil and Ali & Ali: The Deportation Hearings (with Guillermo Verdecchia and Camyar Chai), Everyone (Unmet Obligation), Adrift, 3299: Forms in Order, Peter Panties (with Niall McNeil), Apathy House and A Line in the Sand (with Guillermo Verdecchia), as well as installation performance events for HIVE's I and II, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. They have been presented or produced across North America, Australia and Europe, translated into Czech and Italian, and are published by Talonbooks and Playwrights Canada Press. Awards: Alcan Performing Arts, Chalmer's Canadian Play, Arts Club Silver Commission, Seattle Times Footlight, Vancouver Sun Critics' Choice Innovation, as well as numerous Jessie (Vancouver), Masque (Montreal) and Dora (Toronto) awards and nominations. He teaches and lectures across Canada, and in 04/05, he was an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Community Development at Concordia University in Montreal. Marcus currently sits on the advisory board of the Canadian Theatre Review, is an active advocate for the centrality of culture to Vancouver's urban future, and in 2009 co-founded PL 1422, a co-operative 6,000 sq. foot rehearsal and production centre in East Van. He is artistic director of Neworld Theatre, western artistic associate of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Ottawa and on faculty at Capilano University. Marcus lives in the Commercial Drive area with his partner, Amanda and their sons Oscar and Zak." [5]

Adrienne Wong- Artistic Producer[edit]

"Adrienne Wong creates, performs and produces new work for theatre and radio. Projects for Neworld since joining the company in 2004 include commissioning, developing and producing eleven "podplays" (site specific audio plays created for specific geographies in Vancouver); performing in The Idiot; performing in Peter Panties; performing in the cross-national co-production of My Name is Rachel Corrie (with Teesri Duniya Theatre, Montreal); co-creating three pieces for three HIVEs; and performing in the first draft of Adrift on the Nile. Adrienne is an inveterate collaborator, and has worked with Pi Theatre, Electric Company, Caravan Farm Theatre, battery opera, Shakti Dance Collective, Theatre Replacement, Firehall Arts Centre, and Vancouver Moving Theatre among others. Career highlights to date include performing in the former Vancouver Morgue, recording a radio play via satellite with the BBC World Service, facilitating Placebook - an analogue version of Facebook - at the Vancouver Art Gallery's overnight FUSE, devising a miniature play for Box Theatre, co-writing on the Downtown Eastside Community Play, playing Scrabble over the radio (North by Northwest, CBC Radio One), and creating interactive letter-writing projects. Upcoming projects include collaboration with Toronto's Fu-Gen Theatre on The Sex Tape Project, a collection of three audio plays experienced while peeping into a hotel room across the street, and Landline, with Halifax's Secret Theatre, another series of audio plays, but these ones are performed simultaneously in Halifax and Vancouver. Adrienne is a graduate of Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts, sits on the board of directors for PTC and plays the ukulele."[6]

Kirsty Munro- Managing Producer[edit]

"Kirsty Munro moved to Vancouver from Montreal in 2002 and has since worked as a Front of House Manager, grant writer, box office manager, translator and stage manager. Before being enlisted by Neworld, Kirsty spent four years as Operations Coordinator for Rumble Productions. She also took on the role of Assembly Associate Producer for the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival 2008 and was the Industry Series Associate Producer for the Magnetic North Theatre Festival 2008. Kirsty is a graduate of McGill University."[7]

Marisa Smith- Resident Producer[edit]

"Marisa has worked in the Vancouver theatre community for the past six years as an actor, director and producer. Marisa got her a BFA in Acting from The University of Victoria and has performed in numerous productions with companies such as Pi Theatre, The Gateway Theatre and The Belfry Theatre. Marisa's directing credits include Wicked Shorts (Alley Theatre – Winner of The 2010 Cultchivating the Fringe Award), Lost In Place (Alley Theatre) and The Little Things (Walking Fish Festival). Marisa has also produced and performed in Confessions and the Jessie nominated production of Tape with Alley Theatre. Most recently she assistant directed Kim Collier on Electric Company Theatre's production of All The Way Home at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Coming up in 2013 she and Alley Theatre will stage a modern revisitation of Mrs. Warren's Profession in a warehouse in Vancouver's Downtown East Side. Marisa is a recipient of the Joanna Maratta Award for exemplifying the founding spirit of The Vancouver Fringe and showing the most potential to contribute to the theatre community."[8]

Naomi Sider- Operations Coordinator[edit]

"In addition to her administrative work at Neworld, Naomi is set and costume designer, and theatre creator. A graduate from the Production Program at Studio 58, she has worked with many Vancouver theatre companies including the Arts Club, the Electric Company, Pacific Theatre and Neworld Theatre. Her work has toured as far as Prague. Naomi has been nominated for four Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards, and won her first in 2010 for Outstanding Costume Design for Pacific Theatre's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But most thrilling was that night Pierce Brosnan saw her work in Fat Pig."[9]

Camyar Chai- Founding Artistic Producer[edit]

"Recent Acting Credits: The Adventures of Ali and Ali (Neworld Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Vancouver Playhouse), Intelligence (television, recurring role), Masters of Science Fiction (television), Everything's Gone Green (Film), Hedda Gabler (Rumble Productions), Zadie's Shoes (Arts Club Theatre), Recent Directing Credits: Mother Courage And Her Children (UBC), Adrift On The Nile (Neworld Theatre), Bringing It All Back Home, King Richard And His Women (UBC) Recent Writing Credits: Eljijah's Kite (Opera libretto composed by James Rolfe - premiered at the Manhattan School for Music and and Rideux Hall by invitation of the Governor General), The Adventures of Ali and Ali (with Guillermo Verdecchia and Marcus Youssef), Asylum of the Universe. Selected Awards: University Graduate Fellowship (Masters Of Fine Arts - Theatre Directing), Ray Michal Award for Most Promising New Director, two Jessie Richardson Awards for writing and a Jessie Richardson Award for Acting (with the ensemble of Western Theatre Conspiracy's Mojo.)"[10]

James Fagan Tait[edit]

"The visionary artist behind The Idiot and Crime and Punishment..., Jimmy is a native of Cornwall, Ontario and trained at Ryerson Theatre School and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where he worked as an actor and director for several years. He also studied theatre at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris where he worked as an actor and director for four years. He is one of Vancouver's busiest actor/writer/directors, creating, directing, and/or performing in shows for numerous professional and community-based companies, including boca del lupo, Western Gold, the Vancouver Playhouse, the Caravan, Vancouver Moving Theatre, the World AIDS Group, the Electric Company, Runaway Moon, Bard on the Beach and many others."[11]

Board of Directors[edit]

  • Chair
    • Elby Del-Bianco
  • Directors
    • Bill Hood
    • Yvonne Gall
    • Alnoor Gova
    • Sean Hern
    • Kate LAktin
    • Marita Michaelis
    • Fardad Moayeri
    • Joanna Naiman
    • Yasmin Tayob[12]