STAND Festival
Nov 2 – 12, 2023
A festival featuring immigrant and refugee artists

by Marketing & Publicity Manager

A festival featuring immigrant and refugee artists

STAND Festival Theatre Series co-presented by Blackout Arts Society and Presentation House Theatre

Presentation House Theatre is proud to co-present the Theatre Series in the 3rd annual STAND Festival, a celebration of immigrant and refugee performing artists. With intriguing performances by artists from around the world, STAND offers the chance to connect with inspiring newcomer artists and their stories.

The goal of STAND Festival is to centre and support immigrant and refugee voices while addressing social issues concerning race, class, and gender. The programming offers the chance to connect with inspiring newcomer artists who share their stories of survival, courage, failure, and hope.


STAND Festival 2023
Theatre Series

STAND Event image with the word "Theatre" on the side.

The body of a woman as a battlefield in the Bosnian war

Friday, Nov 3 – 7:30 PM

Written by Matei Visniec, Sara Poursorkh takes the lead as the director, with assistance from Mehrad Ramezankhani, with Paris Lajevard as the stage manager.

Performances by Yassaman Hosseini, Arghavan Hatamkhan, Yeganeh Dorri, Parniyan Golkar, Faezeh Samani, Mahnaz Sheikhesmaeili, Bahar Salamatian, Negar Goli, Afsoon Gharib Mombeini, Leila Abtahi, Rana Madani, Shohre Mirzaei.

Music by Amirhossein Rashidi.

Please note that this show is in Farsi with English subtitles.

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A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to Canada

Saturday, Nov 4 – 7:30 PM

Written and Performed by Grace Chin

Sometimes, you only know who you are once you find yourself. This one time…a part Peranakan, part Malaysian Chinese “cha bor” went on an unexpected journey of self-discovery – through personal, family, and cultural stories past and present, here and there, imagined and mostly real – when her father moved the family from Malaysia to Canada.

Be prepared to embark on a poignant journey of self-discovery as Grace Chin’s captivating performance explores the complexities of identity and the immigrant experience.

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to Canada has also recently been played at the rEvolver Festival 2023.

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She Planted, You Watered, and I Grow (full version)

Friday, Nov 10 – 7:30 PM

Has been written, directed, and played by Behtab Behseta. Ferdos Vakilian, the videographer, has skillfully captured the performance. The musical composition was created by Shervin Nivbagheri.

She Planted, You Watered, and I Grow depicts the struggles of a young woman who has migrated to Canada and has a strange relationship with her family, past, and home country. This thought-provoking drama unravels the complexities of intergenerational trauma and the resilience needed to confront and heal from it.

This performance’s Pilot version (30 minutes) mesmerized audiences at last year’s STAND Festival. Its captivating portrayal of human struggles and self-discovery left a lasting impact on those who experienced it. Take advantage of this extraordinary theatrical experience that will leave you moved and inspired.

STAND Event image with the word "Theatre" on the side.

The Emigrants

Saturday, Nov 11 – 7:30 PM

The play is written by Slawomir Mrozek, and translated by Henry Beissel. Directed by Cristiana Zachau, produced by Exact Resemblance. Akshaya Pattanayak and Jacob Macin deliver spellbinding portrayals of immigrant characters. Kate Chan designs the immersive soundscape.

The theme of the performance is immigration and the issues migrants face, where two immigrants in a typical democratic country share a unique and interconnected bond. One dreams of literary greatness, aspiring to write an incredible book, while the other yearns to return to his homeland with hard-earned savings for a better life for his family. On a transformative New Year’s Eve, they engage in a riveting battle of hopes and realities, grappling with the complexities and dilemmas many immigrants face. Witness their journey as they strive to balance their dreams with the practicalities of life.

Please note there is a talkback after this show.

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Igniting Strength, Shaping Inspiration

Nov 3 & 4 – 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Nov 10-12 – 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Experience a gallery that unites stories of courage and the human spirit’s enduring. Born in Kurdistan/Iraq, Harem takes us through a journey that defies the adversity shaped by childhood experiences of tragedy and misplacement.

A captivating realm of a refugee artist whose creations traverse borders and encapsulate the spirit of resilience. Harem witnessed the horrors of his town’s chemical attack as a child. Growing up in a refugee camp, he turned to art as a language to express the silent suffering of children in war’s wake. His work reflects global tragedies, a testament to the strength of those who endure.

Harem’s art offers a glimpse of hope amidst the turmoil. He transformed his creativity into a shield against a terrifying reality. Join us in celebrating the artistic journey that resonates with individuals worldwide, fostering understanding, compassion, and unity.

With eight solo exhibitions and over 40 co-exhibitions, Harem’s art speaks volumes, resonating with diverse audiences.

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Empower & Elevate
Grant Writing

Monday, Nov 6 – 5:30 PM
Thursday, Nov 9 – 5:30 PM

Led by Amir N. Hosseini, Blackout Art Society’s Artistic Director, in this workshop, on the first day, we’ll review tips and hints on how to write a compelling grant application.

On the second day, all participants will work on a sample grant and compete for a chance to win a $150 grant award.

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Reborn on Stage
Monologue Writing

Friday, Nov 10 – 6:00 PM
Nov 11 & 12 – 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Join an immersive workshop led by Naghmeh Samini, scriptwriter and lecturer in Dramatic Arts. You’ll learn the craft of writing monologues based on real historical or cultural figures, bringing them back to life on stage.

Participants in this three-day workshop will first improve their writing skills in creative writing exercises and then go through the innovative methods of writing monologue (Mono Drama) by focusing on a real character Who has historical or cultural importance. At the end of the workshop, the participants will read their writings in public to get the audience’s feedback.

Naghmeh has recently led a similar workshop at the University of Tokyo, Japan.

Please note this workshop is in Farsi.

STAND Event image with the word "Theatre" on the side.

A LARP Experience

Saturday, Nov 11 – 1:00 PM

This LARP was originally written for Funen Art Academy by Nina Runa Essendrop and Co-Produced by Blackout Art Society and Joel Grinke Experience Design.

Joel Grinke, Creative Director and Facilitator, and Christian Ching, Facilitator.

​Experience Strangers, an immersive where you step into the world of refugees or their new neighbours. With no need for prior experience in performing or gaming, you’ll collaboratively shape two unique societies, each with its own customs and language. Explore the challenges and emotions that arise when tragedy forces these cultures to intersect.

Strangers is an emotional exploration of the refugee experience, cultural identity, and the shared humanity that connects us all.

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Intergenerational (dis)Connections

Are you someone living in Canada who is part of an immigrant or refugee community? Are you impacted by cultural and language differences in your family or community? If so, we invite you to engage in a creative exploration to develop small plays into a performance as part of the STAND Festival in November 2023.

The workshop: participants will be engaged in playful theatre games with a director and facilitator to build a simple story on the theme. All participants must commit to the whole schedule. An honorarium will be offered for your full participation. We invite people 18 and older to get involved. No acting experience is necessary.

If interested, please email Assistant Director Faedra Mirhashemy at

Please introduce yourself, mention your home country, your age and let us know why you’re interested in participating in this event. Feel free to ask any questions.

We look forward to hearing from you!

2023 STAND Festival calendar.

STAND Festival Team

Artistic Director: Amir N. Hosseini

Executive Producer: Soha Sanajou

Marketing Manager and Public Relations: Shideh Taleban

Festival Organizer: Neda Majidi

Festival Stage Manager: Shila Amin

Digital Marketing Specialist: Anahid Flores

Education Coordinator: Faedra Mirhashemy

Volunteer Coordinator: Yassaman Hosseini

Outreach Associate:  Hedyeh Vahidy

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