Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre

The production runs from March 19 to April 2, 2023. 

By: Mar. 05, 2023
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The Segal Centre for Performing Arts will present the Canadian Premiere of English by Sanaz Toossi in a co-production with Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre Company. Winner of the 2022 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, English will be in the Sylvan Adams Theatre for a limited number of performances from March 19 to April 2, 2023.

Check out the production photos below!

"English only!" That is the class rule as four students seeking new opportunities assemble in a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) classroom in Karaj, Iran. As the class slowly devolves into a linguistic mess, some cling more tightly to their mother tongue while others chase the promise of new identities. The students play word games, translate Shakira songs, and endure major preposition confusion, with audience asked to ponder how much it ultimately costs to fit in.

"The way that you sound to yourself is so fundamental to your identity," said Co-Director Anahita Dehbonehie. "You can be somebody in one tongue and somebody different in another," continued Co-Director Guillermo Verdecchia

"Language always seems to take centre stage in Montreal. This beautiful play is a reminder that language barriers aren't as insurmountable as we think and that we can find understanding when we celebrate each other's differences," said Artistic and Executive Director Lisa Rubin.

This critically acclaimed new play by newcomer Sanaz Toossi (also wrote for Amazon Prime's hit reboot of A League of their Own) is co-directed by Guillermo Verdecchia, recipient of the Governor-General's Award for Drama and four-time Chalmers Canadian Play Award winner, and Anahita Dehbonehie, winner of two Dora Mavor Moore awards and named one of Now Magazine's top theatre artists in 2015 and again in 2019.

The ensemble cast of Iranian actors includes Ghazal Partou (Montreal audiences may remember her from In Mane To at Espace 4001 Berri) as the diligent TOEFL teacher Marjan, Aylin Oyan Salahshoor (recently appeared in Swim Team at Toronto's Theatre Centre) as the sweet and breezy Goli, Sepehr Reybod (seen in Geordie Theatre's The In-Between) as the mysteriously adept at English and lone man Omid, Ghazal Azarbad (starred as Siobhan in Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at Arts Club) as the defiant and determined Elham, and Banafsheh Taherian (appeared in Canadian Stage's The Only Possible Way) as the motherly Roya looking to strengthen her relationship with her recently Canadian-bound son.

"It's extremely important to me to see my experience of women reflected on stage," said Playwright Sanaz Toossi in an interview with Vogue.

"I cannot begin to express how important this show is to the Iranian community. English speaks to the power of diversity and representation but also highlights and celebrates the power of Iranian women - which is all the more poignant in light of the current events in Iran", explained Cultural Consultant, Outreach Coordinator, and MENA theatremaker Leila Ghaemi.

Tickets are on sale now at 514.739.7944 or at www.segalcentre.org.

About the Segal Centre for Performing Arts

Driven by a belief in the transformative power of the arts to connect communities, the Segal Centre for Performing Arts is a not-for-profit theatre company with the unique mission to program high quality professional English-language theatre, celebrate and explore Jewish cultural identity, and promote the diversity of voices and perspectives in society at-large via our artists, staff, content, and other programming. The Segal Centre is dedicated to creating, developing, producing, and presenting high quality theatre that is accessible to all. The Segal Centre is a nationally recognized institution with an emphasis on programming original interpretations of popular classic and contemporary works, and invests in new Canadian musicals. www.segalcentre.org

About Soulpepper Theatre Company

Located in its multi-venue home, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto's Distillery Historic District, Soulpepper is Toronto's largest not-for-profit theatre company. Founded and guided by artists, Soulpepper has an integrated mission which includes: industry-leading youth and community outreach initiatives; artist training and mentorship programs; and a year-round diverse repertory season which is grounded in the classics and committed to the creation of new works, new forms, and innovative practices. www.soulpepper.ca

Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz

Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre
Cast of English

Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre
Ghazal Azarbad and Banafsheh Taherian

Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre
Cast of English

Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre
Ghazal Azarbad

Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre
Cast of English

Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre
Banafsheh Taherian

Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre
Ghazal Partou and Sepehr Reybod

Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre
Ghazal Azarbad

Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre
Ghazal Azarbad

Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre
Cast of English

Photos: First Look at the Canadian Premiere of Sanaz Toossi's ENGLISH at the Segal Centre
Cast of English




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