SOUTH Asian Arts Society: Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts



SOUTH Asian Arts Society: Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts

presents “Welcome the Storm”

August 6 – 13

Venues: York Theatre (The Cultch) & Surrey Arts Centre

Tickets starting at $15 (plus s/c & GST)


Cultch: or 604.251.1363 | Surrey Arts Centre: or 604.501.5566

For shows in Surrey, single tickets are also available at Kamal’s Video Palace (#103 – 8268 – 120 Street, Surrey) 604.592.9777

Workshops & Readings Throughout the Festival at the Vancity Culture Lab (The Cultch) & Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Surrey)

Tickets and more info visit:


The heavy monsoon rains of India take over the country on an annual basis. Amidst the damage and destruction, the monsoon season is filled with celebration, including dance, music, theatre, film and festivals. The welcoming of this captivating and spiritual force dates back thousands of years in India.  Vancouver is also known for its heavy rainfall. With the intersection of these two natural phenomena, albeit at different times of the year, the goal is to celebrate the monsoon here in the Lower Mainland by welcoming the storm with the 2nd annual Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts, presented by South Asian Arts Society.

In its second year, the Monsoon Arts Festival runs from August 6-13 in Vancouver and Surrey, with a deliberate spotlight on South Asian theatre. South Asian Canadians are the largest visible minority group in Canada, yet a simple scan of Vancouver’s performing arts community suggests that there are very few South Asian theatre professionals currently working in our industry.

Monsoon Arts Festival is unique, given that no other broadly-focused South Asian performing arts festival exists in Canada. During a span of 8 days festival highlights include; a critically acclaimed, one-woman play, Burq Off! (New York), which has toured internationally; and to close the festival, an Indian classical dance drama Malavika performed in Hindi at Surrey Arts Centre, presented in partnership with dance troupe Nrityenakatha.

Aside from the presentations, community engagement is another key pillar of the festival. This year, we are expanding our offering of development workshops, which include the areas of dramaturgy, playwriting, directing, acting, dancing and music.

In future years, audiences can look forward to a multidisciplinary arts festival inclusive of dance, music, visual, experimental and interdisciplinary arts, showcasing Canadian South Asian artists and talents, along with a few handpicked international productions.


Nadia Manzoor

Burq Off! (New York)

A British Pakistani Muslim’s Autobiographical One-Woman Play

One Woman, 21 Characters, A Burqa, A Bikini

Nadia P. Manzoor: Actor/Writer/Producer

Tara Elliott: Director


Burq Off!, an autobiographical coming of age comedy about a British Pakistani girl trying to find herself in two madly opposing worlds. Nadia Manzoor was raised a cultural yoyo, bouncing between expectations of her conservative Muslim family and her saucy British school friends. From her discovery of ‘sex’ at the age of 5, to falling in love with an Irish Catholic boy who must be kept secret, Nadia’s search for self is punctuated by fierce Bollywood dance moves, a blackout drinking incident, and an Islamic teacher whose interests range from slapping to pornography. Love, lies, a burqa and a bikini. Nadia has no idea who she is, but she’ll try anything to find out.

Nadia P. Manzoor is a British Pakistani actor, writer, and producer, whose autobiographical one-woman show Burq Off! has had sold-out runs in New York, LA, San Francisco, London and Toronto. She is the co-creator and performer of Shugs & Fats, a Gotham Award-winning comedy web series and has recently been named one of twenty-five new faces of independent film by Filmmaker Magazine.

Nadia has appeared on CNN, The BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera and Radio Q and has been featured in Elle India, Vogue India, The Daily Beast, and The Times of India. She recently delivered a TedX talk on creative -collaboration, and is a frequent guest speaker on panels that focus on women in Islam and Muslim identity. She is the founder of Paprika Productions, an all-female production company that produces works by brave, curious women.

“A gutsy, honest, hilarious must-see” – Deepak Chopra

“Nadia Manzoor’s ambitious one-woman show…is a no-holds-barred performance.” – Vogue India                                                                                                                August 11 and 12 @ 8pm                                                                                            York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver



Malavika (Vancouver)

A classical Hindi dance drama presented by the Nrityenakatha dance troupe


Malavika is an adaptation of Indian poet Kalidasa’s first play, which was called Malavikagnimitram. Never before witnessed by the Greater Vancouver area, this mesmerizing love story shall transpire in a grand Hindi dance-theatre production through a unique combination of Kuchipudi and Garba/Raas dance forms. Captivating Hindi dialogues are intertwined with grand dances, sets and costumes to transport the audience to an ancient mythological Indian kingdom, which is the setting for the story of King Agnimitra’s love for Malavika, who is an unheard of maid in the royal palace. It is said that Malavika was proficient in dance and music. The diverse plot is carried forward through intense battles, sorrow, comedy, and thrilling dance sequences set to a beautiful classical Hindi soundtrack, creating a movie on stage.

The leading roles are embodied by Vancouver’s Bharatanatyam stars Alex Parappilly and Ashvini Sundaram, alongside Kuchipudi enthusiast and director of the production, Savita Srinivasa.

Nrityenakatha is an Indian classical dance troupe devoted to conveying rare pieces of Indian literature through the language of dance. Bringing together a 12-member troupe primarily comprised of professionally trained Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancers with dance experience in Garba/Raas, the company was recently formed to propagate Indian classical dance-theatre in the Greater Vancouver Area.

August 13 @ 5pm                                                                                                            Surrey Arts Centre, Main Stage