Best Theatre Impressario 2009 | Shahin Sayadi | Editors' Picks

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Best Theatre Impressario

Shahin Sayadi

“Impressario” is a term that doesn’t really resonate with Shahin Sayadi. He just does what he does, pursuing his muse.

“I appreciate the coverage and the recognition,” says Sayadi, modestly.

His theatre company, OneLight, has earned its recognition. It’s been operating since 1999---Sayadi’s wife Maggie Stewart is OneLight’s managing director---and will soon launch its ninth debut production, Return Ticket: Halifax Abadan-Halifax at Neptune Theatre, across the street from OneLight’s offices, on November 21. Sayadi was featured on the cover of The Coast’s Fall Arts Guide (September 24), previewing Return Ticket and discussing its autobiographical origins, inspired from a trip Sayadi took to his hometown Abadan, Iran. The play is about the decisions he made to move to Canada, and how the state of war, beginning with the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980s, affects both those at home and those who choose to leave.

OneLight may be best known for The Veil, a theatrical piece based on the epic novel Khanoom by Masoud Behnoud, the story of a Persian princess escaping from her homeland to wartime Europe, then returning to Iran and finding it a nation much changed. The play toured to Tehran, Parrsborough, Toronto and Vancouver. Return Ticket, as with The Veil and one of their earlier works, Greg MacArthur’s The Toxic Bus Incident are part of OneLight’s thematic The Civilian Project.

“We’ve been looking at the issue of civilians, near and far from warzones,” says Sayadi. Return Ticket “is the last of the series.”

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