YCAR supports performance and workshop that explores Chinese Canadian family dynamics

A performance and workshop inspired by research on son preference and daughter discrimination among Chinese Canadians will run beginning March 20, and is a project supported by the Canada-China Initiatives Fund at York University and the Canada Research Chair in Gender, Justice and Development at the University of Guelph.A poster for the play Sister Brother supported by YCAR

The project "姐姐,弟弟 Sister, Brother: A Performance & Workshop" is inspired by playwright Lauren Chang's undergraduate research on the topic. Chang is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Guelph studying anthropology, and is also a writer, performer and peer educator at Sex Education by Theatre and the creator and team lead at Onions Don’t Cure COVID.

This project is her first foray into playwriting and directing, and is an opportunity for attendees to reflect on their experiences in their families and communities.

"姐姐,弟弟 Sister, Brother: A Performance & Workshop" follows a pair of siblings who have a difficult conversation about what it means to be a daughter and son in a Chinese Canadian family.

The siblings are acted by Jobina Sitoh and Franco Pang. Jobina is an up-and-coming actor and first-year student in York University's Theatre Program. With a love for performance and storytelling across various mediums, she hopes to make strides in the artistic community as a young female creator of colour.

Franco (he/him) is a production and stage manager, designer, creator, and performer. He is a recent recipient of the 2019 Prix Rideau for Emerging Artist in design and creation. Franco also co-created, performed, and designed Light(less), a non-verbal show, which received an outstanding new work nomination from the Prix Rideau Awards.

As Chang started writing the play in 2020, there were no concerns about how the work would translate to the small screen – she designed it to be performed on Zoom.

“I created this play as a way to disseminate my research findings and start a conversation, through theatre, about gender discrimination in my community,” said Chang. “We’ve had a lot of fun playing with the capabilities of Zoom to play with audience interaction and immersiveness through the performance.”

The performance and accompanying workshop will be held on March 20 and 27 and April 3 and 10. To reserve a spot, visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/sister-brother-a-performance-workshop-tickets-143805789989.

Following the virtual performance, audience members will be invited to create their own short plays on the topic of gender discrimination that will be performed by the actors during the workshop.

“I look forward to seeing what we all create together,” said Chang. “Hopefully, this will be a space where we can share our stories and imagine brighter futures.”

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