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Black and white photo of Derek Kwan, sitting sideways in a high canvas chair with his knees draped over on of the arms of the chair. His hands clasp one knee and his head is bent back laughing.
Photo by Dahlia Katz 2023


September 13-17, 2022
City Opera Vancouver

Chinatown is a story of family and neighbourhood, racism and resistance, history and tomorrow. In two acts and two hours it examines six characters, two families, and a chorus of male ghosts, from the building of the CPR through to our own times. It deals with violence and despair, the Head Tax, the Exclusion Act, paper sons, and paper promise.

It is a Western opera, but incorporates Chinese themes, sounds and sensibilities. And it is a love story.

The inspiration for CHINATOWN lies in our history, a great neighbourhood and its people, and its resistance against racism – both historical, and resurgent today.

A recording with the premiere cast was released September 8, 2023 by Leaf Music. Featured in CBC’s Summer 2023 album guide.

17 janvier – 17 février, 2024
Théâtre Jean-Duceppe, Montréal

Au deuxième jour de la répression sanglante de la place Tiananmen, juste avant que des soldats du régime chinois ne forcent la porte de sa chambre d’hôtel, le photojournaliste américain Joe Schofield capture un morceau d’histoire : le moment où un homme seul se dresse devant la colonne de chars qui traverse Beijing. Son visage n’est pas visible; son identité et son sort demeurent un mystère. Immortalisée le 5 juin 1989, cette image captivera le monde. Vingt-trois ans plus tard, Joe Schofield apprend que le tank man est toujours en vie et qu’il se trouverait en Amérique. Mettant en péril sa carrière, ses relations et son éthique, il s’engage dans une quête obsessionnelle pour retrouver ce héros inconnu.

On the left: The cover of The Book of Rain by Thomas Wharton, with title in large black letters, with an illustration of a bird in the background and water droplets covering the entire surface of the book. On the right: headshot of Thomas Wharton, the author.


The northern mining town of River Meadows is one of three hotspots in the world producing ghost ore, a new source of energy worth twenty-eight times its weight in gold. It’s also linked with slippages of time and space that gradually render the area uninhabitable. After the town is evacuated, the whole region is cordoned off, the new no-go zone wryly nicknamed “the Park.”

Three intertwined stories flow from the disaster of River Meadows. Alex Hewitt and his sister, Amery, were among the first to be shipped out of the contaminated town. Now an accomplished game designer, Alex has moved on, but his sister has not, making increasingly dangerous break-ins to save animals trapped in the toxic wasteland. When at last she fails to return from a trip inside the fence, Alex flies to River Meadows to search for her, enlisting her friend, Michio Amano, a mathematician who needs to transcend the known laws of physics if he and Alex are to succeed.

Audio Play

From the corner of Spadina and Dundas in the heart of Toronto’s Chinatown, two friends, Helen and Justin, find themselves led to an old and abandoned theatre after receiving a cryptic note. Known as The Standard in the early 1920s, during the height of Canada’s Chinese Immigration Act, this venue had a history of renting its space to Cantonese Opera performers. Once inside, Helen and Justin run into the theatre’s mysterious and charismatic caretaker, Mr. Sing, who muses enthusiastically about the theatre’s history of Cantonese Opera performance.

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