Arts & Design

This May, ‘Past Shadows, Present Shades’ Hits the Stage in Canada

Yinka Olatunbosun

The Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre is currently gearing up to stage a play, “Past Shadows, Present Shades.’’

The C-SET housed within the Faculty of Media, Art and Performance at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, is a centralised location for the ongoing research associated with the Canada Research Chair in Socially Engaged Theatre programme.
The play is a unique celebration of immigrants’ contributions and reflects on the past and present experiences and imagines new futures. It will be staged during the Cathedral Village Art Festival in the Artesian on May 22 and outside the festival at the Southland Mall on May 24, 2024 at 6 p.m. in Regina.

The play borders African immigrants who have contributed to the new societies in which they live globally. It documents the struggles, triumphs, and inimitable resilience of African migrants amid systemic racism, racial profiling, police brutality, and the discomfort of settling in a new country (Canada) that is now their home.

The play promotes their culture and heritage to merge their host countries’ profound mores and traditions. It is a play of hope, gratitude, hesitations, expectations, and celebrations of shared cultures and integration.

According to the playwright and the C-SET Director, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, “The play is not about them and us. It is about the one human race manifest through diverse cultures, ethnicities, tribes, languages, religious backgrounds, national origins, and skin tones. It is about discovered stories, histories, and herstories of sacrifice, purpose, and impact on this land. Through these stories, we celebrate the contributions of each of us who have come from different parts of the world and now called home.’’

Dr. Afolabi explained that the idea for the play came from the Ugandan–Canadian Association of Saskatchewan (UCAS-ADPA)’s Karibu project workshop held in the past three years with immigrants, students, and citizens.

According to him, the participants created skits and monologues capturing the migrants’ experiences in Canada. He noted that two years with the association fuelled his creative energy to explore some themes in the play.

Set in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, the play echoes African originality and racial integration and promises dramaturgy that will hold the audience spellbound in a memorable theatrical experience.


The performance is supported by La Cite, Commonweal and the Ugandan-Canadian Association of Saskatchewan (UCAS-ADPA).



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