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Where I work: Shahin Sayadi

OneLight Theatre artistic director talks OneLight’s roots and the upcoming Chess with the Doomsday Machine.


  • Lenny Mullins

Chess with the Doomsday Machine
To February 7
Alderney Landing Theatre

I grew up in a theatre family—my dad had a company and my mother performed, I grew up in that environment, ended up in Canada and did theatre studies at Dalhousie. Maggie [Stewart, OneLight's managing director] and I started the company at The Crib on Gottingen Street at back of a grocery store. It was called The Crib because our daughter was there. That's where we started in 2001. Two years ago we moved to Alderney Landing and became the resident company. We like it, it's not a job to us, it's our life

At OneLight we always have tried to tell stories of diverse communities, to keep a high standard of quality and professionalism. We brought the Prismatic Arts Festival to Dartmouth, the only festival presenting works of all types of fine arts—performing arts, visual arts, media arts—across the country. Over four days there were more than 10,000 people through the doors.

Alderney is great, and now we have somewhere we call home. We're also part of a very supportive community. Maggie and I have been working very hard at this but it doesn't matter how hard we work if the community is not there to support us. It's a challenge to bring people here—a lot of people don't know there's a theatre here. But when you look nationally, out of all the places in the country that are much more diverse, we're very proud of what we're doing in Halifax and at our home in Alderney.

Chess with the Doomsday Machine is a very visual and movement based piece, not a lo of dialogue. It's very accessible to all ages and communities, there's dialogue in Farsi and English. We did it for short run and by the end we knew we had to bring this back. During this run, every night Chess is one of the CAPACOA [Canadian Presenting Arts Conference] showcases. This time we're running it for three weeks, no one other than Neptune has done that. It's a huge risk and investment but if we don't try we would never know. I know there's a huge audience we haven't reached and we want to reach them.

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