Polyphony takes to the stage

To be uncompromising with showcasing culture, and to have honest explorations of themselves is what rice & beans theatre want from artists when developing their art form. The first-ever Polyphonic Translation Residency Showcase (June 9), from rice & beans theatre, features the multilingual works of Emily Jung, Dead Korean Girl Comedy Show, (Toronto) and of Sarvin Esmaeili, Maman, do you love me? (Vancouver).

“Polyphonic is a step for us to find a way to increase the number of opportunities to develop and hone our skills as multilingual artists,” says Pedro Chamale, rice & beans theatre’s artistic director (from press release).

The collaboration also features Anthony Lee, Andie Lloyd, Jenn Park, Maki Yi, Tanaz Roudgar, Soha Sanajou, and Elika Mojtabaei.

Residency & showcase

Sarvin Esmaeili |

The first of its kind in Western Canada, the Showcase is the culmination of Jung and Esmaeili’s 10-day residency, where they received dramaturgical and collaborative support as they worked on their respective projects.

“The works by Emily and Sarvin are right in line with values that Derek [Chan] and I had when we started the company. They are passionate about the message,” says Chamale.

Jung’s Dead Korean Girl Comedy Show, is a Korean-English play about two Korean girls trying to find peace after their accidental deaths. Esmaeili’s Maman, do you love me? is a Farsi-English exploration of maternal relationships.

“Without the pressure of filling a theatre or being a hot-selling ticket,” says Chamale, “artists can take time and space to give their wonderful projects what is needed for these very personal and important works.”

Meet Polyphonic Translation Residency’s first artists

Tkaronto-based Emily Jung (she/her) is an artworker. She is the director of communications at The Theatre Centre, and runs the conceptual artworker collective and meme page ‘Labour in the Arts.’ Jung is also a co-facilitator of the Theatre workers stop working and chill event series where she and artist Amanda Lin invite theatre workers to a consciously set aside, shared, non-work related creative zone-out time. Jung is grateful to be working on her play Dead Korean Girl Comedy Show, developing in part through rice & beans theatre’s Polyphonic Translation Residency, with co-creator Jennifer Park. Her recent creative essay, Korean Seniors Don’t Care for Bingo is available online at Choa Magazine.

Emily Jung | Photo courtesy of rice&beans theatre.

Esmaeili, a graduate of Studio 58, was born in Tehran, Iran. As a queer multidisciplinary theater artist, she wants to create and to share stories/spaces that support the collective healing practice of the community.

She has written plays with Arts Club’s LEAP, Frank Theatre’s Telling it bent, Rumble theatre and Blackout Arts Society. She loves holding sacred spaces for adults and children by allowing them to play and expand their creativity at Shadbolt Arts Centre. When in need of a break, they sing, drum and dance at a full moon ceremony with their soul family. The artist is grateful to rice & beans theatre for enabling her to explore Farsi on stage.

More about the residency

The Polyphonic Translation Residency is an expansion of their existing DBLSPK Program conceived to prioritize deepening of the field of multilingual theatre makers.

“I am so excited to be associated with these artists, and to be, for a short time, along for the ride. [Jung and Esmaeili] are forging new work that will only add to the growing plethora of fantastic IBPOC [Indigenous, Black, People of Colour] work that is happening,” says Chamale. “We are so lucky to have had them apply, and for them to be Polyphonic’s first-ever resident artists.”

During the summer, rice & beans will welcome two multilingual artists/translators who have a project in development, one local and one from out-of-town. Artists will be hosted in Vancouver, British Columbia at a local house rental for 10 days, and be provided all the resources needed for focused, uninterrupted time on their work. Over the residency, they will receive dramaturgical and collaborative support on their project and at the end of the residency, the artists will take part in a public presentation where community members can attend and engage in discussion with the artists around language and dramaturgy.

Applications for the 2024 residency will open in the summer of 2023.

For more information visit: