These FREE community based initiatives are excellent opportunities to both view art and also immerse yourself into the artistic process. Sign up for a workshop that will surely get your creative juices flowing, or attend the spoken word & readings night and just kick back, relax and take in the beautiful words from our talented presenters. Post-show talkbacks give audience members an opportunity to ask that burning question they may have once seeing one of the performances.


Impulse, Improvisation & Play WORKSHOP WITH Carmel Amit

August 6th - 11am to 4pm
The Cultch (Historic), Vancouver

Finding freedom and trust in the moment and in self. In this workshop, you will explore finding a connection to your bodies and voice through exercises that aim to access your right, thinking free brain. You will work with improvisational games that challenge you to play outside of your physical and vocal comfort zone, to create a larger vocabulary and deeper trust in impulse and in self. 

NOTE: Please wear clothing that allows for unrestricted physical movement. A small towel and water are also strongly recommended.

 Carmel Amit

Carmel Amit

Carmel is a native of Israel. She spent her formative acting years in NY, studying at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and later working in Film & TV as well as with several established downtown NY theatre companies.

She is currently based in Vancouver and working on the television show, Ghost Wars (SyFy), set to premier in the fall of 2017. Other recent Film & TV credits include recurring roles on Somewhere Between (ABC), Mistresses (ABC) and ICE (AT&T).  Earlier this summer Carmel performed in a production of 50 Words by Michael Weller and directed by Raina von Waldenburg, director and teacher of the Grotwoski method. In 2016 Carmel performed in a leading role in NY playwright Sarah Einspeiners’s debut of I Love Sean and served as Movement Director for local playwright Agam Darshi’s Burning Hands, directed by Orsy Szabo.

Carmel is an acting teacher at School Creative and sits on the board of South Asian Arts. 



An evening of spoken word and readings

August 7th - 7pm to 9pm
The Cultch (Vancity Culture Lab)

Celebrate the Monsoon spirit at the beautiful Cultch Theatre with an evening of spoken word and readings. Shekhar Paleja will be reading excerpts from his highly acclaimed novel, "An Extraordinary Destiny"; Jotika will share some SongPoems from her show Brown Body Stories: Searching for Healing/Longing from Home, a project that includes a one-women show & the creation of a ZineAlbum; Munish Sharma will read from his spoken word series "You I Love", created to inspire, promote positivity and growth.

The evening will also include sneak peeks of the shows being presented in the festival this year:

  • Burq Off!
  • Malavika
 Shekhar Paleja

Shekhar Paleja

Shekhar was born in India and moved to Canada at the age of eight. He is an award winning children's author, and his debut novel, “An Extraordinary Destiny” was recently published by Brindle & Glass.

The story is a captivating family saga interlacing three generations of an Indian family as they strain against ancestral cords and wrestle with the expectations of an unusually auspicious kundali. 

His stories have appeared in the Globe & Mail and on CBC. Shekhar lives in Vancouver with his wife and daughter.




Jotika is a lover of all things glittery. She is a Queer, femme of colour and identifies as a wounded healer. She is a settler who was born and lives on the land of the Musqueam, Skxwú7mesh, & Tsleil-Waututh peoples. Her family & ancestors are from Fiji and Northern India. She uses SongPoems, performance art and visual art to explore what it means to be living in diaspora and feel such disconnect from her homelands and cultures. In 2016, she co-wrote and co-starred in the Pink Line, a play that delved into racism in the LGBTQ community in Vancouver. It was presented by the Frank Theatre Company as part of the Vancouver Queer Arts Festival 2016. In June she also created and starred in a 1 women show called: Brown Body Stories: Searching for Healing, Longing for Home, which explored identity, healing, living in diaspora and her experiences as a Queer South Asian Women.

 Munish Sharma

Munish Sharma

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Munish graduated with a BFA in Performance from the University of Regina in 2006. Since then, Munish has been nominated for a Jessie Award as an actor, with over a dozen theatre, TV, stage, and burlesque productions to his credit. His leading role in the award-winning play Iceland (Nicolas Billon – Governor-General Award Winner), garnered numerous strong reviews. In 2015, Munish's one-act play, Mrs. Singh & Me was presented by South Asian Arts Society at the Vancouver Fringe Festival, winning Pick of the Fringe honours. It was Munish’s first playwright credit. Additional career highlights include his leads in the stage production This Is War (Rumble Theatre, Tremors 2014), The Invisible Hand (Jessie Nomination, Pi Theatre) and Canada’s first South Asian sketch-comedy production, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Chicken. Munish is also one of Vancouver’s up-and-coming burlesque dancers. Known popularly as "Socratease",  he has performed at Sweet Soul Burlesque at Bass Coast, The Vancouver Burlesque Festival, and he also produces and hosts Gastown Cabaret, one of Vancouver premier variety shows.



Panels, talkbacks and industry discussions facilitated by Rohit Chokhani and Gurpreet Sian post-show with actors and directors

  • August 11th - Burq Off! at York Theatre (post-show talkback)
  • August 12th - Burq Off! at York Theatre (post-show talkback)
  • August 13th - Malavika at Surrey Arts Centre (post-show talkback)

*Talk backs will take place in a mix of English, Hindi and Punjabi.