Jiv's Speech - 2018 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award

On Wednesday May 16th, Pandemic's Artistic Producer Jivesh Parasram received the 2018 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award! 

We had to miss the event at the Mayor's Arts Lunch as we're currently on tour in B.C. with "The Only Good Indian" in Victoria at Intrepid Theatre's the Uno Festival - meeting up with Jiv in Vancouver to pick up the tour there at upintheair Theatre's rEvolver Festival who's currently working with Theatre Conspiracy on their new show - "Victim Impact." 

En Lai Mah, And Elizabeth Wong - Holding a Jiv (Jiv featured appears smaller than an actual Jiv). 

En Lai Mah, And Elizabeth Wong - Holding a Jiv (Jiv featured appears smaller than an actual Jiv). 

But lucky for the city that they got to hang out with our Good friends and Pandemic-ites Beth Wong and En Lai Mah who held it down in our stead! Beth delivered Jiv's speech, to apparently a standing ovation! Which considering that Beth Wong is a Boss, does make sense. 

We've received some requests to share the speech - so here it is!

"Friends, Colleagues, Honoured Guests,

It is with great sadness that I cannot be with you today.
But also with great joy that as a result of me not being with you - you get to meet one of my dearest friends. This is Beth Wong Kit Teng and she is Fucking excellent.

My name is Jivesh Parasram.

I was raised in Mi’kma’ki, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, territory of the Mi’kmaq peoples.

My family came there by way of what is now called Trinidad. Land of the Carib and Aarawak peoples.

We came there by way of….let’s call it….Colonialism… from somewhere in what is now called India – poor colonial record keeping makes it hard to know where for sure.

I am writing you from the Unceded Coast Salish Territories of the Squamish Musqueam and Tseil-Waututh peoples in what is now also called Vancouver - where I’m currently on tour and in rehearsal.

And I find it fitting that for all my displacements, these words are being read to you in T’karonto, the meeting place. Traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Wendat, and Mississauga Anishinabek nations; on dish-with one spoon territory. Where we practice co-existence and community daily.

I am grateful to all of the peoples who have accepted me onto their territory.

Perhaps a little less grateful so the British who accepted my ancestors onto the territory of a British indentured labour boat. But hey, here we are.

I am also grateful for all the people who have made it possible for me to receive this award through their continued emotional support:

My family. My partner Christine the greatest person I know. To Tom Arthur Davis my non-romantic partner at Pandemic Theatre where we’ve made most of our work together – I say non-romantic but I suppose there’s a certain idealistic romantic dream to running an independent theatre company.

To my mentors, my colleagues, and my friends who are also my family.

To Beth and Marjorie for nominating me. To En Lai, for literally and metaphorically picking me up off the sidewalk when I was too sick. To my community that I have found; and today feel deeply moved and accepted into truly.

Displacement or perhaps even placeless-ness has been a constant in my life.
In thinking what to write to you today someone told me –
"Reflect on your artistic work! What’s a recurring theme?”
– and I said “I don’t know. Crippling Depression?”

The last couple projects are basically “I’m sad! Colonial Violence! Mental Illness! Hindu stuff!” repeat.

But through it all is a core of Displacement. Or maybe longing. You know, “Sad Boy” stuff…

Despite living in Toronto for over a decade, I don’t know that it’s ever felt like home. To me, it holds a transient spirit.

I never planned to stay that long. I never thought it wanted me to.

Reflecting on that, I realize it was the same for Nova Scotia. Nearly everywhere I’ve been. Displacement. Maybe it’s just me? Maybe it’s just in my cells? Maybe that’s familiar?

And yet, Toronto is where I have found the most opportunity to create. To contribute. To collaborate.

So why here?

I think it’s because I am surrounded by a community that inspires me to contribute. I make art here because I want to offer something, everything I can, to the discourse of our multi-faceted culture.

Toronto may not be my home, because, perhaps I do not have a home – but it is home to my community.

But it’s not easy. The every day.

Myself, I live with that same crippling depression that permeates my work. I am a “Mad” artist, and I hold that identity – but perhaps I do not name it enough.

Sometimes I am ill. And as much as Toronto heals me, it also can keep me, and others, ill, by not being truly inclusive in its dominant culture for those of us who are “Mad” and otherwise marginal.

We all face many problems in this city: Lack of shelter, rising costs of living, violence, isolation, and a rapid current that demands productivity.

Toronto is a wonderful place to live – if we can live here amidst the pressure.

If we can find moments of breath.

If we can think beyond the colonial cultural foundation that was laid down here as a manufacturing centre, financial hub, and slaughterhouse. Hogtown.

But these foundations are not the earth.
They may be deep, but they’re not rooted. They can break.

I believe that the purpose of art is to expand the capacity for human imagination. The cultural sector’s responsibility is to be that imaginative potential. 
The playground, and training centre of imagination for its larger community

Another world is possible. But we need to collectively dream it.

And so we cannot simply accept the status quo. We need to be willing to break through that foundation.  Artistically, Civically, Communally.

Now, How do we do that?

…Look, they only gave me 5 minutes!  It’s an emerging artist award. I’m not that succinct! Check me back when I emerge I guess. 

However we do it. We do it together.

As a community that inspires its members to be their best and insists that barriers be removed so we can all have access to the chance to be our best.  

As a community that empowers its members; and one that welcomes and cares for outsiders.

That accepts placeless migratory people. Like you have done for me.

To all of you, to the city, to the land, the waterways, and to the ghosts and spirts,

Shukriya, Miigwetch, Thank you.

- Jiv



Intro to Qlab for Indie Performance Creators: Video and Sound

Workshop facilitator: Jiv Parasram

A Free workshop presented by Cahoots Theatre and Pandemic Theatre



Who should take this workshop

Are you still running sound cues off of Itunes? Are you using powerpoint for your projections? Have you ever wondered why changing that one fade is taking so long? Feel like you just want to understand how all this works? Then this is for you!


Why take this workshop?

The more skills you have, the less you have to rely on the labour of others. More importantly – the more you know about the work others do to support you, the more you can appreciate what’s going on in the room.

This workshop is for artists who would like to understand how to use Qlab – a relatively free piece of OSX software to advance their practice in the rehearsal hall, performance, or on late nights tinkering away and getting creative.

Workshop Objectives

Participants will gain an understanding of

·      Basic audio programming

·      Basic audio routing

·      Basic video programming

·      Basic internal video design functionality of Qlab

·      Basic video mapping

Workshop requirements

·      A Mac OSX laptop with Qlab 3 or Qlab 4 available for download free here: https://figure53.com/

·      A daily "rent-to-own" license for Qlab 3 or 4 for Video available for purchase here:  https://figure53.com/shop/ ($4.00 USD ; credit card required)

Please note: You may participate in the workshop without the above materials, however we are unable to provide workstations (laptops) – so you may have to be more theoretical. If access to a credit card to purchase a license is a barrier to attendance please let us know and we’ll try to find a solution. 


Time & Date
Tuesday March 20th 2018 | 2pm-6pm

Cahoots Creation Studio
388 Queen St. E Unit # 3
(Entrance on Trefann street)

Registration info

Registration is limited to 12 participants maximum.

To register, please contact Sabah Haque. With subject line “QLAB WORKSHOP.”


About the Workshop Facilitator
Jiv Parasram (He/Him/His) is a multidisciplinary artist, facilitator, and researcher. He is the Artistic Producer of Pandemic Theatre, as well as the Associate Artistic Producer at Theatre Passe Muraille. Jiv worked with Cahoots Theatre throughout the set up of the Cahoots Creation Studio and is a “proper indie artist” consistently wearing multiple hats as a creator, producer, production manager, stage manager, sound designer, and probably a bunch of other things.


#RememberJan29 | "For My Family"

I don't remember where I was when the news came to me. Not precisely. What I do remember was the feeling of a drop in my stomach, a hollowness in my throat, a tension that pulled upwards from my brow through my eyes, mouth, jaw. And I remember thinking - of course this was bound to happen - so please let it be treated with respect.

Read more

Jiv wins the Ken McDougall Award

We're absolutely ecstatic to announce that our very own Jivesh Parasram is the recipient of the Ken McDougall Award at the 2017 Harold Awards.

Here's a bit about the award according to the Harolds' website:

"Established in 1995 by Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, Platform 9 and Theatre Passe Muraille, the annual Ken McDougall Award serves to acknowledge a promising emerging director. Previous recipients have been: Franco Boni, Cathy Gordon, Michael Waller, Chris Abraham, Simon Heath, Patrick Conner, Ellen Ray Hennessey, Rebecca Brown, Nina Aquino, Kimahli Powell, Brendan Healy, Bea Pizano and Jacob Zimmer."


Jiv was actually awarded a Harold Award last year. So he's won a Harold in back-to-back years. He's the Tom Hanks of the Harolds!

Pandemic Takes SummerWorks by Storm

SummerWorks was freakin' awesome this year! We saw some killer shows (shout outs to our friends d'bi.young anitafrika, Thomas McKechnie, Shadi Shahkhalili, Keith Barker, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, ted witzel, Falen Johnson, Adam Paolozza, and Gabriel Dharmoo on some spectacular theatre), and we had two, count'em, TWO productions in the festival this year. And not to brag, but we think they were kinda the shit!

And so did others! Situational Anarchy was shortlisted for the SummerWorks Prize for Production. And Daughter was shortlisted for the Spotlight Award for Performance. AND to top it off, both were selected as "Best of SummerWorks" by NOW Magazine.

Accolades aside, festivals are great because they bring the community together. After show talk-backs, the special presentations by PechaKucha, countless late-night drinks. These are the things we enjoyed most. These are the things that harboured the discussion after the house lights came up. These are the reasons to make art in the first place. 

Speaking of late-night drinks: here's Tom, Graham Isador, and Jiv at the SummerWorks closing night party. What a bunch of toooooooooools!

Pandemic at the Doras

We had a blast last night at the Dora Awards, as we got to cheer on Tara for her Outstanding Performance nomination for Mahmoud!

So much fun. So much wine. So much headache this morning.

Congrats to all the winners and nominees, especially our good friends Andy McKim, Marjorie Chan, and Ravi Jain. 

Awards are kinda dumb, we know. But they're a great excuse to bring the community together to celebrate us all being crazy enough to devote our lives to the performing arts.

Jiv Gets Harolded!

Artistic Producer, Jiv Parasram was honoured at this year's Harold Awards at the Cadillac Lounge in Parkdale, Toronto last night. A community based awards ceremony from the Toronto Independent theatre community, the Harolds celebrate and ridicule those fools of us who keep on making our scene a thing.

The awards were founded in 1994 to memorialize Harold Kandel - one of the most loyal theatre goers and avid hecklers in the history of Toronto theatre. 

After being inducted by Joseph Recinos, in proper form, as Jiv attempted to grasp at some form of make shift speech, he was aptly heckled by ahdri zhina mandiela who stated "anyone can get a Harold these days."  True enough! 

As a side note, despite the fact that Jiv is actually an award winning public speaker, improviser, and debater from his younger years, all he was actually able to put together on the spot was "uhhh....fuck all y'all!" - which was well received at this kind of event. Way to keep it classy, Parasram.

To read more on the awards and a full list of the inductees, check out Jon Kaplan's article from NOW Magazine by clicking here.