Soheil Parsa

Director, Actor, Writer, Dramaturg, Choreographer and Teacher

“The immensity and coldness of Toronto were intimidating at first and yet there was something inviting, something gracious about the city that made me feel safe and secure. Toronto is my home.”

-Soheil Parsa

“The work of Modern Times Stage Company is stunning in its simplicity, clarity, and power. Modern Times is one of the most important theatre companies in the country right now, presenting the best of a new, intercultural Canada to the country and the world. Soheil Parsa, a modest man but one of the country’s best directors, is a national treasure.

– Ric Knowles, Canadian Theatre Review

Soheil Parsa is an award-winning director, actor, writer, dramaturg choreographer and teacher, whose professional theatre career spans thirty years and two continents. In his native Iran, Soheil completed studies in Theatre Performance at the University of Tehran and began a promising career as an actor and director. Arriving in Canada with his family in 1984, Soheil completed a second Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies at York University and then went on to establish Modern Times Stage Company as one of the most exciting culturally-diverse theatre companies in Canada.

In 1995 Soheil received a New Pioneers Award by Skills for Change for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts by a recent immigrant to Canada. Soheil’s own work at Modern Times has been recognized with four Dora Mavor Moore Awards, a Chalmers Fellowship in 2002, and a senior artist creation grant from the Canada Council, as well as a number of international prizes and master class requests. In 2007 he was short-listed for the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre Celebrating Directors, the largest Canadian theatre award.

Soheil Parsa onstage with local artists in Mostar. In 2009, Modern Times travelled to Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina to rehearse and produce a local language performance of Aurash. (Photo by Sue Balint)

In 2008, Playwrights Canada Press published “Stories from the Rains of Love and Death – Four Plays from Iran”, a collection of original translations and adaptations Soheil Parsa has co-written and directed for Modern Times. This was the first major publication of its kind in Canada.

Most recently, Soheil directed the world premiere of Hallaj, a script co-written with his Modern Times’ co-founder Peter Farbridge. He also continues to work internationally, representing both Canadian and Iranian culture abroad, while collaborating with artists on his award-winning production Aurash.

Directed by Soheil Parsa and co-written with Peter Farbridge, the world premiere of Hallaj was presented at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts in September 2009. Poster courtesy of Bettina Stoess, Nefes, Pina Bausch and Tanztheatre Wuppertal

As a director, set and stage designer, translator, adaptor, choreographer and actor, Soheil’s work is based on his experience in Iran and focuses on oppression and loss of freedom (especially loss of speech). His art is created to empower those who are often marginalized and under-represented.

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