Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Telling South Asian Tales Old and New: Profile of Brampton's Sharada Eswar out on Yonge Street

My most recent foray in profiling GTA artists for Yonge Street took me to Brampton, where I met up with a very busy professional storyteller and writer: Sharada Eswar.

Since immigrating from India with her family in 2001, Eswar—who previously worked in marketing and did storytelling and puppetry on the side—has really ramped up her activity in her chosen art. Here's an excerpt from the Yonge Street profile that provides a peek at her 2011 schedule:

In March, she and choreographer Nova Bhattacharya received a Toronto Arts Council grant for a project to re-imagine the Mahabharat from a female point of view. In April, her interviews with Sri Lankan refugees formed the soundtrack for No Entry, an installation at Coronation Park. In September, she wrapped a radio drama for Wychwood Barns' Theatre Direct, inspired by tragic Hindu hero Abhimanyu and chilling reports of the Toronto 18 wannabe terrorist group.

In December, she'll be doing carnatic singing in a Pharmacy Avenue studio for a Tamil-and-English adaptation of Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. The remarkable project, presented by the community-arts group Jumblies Theatre, is the culmination of a three-year Scarborough residency involving dozens of Jumblies staff and hundreds of community volunteers. During the residency, Eswar has facilitated programming for the region's Tamil seniors. With Like an Old Tale, she's taking on the role of an actor, rather than that of a self-directed storyteller.

To find out more about Eswar and how she built her career in the arts, read on at Yonge Street.

And it's worth noting that that big adaptation of A Winter's Tale actually opens next week, December 8, in a big old TV studio near Pharmacy and Eglinton. It only runs for 10 days, coinciding with the 6th Canadian Community Play Exchange Symposium. For ticket info, visit the Jumblies site.

(Photo of Sharada Eswar by Voula Monoholias for Yonge Street)

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