Universal Limited is a collective who works to uncover hidden stories in unusual locations. We work collectively to write and design our shows as experiences that are accessible to all. Previously they built the pedicab adventure Tour in Vancouver (premiering as part of the Cultural Olympiad/HIVE 3), Victoria (TheatreSKAM), and Toronto (SummerWorks), telling the hidden histories of previous residents--from First Nations, to waves of immigration, to the current stories buried beneath previously-familiar neighbourhoods.
For JAPANESE PROBLEM Yoshié Bancroft and Joanna Garfinkel set out to tell the unacknowledged story of the Japanese Canadian Incarceration at Hastings Park, interviewing the incredible, resilient survivors and families who are grappling with the legacy of the Incarceration. The creators believe that our country, province, and city’s legacies of racially-motivated uncompensated labour, exclusion and dispersal must never be forgotten.
Yoshié Bancroft is a Japanese Canadian actor and theatre creator with a strong interest in the Japanese Canadian incarceration. In 2015 she took a walking tour of Hastings Park, run by the Nikkei Centre. Though vaguely aware of the incarceration history, suddenly the geographic proximity and magnitude of the transgression became immediate and tangible, while standing in an animal stall in the Livestock Building--where women and children had once slept. The experience motivated the creation of JAPANESE PROBLEM as she began to wonder how many people attend the PNE without knowing that the site processed 8,000 Japanese Canadians during WWII, including many who died at the site.
Recent theatre credits include Lizzie in Pride & Prejudice (Chemainus Theatre Festival), Patricia in Flare Path (Slamming Door Collective), The Air Loom (you & I Theatre), Evie/Cat* in Ithaka (dream of passions / Excavation Theatre), Pride & Prejudice (Arts Club), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Home is a Beautiful Word (Belfry), Tour (Universal Ltd.)-- a show she co-created with support from The Electric Company for Hive 3, and toured to Toronto for Summerworks. Other favourite roles include ‘Lydia’ in Big Love (UBC) and ‘Zhaboonigan’ in The Rez Sisters(UBC). Notable Film/TV credits include Emily Owens M.D., The Flash, Bates Motel, Supernatural, Impastor, and Pancake Breakfast, which screened in Austin at SXSW. yoshiebancroft.com
*Jessie Richardson Award for Best Supporting Actress in Small Theatre
Joanna Garfinkel started new play development collective Universal Limited in August 2011. Previously, she co-created and directed the pedicab adventure Tour for HIVE 3 with the Electric Company, Universal Limited, and the Cultural Olympiad. That site-specific escapade went on to the Firehall, was award-winning at the Fringe, and has since been reinvented for Victoria (Theatre SKAM), and Toronto (SummerWorks). Joanna is struck by the racially motivated societal patterns that keep repeating in Canada, and to troubling those waters through performance. Recent credits include co-curating, dramaturging and directing the Northern Play Reading Series in Yellowknife, NWT (Akpik Theatre). She was awarded the Pure Research grant for Nightswimming Theatre (Toronto), was nominated for the Jessie award for Innovation (Letters from Lithuania/Mortal Coil), and has received the Sydney Risk award for directing. She moved to Vancouver to get her MFA in directing at UBC, and her focus since has been primarily in new play development, multidisciplinary, and site-specific work. She has trained with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company in New York. Upcoming: dramaturgy for Playwrights’ Theatre Centre, and VACT’s MSG lab. joannagarfinkel.com
Sindy Angel was born and raised in Cali, Colombia, where she began her professional theatre training. She co-founded an independent theatre company performing shows and workshops with and for communities facing complex barriers and systemic discrimination in South America. She started the first theatre program in the women’s prison in Cali. Since moving to Vancouver, in 2006, she has worked and collaborated as an actor with companies like New World Theatre and Urban Ink. Most recently, Sindy performed in Open fire, written by Carmen Aguirre. With a strong passion in social outreach, she has facilitated Theatre of the Oppressed Workshops for inmates, youth, women, people with physical, developmental and mental health challenges, immigrants and refugees. For the last eight years, Sindy has done extensive advocacy and outreach work with refugees from all over the world; her lived experience and her community work continues to inspire her creative journey to use theatre to address issues of racism and discrimination.
Daniel Doerksen is a Vancouver-based actor, writer, composer and musician. A graduate of UBC with a BFA in Theatre, Daniel is a founder and Co-Artistic Producer of Seven Tyrants Theatre and a producer with Synergy At Play Productions. With Seven Tyrants Theatre he has created, co-created and produced over a dozen new Canadian plays and adaptations, including The Bucky Show, based on the work of R. Buckminster Fuller, and his most recent indie-opera The Water Seller. Theatre credits include Pride & Prejudice (Arts Club Theatre), Beggar’s Opera, A Good Woman of Setzuan (7T), TOUR (Universal Limited), Cocktails at Pam’s (Staircase) and A Room With A View (United Players). Daniel’s compositions have been featured in productions such as The Air Loom (you & i), Topdog/Underdog, Ebenezer, Mozart & Salieri (7T), The Devil and Billy Markham (Chutzpah Festival), Dog Eat Dog (Only Animal) and Bull in a China Shop (Felix Culpa) as well as the feature film Lawrence and Holloman. His funk-rock group Two Apple Tobacco was voted Runner Up Best Unsigned Band in The Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver 2016. Daniel is excited to be collaborating once again with Universal Limited on this important project.
Brent Hirose is an actor, writer, director and improviser based out of Vancouver, BC. An honours gratitude of the University of Winnipeg Theatre and Film Program, he is a founding member of Winnipeg's Theatre by the River. He was recently appointed the Co-Artistic Director of Vancouver's Instant Theatre, with whom he regulator performs, directs and instructs cutting edge improv comedy & narrative. Recent theatre credits include the Western Canada premiere of Sea Wall, Ithaka (Excavation Theatre), Heathers: The Musical (Frolicking Divas), Cocktails at Pam's (Staircase Theatre) and A Few Good Men (MTC/Citadel). He was also delighted to play the lead in a workshop production of Tom Pinkerton (VACT) this fall, a rare opportunity for a half Japanese actor to play a character of the same ethnicity.
Shizuka Kai is a Vancouver-based theatre artist known mainly for her work in set design and puppets, as well as masks, illustrations, costume design and more. Select puppetry credits include Zoetrope (Studio 58), The Pipeline Project (Itsazoo), Lupinland (Big Chip Media), "Max" (SaskTel), Hamelin -A New Fable* (Axis Theatre) and Medea -Rokujo(Yayoi Theatre Movement). Recent design credits include King Arthur's Night (Neworld Theatre), The Out Vigil (Theatre Newfoundland Labrador), L'Élection (Théâtre la Seizième), Troilus & Cressida (Studio 58), Go, Dog. Go!** and On My Walk** (Carousel Theatre for Young People). Shiz was hailed by Vancouver's theatre critic Colin Thomas as “an emerging star of theatrical design. She is a graduate of Studio 58. To see more of her work please visit: www.shizuka.ca
*Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Design Concept & Execution
**Jessie Richardson Nomination and Ovation Nomination for Outstanding Design
Nicole Yukiko is a Vancouver-based performer and creator. She has earned a BFA in acting from UBC as well as a diploma in performance studies from Mount Royal University. Nicole's focus as a storyteller is on sharing the experiences of underrepresented communities. She is proud to be part of the ensemble with JAPANESE PROBLEM in honour of her family & generations of Japanese-Canadians. In Vancouver, you may have seen Nicole in: Pride & Prejudice, Ubu Roi, The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Theatre UBC), or The Girl with No Face (VACT MSG Lab Series). She is co-developing and will be featured in the upcoming indie film "Slump”. Follow her errant ramblings @nicoleyukiko
With contributions from:
Originally from Toronto, Laura Fukumoto is a Vancouver-based costume designer and wardrobe professional and has been working in theatre and film since graduating from The University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre production and design. Recent costume design credits include Trembling Void Productions’ feature film The Iron Sixth, Up in the Air Theatre’s The North Plan, and Bright Young Theatre’s Crimes of the Heart. As a dresser, she has worked with Robert Lepage and Ex Machina on their Vancouver production of 887 and has just completed her third season with Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.
Carolyn Nakagawa is a fourth-generation Japanese Canadian Vancouver-based poet and playwright. A graduate of UBC, her plays have been presented professionally by Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, and by Ruby Slippers Theatre as part of the inaugural Advance Theatre reading series at the 2015 Vancouver International Fringe Festival. Her poems have been published in Ricepaper, Room, and The Puritan, among other publications, and are also forthcoming in EVENT. She has also performed in a number of community-based theatre productions in Port Moody, and most recently in the multimedia piece Umizoko for the 2016 Vancouver International Fringe Festival.
Cecile Roslin has been collaborating with Universal Limited since the company's inception. Studying with both the SITI company in New York and One Yellow rabbit in Calgary has shaped and refined her love of site specific theatre. As a collaborator on both Sorry Now and several iterations of Tour with Universal Limited, she writes, “I find myself most interested in finding the shred of hope that gets our heroes through their journey. What I love about this company is that we tell the stories of Canada's silenced and forgotten people in many different forms, and this story is one that I am very much looking forward to exploring. As a Caucasian passing Cree woman, I have spent my life wading in “other.” The story of what happened to these families so closely mirrors what happened to my own, that I am eager to add my voice and help our new heroes find their hope.”
Munish Sharma is a Jessie Award-nominated actor with over a dozen theatre, TV, stage, and burlesque productions to his credit. He has worked steadily as a performing artist for a decade, splitting his time between Vancouver, Calgary and Regina. His leading role in the award-winning play Iceland (Nicolas Billon – Governor-General Award Winner), garnered numerous strong reviews. Vancouver’s long-standing entertainment weekly, The Georgia Straight, singled out his performance, “Munish Sharma has a terrific ability to be present, working the room like a stand-up comic as he gives a mini-seminar on his capitalist philosophy.” In 2015, Munish was also recognized by the Vancouver Fringe Festival, winning The Pick of the Fringe Award for his production of one-act play Mrs. Singh and Me. Additional career highlights include lead roles in This Is War (Rumble Theatre), 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. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Munish graduated with a BFA in Performance from the University of Regina in 2006.