At the 2021 Dora Ancillary Awards virtual presentation today, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) announced that this year’s recipient is Soheil Parsa, the highly regarded, groundbreaking theatre practitioner who co-founded Modern Times Stage Company thirty-two years ago in Toronto. Soheil recently announced he is stepping down as Artistic Director after his long and successful sojourn there. The presentation can be viewed on TAPA’s YouTube channel.
Soheil Parsa is an award-winning director, writer, dramaturg and teacher, whose professional theatre career spans forty 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 in 1989, one of the most innovative theatre companies in Canada. The company’s work has also been performed in Colombia, Cuba, Iran, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Denmark.
Modern Times has been recognized with 16 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, with Soheil personally garnering six as well as a number of international prizes and master class requests. In 2007 and 2010, he was short-listed for the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, one of the highest honours in Canadian theatre. In 2013, Soheil was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contribution as a theatre artist to Canadian society. In 2015, the Toronto Theatre Critics Awards presented him with Best Director for his work on Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding, also honoured with six Dora Awards including Outstanding Director and Outstanding Production and named by NOW Magazine as one of that decade’s best theatre shows.
Mr. Parsa instilled Modern Times with deeply human values that made space for artists from different cultural backgrounds and identities. Highly respected by his colleagues for his masterful collaborative creative process, Soheil’s contribution to the Canadian theatrical landscape has broken barriers facing diverse and immigrant artists, forging new territory for theatre practitioners in his wake. His visionary work stands tall and is a beacon for Canadian theatre at large.