Performing the Komagata Maru: Theatre and the Work of Memory This event in early May 2014 comprised a significant component of UBC’s contribution to a region-wide recognition of the centenary of the Komagata Maru incident, when a ship carrying mostly Punjabi and Sikh would-be immigrants to Canada was turned away from Vancouver in 1914 after an excruciating two-month wait in the harbour.
At the core of the project were a set of performances held on May 3 (evening) and May 4 (afternoon) in the Frederic Wood Theatre at UBC West Point Grey, and on the evening of May 9 at the Surrey Arts Centre (for a description, photos and recording of the May 3 performance, click here). The performance on May 3 was preceded by a symposium at UBC, featuring the authors of the plays and a small number of scholars/theatre professionals. Professor Rana Nayar, a highly regarded translator of modern Punjabi literature and a specialist in theatre, visited from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India to take part in the project and participate in the symposium. It was also preceded by the screening of Ali Kazimi’s 2004 film on the Komagata Maru, “Continuous Journey,” on May 1 as a part of the Harjit Kaur SIdhu Memorial Program; for more on that event see under “Annual Event” on the Punjabi Studies website.
This project, led by UBC professor Anne Murphy, emerged out of a partnership between the Department of Asian Studies and the Department of Theatre and Film at UBC, and with the Surrey BC-based community theatre group, Rangmanch Punjabi Theatre, and Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology in Bangalore. It was funded by a UBC Hampton Grant and, for the performance in Surrey, a Surrey Arts Grant and Kwantlen Polytechnic University grant. We partnered with St. John’s College for the Symposium on May 3, and a Peter Wall International Scholar grant supported the visit of Professor Rana Nayar from India to take part in the performance and deliver the keynote address at the Symposium.
For general resources on the Komagata Maru, please see the extensive resources available through Simon Fraser University Library.