Workshop production of The Frontliners – Tickets on sale

A promo photo of the cast of The Frontliners standing in front of a mural.

PTC is excited to announce a special Vancouver Fringe Festival presentation! A workshop production of The Frontliners by Zahida Rahemtulla is happening this November 2022. As our New Play in Development winner, Zahida is producing a limited run at the Waterfront Theatre.

Get your tickets now, for…

The Frontliners by Zahida Rahemtulla

Directed by Tanya Mathivanan

Produced by Alexander Zonjic, Zahida Rahemtulla and Maria Zarrillo. In association with PTC. 

Dramaturgy by Davey Samuel Calderon

November 10-12, 2022 @ 7:30 pm + November 13th @ 2:30 pm

Venue: Waterfront Theatre (1412 Cartwright Street, Vancouver, BC)


Tickets are $25 ( join the mailing list for special ticket offers and show updates here)

Play Synopsis:

Vancouver, British Columbia—Late January 2016. Canada is in the throes of resettling the first wave of 25,000 Syrian refugees. Three frontline workers battle Vancouver’s housing crisis to move families out of an East Van hotel. In the process, their lives are brought together in ways that irreversibly shape them.

As the workers pull overtime hours to settle families against an impossible rental market, they must also navigate a frenzy of journalists, overly-keen do-gooder groups, bureaucracy, a mountain  of donations, angry landlords, internet trolls, and the hopes and wishes of families themselves, all of which chaotically, tragically, and comedically intersect with the frontlines.

The play sheds light on an important chapter of Canadian history and the complexity of resettlement from a lens less heard from. The resettlement situation captured in this new piece of theatre played out in similar settings across the country in 2016. Little was publicized about the experiences of workers who pulled off one of the fastest resettlements in the country’s history.

About the Play + Artistic Team:

The Frontliners was the recipient of the national 2021 Playwrights Guild of Canada RBC Emerging Playwright Award, Theatre BC’s 2020 Play of Special Merit Award, and was the runner-up for the prestigious 2021 National Voaden Prize in Playwriting.

The production includes an original score co-composed by Syrian-Iraqi musician and Oud player, Farouk Al-Sajee and multi-instrumentalist Ruby Singh. Set design by Megan Lane and lighting design/technical direction by Jamie Sweeney. Produced by Alexander Zonjic, Zahida Rahemtulla, and Maria Zarrillo. Stage management by Olivia Etey and Emily Wilcox. Dramaturgy by Davey Samuel Calderon. Direction by Tanya Mathivanan (Aenigma Theatre). Featuring Francis Dowlatabadi as Omar, Adrian Neblett as Yusuf, and Mehr Chahine as Nadia. Understudies are Amir Zeino and Nikki Chohan.

Sound Recording acting by Amir Zeino, Seline Rose, Melanie Yeats, Sabrina Vellani and Scott Button.

Cultural consultancy by Oussayma Canbarieh, Akberet Seyoum Beyene, Mohamed Hatem Alsedawe, Majd Agha, Farouk Alsajee.

Special thanks to Presentation House Theatre.

​​The first draft of The Frontliners was written at the inaugural Arts Club Emerging Playwrights’ Unit in 2019.

This production of The Frontliners is made possible by a contribution from Bonnie Mah, matched by over 30 generous donors. Our thanks for your belief in this story! 

With support from the Silk Road Institute, Vancouver Fringe Festival, the British Columbia Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, the Wuchien Michael Than Foundation, and the Arts Club Emerging Playwrights Unit.


Image Description: From left to right, Mehr Chahine, Francis Dowlatabadi, and Adrian Neblett are in front of a colourful mural of East Vancouver houses.