Segal Centre presents


The Segal Centre for Performing Arts is proud to present the Canadian Premiere of English by Sanaz Toossi in a co-production with Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company.

A heartfelt and humorous look at what gets lost – and found – in translation

“English only!” That is the class rule as four students seeking new opportunities assemble in a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) classroom in Karaj, Iran. As the class slowly devolves into a linguistic mess, some cling more tightly to their mother tongue while others chase the promise of new identities. The students play word games, translate Shakira songs, and endure major preposition confusion, with audience asked to ponder how much it ultimately costs to fit in.

“The way that you sound to yourself is so fundamental to your identity,” said Co-Director Anahita Dehbonehie. “You can be somebody in one tongue and somebody different in another,” continued Co-Director Guillermo Verdecchia

“Language always seems to take centre stage in Montreal. This beautiful play is a reminder that language barriers aren’t as insurmountable as we think and that we can find understanding when we celebrate each other’s differences,” said Artistic and Executive Director Lisa Rubin.

“Among the best new plays of the season.” – New York Theatre Guide

Winner of the 2022 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, this critically acclaimed new play by newcomer Sanaz Toossi (also wrote for Amazon Prime’s hit reboot of A League of their Own) is co-directed by Guillermo Verdecchia, recipient of the Governor-General’s Award for Drama and four-time Chalmers Canadian Play Award winner, and Anahita Dehbonehie, winner of two Dora Mavor Moore awards and named one of Now Magazine’s top theatre artists in 2015 and again in 2019.

EnglishThe ensemble cast of Iranian actors includes Ghazal Partou (Montreal audiences may remember her from In Mane To at Espace 4001 Berri) as the diligent TOEFL teacher Marjan, Aylin Oyan Salahshoor (recently appeared in Swim Team at Toronto’s Theatre Centre) as the sweet and breezy Goli, Sepehr Reybod (seen in Geordie Theatre’s The In-Between) as the mysteriously adept at English and lone man Omid, Ghazal Azarbad (starred as Siobhan in Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at Arts Club) as the defiant and determined Elham, and Banafsheh Taherian (appeared in Canadian Stage’s The Only Possible Way) as the motherly Roya looking to strengthen her relationship with her recently Canadian-bound son.

“It’s extremely important to me to see my experience of women reflected on stage,” said Playwright Sanaz Toossi in an interview with Vogue.

“I cannot begin to express how important this show is to the Iranian community. English speaks to the power of diversity and representation but also highlights and celebrates the power of Iranian women – which is all the more poignant in light of the current events in Iran”, explained Cultural Consultant, Outreach Coordinator, and MENA theatremaker Leila Ghaemi.

Mandatory Masked-Performances on Sundays and Tuesdays
The Segal Centre continues to abide by and follow health and safety best practices and guidelines. Mask-wearing is recommended, and masks will continue to be available free of charge at the entrances. For English, patrons will have the opportunity to attend performances with mandatory masking to welcome patrons who may be more comfortable around others who are masked on every Sunday Matinée and Tuesday evening of the run.

A free and enriching pre-show panel discussion bringing together theatre artists of Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) descent to discuss their experiences within the industry, the power of representation, and the significance of producing works like these within the current global context.  Sunday @ the Segal is presented in-person at the theatre and streamed live on the Segal’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
Sunday, March 19 – 11:00 am

A chance to interact with the creators and actors of the play after the curtain goes down on Monday, March 27. This production will also offer a moderated post-show discussion after each performance.

To purchase your tickets visit: or call 514-739-7944

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