Renowned Crow’s Theatre in Toronto issues special call for Ismaili Actors for premiere of The Wrong Bashir

“The Wrong Bashir found the right audience on opening night if gales of laughter are any indication. From the curtain opener to the surprise at curtain fall, the sold-out crowd at the Firehall had a grand time. The Wrong Bashir is going to be a big hit; for some, it will be a laugh-yourself-silly evening” — Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Theatre Review


Following a fully sold-out run and critical acclaim for the Vancouver world premiere, Crow’s Theatre has announced the Toronto premiere of the new Ismaili comedy, The Wrong Bashir. The play will open in Toronto next year on May 21st 2024 and run until June 9th, 2024.

The play was met with enthusiastic full-houses and positive reviews in Vancouver — leading the prestigious Toronto theatre to pick up the new play as part of its bold, ambitious and imaginative 2023-2024 season.

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The Wrong Bashir Cast, Ismaili Play, Crow's Theatre
The full cast of The Wrong Bashir take the stage in Vancouver. Photograph: Matt Reznek

Last week, Crow’s Theatre issued a special call for Ismaili actors to audition. They are seeking Ismaili actors for roles of many different ages and types. The full casting call link is available HERE.

For some of the roles (Nani, Nana, Gulzar) varying levels (and less experience in acting) is welcome. For the roles of Al-Nashir, Mansour, Bashir, and Nafisa, acting experience is required.

As exemplified by initiatives such as Jubilee Arts, there is hidden artistic talent in the community, and the theatre welcomes Ismailis interested to audition. Auditions began in April and the directors hope to wrap up in the next few weeks, so interested applicants are encouraged to submit as soon as possible. To submit, send a resume and headshot in one attachment to Director Paolo Santalucia ( Questions can be directed to, and full information on how to submit is available at this LINK.

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The Wrong Bashir by Zahida Rahemtulla, Crow's Theatre 2024 season, Toronto, Simerg, Ismaili drama
Shera Haji, Leena Manro, and Aman Mann in the Vancouver production of The Wrong Bashir. Photograph: Matt Reznek.
The Wrong Bashir, Crow's Theatre, Toronto, Simerg, Zahida Rahemtulla, Simerg and Hussein Janmohamed, 2024 season
Hussein Janmohamed, Parm Soor, and Aman Mann were among the stars in Vancouver’s rendition of The Wrong Bashir, which received a world premiere in BC in March 2023. Photograph: Matt Reznek.

The Play

The Wrong Bashir is Burnaby-born Ismaili playwright Zahida Rahemtulla’s debut play. It follows Bashir Ladha, a young philosophy major who has drifted from his Ismaili roots. Bashir’s parents receive a call that their wayward son has been selected as Student’s Mukhisaheb (congregational leader in Ismaili Jamatkhana), and they dutifully accept on his behalf. Before Bashir has a chance to argue, two official committee representatives arrive at the Ladha household.

As the two representatives slowly begin to realise a possible mistake in selection, the doorbell rings and Bashir’s excited grandparents and family friend make a surprise visit, having caught wind of the news in their Jamatkhana. The fun begins and much hilarity ensues as everyone struggles to keep up a farce. Reflections about tradition, the second-generation, and community are all brought to life in this heartfelt comedy, which also affectionately brings to life much of the humour that exists within Ismaili communities.


Playwright Zahida Rahemtulla and Director Paolo Santalucia

Zahida Rahemtulla, Ismaili Playwright, The Wrong Bashir, Crow's Theatre Toronto, 2024
Zahida Rahemtulla, playwright of The Wrong Bashir.

Zahida Rahemtulla is a playwright and short story writer. Her debut play, The Wrong Bashir, premiered with Touchstone Theatre in Vancouver and was recently picked up for Toronto premiere with Crow’s Theatre, which has been a leading force in new play creation in the Canadian theatre landscape. Zahida currently facilitates Parragon Theatre’s East of Tarragon Project in Scarborough and is passionate about education and working on new plays and with new playwrights.

Paolo Santalucia, director of The Wrong Bashir, Crow's Theatre, Toronto
Paolo Santalucia, director of The Wrong Bashir.

Paolo Santalucia is an award-winning actor, director and writer. He is a graduate of the Soulpepper Academy, and has been a member of Soulpepper’s ensemble for the past ten seasons. Paolo is a co-founder and Artistic Leader of the award-winning Howland Company. Paolo also teaches classical performance with the University of Toronto’s Theatre and Drama Studies Program, and is the recipient of two Dora Mavor Moore Awards in acting, one nomination for direction, and has been shortlisted for the John Hirsch Award for Directing.

Date posted: May 15, 2023.


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