Acclaimed one-woman coming-of-age story coming to this year’s Monsoon Arts Festival

Nadia Manzoor stars in the one-woman play Burq Off!

Now in its second year, the Monsoon Arts Festival runs from Aug. 6-13 in Vancouver and Surrey. A presentation of the South Asian Arts Society, the festival is bringing to town a critically-acclaimed one-woman play from New York and an Indian classical dance drama performed in Hindi.

See below for more details.

Burq Off! (Aug. 11 & 12 at 8 p.m., York Theatre, 639 Commercial Dr.)—A British Pakistani Muslim’s autobiographical one-woman play, Burq Off! sees actor/writer/producer Nadia Manzoor play 21 characters. In this coming-of-age comedy, a British Pakistani girl tries to find her identity while living in two opposing worlds—her conservative Muslim family and her saucy British school friends. Nadia’s search for self is punctuated by Bollywood dance moves, a blackout drinking incident, and an Islamic teacher whose interests range from slapping to pornography. Burq Off! has had sold-out runs in New York, LA, San Francisco, London and Toronto. Even popular spiritual writer Deepak Chopra gives it a thumb’s-up: “A gutsy, honest, hilarious must-see,” he says.

Malavika (Aug. 13 at 5 p.m., Surrey Arts Centre, Main Stage)—The Vancouver-based Nrityenakatha classical dance troupe presents Malavika, a classical Hindi dance drama based on the first play from Indian poet Kalidas. Never before witnessed by the Greater Vancouver area, the love story features a combination of Kuchipudi and Garba/Raas dance forms (for a handy guide to traditional Indian dance moves, check out this guide at, along with sets and costumes that will transport the audience to an ancient mythological Indian kingdom. In true Bollywood fashion, there will intense battles, sorrow, comedy, and dance sequences set to a beautiful classical Hindi soundtrack.

The musical Malavika is part of this year’s Monsoon Arts Festival.

Besides these two shows, the festival is holding workshops and readings at the Vancity Culture Lab (The Cultch) and Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Surrey). For a complete schedule visit Tickets for festival events starts at $15 at or 604.251.1363 and Surrey Arts Centre at or 604.501.5566.

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