MAJUMDAR, Anita




Author Tags: Theatre

LITERARY LOCATION: Port Moody Inlet Theatre, Port Moody Civic Centre, 100 Newport Drive, just off Ioca Road, Port Moody.

The award-winning actress, playwright and dancer Anita Majumdar grew up in Port Moody, where she did not speak English until the age of six. The daughter of Hindu Bengali parents, Anita has trained in classical dance including Bharata Natyam, Kathak and Odissi. After some high school theatre performances, she first performed in public at the Port Moody Inlet Theatre in 1997.

ENTRY:

Anita Majumdar attended UBC where she earned degrees in English, Theatre and South Asian Languages. She then went on to attend the National Theatre School of Canada, graduating in 2004.

Majumdar first gained public recognition when she wrote a one-woman play, Fish Eyes, about a classically trained Indian dancer whose love of Bollywood movies does not stop her from wanting to be like the rest of her Canadian high-school friends and developing a crush on a popular boy who barely notices her.

Fish Eyes has toured across Canada and internationally for many years and has toured to high schools as part of “Kid’s Helpline” and the “411 Initiative Tour Program” to raise self-esteem in young teenaged girls.

While performing Fish Eyes on stage, Majumdar was noticed by a Vancouver producer. Shortly after, she was cast in the CBC television film Murder Unveiled about a Canadian-Sikh beautician who was murdered by her family for secretly marrying a Indian rickshaw driver. Majumdar won the Best Actress Award at the 2005 Asian Festival of First Films for the role.

She subsequently played the character of Emerald in Canadian director Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.

Majumdar continues to write and has added more plays to what is now called The Fish Eyes Trilogy, creating a series about teenage girls who attend the same high school in Port Moody and filter their teenage woes through dance while exploring teenage life and the meaning of heritage. Boys With Cars follows the teeenager Naz who, like Meena in Fish Eyes, is also a classically trained Indian dancer dreaming of getting out of Port Moody but ends up getting entangled in scandal. It was followed by Let Me Borrow That Top centering on Candice, a white girl who makes life hell for Meena and Naz but who cares passionately about classical Indian dance.

Majumdar also penned a Bollywood-inspired musical, Same Same But Different, about ‘shadism’ – a person of colour’s desire for fair skin. She received a Betty Mitchell award nominations for the play for both Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Performance by a Female.

In 2007, she was one of 50 artists invited to celebrate the Canada Council for the Arts' 50th Anniversary with Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean. In 2008 she appeared on the cover of the Georgia Straight for her participating in the annual PuSh Festival. She was featured in Anokhi Magazine’s “Sexy & Successful List” in 2010.

Majumdar was awarded the Governor General's Protegé Prize and mentored by playwright John Murrell during the 2013/14 season with the support the National Arts Centre and The Banff Centre. She has also been been a part of the Banff Centre's Playwright's Colony for three consecutive years. During her rise to prominence, Anita Majumdar has long served as Playwright-in-Residence at Nightswimming Theatre using pop culture references and everyday language to explore race issues that plague South Asian-Canadian women.

BOOKS

The Fish Eyes Trilogy- Fish Eyes, Boys With Cars, Let Me Borrow That Top (Playwrights Canada 2015) 9781770913271 $24.95

[BCBW 2015]