The Archivist by Shaista Latif coming to FirstOntario PAC

FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre press release – Produced in association with Why Not Theatre, The Archivist is a compelling and hilarious one-woman show performed by multidisciplinary artist Shaista Latif. The Archivist will be staged in Robertson Theatre four times – Thursday, February 27/2020 at 8 p.m., Friday, February 28/2020 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, February 29/2020 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Storyteller Shaista Latif’s bold, funny and inspiring autobiographical solo show takes the form of a personal scrapbook brought to life with multimedia. To mark her position and her eventual disappearance she creates a live archive to test the enduring value of her existence. In this documentary performance, Latif invites the audience to help her preserve what is at the risk of being erased and forgotten.

Shaista Latif would like to continue the conversation, by inviting responses and reviews from audience members of colour. Complimentary tickets are available, if you are interested in participating in this initiative please email Annie Wilson at

“These days, I’m thinking a lot about what it means to tell a ‘good story’ and its potential to transform a person, a community and a nation. In The Archivist, I tell the story of my family’s past by bringing into the present narratives of endurance and strength. To endure is to have the power and the stamina to undergo great difficulty without giving away,” says Latif.

“I laugh as much as I cry, and I sing alongside the voices of those who came before my time. This show is messy, funny, strange, unnerving and it is always changing because the world is changing and so am I.

“So here we are again, trying to figure out what this show is about. It’s the story of a life told in fragments with no attempt to make whole a history of slippery DNA, of conquests and war. It is also about an artist facing an empire of long-living myths and asking herself what stories are worth saving for now and the future? The act of archiving is an act of preservation and a collection that is highly subjective, but I wonder if you will recognize yourself in a story told in my voice?”

Shaista Latif is a working-class Queer Afghan-Canadian multidisciplinary artist, consultant and facilitator. Her works and collaborations have been presented by Koffler Gallery, Ontario Scene Festival, SummerWorks, Why Not Theatre, Blackwood Gallery, Mercer Union, the AGO, Halifax Queer Acts Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and the Undercurrents Festival.

Her video installation Learning the Language of My Enemies was recently presented in conjunction with Nevet Yitzhak: WarCraft at the Koffler Gallery. Her current project How I Learned to Serve Tea, a series of workshops focused on the politics of inclusion and the language of invitation, is co-funded and supported by Why Not Theatre and Koffler Centre of the Arts. Latif is a published playwright (Playwrights Canada Press) and voiced the character Soraya in the Oscar-nominated film The Breadwinner.

“So the show just really questions what our relationship is to power, to culture, and to our identity. But don’t worry. It’s so funny, trust me. There’s no way you can be as depressed as I am without having a great sense of humour,” Latif explains to The Sound. “For me, it’s not about giving a show, it’s a way of engaging. I wanted to experience how many ways I can tell a story, and how many times in telling that story, do I become it?”

The Archivist will be on stage in Robertson Theatre at the FirstOntario PAC from Thursday, February, 27/2020 until Saturday, February 29/2020. Click on for tickets or visit the box office in-person at 250 St. Paul Street or call the box office: 905-688-0722.