Sherbrooke playwright brings Townships story to the stage

By Reann Fournier, Special to The Record
Sherbrooke playwright brings Townships story  to the stage
(Photo : Courtesy)

Born and raised in Sherbrooke, Kareem Fahmy graduated from McGill in 2001 and went on to develop a successful career in professional theatre. Following the first readings of his new play titled A Distinct Society, Fahmy hopes at some point to bring the production home to the Townships.
Fahmy attended Alexander Galt High School and then Champlain Lennoxville, where his love for theatre first developed. He and a group of friends banded together and hosted a theatre festival, producing the plays themselves.
“Bishop’s had always had a robust theatre program and Champlain didn’t really have that opportunity,” said Fahmy. “The first plays I ever saw were at Bishop’s. When I got to Champlain, I thought that we had access to the space, so we should create something there.”
Together, with passionate friends who were directors, actors, and writers, the festival was successful for two consecutive years. “I think it was just the energy of that particular group those couple of years,” he said. “A lot of those people went on to work in professional theatre for years. There was just a lot of enthusiasm and passion.”
Fahmy moved to New York City in 2003, after receiving praise in Montreal from Claudia Schneider, a professional theatre artist. “The idea of pursuing arts as a career wasn’t really a possibility, but I was still working in amateur theatre and with students, and even founded a theatre company,” he said. “It took that push, and I give a lot of credit to her.”
His new play, written from New York City, focuses on the story of an Iranian family from the Stansted area who are separated by the immigration and travel bans in the United States. The Haskell Library, which is placed directly on the Vermont and Quebec border, becomes a meeting space for the family. While the play draws parallels to Fahmy’s own experiences living in the Townships, the inspiration for the production came from an article found by his partner.

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