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How to Fail as a Popstar

Showing on Feb 1-2

Playing at Performance Works

Created by Vivek Shraya, Commissioned and produced by Canadian Stage (Canada)

What a journey it’s been for Vivek Shraya: from burning aspiration to the edge of fame and many strange places in between. In this eclectic, rousing performance, the singer walks us through her life in showbiz. The journey starts humbly, with our young hero singing Hindu bhajans and R&B covers. Things escalate with teen competitions, a full-length album, and a move to Toronto on her way to—well, if not quite superstardom, then something more important: a reminder of what really matters in life.  

“Shraya may not have reached the top echelon of pop stardom, but sharing her persistence and self-discovery just might be a bigger gift. After all, these are the stories we rarely hear told.”

NOW Toronto

Mixing anecdotes, movement, and music, Vivek offers a theatrical memoir scaled to precious personal dimensions. Casting a knowing eye backwards, she never ceases to entertain, and her insight into the pull of top-40 dreams is sharp indeed. Bittersweet yet triumphant, this is a wise, cathartic, and ultimately liberating pop odyssey.

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Artist Bio

Vivek Shraya

Singer, actress, author, teacher, visual artist, theatrical performer—the multitalented Vivek Shraya is all these and more. Home runs she has hit include writing bestselling books (I’m Afraid of Men, The Subtweet), founding the publishing imprint VS. Books, serving as Grand Marshal in Toronto’s Pride Parade, and being nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. Vivek is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.


Performance Works

1218 Cartwright Street, Granville Island, Vancouver


  • February 1 at 7:30
  • February 2 at 7:30

Content Advisory

Some content advisory details, there may be flashing lights and loud music.


Single Tickets: $29

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Low Vision Friendly / Introduction will be available mid December

The visual story for this show will be available for download right here mid December.


A Canadian Stage Production.

COMMISSIONED BY Canadian Stage. Play and Original Songs WRITTEN & PERFORMED by Vivek Shraya. DIRECTED BY Brendan Healy. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Clare Preuss. SET AND COSTUME DESIGNER Joanne Yu. LIGHTING DESIGNER C.J. Armstrong. ASSOCIATE LIGHTNING DESIGNER Imogen Wilson. COMPOSITION BY Vivek Shraya & James Bunton. SOUND DESIGN James Bunton. CHOREOGRAPHY William Yong. 

SUPPORTED BY Toronto Arts Council, Government of Canada, Ontario Arts Council, and Government of Ontario.