SPOTLIGHT ON ALUMNI: Izad Etemadi

“Not only did CCPA teach me the skills needed for a career in the acting industry but it also taught me vital and valuable lessons on being a creator and producer through the Company C program. Performing and touring my own work has been a huge part of my career and the tools I took away from CCPA have helped me become an efficient and resourceful producer. “

Izad Etemadi is a Toronto-based actor, singer and creator originally from Victoria, BC. He is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts and was one of the participants of the inaugural Professional Musical Theatre Training Program at the Banff Centre. He is the proud recipient of the 2017 Emerging Queer Artist Award from Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.

Izad is best known for his portrayal of the charming, flamboyant and bearded Persian woman, Leila. His solo show Love With Leila has performed to sold-out houses, standing ovations and rave reviews from coast to coast and even made an appearance Off-Broadway at the United Solo Festival at Theater Row in November of 2015. The show was recently awarded the 2016 Broadway World award for Best Independent Production. The holiday sequel A Very Leila Christmas has garnered huge amounts of success in Toronto and cities in the GTA. In 2014 View Magazine gave the Best of Theatre award to “Anything involving Leila.”

When he is offstage, Izad is using the character of Leila to give back to the community. He runs storytelling workshops for women through organizations such as The Immigrant Women’s Centre, The Good Shepherd and Street Have Women’s Shelter. Their work is put on display in an event entitled Leila’s Girlfriends: a celebration of real stories told by real women in honour of International Women’s Day. His original solo show Borderland toured across Canada and earned him the title of Most Outstanding Young Performer at the Calgary Fringe Festival.

Outside of his own work as a theatre creator, Izad was part of the collective developing Offline: an original musical that was presented in March 2017 as part of Talk Is Free Theatre’s mainstage season. He was commissioned by McMaster Universities’ School of Social Work to create a play based on a community research project about immigrant woman in Ontario. We Are Not The Others premiered in November 2016 and is performing at festivals, theatre and conferences all over Ontario this year.

Recent acting credits: Music Man (Talk is Free Theatre), The Secret Garden (Women of Musical Theatre Festival), My Co-Mates and Brothers In Exile (Shakespeare In The Ruff), The Fantasticks (Confidential Musical Theatre Project), Aladdin (The Story Theatre Company), Jack and the Beanstalk (The Story Theatre Company), [title of show] (Urban Arts Productions), Smalltown: a Pickup musical (theatre SKAM), Sweeney Todd (Gotta Getta Gimmick), The Pilgrimage of the Nuns of Concepcion (Puente Theatre), and Little Shop of Horrors (Company C).

 

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