Okay Girls, We're Coming to Canada

Aniqa Charania chats about the doors the Mowat Diversity Award have opened for her. Including – coming to Edmonton!

The Catalogue of Sexual Anxieties may be debuting at this year’s Edmonton Fringe, but the seeds of it were sown half the world away, in a European coffee shop.

Aniqa Charania met Marion Poli and Charlotte Szabo while getting her masters in musical theatre at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. One day over coffee, the trio of classmates were sharing stories about the highs and lows of their respective dating experiences and found some surprising, hilarious, and horrifying overlaps.

Three women are posed in dim lighting and singing expressively.
Aniqa Charania, Marion Poli, and Charlotte Szabo

“We realized we’d grown up across the world from each other…and yet we all had some layover stories about some similar things that had happened to us or we’d experienced in the dating world,” Aniqa says.

They started turning those stories into musical sketches in the three-part-harmony style of the Andrews Sisters—“We thought there was comedy in singing about all these crazy things in this very traditional feminine style,” Aniqa says—and saw a great response to the first sketches they shared.

A full version seemed like the next step, but with the three of them now graduated and scattered across the world, it seemed next to impossible to make happen. But

Aniqa is this year’s recipient of the Mowat Diversity Award, which offers an Artist a spot in the Edmonton Fringe with mentorship and technical, marketing, artistic, and financial support. Suddenly, they had the opportunity to fully develop their Catalogue and debut it on a stage for the first time.

“Weirdly, I think Edmonton is a good spot for that… a great community to welcome new work that pushes boundaries.”

“We’re so unbelievably thankful for this award,” Aniqa says. “I don’t think we could put the show up without it. None of us have the resources. We were thinking, gosh, is this thing gonna die, because we don’t have what we need? And at the last minute, we hear back about this award, and we’re so excited. Okay girls, we’re coming to Canada!”

“It’s three chicks on stage, sharing our craziest, darkest, sexual stories and secrets,” she continues. “Weirdly, I think Edmonton is a good spot for that. I think there’s a great audience for cabaret, a great audience for comedy, and a great community to welcome new work that pushes boundaries.”

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