New Works Showcase update, The New Canadians: A Story of Resilience and Legacy

The Association for Opera in Canada is pleased to offer an update on The New Canadians, an ensemble-driven musical that tells the true story of The New Canadian, a grassroots Japanese Canadian newspaper founded in Vancouver in 1938. Written by Carolyn Nakagawa and composed by Peter Abando, The New Canadians is a compelling portrayal of a community’s struggle for justice and dignity in the face of discrimination and oppression.

At the heart of the story is the newspaper’s young, idealistic staff who use their platform to advocate for Canadian values of citizenship, equality, and democracy, even as their own government denies their citizenship and intern them as people of “Japanese racial origin”. The musical presents a powerful message of resilience and resistance as the characters fight for their rights and identity in the midst of adversity.

The New Canadians also features a parallel plotline set in the 21st century, where Japanese Canadians two generations later grapple with the complex legacy of their model-minority predecessors and its effects on their Canadian and Japanese Canadian identities. The musical highlights the intergenerational impact of racism and trauma, and the ongoing quest for healing and reconciliation.


Carolyn and Peter have now secured partnerships with several organizations, including Western Canada Theatre, Neworld Theatre, and Touchstone Theatre and, significantly, Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, who are providing financial and venue support for the reading. They are still seeking a primary Producing Partner!

The New Canadians will have a staged reading on March 22, 2024, at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in Vancouver. The team is currently working on completing orchestration for a band and a 9-part vocal score.

To give you a sneak peek of the show, here’s the trailer video for The New Canadians:

We are thrilled to showcase The New Canadians and support the creative talents of Carolyn Nakagawa and Peter Abando.

Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting new musical!

See the full showcase here: