Asheq – Onelight Theatre

For almost two decades, Onelight Theatre has been developing and producing thought-provoking, visually-stunning theatre works, that bring new voices, new perspectives and new ideas to the stage.

Founded and led by Artistic Director, Shahin Sayadi, Onelight Theatre, now based in Toronto, develops and produces new works, tours its productions nationally and internationally, presents the works of artists from across Canada and supports the professional development of theatre artists through its Firestarter mentoring program.

Through the guided, disciplined working style established by Sayadi, Onelight develops new theatre works drawing from diverse cultural and artistic forms. Onelight is known not only for the compelling stories that it brings to the stage, but also for being at the forefront of innovative use of stage technology, digital projection, and stage design.

Onelight was the resident company of at Alderney Landing Theatre (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) for 2013-2015 and is currently the resident company of the Small World Music Centre at Toronto Artscape’s Youngplace facility.

Onelight Theatre is currently working with Artistic Associate, Raheleh and theatre artist, Sarah Kitz, to develop new theatre works that will be debuted in 2020.



Asheq: Ritual Music to Cure a Lover is set on the shores of the Persian Gulf in southern Iran where East African and Persian traditions have blended over time to produce unique cultural practices. The play explores how cultures and communities change over time: how traditions can be sustained from generation to generation and also how there can be sudden, overnight cultural change.

This engrossing story of forbidden love, a family divided by long-held secrets and a community torn between stifling traditions and modern freedom blends music, projection and live storytelling to tell the captivating tale of a father’s life and death battle with himself and his son. The play culminates in music and movement, as the son is forced into a ritual Zar exorcism ceremony to rid him of a “sickness” — his love for an outcast woman.

This new story and the original staging was conceived and written by Shahin Sayadi. To authentically situate the play on the Persian Gulf coast, Onelight Theatre commissioned internationally-renowned musicians Habib Meftahboushehri (Iran/France) and Mohsen Sharifian (Iran), with the additional contribution of Toronto-based composer Sina Bathaie, to bring to life the rich and eclectic music of Southern Iran. Shahin Sayadi also travelled to Iran to film pivotal scenes that are interjected into the production through projections.

This newly revised version of Asheqwas developed with Director, Ed Roy. Asheq is available for touring – please contact touring agent and manage, Ryan Cunningham.


For more information :


Shahin Sayadi
Performer, Writer, Director, Scenographer, Set Design, Lighting and Projection Design, Sound Design, Set Construction, Costumes, Props, Music Arrangements, Videography, Photography, Film Production, Producer

Mike Mader
Technical Director, Lighting and Projection Design, Construction, QLab Supervisor and 3D mapping, Sound Installation

Raeesa Lalani
Stage Manager, Co-Producer, Sound Design, Tech Operator, Assistant Technical Director

Maggie Stewart
Co-Producer, Dramaturg

Karen Bassett

Mohsen Sharifian
Composer, Musician, Cultural Advisor, selected music from Lian

Habib Meftahboushehri
Composer, Musician, selected music from Shibali album

Sina Bathaie
Additional music – selections from Ray of Hope album

Jake Dambergs
Digital Technology Advisor, Sound, Props

Nick Bottomley 
Projection Materials, Graphics and Animation

Ryan Neal
Projection Materials, Graphics and Animation

Payam Sayadi 
Calligraphy, Poster Design

Miya Turnbull

Coleen Shirin Macpherson
Toronto Co-Producer

Shoorangiz Sayadi, Khezr Dashti, Zahra Zamzam, Babak ahmadpoor, Hosein Bagherian, Shirin Azhdar, Zahra Afisi, Mahin Satar, Mehdi Abdi, Zoleikha Helalbeh, Arash Khalafpoor, Abbass Khwazak, Hosein Ebnedohi, Payam Shadniya, Amin Salimi, Ario Ansari, Kaveh Zarei, Masoud Kazerooni, Mohsen Sharifian
Musicians, Singers and Performers in films

Karen Bassett, Garry Williams, Raeesa Lalani,  Coleen Shirin MacPherson, Hassan Jabry Dehdaran, Mike Mader, Jake Dambergs, Maggie Stewart, Shahin Sayadi
Development Workshops