Fringe Fest play inspired by McMaster Social Worker's research

July 24, 2017

A fictional play about the challenges faced by immigrants adjusting to a new way of life has its grounding in a McMaster researcher's real-life work.

Toronto-based playwright and actor Izad Etemadi reached out to Mirna Carranza, associate professor with the School of Social Work, to collaborate on "We Are Not the Others," based on Carranza’s research on Hamilton's women immigrant population.

The play is being performed at the Hamilton Fringe Festival.

The research project was funded by Hamilton Community Foundation and is partnered with the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, Emergency Group for Refugee Support and Immigrant Working Centre.

Carranza explains that many immigrants, particularly women, face many challenges when adjusting to a new way of living. They have to negotiate multiple changes, not only for themselves, but also their family members: learning a new language, adjusting to a new diet and weather conditions, employment and affordable housing while simultaneously negotiating familial changes such as the children learning to speak English before their parents, gender tensions can negatively impact their mental health.

Carranza's research involved interviews with dozens of Hamilton immigrants, many of which inspired events in the play.

One story is about a woman falling in love with a Canadian that turns into a series of unfortunate events. Another revolves around a woman faced with the difficult sacrifice of leaving her dying parents behind to start a life in Canada. These stories are true and have been lived by women immigrants currently living in Hamilton.

“What they have to go through, it's very tough. Their voices get lost through writing, reports or manuscripts, says Carranza. "Having a play can bring their stories to life."

The play will run:

  • July 24 - 6 p.m
  • July 26 - 8 p.m.
  • July 28 - 6 p.m.
  • July 29 - 8:30 p.m.
  • July 30 - 3:30 p.m.

Tickets: $10 & $15 at the door

For more information on the play: