1 Hour Photo
March 17, 2021
Arts & Culture

Surrey, BC — Watch Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre’s (VACT) award-winning and moving play 1 Hour Photo on Surrey Civic Theatres’ Digital Stage on April 23-24, 2021.

Written and performed by Tetsuro Shigematsu, 1 Hour Photo is the story of Mas Yamamoto, a man whose life was swept up by the major currents of the 20th century.

From growing up in a fishing village on the banks of the Fraser River, to being confined at a Japanese Canadian internment camp during World War II, to helping build the Distant Early Warning Line in the Canadian Arctic during the height of the Cold War, 1 Hour Photo is a moving portrait saturated with the most vivid colours of our times.

Shigematsu said, “There are many things that drew me to Mas’ story. In particular, his 'love story' is unconventional, and yet true to life. I was also fascinated how Mas’ life so closely follows the contours of the 20th century, from the chaos of World War II, The Cold War, to the economic boom of the 1980s.

"This story is about the major currents that shaped our century, yet it is also a very personal story, about suffering egregious injustice, and resilience, in the face of overwhelming odds. Sometimes, it’s easy to look at an old person, and never give them another thought. For me, learning Mas’ story has made me better appreciate how everyone has a story, especially our elders.”

Richard Wolfe, who directed the production said, “I'm very pleased to be working with Tetsuro Shigematsu and the VACT family on our follow-up to Tetsuro's Empire of the
Son. I've always loved biographies. Maybe that's why I've always loved theatre.

"When a person's life is thrown into relief against the backdrop of history, both can become more vivid, more real. Time and time again, history has shown that the human spirit can rise above the walls that others put in its way. This is a glimpse into the life and times of Mas Yamamoto, one of those remarkable people whose resilient spirit could not be held down.”

Navigating our current new world of social distancing, particularly with regard to in-person theatre shows is what inspired VACT to digitize this award-winning production, in order to share it with audiences across Canada.

The theatre company collaborated with Vancouver-based film production company, Brightlight Pictures, to produce this 75-minute adaptation, and it will be available on April 23-24, 2021. Both viewings of the show will be accompanied by a live talkback with Tetsuro Shigematsu.

Buy Tickets

A man holding up an object on stage
Credits: Photography by Raymond Shum. Photo design by Terry Wong.


About Tetsuro Shigematsu (Writer/Performer/Filmmaker)

Described by the Georgia Straight as “one of the city's best artists,” Tetsuro Shigematsu is a former writer for This Hour Has 22 Minutes. In 2004, he became the first person-of-colour to host a daily national radio program in Canada, where he wrote and produced over 50 pieces of radio drama.

His solo work, Empire of the Son, has played in 18 cities to over 20,000 people, and was described by Colin Thomas as, “one of the best shows ever to come out of Vancouver. Ever.” 1 Hour Photo, was a finalist for the 2019 Governor General's Award for Drama.

About Richard Wolfe (Director)

Richard is multi-award-winning director, producer, dramaturg, and specialist in contemporary theatre who has received, among other awards: The Ray Michel Award, The John Moffat and Larry Lillo Prize, as well six Jessie Richardson nominations and two awards for Outstanding Direction.

Richard is the Artistic Director of Pi Theatre and will be directing the Canadian premiere of Lampedusa by Anders Lustgarten which can be seen at Performance Works in Vancouver this spring.

Contact Info

Nic Enright-Morin
Publicist, Surrey Civic Theatres
City of Surrey