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Drayton Festival Theatre

The New Canadian Curling Club

A Hit Comedy That Hurries Hard

July 13 to July 29, 2023

By Mark Crawford

The New Canadian Curling Club is a brand new comedy about immigration, community, and national identity—with a heart as big as Canada itself!

Inspired by the local refugee resettlement program, a small town organizes a Learn-to-Curl class to welcome newcomers. But when its organizer slips on the ice and breaks her hip, the rink’s ice maker and former champion curler Stuart MacPhail is forced to step in as head coach. Trouble is, Stuart has some strong opinions about immigrants...

What follows is an inspiring and hilarious story of a group of unlikely athletes who face off against local prejudice and claim their identity as “new Canadians”.  Don’t miss the hit comedy about burning rocks, bonspiel beers, and becoming a team.

Audience Recommendation: This production contains language and mature themes. Recommended for ages 13 and up. There is no official rating system for live theatre. We encourage you to use your judgment based on your child's age and maturity level.

The New Canadian Curling Club is a compelling story that champions the values of acceptance, diversity, inclusivity, and community. Like many impactful theatrical experiences, the journey towards a deeper understanding of others' perspectives is marked by conflict. This play delves into the complex themes surrounding the lived experiences of newcomers and tackles the subject matter with mature language and race-based jokes. We hope that these thought-provoking themes spark meaningful discussions, fostering a culture of kindness and an appreciation for our differences, which ultimately contribute to the strength of our communities and our nation.

A Note From The Playwright:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a Chinese guy, an Indian guy, a Jamaican lady, and a Syrian refugee walk into a curling club… It sounds like the set-up to a joke, but it’s actually the premise of this play. In fact, The New Canadian Curling Club begins with characters cracking jokes…or rather, attempting to. Their individual ideas of what’s funny don’t always land with the other people on stage!

On the surface, The New Canadian Curling Club is a comedy about a group of new Canadians who sign up for a Learn to Curl night. But it doesn’t stop there. As a playwright, I’ve used the familiar genre of an underdog sports comedy to tackle some more serious themes: immigration, community, racism, small-town prejudice, and even the question of national identity.

That’s not to say this is a heavy play. All of the characters employ humour for a variety of reasons: to lighten the mood, to entertain, to commiserate, to find common ground, but also to establish status, to distance themselves from others, and to belittle, or even attack. Because it’s live theatre, the audience is an active participant in the comedy. Just as people use humour in various ways, our responses come from innumerable sources: delight, surprise, shock, discomfort, recognition, connection…I could go on and on. Sometimes, we laugh to deflect deeper emotions, or to protect ourselves from the darkness of a situation. Having seen several different productions of this play, some of my favourite laughs are the ones where audience members start laughing, then catch themselves, then question whether or not they should be laughing, and then laugh at their own discomfort from having laughed in the first place. We are complex emotional beings, aren’t we? 

By all means: please laugh along with the characters in this play! In addition to eliciting chuckles and guffaws, I hope the story makes you feel something. And I hope, maybe, the play even makes you think.

Thank you for coming to The New Canadian Curling Club, and thank you for attending live theatre. Enjoy the show!

~Mark Crawford

Running Time: 2 hours including a 20 minute intermission.

Read our digital program


Loved the scipt and acting. Highly recommend.
Steven U, Markham
I loved the subject matter and the fact we were allowed to laugh at the subject matter. All of it was relatable and rang true. A big thank for this production.
Sylvia W., Gulelph
We were caught up into the tales of this play and thoroughly enjoyed it. Its witty but truthful about the problems with racism in todays Canada. We had a frank discussion about how we can be more mindful neighbors from now on. Thank you to the cast and crew of this play.
Clare P, Waterloo
My wife and I were joined by six fellow curlers and we all loved the production. Not just because we are curlers but because we are Canadians learning the difficult adjustments for new Canadians and in this case the game of curling. From belly laughs to tears of sadness, this had it all. Stunned set design and awesome acting.
Larry L, Burlington
All of the actors were unique and very entertaining. The messages were important and delivered in an easy way to hear and accept.
Jeanne H, Guelph
Thank you Drayton and Mark Crawford for this thoughtful, funny, heartwarming tale of Canadian cliches meeting newcomer realities! This play shows the issues new Canadians face and then takes us down a path to redemption! And curling on a theatre stage!? Brilliant! We laughed, we cried! Thank you to all who created it....we needed this!!
Bryan H, Fergus
Difficult subject matter covered in a humorous, insightful manner.
Dawn M, Toronto
Excellent cast! It's nice to see newcomers to Drayton Theatre. Acting was excellent. This play is a must see. It makes people reflect upon the words they use and how it affects newcomers to Canada.
W I, Kitchener
Actors had a busy job! Ice setting and antics were well done.
Susie M, Kitchener
We live in Drayton and it was our first time at the Drayton theatre (shame on us). What a wonderful show. The story was written and acted to cover a wide variety of sometimes "uncomfortable" stereotypes and prejudices. We all enjoyed it and we can't wait to see another show. Bravo Drayton Entertainment... Bravo!
Chris P, Drayton
Refreshing look back to our time in a small Northern Ontario curling club.
Stephen A, Waterloo
The show was great from the 1st second. Cast was amazing in their roles and the plot and writing top notch. Laughed out loud many, many times! Would recommend to anyone to see the show and take the beautiful drive to Drayton. Was my first time there but not my last! Thank you for a great time!
Cathy K, Kitchener
Great show with a fantastic cast!
Michael S, Collingwood
Very entertaining. Lots of laughs and thought provoking moments. Highly recommend this performance. One of the few that I would enjoy seeing again some day.
Bette S, Sarnia
It was extremely well done, very funny yet excellent observations were made in a good way of how immigrants or people of colour are too often discriminated against in so many ways. I really enjoyed it.
Erla K, New Hamburg
Excellent show.
Joanne P, Grand Bend
As an immigrant, I could relate to this play. Excellent show, great message, extremely well written and acted. Enjoyed it immensely. Would like to add that I became unwell during the performance. The staff (Alexis) and a second member whose name I did not get, were very attentive. Both ladies took care of me and Alexis made sure I returned to the play and made sure I was safely seated. Drayton theatre staff is exceptional. Thank you.
Yolande W, London
Great play all round. Second time I've see it.
Anne M, Dublin
What a wonderful day spent at the Drayton Festival Theatre watching The New Canadian Curling Club. Be prepared for the racism that the immigrants encounter. The actors did a great job and my mom and I will definitely be back to watch more great plays here!
Lorraine H, Princeton
Real life account of people and their interactions and reactions. With patience and understanding we can get along. Actors were good and I enjoyed the performance.
Susan H, Kitchener
Excellent story line. Great acting.
Grace S, Elora
Really enjoyed the show. It was funny, and has a great message. Very Canadian...thanks.
Darlene T, Walkerton
Absolutely AWESOME! Hilarious, but also SOOOOO TOUCHING because its message is so accurate! The performers played their roles SUPERBLY!!! I'd see it again and AGAIN!
Catherine D, Woodbridge
Loved the show. Very funny but thought provoking at the same time.
Rosalind H, Georgetown
This was a very good show that was eye opening on how we are dealing with diversity in our world today. Not so well. As a curler I loved the connection. Well written and well performed.
Don & Lois F, St. Catharines
Loved every minute! Set design similar to our curling rink. The laughs! Immeasurable!
Elizabeth M, Kitchener
The New Canadian Curling Club was a thought-provoking, super enjoyable show. I appreciated the playwright's message. A small cast provided a big entertainment. They all had their own charm and character traits which were very believable and gave a revealing perspective to the audience. The set was very well done - the lighting that depicted the rafters of a curling arena were very cool. We sat in the balcony and sound was great. We thoroughly enjoyed this performance.
Nancy R, Guelph
I was intrigued by a play dealing with the challenges of immigration and bigotry in a curling club setting. The show struck all the right notes in dealing with such a sensitive topic. From the start, it had us laughing at things we probably shouldn't have been laughing about but also thinking about our own beliefs and how we might react in these situations. Really well done.
Paul P, Oakville
Show was great and the actors did a wonderful job.
Art M, Durham
Great show with a great message. Very funny.
Chris E, New hamburg
This play was a delightful surprise. Well written, well cast, brilliant acting. Although it's very funny, the message is clear. Loved it.
Trish L, Wasaga Beach
So funny and a little outrageous, all the makings of a great play. Great work Drayton Theatre.
Cheryl L, Bayfield
Very entertaining and well done. Highly recommend it. Always a plus to see diversified entertainment.
Sue K, Kitchener
Very good!
Peter V, Woodstock
It was so good - the actors really did fit their roles!! No pretending was needed - as can happen in some plays! I liked the actual story very much - and it was just as stated - very funny and very moving. So glad we got to see this performance!
Annie A., Palmerston,
Fantastic script by Mark Crawford. The creative team did a great job with the set. The cast is excellent, loved each of the performers. Highly recommend!
Jeanette H, Kitchener
Great show. Very meaningful to Canadians who can offend immigrants very easily without realizing it. Life as an immigrant is not easy. The fellow who played the gentleman from India and Stanley were hilarious.
Paul W, Orillia

Meet The Artists

Chiamaka Glory headshot

Chiamaka Glory

Charmaine Bailey

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John Jarvis

John Jarvis

Stuart MacPhail

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Zaynna Khalife headshot

Zaynna Khalife

Fatima Al-Sayed

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Andrew Prashad headshot

Andrew Prashad

Anoopjeet Singh

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Norman Yeung headshot

Norman Yeung

Mike Chang

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Drayton Entertainment is committed to creating safe spaces for our audience members and suggests the following local newcomer resources should you require support.

Immigration Partnership is a collaboration of community service, business, municipal and post-secondary organizations and Waterloo Region residents working together to create the conditions for immigrants to succeed and help build a welcoming, dynamic community. Immigration Partnership website.

KW Multicultural Centre fosters inclusion by providing settlement services, programs and interpretation supports to our community while celebrating its cultural diversity. KW Multicultural Centre website.

Carizon Newcomer Mental Health Program supports newcomers to Canada with outreach programs, group counselling for refugees, and educational workshops to build community capacity. Carizon website.

Immigrant Services Guelph-Wellington supports newcomers and new Canadians on their journey of adaptation and integration into their new communities. Immigrant Services Guelph-Wellington website.

GWLIP are municipal or regional coalitions designed to strengthen local capacity to attract newcomers and improve integration outcomes in all aspects of life. GWLIP website.