Himmat is a humorous and heartwarming narrative in Punjabi and English delving into the world of a father and daughter born generations and miles apart. It is a gut-wrenchingly honest depiction of a working-class family's struggle with addiction and labor. Told through flashbacks and set in Surrey Memorial Hospital, Himmat takes audiences on a journey exploring the complexities of family history and immigration. As secrets are revealed, Banth and Ajit unpack their memories, discovering how family dynamics and relationships change over time. It is a story about resilience and redemption.
Ahead of its May 2022 premiere at The Cultch, the Digital Storytelling Team collaborated with Theatre Conspiracy to bring to life a unique digital experience component.
The Adventures of Himmat Kaur and Fateh Singh is a gripping and hilarious kids book that uses both Punjabi and English to delve into the world of an over-imaginative child. Himmat and her trusty sidekick Fateh are immersed in a cartoon dreamland and her father’s stories help her navigate the different parts of her identity. As Himmat tries to unpack these teachings passed on to her by her father, she finds the courage to combat her playground bullies!
The animated series was first launched as a digital interactive experience where audiences walked through a park and scanned QR codes to experience different episodes. As an additional component, the Digital Storytelling Team created an online version hosted within a custom built fantastical park environment on the interactive platform Gather.Town. The team created a magical park-like environment informed by the greater Vancouver landscape and landmarks. Audiences could digitally walk around this space and at various points of interest have access to watching episodes of the animation in either English or Punjabi. This experience provided a fun and colorful way for children and their parents to experience the piece in a safe and playful manner. It also provided an excellent opportunity for audience members to have a community-based digital interaction while experiencing the piece.
The digital experience also helped promote Himmat ahead of its stage show at The Cultch which premiered to resounding success with a sold out run and garnered critical acclaim, demonstrating that truly bilingual theater can be a powerful tool to engage traditionally underrepresented and underserved audiences from various communities in Vancouver and the surrounding suburbs.