Film and Performance


The Dissident

A film of the nationally acclaimed one-woman show written and performed by Canyon Sam, based on her travels and human rights work in Asia. A young Californian on a year-long solo backpack to her ancestral China finds her trip transformed into a journey of awakening after meeting a young Tibetan Buddhist nun freedom fighter in the Himalayas. Filmed by Howard Shack (National Geographic Explorer, Independent Lens) and edited by Veronica Selver (Brother Outsider, Regret to Inform). 39 minutes

Performance Highlights

Canyon Sam has toured across the United States and Canada, including performances at the Walker Art Center, Asia Society, Yale University, Columbia University, Smith College, University of New Mexico, Solo Mio Festival, Asian Art Museum, Cleveland Performance Art Festival, Edmonton Fringe Festival, Columbia College, Dell’Arte Theater, Highways, University of California at Santa Cruz, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and the White House Commission on Asian Pacific Islanders. She has also performed in Boston, with Bill T. Jones; Toronto, Vancouver, Santa Monica, and Washington, D.C.


What Critics, Audiences and Presenters Say…

“A master storyteller…one of the best of the next wave of Asian American performing artists…she pushes the elasticity of the performance art genre into a mold for her own voice.”
  The Village Voice

“Riveting.”
   Boston Globe

“Conveys both the sorrow and beauty of a dispossessed culture. Truly a mesmerizing ‘theatre of conscience’ piece.”
  San Francisco Weekly

“A natural and winning performer.”
  San Jose Mercury News

“Her genius lies in her ability to inspire through storytelling.”
  Bay Area Reporter

“Compelling, unpretentious, ingenuous delivery.”
  Los Angeles Times

“It’s as if Spalding Gray had made ‘Swimming to Cambodia’ without talking about himself as much….Personal journalism in dramatic form.”
  San Francisco Examiner

“I was impressed by the integrity of Canyon Sam’s work…that her material matters greatly to her enriches its presentation with a strength and passion rare in commercial theatre. This quality, allied with her complete professionalism, makes for exciting art. Audiences deserve the chance to see work of this originality and merit.”
  Kathleen Weiss, Artistic Director, Women in View Theatre Festival, Vancouver

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