The Parliament of the Birds: A Contemporary Door Into the Seven Valleys

Intermission is hosting creative and critical responses to select shows from Soulpepper’s Around the World in 80 Plays as a part of the Taking on the World mentorship program for emerging IBPOC artists and arts writersTaking on the World is a partnership between Intermission, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Brock University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Windsor, with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

“How do YOU arrive at the parliament?” 

In this video, Malika Daya is in conversation with the play, The Parliament of the Birds, an adaption of the poem The Conference of the Birds by the 12th century Sufi mystic and poet Farid al-Attar. She explores her own relationship to the poem and how it has evolved and been further expanded, challenged, and inspired by this contemporary and timely theatrical adaptation. 

The Parliament of the Birds is an audio play, a part of Soulpepper Theatre’s Around the World in 80 Plays. Interspersed throughout this response are clips of an interview with (as they appear from left to right on zoom), the director Soheil Parsa, the playwright Guillermo Verdecchia, and the sound designer Thomas Ryder Payne. You are invited to join this conversation and reflect on the universal teachings of spiritual quests, love, and oneness that are alive in this production.

Malika is grateful to have had the opportunity to experience The Parliament of the Birds and interview Guillermo Verdecchia, Soheil Parsa, and Thomas Ryder Payne. She is thankful for her collaboration with Olivia Wheeler and her mentorship from Rodrigo Flores. Finally, a special thanks to Intermission, Soulpepper Theatre, SSHRC-CRSH and the organizers of Taking on the World.

Around the World in 80 Plays runs until June 30 on Soulpepper’s website. For tickets and more information, click here.


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Written By

Malika Daya (she/her) is an emerging director and community engaged arts facilitator, identifying as a third generation, South Asian-East African – Canadian. Malika is fascinated by stories of the diaspora and how living between cultures produces its own sets of challenges and narratives. In her undergraduate pursuits at the University of Toronto Scarborough, Malika is studying International Development, Sociocultural Anthropology, and Theatre and Performance. Recently, she was working abroad in Malawi with the Art and Global Health Centre Africa and is activated by the potential for participatory arts to be a vehicle for community development. Malika is inspired by her experiences working on various productions like 'We are Proud to Present' with Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu, 'The Shell' with Nikki Shaffeeullah, and directing 'This is War' by Hannah Moscovitch. She is currently developing Letters to my Grandma by Anusree Roy as a part of the Paprika Festival’s Directors Lab