Self-description of the depicted person: A brown person wearing fuschia lipstick and a matching bindi, and a black jumpsuit with blond voluminous hair. Her head is tilted down to her left side. Attached to her cheek there is a small black microphone. In the background a small part of a guitar is visible.
Self-description of the depicted person: A brown person with a short black jumpsuit, a floor-length golden cape, and golden shoes. She is holding a microphone in her left hand.

How to Fail as a Popstar

Vivek Shraya


Learn how to fail better with Vivek Shraya. In How to Fail as a Popstar, the singer and writer tells us about her path to the margins of fame as a “not quite” major popstar with lots humor and empathy. In a thrilling performance consisting of anecdotes, music, and choreography that straddles all genres, Shraya takes us on a journey through her rise in showbiz, beginning with singing Hindu bhajans and R&B covers when she was young at competitions for teenagers, to moving around, all the way to her first album. Bittersweet and yet triumphant, How to Fail as a Popstar is a wise and ultimately redeeming pop odyssey: A reflection on the power of pop culture, dreams, disappointment, and self-determination and a celebration of her own authentic voice. 

Vivek Shraya is from Canada and blurs the boundaries between music, literature, visual art, theater, and film in her works. Her album Part-Time Woman was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, and Vanity Fair called her best-selling novel I’m Afraid of Men “cultural rocket fuel.” The five-time finalist of the Lambda Literature Award also received the Writers’ Trust of Canada and The Publishing Triangle awards. She is an assistant professor for creative writing at the University of Calgary and is currently working on an adaptation of How to Fail as a Popstar for television.

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Production credits

Play and original songs written and performed by Vivek Shraya Composition by Vivek Shraya, James Bunton Direction Brendan Healy Set and costume designer Joanna Yu Lighting designer C.J. Astronomo Associate lighting designer Imogen Wilson Sound designer James Bunton Choreographer William Yong Photography Dahlia Katz

A Canadian Stage production