Anywhere But Here

Premiered on February 4, 2020

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World Premiere

A family. A border wall. A million memories and the quest for home.

By Carmen Aguirre

Raps created with Shad Kabango

February 4 – 15, 2020

Vancouver Playhouse – 600 Hamilton Street

Produced in association with Playwrights Theatre Centre and presented in partnership with the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

“It’s dramatic. It’s funny. And the set is gorgeous…This is a desert in more ways than one.”

The Globe and Mail

“Aguirre’s think piece is a time-defying meditation on essential journeys of the heart.”

The Georgia Straight

“I rocketed out of my seat for the ovation at the end. And the production is always bracingly vibrant and confident.”

Colin Thomas on Theatre

It’s 2020 at the US/Mexico border in Trump’s America.

In 1979, a family drives back towards Chile from Canada. With past, present, and future encircling their journey, this profoundly poetic story is about the universal quest for home – in whatever form that takes.

A spellbinding blend of dark comedy and magical realism, Anywhere But Here is a vibrant celebration of Latinx theatre, with music and raps by Shad, that chronicles the many paths, real and imagined, we take to discover the truth —  the truth about who we are, and where we may be headed.

Telling an engrossing story that intersects multiple timelines and spaces, Anywhere But Here introduces us to a host of fantastical characters who have experienced the pull of home, the ache of displacement, and the harsh realities of the border as they attempt to cross, guard, or survive it.


Composite picture of headshots of artists from Anywhere But Here


Playwrights Theatre Centre, rice & beans theatre, November Theatre, Banff Playwrights Lab


Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, the City of Vancouver, The Province of BC, Vancouver Civic Theatres, the Georgia Straight, The Province of British Columbia, MJY Fabrication, rice and beans, Deux Mille Foundation, Hamber Foundation, McLean Foundation, Vancouver Latin American Cultural Centre, Latincouver, Cloverdale Paint, Associated Plastics, The Lazy Gourmet

Anywhere But Here is an external representation of the inner turmoil of exile. Using magic realism tropes, it follows a family on a journey back towards Chile from Canada. They drive in a mythological chrome convertible along the desert border between the US and Mexico, each with different emotions about the North they are leaving and the South they are approaching, reversing their refugee flight, refusing the state of exile. The father and his two young daughters encounter an increasingly fantastic range of characters. They are encircled by past, present and future, in a collective vision that takes them, and the audience, into the compelling experiences of people crossing and guarding the border. Threaded through the external journey is the internal search for home in an unstable world. With the arrival of the mother of the family, they confront the costs of exile and the true nature of home.

Dark and comic, Anywhere But Here is a psycho-social-spiritual-physical journey based on the relationship to land; it could only take place at the U.S./Mexico border during the world’s current refugee crisis. It is a play that celebrates working-class Latinx culture, spotlighting the invisible, undocumented brown workers that people the Americas. It honours the richness of Latinx culture and the strength of its resistance, neither of which are accidents.

A celebration of Latinx theatre in Vancouver, this deeply relevant, imaginative piece will premiere at the Vancouver Playhouse in February, 2020. Carmen Aguirre’s new play is both hilarious and deeply poignant, featuring a borderless cast of nine artists of colour and a creative team led by Carmen, and an acclaimed Chicanx duo: director Juliette Carrillo and designer Christopher Acebo.

Music features heavily in the play, with rap pieces co-written by Rwandan-Canadian Hip-Hop Artist Shad Kabango, and compositions by Vancouver-based musician and percussionist Joelysa Pankanea. From 1970’s disco, to the batucada and the blues, the musicality of the piece carries the story across timelines and historic events past and to be. Woven throughout the piece is the story of two young daughters discovering the world in a 1970s convertible.

Photos by Emily Cooper