The New Canadians

Written by:

Carolyn Nakagawa

Artist/Creator(s) Identify As:

Person/People of Colour

Cast Size:

Roles For:

  • Men: 6
  • Women: 6




Canadian History
Social Justice
World War II


120 min.

Year Written:



The New Canadians is an ensemble-driven musical about a group of passionate, intelligent young Japanese Canadians during the Second World War who fight for their beliefs in the face of racism and a government that betrays them, all while founding and writing their own community newspaper. It is a true story of how their connections to each other both endure and fall apart as their convictions are challenged and they struggle to find their respective places in the world. In a parallel contemporary narrative, a new generation of passionate young Japanese Canadians struggle with the meaning of inheriting this legacy as Japanese Canadians and Canadian citizens.


17 Characters, double-cast for 9 principal roles (double-casting cannot be altered).

Every character in this play is a real person, either historical (from the Second World War era) or contemporary (21st century). Every character in this play is of Japanese ancestry. Many of them are of mixed Japanese ancestry or have descendants whose ancestry is mixed. Casting should be conscious of this by including people of all ethnic backgrounds, with emphasis on performers of colour. Most of the actors will play two roles: one historical character from 1939-1945, and one 21st-century character. The two actors who are not double-cast appear in both time frames of the play, as young adults and elders. Some of the actors will play more than one gender, and there is potential for gender-blind casting.

First Produced:

Not yet produced.


Contact the playwright Carolyn Nakagawa, at for script access to The New Canadians.

To learn more about the playwright and The New Canadian, click here.

To view more plays like this, click here.