History of Teatro Performances in Toronto, Canada!

August 25, 2022

The first Konkani Teatro in Toronto, Canada titled “Irmanv-achem Cazar” written by Miguel Rod, was performed in 1976 and the pride of place belongs to Richard Fernandes, its Producer/Director. A real-life Goan Priest performed Cazar on stage. I was present for this First Tiatr in Canada. The Tiatr performance was o.k. considering it was held in Canada with a few Goans around with a nominal theatrical experience.

Richard Fernandes also organized and produced the second Tiatr in Toronto, “Ghorchem Kestanv” by Miguel Rod in 1977 which was even more successful.

Later in 1978, a group called The Goan Theatrical group (GTG) was formed, most of their members being expats from East Africa consisting of Margaret De Souza and her father Frank De Souza and her sister Delphine Francis, Richard Fernandes, Braz D’Cruz, Frank Fernandes, Zulema De Souza and others. This group had great enthusiasm and organizational power. Margaret D’Souza co-ordinated this group and wrote most of their Tiatros, although in English which were then translated into Konkani. GTG had a series of Tiatros every year and they even performed in Montreal and London U.K. This Group lasted until 1997.

Later in 1989, another group was created and it was called The Goan Konkani Troupe (GKT), mostly comprising of members directly from Goa, Bombay and the Gulf. It was started by Richard Fernandes and later headed by a new up-and-coming actor-turned-director Jr. Menezes. This group became very popular overnight as most of the members were well conversant with Konkani as they migrated directly from Goa with some village Church Tiatr background and they never looked back. The level of Tiatro performance gradually went up. GKT took one Tiatr to New Jersey. This GKT Group was later dissolved on March 15, 2006.

After GKT folded, Jr. Menezes directed more plays on his own almost every year, even though rivalries began to show up and more directors cropped up.

Later another actor-turned Director Marshal Fernandes started on his own and directed some Tiatros, to be followed by yet another all-rounder actor Joe Vaz, who also directed a couple Tiatros.

This went on till the year 2019, when Covid -19 stopped the Tiatr Production during the pandemic.

A Tiatr is a contribution from various Tiatr components. The main one being the playwright followed by performers, musicians and stage setting, etc. In Toronto Canada, some Directors have ignored the Tiatr writers altogether and they have not compensated them for their intellectual property rights. As you will see from the Tiatr table below, the names of Tiatr writers are missing for most of the Tiatrs performed in Toronto, Canada. This could mean that the script has either been copied or the name of the Tiatr writer has deliberately been excluded and not credited and possibly the Tiatr title has been changed. Most recently, a hit Tiatr “Ekuch Rosto” which was written by M. Boyer and had been previously performed in Toronto without permission a long time ago, was again performed the second time, but its name was changed to “Anik Upai Naslo”.

Four Konkani Cassettes/CD Albums were produced in Toronto including “Maim” by Marshal Fernandes, to be followed by “Adeus” by Jr. Menezes and “Classic Goa” by Silviano Barbosa and later another one CD Album by Joe Vaz.

While all performers in Canada have kept their acting standard close to the Goa standard as of now, most audience favourites like Ace Comedians Jr. Menezes, late Lina Remedios, and lately Samson Santimano and Serah Barbosa have matched their talent with Goa based professional comedians as they regaled the Toronto audience with bouts of laughter for their powerful comedy.

Powerful actors such as Frank De Souza, Lina Remedios Nunes, Francis Moraes, Joe Moraes, Joe Vaz, Tony D’Silva, Cajy Fernandes, Ben Joanes, Birdie Gomes, Russel D’Souza, Faria Fernandes and many others on the performers list have kept up their names with their great acting power enthralling the audience.

Singers with powerful voices like Ruth Kumar, Jr. Menezes, Joe Vaz, Hazel Jacob, Vinnie Crasto top the singing talent in the form of cantos, duets and solos. The bands bring the traditional Goan Tiatr music flavour of trumpet, saxophone, violin, keyboard and drums and make you feel you are in a Goan Tiatr Hall, adorned with very creative special effects, projectors, curtains and props.

There were also short Tiatr type Comedy Skits by Comedian Samson Santimano together with his team of Serah Barbosa, Agnelo and Yolanda Gracias and group for 55PGA.

Performers of Konkani Tiatro in Toronto have performed in various local multi-cultural events including the CARAVAN in the city of Toronto, Mississauga, Montreal, New Jersey U.S.A. and London U.K. Their events were highlighted on TV, Channel 47, Multilingual TV channel in Toronto.

Konkani Shows like “Ambott-Tik” and “Dotor Hansoupache” By Marshal Fernandes and “Nach Goemkara” by Jr. Menezes have regaled the Toronto audience. Also shows like: 1) “Konkan Nite 2015” with Lorna, Lawry Travasso, Esther Noronha, John D’Silva, Norman Cardozo & Socorro D’Silva, 2) “Adios Lorna” in 2017 with Marshal Fernandes, Serah Barbosa, Samson Santimano, Jr. Menezes & Priti Shetigar and 3) “Lorna & Henry Show” in2014 with Marshal, Samson & Serah and Santhu & Manthu!

There were great performances at the Goan Convention in Toronto spear-headed by G.O.A.’s Zulema D’Souza, from the likes of Chris Perry & Braz Gonsalves, GAVANA and other performers. At the Second Goan Convention in Toronto by Goanetters, Jr. Menezes Tiatro “Adeus” was performed in Mississauga.

There was another great Show for the first time with Lorna and other Tiatrists from Goa such as Jose Rod, Comedian Agostinho, John D’Silva , Comedian Domnic, Rosy Alvares and others performed on the “Goemcho Awaz” Show.

When Alfred Rose performed in Toronto with Rita Rose, they were accompanied by Jr. Menezes on stage. Also when LORNA had her Shows in Toronto produced by G.O.A., Radio Mango and Aggie, she was accompanied by the local Tiatr performers and Goa Amigos Band.

Comedian Samson Santimano performed his Konkani Comedy Skits along with his group consisting of Serah Barbosa, Agnelo and Yolanda Gracias, Rhizza Gracias, Rahul and Tasca Santimano and others, at least 3 times in Mississauga for 55PGA Seniors and 2 skits in Scarborough for TEGSA Goan Seniors Group in Scarborough.

Quite a few Konkani films from Goa were shown in Cinema Theatres in Toronto such as Nachoim Kumpasar, Poltodcho Munis and others.

Goan picnics in Summer were popular such as Bahrain Picnic, CLR picnic, AVC picnic and others where village expats got together bringing potluck food on the table, drinks and singing, and celebrating with Manddos, games, etc. Goans from Toronto and Montreal used to get together at an Annual Picnic at Thousand Islands midway between Toronto and Montreal, with a celebration of Mass, fun and games and food.

The Toronto Konkani Tiatro performances were given added colour by the Konkani loving Mangalorean performers such as Wilson D’Souza, Gerry De Mello, Santosh D’Souza – Ronald Monteiro (of Santhu ani Monthu fame), Flavian Pinto, and others in the form of songs, jokes and short skits. Godfrey Pinto did lot of work in GKT.

Goan and Mangalorean Sponsors and Well-wishers helped produced various Tiatr events in the Toronto GTA community. Radio Mango with Milena Marques helped promote the Tiatr events with great publicity in the local Konkani Community.
Along with Tiatr, Goans indulged in song and dance and celebrated Baptism, Ladainha, Statue of Our Lady celebration, First Holy Communion and Ross Parties singing lot of Konkani songs, Manddo, Dulpods and cooking and serving Goan delicacies such as sorpotel, xacuti, vindalho, baffad, sanna, bebique, etc. Famous caterers such as Mrs. Goes were quite popular at Goan get-togethers such as VIVA Goa, together with other vendors such as Goa’n Krazy, Chorisaga,etc.
VIVA GOA, organized by the Goan Overseas Association became an Annual Event for Goans in the Toronto area, starting first at Downsview and later in Mississauga. VIVA GOA had many singers from Goa, such as LORNA, Esther Noronha, O’LUV and the local Bands such as Goa Amigos, Blindfold Test, etc. as well as local singers/comedians/acts such as Marshal Fernandes, Jr. Menezes, Sandra Menezes, Samson Santimano, Serah Barbosa , etc. There were some Soccer Games as well. Goan Soccer League also participated.

Celebrity visits from Goa to Toronto included ex C.M.s. Luis Proto Barbosa, Churchill Alemao, Minister Luisinho Faleiro M.P. Eduardo Faleiro for the second Goa Netters Convention, Ex-Speaker Tomazinho Cardoso, etc.

There are a lot of Goan priests in Toronto, who celebrated Mass for every occasion for the Goan Community. The Mangalorean Community had Goan Rosary and prayers in Konkani and it was very nostalgic to remember again all those prayers heard long time ago in Goa. Also it was nice to hear sermons in Konkani in Toronto. Bishop Filipe Neri Ferrao also visited Toronto and it was nice to see Little Goa in Toronto.

There was no shortage of Goan writers in Toronto. Author Ben Antao wrote a few Goan novels, Lino Leitao also wrote a couple novels, Braz Menezes wrote a few novels, Mel D’Souza, Ladis Da Silva and Silviano Barbosa, who wrote his first Canadian Goan novel “The Sixth Night”. John Nazareth wrote a history of Goan Overseas Association and quite a few other Goa related well researched articles. Journalist/Editor Eugene Correia wrote about Goans in Toronto and articles of general interest pertinent to Indian affairs in Canada. Francis Rodrigues published his “Greatest Konkani Song Hits” book of sheet music, lyrics, chords and translations of popular Konkani Songs.

Here is a list of all Konkani Teatro performances in the Toronto Area from 1976 to 2019.

1. Irmanv-achem Cazar 1976 Director Richard Fernandes (First Tiatr in Toronto Canada written by Miguel Rod)
2. Ghorchem Kestanv by Miguel Rod 1977 Director Richard Fernandes
3. Alzirachem Sopon 1978 GTG Producer: Lina Remedios
4. Divors Matarponnar 1980 GTG Directed by Frank De Souza
5. Tegui Bailo 1981 GTG Directed by Frank De Souza
6. Kalljidar Bhoin 1982 GTG Directed by Frank De Souza
7. Peleachi Nossai 1983 GTG Directed by Errol Francis
8. Gupit Mog 1984 GTG Translated by Lynn Souza Marques Written & Directed by Margaret De Souza
9. Atancho Teomp 1986 GTG Directed by Margaret De Souza
10. Konn Mozo Pai 1987 GTG Translated by Maggie Francis Written & Directed by Margaret De Souza
11. Ojeapanchi Bhett 1988 GTG Translated by Frank De Souza Written & Directed by Margaret De Souza
12. Familichem Nissontton 1989 GKT (Goan Konkani Troupe)
13. Rateor 1990 GTG Translated by Frank De Souza and Written & Directed by Margaret De Souza Translated by Tony Fonseca
14. Adeus 1990 GKT Written & Directed by Jr. Menezes
15. Ekuch Rosto by M. Boyer 1991 GKT Director Jr. Menezes
16. Adlea Tempar 1992 GKT Director Jr. Menezes
17. Guntter 1994 GKT Director Jr. Menezes
18. Doria Amchem Noxib 1995 GTG Translated by Maggie Francis
Written & Directed by Margaret De Souza
19. Budhvont by Roseferns 1996 GKT Director Jr. Menezes
20. Adim Tem Atam Hem 1997 GKT M. Boyer. Director Jr. Menezes
21. Rinnkari 1998 GKT Director Jr. Menezes
22. Amche Dolle 1999 G.O.A. Director Marshal Fernandes
23. Bhurguim ani Bhangar 2000 GKT Director Jr. Menezes
24. Kidd By Ben Evangelisto 2006 Director Marshal Fernandes
25. Adeus 2007 Written & Directed by Jr. Menezes
26. Adeus 2008 Written & Directed by Jr. Menezes
27. Chuk Konnachi 2009 Director Marshal Fernandes
28. Dukh 2010 Written & Directed by Jr. Menezes
29. Kumsar by Pascoal Rodrigues 2011 GCA Director Joe Vaz
30. Jit Written by Adolf Silveira 2013 GCA Director Joe Vaz
31. To Teomp Uronk Nam 2013 Director Jr. Menezes
32. Gharachem Sukh 2014 Written by Remmie Colaco Director Marshal Fernandes
33. Kochro by Francis Furtado 2015 GCA Director Joe Vaz
34. Sun 2016 Director Marshal Fernandes
35. Anik Upai Naslo 2017 Director Jr. Menezes
36. Police Officer 2017 Written & Directed by Sammy Tavares
37. Bhurguim Kiteak Somzonam 2019 Written & Directed by Sammy Tavares
38. Hem Assa Tem By Anthony de Nuvem 2019 Director Marshal Fernandes

The following are the Toronto Konkani Tiatr Performers (Actors) over the years:

Richard Fernandes (Director, Producer, Actor, Lyricist)
Frank D’Souza (Director, Translator)
Margaret D’Souza (Writer, Director)
Lina Remedios/Nunes (Director, Producer, Ace Comedienne)
Braz D’Cruz, Stanley Nunes, Frank Fernandes, Maggie Francis, Rosy Fernandes,
Delphine Francis, Martin Rodrigues, Natalie Rodrigues, Iris Rodrigues,
Zulema and Neves D’Souza, Sarah Madeira, Francis Fernandes,
Jr. Menezes (Director, Lyricist, Singer, Ace Comedian),
Sandra Menezes (Producer, Singer), Josie Carrasco (Prompter, Singer),
Francis Moraes (Character Actor), Joe Moraes (Character Actor), Ben Joanes, Auggie Pereira,(Comedy Singer) & Martha Dias (Comedy Singer),
Birdie Gomes (Character Actor) & Bernard Gomes (Producer)
Joe Dantas, Tony D’Silva (Character Actor),Joe Vaz (Director, Singer, Lyricist)
Faria Fernandes (Character Actor), Godfrey Pinto, Elita Rego, Olavio Da Costa
Grace Fernandes, Benny Pereira (Character Actor), Veronica Barco,
Olympio Fernandes, Raphael Fernandes, A.C. Pereira (Stage Manager, Singer)
Evaristo Fernandes (Prompter), Caji Rodrigues (Character Actor),
Marshal Fernandes (Director, Producer, Lyricist, Singer),
Serah Barbosa (Ace Comedienne, Make-up Artiste),
Protasio Fernandes, Winnie Crasto, Willie Gracias, Gaspar D’Souza,
Lourdino Rodrigues (Producer, Singer),
Terry Carrasco (Producer), Francis Constantino (Producer),
Clema Fernandes (Producer, Singer),
Hazel Gomes (Main Singer),
Silviano Barbosa (Lyricist, Photography),
Stephanie Menezes (Child actress, Singer),
Raphael Fernandes, Zita Rodrigues, Patrick Pereira, Maria Pereira,
Willie Gracias, Russell D’Souza, Agnelo Fernandes (Singer)
Chris Gomes (Lyricist, Character Actor, Singer), Elvis Rodrigues (Projection),
Fay Da Costa, Owen Da Costa, Olwen Da Costa, Apolonia Da Costa,
Agnelo Gracias (Lyricist), Yolanda Gracias, Rhiza Gracias, Rhio Gracias,
Sylda Gracias & Reiner Gracias,
Sandra Alva, Alison Rozario, Synuae Diniz (Character Actor)
Samson Santimano (Ace Comedian), Gaspar Moraes, Giann Moraes,
Grace Almeida, Nash Lobo, Nifa Alphonso, Santosh D’Souza, Gerry D’Mello,
Joe Rodrigues, Maria Makdani, Kaylin Almeida, Valerie Vaz
Steve Fernandes (Producer, Singer), Anita Pereira, Joaozinho Rodrigues (Stage),
Character actors Sheila Puri, Priti Shetigar & Rucha Murkunde
Branca Noronha, Ronald Monteiro, Joe Rodrigues, Louie Pinto, Maria D’Souza,
Jennifer Fernandes, Bonfilio Pereira, Allwyn Gomes,
Charmaine Menezes, Jude Menezes & Nikita Menezes,
Zachary, Michael &Allison Gomes.

Musical Tiatr Bands:

1. Cootie
2. Illusions
3. Manuel Rodrigues
4. Desert Storm
5. Jazzmen
6. The Goa Amigos

Cootie, Manuel Rodrigues, Louis Pereira, William Fernandes, Tony Da Costa, Mackvin Dias, Lawry Rodrigues, Logan Rodrigues, Sylvester Fernandes, Santan D’Mello.
Orlando De Mello, Vic Lobo, Filipe Menezes, Lennon Barreto, Keith D’Souza, Caje Fernandes, Donald Colaco, Santan De Mello, Cajetan Fernandes, Lawrie Fernandes, Rudy Lopes, Lenny Lopes.
Ashley Pinto, Lawrey D’Souza, Lorenzo D’Souza.

Ruth Kumar, Hazel Jacob,
Iris Rodrigues, Cynthia & Blanche Barco, Joe & Auriole Fernandes,
Lourdino Rodrigues, Malkan & Madhu Pinto, Kimberly Sequeira,
Whitney D’Cunha, Stephanie Menezes, Abigail & Austin Pereira,
Cheryl Fernandez, Glynis Vales, Scarlet Vales, Clifford Gomes,
Francis Fernandes, Andrea Fernandes, Austin Pereira,
Olympio Fernandes, Jack Fernandes, Agnelo Fernandes,
Lara Rebello & Oscar Nazareth, Joyson D’Souza, Wilson D’Souza,
Steven Fernandes, Rozario Semedo, Cheryllyn Flower,
Socorro Silva, Joaquim, Romualdo, Anita Prabhu, Sonia Monteiro,
Joyson D’Souza, Gerry D’Mello, Candida Pereira Camelo
Vanessa D’Souza, Sandeep Kadbet, Dr. Lucina Pinto.

Goan Theatrical Group (GTG) 1978-1997

Members & Volunteers:

Frank De Souza, Margaret De Souza, Zulema De Souza, Stan Nunes, Lina Nunes, Braz D’Cruz, Richard Fernandes, Bernard Lynch, Francis Fernandes, Martin Rodrigues, Natalie Rodrigues, Errol Francis, Neves De Souza, Lina
Remedios, Frank Fernandes, Maggie Francis, Carl Mendes, Max Menezes, Leo Madeira, Sarah Madeira, Hazel Fernandes, Liane Mendes, Lynn Sousa Marques, William Fernandes, Clara Fernandes, Sharon De Souza, Lenny Lopes, Sylvester D’Abreu and Roque Barreto.

Goan Konkani Troupe (GKT) 1989-2006

Members & Volunteers:

Richard Fernandes, Jr. Menezes, Sandra Menezes, Josie Carrasco, Terry Carrasco, Rosy Fernandes, Joe Moraes, Francis Moraes, Joe Dantas, Tony D’Silva, Joe Vaz, A.C. Pereira, Filu Pereira, Louisa de Saligao, Evaristo Fernandes, Birdie Gomes, Bernard Gomes, Elita Rego, Loni D’Souza, Olavio Da Costa, Ben Joanes, Gerard Sequeira, Lino D’Souza, Martha Dias, Raul Collaco, Auggie & Angela Pereira, Everest D’Souza, Kimberley Sequeira, Sandra Miranda, Godfrey Pinto, Winnie Crasto, Jean Pinto, Madhu Pinto, Malkan Pinto, ,Joe & Auriole Fernandes, Ruth Kumar, Hazel Jacob, Grace Fernandes, Donald and Sandra Alva, Hazel Dantas, Martin Rodrigues, Iris Rodrigues, Marshal Fernandes, Lourdino Rodrigues, Serah and Silviano Barbosa, Blanche & Cynthia Barco, Veronica Barco, Gaspar D’Souza, Benny Pereira, Arren Mohit, Protasio Fernandes, Olga Collaco, Xavier Rodrigues, Ophelia D’Souza

Stage: A C Pereira, Joaozinho Rodrigues, Jacob Thomas, Gerard Sequeira, Xavier Rodrigues, Mickey Rodrigues, Enzo Rego, Elvis Rego,Crasto, Keith Crasto 
Make-up: Olga Collaco, Joyce Moraes, Serah Barbosa

References: (Courtesy of)
1) John Nazareth, History of The Goan Overseas Association , Toronto, Canada
2) Eugene Correia, Journalist
3) Margaret De Souza, Director, Writer, Goan Theatrical Group
4) Jr Menezes, Director, Goan Konkani Troupe
5) Marshal Fernandes, Director
6) Joe Vaz, Director
7) Richard Fernandes, Director
8) Lourdino Rodrigues, Goan Konkani Troupe
9) Tiatr Brochures




By Silviano Barbosa
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Comment on this article

  • Don D'Cruz, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 27 2022

    Truly our artists from Goa and Mangalore give all who watch them perform the joy of our rich heritage. I appreciate Silviano for giving us a good glimpse of our Konkani stage drama/natak/tiatr that have taken strides to keep this beautiful art alive in a foreign country overt so many years. Love to all our Goan and Mangalorean sisters and brothers who put in their bit to keep our Konkani language shine bright always.

  • Anthony Fernandes, Toronto

    Thu, Aug 25 2022

    Mr. Silviano Barbosa has taken an obviously lot of his time, effort and research to put together this History of Teatro Performances in Toronto, Canada! and reading this history lesson certainly brings back memories of my first few attendances of such a concerts here in Toronto. It became a must-go to attendances by the Goans here and tickets were briskly sold weeks prior to the performances. Richard Fernandes and his wife Rosy are now deceased of course, but we will always remember the Konkani Tiatr that began from Richards die-hard interest in Konkani and everything Goan and then followed by true-Goan style acting by others so written up in Silviano's history notes..

  • Rita, Germany

    Thu, Aug 25 2022

    Oh how I love this Tiatro.and Lorna.Looking at pictures remember the old times in Goa with typical dress of working class women and typical konkani .Sad I am here and tiatre in canada.All the best to all of you.Hope one day I will attend one.

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Title: History of Teatro Performances in Toronto, Canada!

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