Derek Chan 陳嘉昊

Managing Artistic Director at vAct (Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre)

Derek Chan (陳嘉昊) grew up in colonial Hong Kong, lived in Norway, and now lives and works on the unceded, stolen, and ancestral lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, colonially known as Vancouver. A playwright, director, performer, translator, and producer, Derek is the Managing Artistic Director of Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre. Before that, he was co-artistic director of rice & beans theatre from 2010 to 2021. Derek has been a National Arts Centre English Theatre Artist in Residence (19/20) with yellow objects, a new installation-exhibition in support of the ongoing pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. His play, Chicken Girl (2019/20), won the Sydney Risk Award for Outstanding Original Play by an Emerging Playwright, and was nominated for Outstanding Original Script at the Jessies. He was the co-recipient of the 2021 Simon Fraser University FCAT Young Alumni Award for his work at rice & beans theatre.


It’s not the ones who meant it that hurt the most
(okay, those make the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my back hunched real fast too 
but let’s walk away walk away walk away)
Sometimes it’s the ones who think they don’t mean it
The ones you thought you could trust
The ones you wish they knew better
The ones who talk over you
The ones who make you feel icky
The ones who you’d rather avoid
The ones who didn’t mean it
The ones who define you for you
The ones who make you wonder
The ones who make you question

Did I make that up?
But that was nothing.
Nothing adds up real quick, huh?

Action items:
1. Stop–

Action items:
1. By Asian Canadian, we mean–

Action items:
1. Asian–

Action items:
1. Canadian–

Action items:
1. It is not on me to tell them–

Action items:
1. Then what can I–

Action items:
1. So, what do we want to achieve–

Action items:
1. Action speaks louder than–

Action items:
1. Who needs to hear–

Action items:
1. Why are we stillwa;iughareg;iuyrnag;ourha;ikbveryahg.b®éyiuahiu  rghÍÅ;GFILAGHBFILWUAREHFGWIR 

They can hate all they want. We’ll still be here to tell our stories. Our existence does not hinge on their approval.
… I wonder what five-year-old me would do about all of this.