Stage Door News

Sarnia: “Afrique en Cirque” is coming to the Imperial Theatre February 7-8

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Afrique en Cirque, acrobats performing to Afro-jazz and percussion in a show inspired by daily life in the West African country of Guinea, is coming to Sarnia in February for two performances at the Imperial Theatre.

The Feb. 7 and 8 shows are being presented by a partnership between the theatre and Centre communautaire Francophone Sarnia-Lambton, a francophone community centre in Sarnia.

“I am so excited for people to see this production, to leave Sarnia behind for a night and embrace a culture that creates great music, joyful movement, and outstanding talent,” theatre executive director Brian Austin Jr. said in a news release.

The show is by a Montreal-based production company headed by Yamoussa Bangoura, a multidisciplinary artist of Guinean origin.

“The production pays homage to West Africa by playing instruments known to the area” and with cast members in colourful costumes, said Tanya Tamilio, president of the francophone centre in Sarnia.

She initially discovered the show while planning Black History Month events in Sarnia in 2020.

While the pandemic interrupted plans to bring the production to Sarnia then, Tamilio said she reached out again more recently to the company and the Imperial Theatre.

“Brian and his team were very impressed with the talent in the show,” and it was booked for two nights at the theatre, she said.

“It’s thanks to them that we were able to host such a spectacular presentation,” Tamilio said about the partnership with the downtown theatre.

The show is said to share the beauty, youth and artistry of African culture.

Tamilio said the performance is for the whole community.

Tickets to the 90-minute shows, beginning each evening at 7 p.m., are available from the Imperial Theatre box office, and online at

The francophone community centre, located on Rapids Parkway in Sarnia, includes meeting rooms, a library of French resources and a community room with a commercial kitchen.

It provides teen after-school activities and leadership programs, plus seniors’ programming that includes social activities, workshops, monthly meals, friendly visiting and wellness calls.

As well, it hosts yoga sessions, a bilingual chess club, Zumba classes, plus March break and summer camps.

Representatives of the centre also sit on the Sarnia-Lambton immigration taskforce and work to attract and retain bilingual residents.

Tamilio said the centre also hosts bilingual community events, including multicultural events each June which last year involved 19 food stations, 200 participants and an evening full of entertainment.

It also has a podcast, "Les Jaseux de Sarnia", available on Spotify as part of efforts to attract new residents to Sarnia, she said.

By Peter Morden for

Photo: Scene from Afrique en Cirque. © 2023 Peter Graham.