Three years ago, Ahad Raza Mir left Calgary to pursue an acting career in Pakistan. The risk paid off — he landed leading roles in popular TV shows and films.
Now, he's back in Calgary, starring in a new production of Hamlet: A Ghost Story, which starts this week at Vertigo Theatre.
Mir said he came back to Calgary to reconnect with theatre.
"I think playing Hamlet is a bit of a personal challenge, and I say it's kind of a rite of passage for a lot of actors to kind of prove to themself that they can do this," Mir said Tuesday on The Eyeopener.
He said Canada is a leader in diversity on-stage and hopes his performance as Hamlet will inspire others.
"I hope that just by me coming back, and who knows, maybe some little Pakistani boy will see me on stage and go, 'Hey, if he can do it and then you can do it and so can I,'" he said.
Mir, who went to Central Memorial High School and the University of Calgary, found stardom working in film and television in Pakistan.
He said gaining fans has been overwhelming, but he's grateful people appreciate his work.
"That's all it is and that love I feel, even, you know, in Calgary. I know there's people, there's Pakistanis here.... I know how badly they want to come and see Hamlet," he said.
Hamlet: A Ghost Story was adapted by Anna Cummer, who crafted a spookier, supernatural twist on the Shakespeare classic. Craig Hall is the director.
"I think people [who] like Shakespeare, they're going to have a good time. I think for those who like a little bit of a scare, they're going to have a good time," Mir said.
Vertigo Theatre's Hamlet: A Ghost Story runs March 20 to April 13.