Vivek Shraya's How To Fail as a Popstar is coming to the CBC as a new streaming series

Shraya will write and star in the comedy series on CBC Gem, also starring Adrian Pavone, Chris D'Silva, Ayesha Mansur Gonsalves and Nadine Bhabha.

Shraya will write and star in the comedy series based on their own life, coming to CBC Gem later this year

Vivek Shraya in a promotional image from the stage production of How to Fail as a Popstar.
Vivek Shraya in a promotional image from the stage production of How to Fail as a Popstar. (Heather Saitz)

Award-winning artist, author and musician Vivek Shraya is coming to the CBC. It was announced today that production is underway on How to Fail as a Popstar, a CBC Gem original series based on Shraya's theatrical one-person show of the same name.

Produced by CBC and Sphere Media, the series is billed as a "coming-of-age, eight-episode limited series about a queer brown boy with a huge voice doing everything he can to become a Popstar — as told by the queer trans femme that boy becomes, looking back on how and why that dream was never realized." Shraya will write the series as well as star in it alongside Adrian Pavone (Star Trek: Discovery), Chris D'Silva (The Handmaid's Tale), Ayesha Mansur Gonsalves (Sort Of) and Nadine Bhabha (Letterkenny). The series will shoot in Toronto for a release on CBC Gem later this year. Vanessa Matsui (Midnight at the Paradise) will direct.

Vivek Shraya. (Vanessa Heins)

"There is very little space to acknowledge and mourn our failures in a culture that is obsessed with success and resilience," Shraya said about the series. "I wrote this story because no matter what I achieved, failing as a popstar — however trivial — was the thing that kept me up at night. I'm so grateful to CBC and Sphere for believing in this project and for helping create more space for the conversations we avoid but very much need."

Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre and film. Her album Part-Time Woman was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, her music was featured on the acclaimed CBC and HBO Max show Sort Of, and her best-selling book I'm Afraid of Men was heralded by Vanity Fair as "cultural rocket fuel." She is also the founder of the award-winning publishing imprint VS. Books, which supports emerging BIPOC writers.

The original production of How To Fail as a Popstar was commissioned and produced by Canadian Stage, Toronto, Ontario. This adaptation for CBC Gem is produced by Sphere Media with the financial participation of the TELUS Fund, the Bell Fund, and the Shaw Rocket Fund. In June 2020, the project was selected as one of the recipients of development support from the CBC Creative Relief Fund, a fund created by CBC to provide immediate support to Canadian creators at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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