Photo: Kristine Cofsky


Jovanni Sy is a playwright, director, actor, and the Artistic Director of Gateway Theatre in Richmond, BC.  From 2004-2009, Jovanni was the Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre Company.

Jovanni’s latest play, Nine Dragons, a detective story set in 1920s colonial Hong Kong, premiered at Vertigo Theatre in Calgary in September and subsequently transferred to Winnipeg’s Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and then to Gateway Theatre. Nine Dragons won the Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding New Play in 2018.

In 2010, Cahoots premiered his solo piece A Taste of Empire which was nominated for two Dora Awards including Outstanding New Play.  A Taste of Empire was translated into Cantonese and performed as 食盡天下 by Derek Chan (with Jovanni directing). This translated version was nominated for a Dora Award in 2018.  Both A Taste of Empire and Nine Dragons have been published by Talonbooks.

Other writing credits also include The Five Vengeances, a comic kung-fu adapation of The Revengers Tragedy, and the libretti to the chamber operas Haiku Moments and The Cellar Door. Jovanni is currently co-writing a new play called Salesman in China with Leanna Brodie in association with Playwrights Theatre Centre in Vancouver.

Directing credits include God of Carnage, Antigone, and Blackbird (Theatre du Pif); Closer Than Ever, Valley Song, and Harvest (Gateway); Stitch by Clifford Cardinal (Native Earth Performing Arts).

As an actor, Jovanni has performed with theatre companies across Canada and overseas.

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  • A Taste of Empire  – nominated for two Dora Awards including Outstanding New Play in 2010; revival nominated for a Dora Award in 2018
  • Nine Dragonswinner of the Jessie Award for Outstanding New Play
  • Nine Dragons – nominated for a Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play
  • Nine Dragons – nominated for 5 Evie Awards including Outstanding New Work (Jovanni Sy)

Published Works

(Praise for Nine Dragons)
“Jovanni Sy drops us into a seedy, colonial Kowloon where race, desire, and power collide. It’s classic noir: murder, mystery, thwarted ambitions, one good detective, and one rotten town. Stylish and smart, Nine Dragons is a multi-layered pleasure.”

Guillermo VerdecchiaGovernor General’s Award for Drama recipient