Kim’s Convenience Actor, Sugith Varughese, Honours Parents Through Donation

When Sugith Varughese wanted to honour his parents and make a contribution to their community, Persephone Theatre was one of the first organizations which came to his mind.

“When Tibor Feheregyhazi was the artistic director at Persephone, my parents were season ticket holders,” Varughese said. “So when I heard about the tile walk that exists at the Persephone lobby, I thought, ‘Oh, that would be kind of a nice thing to do to honor my parents.’

“It was about them being members of the community and Saskatoon. That’s why I decided to support (Persephone).”

Since both of his parents have passed away, Varughese wanted to do something to honour them—having their names engraved in a tile permanently installed in the lobby at the Persephone, as part of the tile walk initiative.

While the Remai Arts Centre was being built, Persephone’s Artistic Director Tibor Feheregyhazi passed away. The lobby was named in his honour and Persephone created “Tibor’s Walk of Fame” after the first tile was laid in Feheregyhazi’s honour. Anyone can purchase a tile in honour of an individual, family, group or organization by talking to the Persephone Theatre Development Officer.

Varughese’s parents immigrated to Saskatoon in 1958. His father was a medical doctor from India, who found it challenging to find a program in Canada which would accept him to specialize in neurosurgery. The University of Saskatchewan was the only institution he found where he could train as a neurosurgeon.

After completing his neurosurgical internship and residency in Saskatoon, his father continued his education at the Montreal Neurological Institute, then to Ottawa, finally receiving his fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

“Then he wanted to practice neurosurgery in Canada and … even though he had trained for 10 years in Canada and was as qualified as any other neurosurgeon in the country, the only place that would accept him to practice neurosurgery in 1967 was Saskatchewan,” he explained. “No other province would let him because his MD was from India.”

His parents enjoyed living in Saskatoon, raising their family and becoming part of the local community. He said his dad has his picture up at the hospital in his honour, but Varughese wanted something in memory of both parents.

“I also work in the theater in in Toronto, so it all sort of felt like an appropriate thing,” he said. “And because the tile is permanent, anytime I am in Saskatoon I can come and take a look at it.”

Seeing his parents’ names memorialized in the Persephone lobby was an emotional experience for Varughese. He moved away from Saskatoon in 1976 to further his theatre education, eventually having a successful writing and acting career in Toronto. He had not been in the new Remai Arts Centre since it was built.

“I actually knew of Persephone when it first started back in 1975,” Varughese smiled. “I was at the opening night of the very first production of Doll’s House. I think I was ushering as a way to see the show.”

Varughese said he likes to think his parents were supporting the arts and Persephone as a gesture of supporting his career choice to work in the arts community.

He enjoys seeing Persephone be a big part of the Saskatoon community in a grand and established way.

“It’s really sort of heartwarming to know that that little piece of them is here and Persephone is going to be here,” he said. “That’s great.”

Varughese believes it is important to support the arts because it is an essential part of humanity, giving people a higher purpose. He thinks it’s important to make space for arts venues and theatres instead of condos and office buildings in larger cities.

“The reason to live in a place is not for another condo,” he explained. “It’s to go see a great play or eat a great meal or go see a great painting or something. That’s the reason to live in some place. If Persephone wasn’t in Saskatoon, there’s less reason to enjoy being in Saskatoon. I think it’s a shame that the arts get such short shrift for us in Canada.”

“Without the arts, what’s the point? I think if there’s a reason to support Persephone, that’s the reason, at least in Saskatoon. This is a cultural institution that needs to be supported, otherwise, Saskatoon is less nice place to be.


If you are interested in making a donation, please contact Development Officer Jory McKay at [email protected] 


persephone-logomark Stay Up to Date

Join our mailing list, and we'll keep you posted on season announcements, show information, event details and more!