For Sepidar Yeganeh Farid, starring in Alberta Theatre Projects’ The New Canadian Curling Club is definitely art imitating life.Farid plays Fatima Al-Sayed, a Syrian refugee who joins a newcomers curling club in a rural Alberta town to help her with her English and to socialize and learn Canadian customs.Also on her team are a Chinese physician, a Jamaican Tim Hortons manager and a South Asian father. Their coach is a crusty old rink rat curler.“The play echoes so much of my own experience coming to Canada,” says Farid, who was born in Iran.“Our family moved to Turkey when I was five years old with the intention of coming to Canada, but things did not fall into place as quickly or smoothly as we had hoped.“Our home was in a slum in Istanbul. We didn’t even have running water for six months. We ended up living there for six years.”Farid’s father finally managed to get some illegal passports with the intention of sneaking into the Balkans and then making a refugee claim to come to Canada.“My father had a heart attack. It was horrible but it was definitely for the best. He needed open heart surgery but we didn’t have the money and had no status in Turkey. Our (Baptist) church reached out to other churches around the world to raise money for my father’s operation.One of those churches was in Montreal and eventually, they sponsored the family to come to Canada. They arrived in November of 2002.“We had bought beautiful winter coats in Turkey which immediately proved inadequate so we were grateful for the Canadian winter coats our sponsors brought to the airport.”Farid says the family was fortunate because the church had found them a house and had stocked it with food, furniture and bedding.“In the play, Fatima reveals she went through many of the same ordeals as our family did so I keep feeling like I’m reliving my own experiences through her.”One thing Farid did not do was join a curling club.“I’ve never curled and I don’t even skate. None of us playing the newcomers in The New Canadian Curling Club had ever curled but Duval Lang who plays the coach has been curling for most of his life so he has been our instructor on stage and off.”The stage in the Martha Cohen Theatre has been outfitted with a curling lane with fake ice. All of the actors have taken a tumble or two during practise. “Fortunately, Duval has taught us the proper way to fall on ice. We’ve all had to learn the proper and improper ways to sweep and to throw rocks.”Ontario playwright and actor Mark Crawford’s The New Canadian Curling Club was a runaway hit this past season at the Blyth Theatre and Farid feels that’s because “it’s so very funny but Mark’s characters are also very real.“They are very real human beings who just happen to come from different parts of the world and who have brought with them their beliefs and dreams. What they share is they all want to be Canadian.”Farid says she is fortunate to have come from an artistic family because she received unconditional support when she announced she wanted to act.“My mother writes, my father does voice-overs, my oldest sister has her own violin academy here in Calgary.Farid began acting seriously at St. Mary’s University where she studied psychology. She is also a mental health counsellor for refugees and immigrants at the Calgary Catholic School District.The New Canadian Curling Club runs in the Arts Commons’ Martha Cohen Theatre under the direction of ATP’s artistic director Darcy Evans from March 5-23.Arrive early for curling demonstrations and tips and an on-stage bar and stay late for talks from refugees and refugee and immigrants’ organizations in the city.