Monday, April 27, 2009

Mussorgsky Project

Obsidian marks the beginning of spring with The Mussorgsky Project - our third annual staged reading series celebrating the work of our Playwrights Unit.
What makes each Obsidian event a success is the presence and constant support of our community. Come and join us for an afternoon of readings, a talkback session and great company. Take the opportunity to indulge in complimentary treats and meet the playwrights at the post-show reception.


Sun May 3rd, 2009
2:30 p.m.
Factory Theatre Studio
Part of the CrossCurrents Festival 2009
Tickets: PWYC

Featuring new works by Obsidian's 2008/2009 Playwrights Unit:

Toast by: Laurence Anthony
Directed by Mumbi Tindyebwa

Group by: Aisha Sasha John
Directed by Joan Kivanda

Aneemah’s Spot by: Motion
Directed by Dian Marie Bridge

For more information about the Mussorgsky project please visit our website at: www.obsidian-theatre.com

Obsidian General Auditions

Obsidian’s General Auditions

On Tuesday, May 19th & Wednesday, May 20th 2009 we will be having our annual General Auditions.
Please submit online using Casting Workbook.
For actors who are not online: please email photo and resume to:
office@obsidian- theatre.com
cc: obsidiantheatre@bellnet.ca

Please prepare 2 short contrasting monologues (modern or classical- whichever shows you off best) and if you are singer feel free to do an acappella verse.

Please bring hardcopy of headshot and resume with you to the audition.

Obsidian is interested primarily in black artists who have not auditioned for us in the last two years.

Playwrights Unit 2009/2010

Call Out for Playwrights Unit 2009/2010:

This coming season Obsidian will be introducing Playwrights Unit: Tier 2, which will concentrate on the development of full-length main stage plays. Tier 2 begins in the fall and will work according to the needs of the playwrights and their scripts. There will be dramaturgical support, private readings and a public event that will showcase their new works.

How to Apply:
Please send in a resume or current bio, cover letter explaining the project you would like to work on while in the Unit and a 5-10 page excerpt from said project by Friday May 29, 2009 to:

Playwrights Unit- Tier 2
c/o Harmony Cohen
Obsidian Theatre Company
943 Queen St E
Toronto, ON
M4M 1J6

Successful Playwrights will be notified by Monday June 15, 2009.

Harvest Reading Series

Obsidian Theatre Company is calling for scripts, new and previously produced, from established AND emerging playwrights across Canada for inclusion in Harvest: A Reading Series from October 21-23rd at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Harvest will present the works of Black Canadian playwrights from 1970 to the present that highlight the current identity and stories of Black Canadians. Playwrights will read from their works.


Mentor/Apprentice Program Call Out

Mentor/Apprentice Program

Obsidian Theatre Company is passionately dedicated to the exploration, development and production of the Black voice.

Funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Obsidian Theatre Company is offering 4 paid apprenticeship positions as part of the 2009-10 season. Placements will occur between Autumn 2009 and Spring 2010.

Apprentices will be given the opportunity to work alongside noted members of the Canadian theatre community, including Obsidian Theatre company members. Past partners for this program have included Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, Factory Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Mirvish Productions, Nightswimming and Canadian Stage. Past Mentors include:

Philip Akin, Jeff Cummings, Christopher Dennis, Monica Esteves, Joanna Falck, Donna Feore, Michael Gianfrancesco, Astrid Janson,Tamara Marie Kucheran, Steve Lucas,Allen MacInnis, Paul Mathiesen, Doug Morum, Brian Quirt, Allan Ross, Michael Sinclair, Colin Taylor, Julia Tribe, Iris Turcott, Lesley Wilkinson, Quammie Williams, Martin Zwicker

Depending on the interests and abilities of the applicants, FOUR (4) apprentices
will be chosen from the following 7 categories:

- Apprentice Director - Apprentice Production Manager
- Apprentice Dramaturg - Apprentice Set Designer
- Apprentice Producer - Apprentice Lighting Designer
- Apprentice Costume Designer


You must be actively pursuing a professional career in the theatre. Having an education in theatre, or equivalent experience at the community or professional level is essential to this program.

You are Canadian citizen or landed immigrant and you are, or identify yourself as, a member of the African Diaspora.

In addition to a resume, applicants must provide a letter of intent indicating their career goals and how an apprentice position would help in achieving those goals.

Submission deadline: Friday May 29th, 2009

Submit applications by e-mail or mail to:

Rupal Shah
Apprenticeship Coordinator, Obsidian Theatre
943 Queen St. East
Toronto, ON M4M 1J6

For more information about this program or about Obsidian Theatre, visit
www.obsidian-theatre.com or call Philip Akin, Artistic Director at 416 463 8444.


Sunday, April 26, 2009


And so we have come to this. Here we clearly sit at the intersection of "Be Careful What You Wish For Boulevard" and "The New Reality Lane". And all that is left is to try and create a new workable vision of the future.

So on the former street we believed that things would be so much better if only the major festivals would hire more minority actors. If they did that then everything would be coming up roses or maybe this coming up roses
Either way they are and it is not quite what we expected. First off the long seasons pull so many great performers out of the working pool that if you want to use them then you are looking a very restrictive time frame for production. And then now that performers know that the festivals are a calling they are now being quite reluctant to commit to any projects that are 8 - 14 months away.

And yet here on "New Reality Lane" time frames have totally changed over the last few years. As the available venue space has diminished the pre-planning has lengthened. We now book spaces a year to a year and a half in advance. Designers and Production Managers are booked at least that far in advance as well. In fact the entire industry has had to move towards these kinds of time lines except I daresay actors who in hopes of that elusive festival gig are refusing to commit.

Now this wouldn't be much of a problem if the role you are looking for is one that there are a number of choices for. However if it is a very specific role due to age/background/gender then all of a sudden you are in an ugly producing box. If the actors won't commit do you cancel the show? Or go outside the country?

If you don't do the show then there goes your co-pro and your season. If you go outside the country then I think that some goodwill just left the building.

I am not sure how to solve these issues. All I know is that this particular intersection has the same freezing aspects as Portage and Main in January.

Sunday Quickies

Ok so a huge listing of provocative links for you this Sunday.

So The Guardian wants to know if Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize win for Drama went against the awards criteria.

The Mission Paradox blog started a great thread that provoked a number of responses about how companies start and why they crash and burn.
Start you exploration here and then go here and here.
There are some tangent links which are fully worth the ride as well.

In somewhat the same vein we have Don Hall with an interesting post as well.

On some other thoughts......

Does theatre still shock?

Do we really and truly want patrons boozing in the house?

Some people seem to think so.

The Olfactory Theatre. I must confess to trying this with Toronto the Good but it never came off exactly like I envisioned it. I wanted the smell of popcorn to be making peoples stomach rumble but it just didn't quite work.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nottage Alert

Ah most excellent news as Lynn Nottage wins the Pulitzer Prize for Ruined

I saw this play about 6 weeks ago and man o man it is truly great.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I wrote about Jack Medhurst here.

I just found out that there will be a Memorial Service for him.

The Memorial Service for Jack will be held on Thursday, April 9 between 2-4 at the Tony Stacey Centre for Veterans Care, 59 Lawson Road, Scarborough, M1C 2J1. It is south of Kingston Road between Morningside and Port Union Road.
RSVP to kphiggins@sympatico.ca. The number there is 416-284-9235. The notice suggests in lieu of flowers, to please make a donation to the Centre.

Sorry for the late notice but please make it out if you can.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


We all want to connect with our audiences. So many times we puzzle over new strategies, ideas, and concepts to create that very elusive ephemeral union with our paying public.

Has it all gone hugely wrong?

Say it ain't so?