Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Playwrights Showcase

An evening with Obsidian Theatre's Playwrights

2011/12 Playwrights Unit Presentations

On June 4th, we are proud to present excerpts from works in progress from our fabulous playwrights unit members. These plays have been developed through the unit, come see them fly. 

by Audrey Dwyer
Directed by Leah Simone Bowen
Julie is writing a new screenplay of "To Kill a Mockingbird" from the perspective of Calpurnia, the Finch family maid. Is it a brilliant and necessary reclamation, or is she walking a dangerous line between history and caricature. 

Eating Pomegranates Naked
by Andrea Scott
Directed by Jamie Robinson
Truth, relationships, loss, and self-identity interact with one another in play that starts off as a dinner party that could be happening anywhere. How honest do you have to be with our partners if the truth will infect the relationship? Sometimes we are only as safe as our secrets.

lil sara//clicking venus
by Meghan Swaby
Directed by Dian Marie Bridge
A poetic and explosive exploration of the exploitation of Black women in history. lil sara/clicking venus is inspired by the life of the infamous ‘Hottentot Venus’, Sara Baartman, the young Khosian woman at the centre of Europe’s dark fascination with the exotic.    

Monday June 48pm 
Dancemakers Large Studio 313
55 Mill Street
Distillery District Building 74
This is a Pay-What-You-Can event

Playwrights Unit Submissions

We are now accepting applications for our 2012-13 Playwrights Unit!
Do you write for theatre? 
Do you want to work in a structured, nurturing, and vibrant community of artists? 
Do you identify as a member of the African Diaspora?

Obsidian Theatre is looking for you.

Through monthly meetings with the group, and individual guidance to serve each writer’s needs, the playwrights unit will be an intensive, year long process. In the unit writers can delve into a creation process in a supportive and nurturing environment while challenging themselves to investigate their writing process. The unit will also have an emphasis on professional development and the business of being a playwright in Canada. The unit will run from September 2012 to Spring 2013.

Application Due JUNE 1, 2012

Your application should include:

A 5 to 10 page writing sample
A 1 page Letter of Intent explaining why you write for theatre
Your resume

You can send your application by email to Mel Hague at pd@obsidiantheatre.com
Or by mail to:

Obsidian Theatre Company
1089 Dundas St. East
Toronto ON
M4M 1R9


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Black History Month and the Politics of Playwrighting


               Obsidian Theatre invites you to join us for free a panel discussion on:
Black History Month and the Politics of Playwrighting

We ask the question, as a Black Artist how much responsibility do you feel towards Black History Month? What is the importance of representing our histories on the stage? These are questions that we ask ourselves as artists of colour in all disciplines. All are welcome.
Reception to follow.

Our panel will include award winning playwrights:
 George Elliot Clarke, Marcia Johnson, Motion and Donna Michelle St. Bernard
Monday February 27th 6pm -10pm
                                                Buddies In Bad Times Theatre
                                    12 Alexander Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 1B4
                           For more information please call 416-463-8444 or email us at

About The Playwrights

George Elliot Clarke

George Elliott Clarke was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, near the Black Loyalist community of Three Mile Plains, in 1960. A graduate of the University of Waterloo (B.A., Hons., 1984), Dalhousie University (M.A., 1989), and Queen's University (Ph.D., 1993), he is now the inaugural E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto.

An Assistant Professor of English and Canadian Studies at Duke University, North Carolina, 1994-1999, Clarke also served at the Seagrams Visiting Chair in Canadian Studies at McGill University, 1998-1999, and as a Noted Scholar at the University of British Columbia (2002) and as a Visiting Scholar at Mount Allison University (2005). He has also worked as a researcher (Ontario Provincial Parliament, 1982-83), editor (Imprint, University of waterloo, 1984-85, and The Rap, Halifax, NS, 1985-87) social worker (Black United Front of Nova Scotia, 1985-86), parliamentary aide (House of Commons, 1987-91), and newspaper columnist (The Daily News, Halifax, NS, 1988-89, and The Halifax Herald, Halifax, NS, 1992-). He lives in Toronto, Ontario, but he also owns land in Nova Scotia. His many honours include the Portia White Prize for Artistic Achievement (1988), Governor-General's Award for Poetry (2001), the National Magazine Gold Medal for Poetry (2001), the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award (2004), and the prestigious Trudeau Fellow Prize (2005).

Donna Michelle St. Bernard 

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard is an activist, emcee and playwright. Her work in various disciplines has been presented at Summerworks, Ignite Festival, ARCfest, Canadian Music Week, NXNE and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. She has been honoured with the Enbridge Emerging PlayRite Award, Herman Voaden Playwriting Award, a Dora Award for outstanding new play and a playwright residency at Obsidian Theatre, and in 2010 was named as protégé by Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award winner, Naomi Campbell. DM is the artistic director of New Harlem Productions.

An award-winning emcee/poet, playwright, screenwriter & Hip Hop artist, Motion’s fusion of word, sound and drama is a potent mix of the ancient to the futuristic. Her lyrical agility has taken her to the stages of Manifesto Jamaica, the Urban Music Awards, CBC Television and HBO Def Poetry Jam. Lauded by Now Magazine as a “multi-talented, truthful artist,” Motion flipped the page of northside lit with the release of Motion In Poetry and 40 Dayz, writing and producing Aneemah’s Spot, which debuted at the Rock Paper Sistaz festival, and other featured works at Obsidian and Factory theatres, Luminato, Summerworks Festival and Young Centre for the Arts. Inspired by her work with the legendary Fresh Arts movement, MotionLive continues developing emerging talent in creative spaces such as Lit 4 Life, Urban Arts and the Caribbean International Literary Festival.
Marcia Johnson

Marcia has been a theatre artist in Toronto for over twenty years. Plays include Binti’s Journey, from ‘The Heaven Shop’ by Deborah Ellis (Theatre Direct); Courting Johanna based on Alice Munro’s ‘Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage’ (Blyth Festival) and Late, an original piece (Obsidian Theatre Company).The short opera My Mother’s Ring for which she wrote the libretto was nominated for a 2009 Dora Mavor Moore Award.

Her most recent play is Linden’s Sister, published by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario in the collection “More than a Play.” Marcia is also an actor and teacher.

Monday, January 9, 2012

On Being a Rehearsal Pianist...

With two weeks to go to the opening of Obsidian’s very first musical in association with Acting Upstage we asked our two *apprentices to blog about their experience working on Caroline, or Change. 
 First up is Beau Dixon who is Assistant Musical Director with mentor Reza Jacobs. Beau is a composer, musician, producer, playwright, actor and director. Two of his one act plays (From Here To Africville, Once A Flame) were produced at Factory Theatre (Toronto) and he has performed at 4th Line Theatre for numerous seasons. He is also artistic director for Firebrand Theatre (Peterborough).  Here are Beau’s thoughts on the rehearsal process.

Beau Dixon

"My first couple of weeks rehearsing 'Caroline, Or Change' have been very exciting!
Wow!  Although the work has been non-stop, I have had nothing but a positive experience through the whole process. I wasn't sure what my duties would be exactly.  It turns out Reza Jacobs- the music director- would be using me as the rehearsal pianist, while the director -Robert McQueen- focuses on blocking and character development with the actors.

I am  in the main rehearsal hall with Robert, while Reza works one on one with actors in another room.  Not many people realize how stressful it is to be rehearsal pianist! You have to be pretty 'spot on' with the tempo and overall 'groove' of the piece so you don't throw the actors off. I have learned so much from Reza. He is patient and sensitive, while also being meticulous and demanding with the daily performance that he is wanting from the actors. We are coming closer and closer to opening night. This is a big show! I know it's going to blow people's minds!

 I'm very proud and excited to be a part of the team. Hope you guys can make it out!"

 Beau xo

Caroline, Or Change runs Jan 21 - Feb 12, 2012 at the Berkely Street Theatre Downstairs.
 For tickets call 416-368-3110 or online

*Funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Obsidian’s professional training program is grounded in the philosophy of training through exploration and production to enhance knowledge, share skills, increase marketability and strengthen community. If you require more information on this program please contact:
Rupal Shah Apprenticeship Coordinator.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Broadway League's Demographic Stats

So this update is actually brought to you via Thomas Cott of You've Cott Mail. I heartily recommend that you subscribe to his newsletter if you are interested in a huge range of theatrical ideas.

This particular edition of Cott Mail deals with the Broadway Leagues Demographic Study of the racial breakdown of their audiences and some interesting reactions to that study.
It makes for some fascinating reading and leaves some room for intensive thought.

So read away and ponder.

Tyler Coates, BlackBook magazine,   Shocker: Old White People Love Broadway

Marcia's Black Theater Blog         How come Lynn Nottage is not on Broadway?

Tom Loughlin, A Poor Player blog,   Is it so bad to admit that theatre is for white people?