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.