Obsidian Theatre

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Obsidian Theatre is a Canadian professional theatre company that specializes in Black Canadian drama. The company is located in Toronto, Ontario. The declared mandate of the company is a threefold mission: to produce plays, to develop playwrights and to train theatre professionals. They strive to produce works by highly acclaimed playwrights of African and Caribbean descent.

History[edit]

Obsidian Theatre Company (OTC) was founded in 1999 with a mission to produce plays from the worldwide canon focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the works of highly acclaimed playwrights of African descent. Through dramaturgical and performance workshops OTC promotes and develops the work of African-Canadian playwrights. The company also provides opportunities for employment and training through mentoring and apprenticeship programs.

In 2002, the company received funding of $48,000 for an audience development and marketing strategy project for Djanet Sears' Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God.[1]

Obsidian alumni include Rita Deverell, Alison Sealy-Smith and Philip Akin. The company's works, which include Austin Clarke's acclaimed The Polished Hoe[2] have been nominated for several awards, including the Dora Mavor Moore award for 2008's production of Intimate Apparel.[3]

People[edit]

Founding members[edit]

  • Awaovieyi Agie
  • Ardon Bess
  • David Collins
  • Roy Lewis
  • Yanna McIntosh
  • Diane Roberts
  • Kim Roberts
  • Sandi Ross
  • Djanet Sears
  • Satori Shakoor
  • Tricia Williams
  • Alison Sealy-Smith
  • Philip Akin

Board of directors[edit]

  • Bev Salmon- Chair
  • Trevor Hampden-Vice Chair
  • Walter Gibbons - Treasurer
  • Gloria Schmed-Scott- Secretary
  • Delrine Jones
  • Carol Rowntree
  • Dawn Vernon

2008/2009 season[edit]

Their 2008/2009 season consists of two works. One is Late, a play described as a discourse on life and love written by Marcia Johnson and directed by Marjorie Chan. The companion piece for this is Black Medea by aboriginal Australian playwright Wesley Enoch who moved the classic Greek tragedy to his home country. Director (and Obsidian Theatre founding member) Philip Akin then re-imagined the work for a Canadian audience.[4]

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.

Playwrights unit[edit]

An integral part of the company is the Obsidian Playwrights Unit, a venue for exploration of ideas.

Playwrights commit to bi-weekly meetings over a seven-month period {September to March}. The group is headed by the Artistic Director and is focused on playwright development as opposed to full-length play creation. This allows for each playwright to work on a short piece for workshop production and also explores a number of philosophical ideas that stimulate ideas and conversation.

In February, the playwrights are matched with three directors to work on staging the plays for a workshop production, culminating in a Performance showcase called the 'Mussorgsky Project'. This year's playwrights are Laurence Anthony, Aisha Sasha John and Motion.

References[edit]

External links[edit]