- Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) is Canada’s longest running theatre company dedicated to the works of Black and diasporic communities. BTW’s mission is to promote and produce outstanding theatre that educates, entertains and inspires. The company strives to create greater cross-cultural understanding by challenging its audience and the status quo. Expanding the representation of Black Canadian artists, BTW bridges cultural divides – uniting hearts, minds and communities.
The Black Community Resource Centre, in collaboration with Black Theatre Workshop, is offering a series of online workshops to celebrate English black histories in Quebec. The project will invite artists and community members to enter into a creative dialogue with the English black histories that have shaped this province. By exploring their own ancestral lineage to awaken a sense of belonging, participants will immerse themselves in the Arrivals Personal Legacy process led by Arrivals Legacy Project founder Diane Roberts in collaboration with an interdisciplinary co-facilitation team (to be announced)
The Arrivals Legacy Project (Arrivals) is a creative engagement tool designed for those who wish to seed new expressive works based on Ancestry and personal history. The process allows participants to connect in new ways to their authentic historic bodies as a powerful source for artistic expression, personal & cultural empowerment. The Arrivals method is a combination of “Afrisporic” influenced performance traditions (dance, voice, movement, alignment, balance), contemporary story weaving and improvisational techniques that opens doors for the emergence of embodied truths drawn from Ancestrally anchored personal places.
This process will be applied in parallel with an exploration of black historical figures, so our Ancestral legacies may be in dialogue with the cultural and social contributions of the English speaking Black community of Quebec, with the hope of awakening a sense of belonging to the land. The outcome/embodiment of this online experiment will be presented in March 2021 in the shape of an installation in a physical and digital space.
The impact of the Arrivals process is profound & lasting. Participants have reported their encounters as turning point moments in their creative work, and in some cases, their lives. In whatever context the workshop is being conducted, the deeply rooted connections that are made, serve to open doors of creativity, diversity & connection.
Diane Roberts is an accomplished director, dramaturge, writer and cultural animator, who has collaborated with innovative theatre visionaries and interdisciplinary artists for the past 30 years. Her directorial and dramaturgical work has been seen on stages across Canada and her reputation as a mentor, teacher and community collaborator is nationally and internationally recognized. Roberts has birthed a vision for theatre that encourages Indigenous ways of knowing as a stepping stone to creative expression.
To apply for this program, please submit a short statement to lydie@TheatreBTW.ca with the subject line “BELONGING PROJECT_FIRST_LAST_ NAME” For example.“BELONGING PROJECT_Samantha_Nyinawumuntu_” containing:
- Why you want to participate
- What life experience you bring
- How do you locate yourself toward English Black history in Quebec
- Your creative practice (i.e. dancer, writer, actor, interdisciplinary, etc) training (if any) and interests
- Your name, phone numbers, mailing address and email
- A small .jpg photo of yourself
No formal artistic training is necessary–just an interest in and willingness to step out of your comfort zone in a collaborative environment.
Natjelly is from Mexico City. She studied the Bachelor in Dramatic Literature and Theatre at National Autonomous University of Mexico and a DEC in Theatre Production at John Abbott College.
She has worked as an actress mostly for theatre and as an acting teacher in High Schools and Summer Camps. She has also worked as artistic coordinator and actress in entertainment parks such as Six Flags and Kidzania. During her third year at college she was Costume Crew Chief for Dark of the Moon, Sound Designer for Noises Off, Stage Manager for Execution of Justice and Lighting Designer for the musical Into the Woods. She has worked as Stage Manager , VSM and Assistant for various companies like the Segal Centre, the St-Ambroise Fringe Festival , the QDF and the association creature/creature. In 2020, she did an artistic internship for the company creature/creature as part of the demART Program, financed by the Conseil des Arts de Montreal.
Andi(ra) is an artist, designer, and general creative based in so-called Montreal. Their practice revolves around the intersections of design, art and positive social change. They strive to challenge the colonial aspects of art and design and to use their position as a designer to uplift the voices of those who have historically been excluded from the overarching design/art narrative.
Lopa started acting when she was in high school. Her work as a performer has taken her to stages across Canada, to Dublin, and to Kolkata, India. She has a great love for contemporary storytelling that unearths truths about what it is be human, across timelines and across generations. A physically-based actor, Lopa builds her characters from the inside out in the traditions of Grotowski and Chaikin. She often inhabits more than one character in a single piece, a skill that came in handy when embodying her grandfather in his various incarnations for The Vermillion Project.
In 2005, Lopa had something to get off her chest. A story that lived somewhere deep in her, in her blood. It was the story of her grandfather but she had no idea how to (re)(un)(dis)cover it until she met Diane. Diane’s Personal Legacy methodology is a perfect fusion of embodied exploration with solid research; it complimented Lopa’s previous training and was a great support to carry her through such a deep exploration of her roots. Lopa received an Intersectional Initiatives Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2008 to begin work on The Vermillion Project with Diane and the first draft was presented in 2009.
In 2007, Lopa was awarded a Shastri Arts Fellowship to teach voice and to study with one of the fathers of modern Bengali theatre, Badal Sircar. During the fellowship, she performed in her mother tongue, Bengali, with two of West Bengal’s most prominent theatre companies, Satabdi and Pathasena. While there, Lopa also shared her work as a budding voice teacher and became in-house Voice Coach for both companies.
Lopa completed her MFA Acting and Graduate Diploma in Teaching Voice at York University in 2011. She also holds a Diploma in Physical Theatre from Tooba Physical Theatre Conservatory. Lopa currently teaches at York University in the Department of Theatre and within Humber College’s Actor Conservatory. She also coaches voice & speech, dialects, and presentation skills privately through her company, Lopa Sircar Voice.
Liliona lives and works in K‘jipuktuk (Halifax), on the powerful, unceded and unsurrendered land of the Mi’kmaq people. Originally from Ghana and the Philippines, via several other places, she has an eclectic background and a diverse set of trainings and experiences. As a result, she wears many hats – choreographer, dancer, actor, singer, community organizer, and facilitator. Liliona’s work stems from the idea of the body as story - an ever shifting, layered meeting place of moments and memory that is in constant conversation with time, space, land, and other bodies. Liliona sees her body as a link to past and to future generations.
She choreographs and performs across Canada and internationally, creates original works dance and theatre works as an independent artist, facilitates arts and social justice community programming, and is the Artistic Director of Kinetic Studio. Her scope of work is broad, but is particularly focused on the relationship between art and social justice, on the body’s ability to carry ancestral memory, and on the role the performing arts can play in creating change.
Julie is an award-winning actor, theatre creator and mentor from Montreal. Selected acting credits include: Sin in Paradise Lost (Centaur), Marion in The Team on The Hill (Blyth Festival), Annie in Jean Dit (Théâtre D‘Aujourd’hui), Elena in Butcher (Centaur), Isabella Bird in Top Girls (Segal Centre), Emilia in Othello (Scapegoat Carnivale/Segal) and Nancy in Oliver! (National Arts Centre)
Her first play, Mixie and the Halfbreeds (with Adrienne Wong), about mixed identity in multiple universes, was first commissioned as a radio play by CBC, then adapted for the stage for Neworld Theatre in Vancouver. Her second play, The Tashme Project: The Living Archives (with Matt Miwa), a verbatim retelling of the Japanese Canadian internment experience, recently toured to Montreal (Centaur), Toronto (Factory), Vancouver (Firehall) and Ottawa (Prismatic Arts Festival/GCTC). It was published by Canada Playwrights’ Press in the summer of 2019.
She is currently writing her third play, Mizushōbai- The Water Trade, commissioned by Tableau D’Hôte Theatre, about Kiyoko Tanaka Goto, a Japanese picture-bride turned ‘underground’ business woman in 1930’s British Columbia, as well as creating an AR pod play/solo walk with Imago Theatre and Pulse called This is Not a Memorial.
She has been a mentor for Imago Theatre’s mentorship program, ARTISTA and Black Theatre Workshop’s AMP.
Julie is a proud Sansei (third generation) Japanese Canadian and a member of the student taiko group Inazuma Daiko.
Benita Bailey is an Ethiopian-German artist who moved to Montreal in 2016. She has a background in International Relations and African Studies at the University of Leipzig and at Hong Kong Baptist University & worked in this field in NYC and Beijing as well as research assistant in the Human Rights department at the German parliament in Berlin. From 2012 - 2015 Benita studied acting full-time in Berlin. Since graduating in 2015, Benita has appeared on German Cinema and national television, worked with acclaimed director Robert Wilson and collaborated with theatres in Berlin such as Ballhaus Naunynstraße and Haus der Berliner Festspiele.
In Montreal she was part of the renowned BTW Artist’s Mentorship Program (2017/18), worked with Imago Theatre, Scapegoat Theatre among others in venues such as the Rialto, MAI, Centaur Theatre. In 2017, Bailey was part of the cast of six Black actresses for a production of Shange’s ‘For Colored Girls’ at McGill University marking an historical occasion - the institution’s first ever all-Black production. She was part of Théâtre La Chapelle’s 2019/2020 season with „chattermarks". Benita is currently part of the MAI Alliance Program 2019/20 where she is developing a new performance piece called "diasporakids". She is a part of the Afro-German artist collective, "Label Noir" with whom she performed in 2020 at Maxim Gorki Theatre Berlin and she created her own show called #yellit From The Mountain where she has conversations with Black Performance Artists from Canada and Germany.
Warona Setshwaelo is a storyteller, mother and activist. Since moving to Tiohtià:ke 12 years ago, Warona has immersed herself in the theatre community, both locally and nationally. Apart from performing with several theatre companies in Montreal, such as Tessri Duniya, Repercussion Theatre, Geordie Theatre, Black Theatre Workshop, The Segal Centre, Tableau d’Hote and Scapegoat Carnivale she has performed in Toronto at the Tarragon Theatre as well as at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Company in Winnipeg and the Belfry in Victoria.
Her credits also include Death Wish, The Disappearance, 19-2, Quantico, The Detectives, Fatal Vows as well as several video games including Assassin‘s Creed Origins, The District and John Clancy’s Ghost Recon. She also sat on the board of ELAN (English Language Arts Network) 2015 - 2017, she is presently the co-coordinator of the Artist Mentorship Program at Black Theatre Workshop and is so excited to be the new Vice President of QDF’s board.