Welcome to our 50th Season!
Black Theatre Workshop, the longest running Black theatre company in Canada, has reached a significant milestone – its 50th Anniversary season. For 50 years, BTW has been a pillar in the Canadian theatre landscape, dedicated to the development and promotion of stories that celebrate Black society and culture. From its early days under the umbrella of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Montreal’s Drama Committee to becoming a nationally renowned award-winning professional theatre company, BTW has shown perseverance, resilience, innovation and growth, helping to solidify its place as one of the most preeminent theatre companies in Canada.
Now celebrating its 50th year, BTW is excited to launch a season that sets the stage for its promising future.
A special welcome to Lydie, Nalo and Tim!
For season 50, BTW is pleased to announce the appointment of Lydie Dubuisson (left) as its new Artistic Associate. A bilingual emerging playwright and director, Lydie is an alumnus of the BTW Artist Mentorship Program with a promising career in both English and French theatre. As part of the BTW team, she will be working closely with Artistic Director Quincy Armorer on the company’s future programming, as well as on its play development initiatives and other artistic projects.
BTW will also welcome two Resident Designers for the 50th season. Set and Costume Designer Nalo Soyini Bruce (middle) and Lighting Designer Tim Rodrigues (right) have worked with BTW on multiple projects and were assigned to the company’s anniversary mainstage productions, which now have both been postponed. As Resident Designers they will collaborate in the development of upcoming BTW projects and be responsible for the designs of productions that will take place during the 2021-22 season.
We begin with Discovery Series!
The first event of the 50th season will be the annual Discovery Series – a play reading of a new work in development. The selected play this year is Sanctuary by BTW’s newly appointed Artistic Associate Lydie Dubuisson. Sanctuary is a feminist conversation between a teenage girl and her sister, her Godmother, her best friend, her pastor and God, as she takes refuge in the sanctuary of her church while searching for answers about her destiny.
For this creation, Lydie Dubuisson juggles with English, French and Creole to explore the complexity of an identity but also to create a moment of reflection on the role of women and continuity. What unites or binds girls to their communities? Why stay or go; for whom and at what price? Sanctuary is the prayer of a teenage girl who seeks to discern trust from blindness.
The Discovery Series this year will be a virtual event, streamed live on Facebook LIVE and our YouTube Channel.
Friday January 15 – 7pm
We are pleased to invite you to our Virtual Vision Celebration!
The 50th anniversary of Black Theatre Workshop also marks the 35th anniversary of the Vision Celebration Gala. The annual event pays tribute to Black Canadians who have made significant contributions to the performing arts. This year, the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award will be presented to Haitian dancer, choreographer, teacher and artistic director Eddy Toussaint.
The Dr. Clarence Bayne Community Service Award will be presented to Thelma Johnson, and two youth awards will also be presented at the gala, which this year will be transformed into an online virtual event streamed live on our Facebook page. Vision Celebration Gala will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2021 at 7pm and will feature performances from some of Montreal’s most talented artists, including a special performance from legendary award-winning vocalist, Ranee Lee!
To register for the Vision Celebration Gala please click on the image above or the following link Vision Registration
Saturday, January 30, 2021 7PM
A great act of theatre!
BTW was selected as one of 11 companies from across the country to participate in the National Arts Centre’s ‘Grand Acts of Theatre’ initiative, bringing large-scale socially distant performances to live audiences during the pandemic. Black and Blue Matters – Track 1: No One Gives a F*ck About A Cop is an excerpt from our upcoming production of Black and Blue Matters, a satirical, interactive Hip Hop musical written by Omari Newton and directed by Diane Roberts.
This installation performance is a rap battle between Sammir Frederique, a Black teenager who was shot nine times by a police officer, and David Harrison, the white police officer who shot him. The story aims to deconstruct the justice system, white supremacy and the nature of post/neo-colonial trauma.
The exact date of this presentation will soon be determined in collaboration with the National Arts Centre.
a Black Theatre Workshop Production
National Arts Centre English Theatre’s
Grand Acts of Theatre
Marking this Moment
As the performing arts sector continues to face unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Arts Centre has responded with Grand Acts of Theatre, an initiative to bring Canadian artists and audiences together. Eleven of Canada’s most innovative theatre companies have been engaged to create and perform large-scale, new works in response to these times, which will be performed outdoors in front of live audiences in various Canadian locations, filmed, and later shared online. For more information on Grand Acts of Theatre and the companies involved please visit nac-cna.ca/GrandActsofTheatre https://rb.gy/ryjh1k
The National Arts Centre Foundation wishes to thank RBC Foundation as Presenting Partner of Grand Acts of Theatre.
Grand Acts of Theatre is also made possible thanks to the support from The Jenepher Hooper Fund for Theatre at the National Arts Centre Foundation, established as a result of a generous gift from the estate of Jenepher Margaret Hooper.
A collaboration between old friends!
While primarily known as an anglophone theatre company, BTW is committed to expanding its programming to offer productions and performances in French. On the heels of past collaborations with Espace Libre (Black Boys) and Théâtre D’Aujourd’hui (Angélique), BTW is thrilled to partner with Théâtre La Licorne on a workshop presentation of the English / French translation of Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau, translated by Mishka Lavigne, to be presented in the spring of 2021.
Pipeline tells the urgent story of a mother’s struggle to protect her teenage son, keeping him from falling into the “school-to-prison pipeline” that funnels underprivileged youth from public school directly into the criminal justice system. The play is a reflection of not only the deep racial issues that exist in the United States but also on our own systemic racial imbalances here in Canada. This BTW/La Licorne collaboration will also extend into the 2021-22 season, when a bilingual cast will perform in concurrent presentations of both the English and French version of the play.
Poetry JAM is back!
Also in the new year, BTW will present an online Poetry JAM! This event will bring together some of Montreal’s most talented spoken wordsmiths in a showcase where each artist will perform work based on a chosen theme. Following the presentation, the poets will participate in a virtual live discussion and Q&A with the audience. Get inspired and be moved by the power of the spoken word at the BTW Poetry JAM. Look out for more information on the BTW website.
The Artist Mentorship Program is now in its eighth successful year!
This season the program welcomes a talented ensemble of 11 emerging IBPOC theatre artists, strengthening their skills and preparing them for professional careers in the performing arts. With the continued support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, as well as a new AMP Season Sponsorship from the DAN School of Drama & Music at Queen’s University, the AMP program continues to be an invaluable resource for emerging theatre artists. The Artist Mentorship Program Industry Showcase will be presented April 22-25, 2021 as a live stream event on the BTW Facebook page, connecting the talented ensemble with directors, artistic directors, casting agents and other potential engagers not just in Montreal but across the country.
April 22-25, 2021
As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary, we wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all the artists and audiences, past and present, that have helped us to achieve this incredible milestone! It has been a pleasure for us – for the past 50 years – to play a leading role in bringing stories from the many Black communities to the stage. Thank you for being a part of our legacy, and here’s to another 50 years of Black Theatre Workshop!
Black Theatre Workshop is Canada’s longest running Black theatre company and is committed to reflecting Black culture and community by developing and providing visibility for Black Canadian artists. Black Theatre Workshop is an award-winning English-speaking theatre company based in Montreal, Quebec.