Our tEaM

Dian Marie Bridge
Artistic Director

dianmarie@theatrebtw.ca

Dian Marie Bridge is an award-winning writer, director and creative producer who seeks to open spaces, provide platform, enrich community-bridge building, and to help others do the same.

She was previously Associate Artistic Director at Luminato Festival Toronto, Artistic Director intern at Obsidian Theatre, Artist-in-Residence at Necessary Angel Theatre, Founding Artistic Producer of Cric Crac Collective, and member of the Stratford Festival’s Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction.

Dian holds a degree in Theatre Arts and Dramatic Literature from Brock University and was enrolled in the University of Minnesota’s Theatre Arts and Dance program (Twin Cities).

Directing work includes Beloved: A Celebration of Toni Morrison and Black Women Writers  (Luminato Festival Toronto), The Mountain Top (Persephone Theatre), Made In Congo (Theatre Row United Solo Festival), Aneemah’s Spot (Cric Crac Collective/Motion Live).

Adèle Benoit
Outgoing Managing Director

adele@theatrebtw.ca

Adèle Benoit has always been a fan of the arts and of Montreal. Originally from Ottawa, she has an MBA specializing in Marketing and Not-for-Profit organizations from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business and an undergraduate double major in Linguistics and German. In 2012 she was named Protégé by the Mallory Gilbert Award Winner Chuck Childs. She is a former member of the METAs Committee and has been on the Diversity Committee of the Conseil québécois du théâtre since 2016. She has been with BTW since February 2005, collaborating with three BTW Artistic Directors.

Laurie-Anne Jean-Baptiste
Marketing Manager

marketing@theatrebtw.ca

Laurie-Anne Jean-Baptiste is an experienced marketing professional with a demonstrated history in the telecommunications and IT industry. Her love for performing arts has kept her involved on the Montreal musical theatre scene for many years, as a performer and as the VP Promotion for The Lyric Theatre. Her studies in Cinema & Communications and Creative Writing only reinforced the creativity she discovered and fostered in her youth. Her career and creative projects have made her an inspired and passionate storyteller.  Laurie-Anne is thrilled to join the BTW family and looks forward to contributing to its history and important mission.

Jaa Smith-Johnson
Producer

jaa@theatrebtw.ca

Jaa Smith-Johnson is an award-winning actor and producer with over a decade of experience in the Film/TV, Theatre and multi-digital media industry. He is also the former co-artistic director at Third Eye Ensemble and founder of Para-Dime Productions. Jaa’s mantra: As a creator the goal is to always find a way to cultivate, empower, nurture and develop stories and ideas in a creative collaboration of synergies involving artists of all kinds. Through imagination, hard work and good old positive fun an organic creation is born… it’s magic, and that’s what storytelling is all about! I’m very pleased to be a part of the team at BTW as we move forward in bringing more amazing stories to the vast and vibrant community!

Warona Setshwaelo
Artist Mentorship Program Manager

warona@theatrebtw.ca

After more than a decade in Montreal, Warona feels like a true Montrealer. An actress and teacher, Warona is a graduate of the Virginia Tech Theatre Arts program. As an actor, she has worked with several theatre companies in Montreal including Black Theatre Workshop, Imago Theatre, Teesri Duniya and Tableau D’Hote. She is also co-founder of Metachroma Theatre. She was fortunate enough to have been a part of Black Theatre Workshop’s former Youthworks program, and until recently the Co-Coordinator of Artista, a theatre mentorship program for young women. Warona is excited and honoured to be working with The Artist Mentorship Ensemble, the future generation of Montreal English theatre.

Mariah Inger
Artist Mentorship Program Manager

mariah@theatrebtw.ca

Mariah Inger has been an actress for over 30yrs. She works in Film/TV, Voice, Radio & Theatre. She has had the chance to work with some of the industries finest, both in front and behind the camera. She is currently playing Rhoda, a recurring role on the hit series ‘Transplant’.

She is also a director, script consultant, creator and Mentor.

A mentor to emerging marginalized artists, a teacher at HUMBER College and Co-Program Manager of AMP(The Artist Mentorship Program at BTW) specializing in the Mentorship of Black Artists from across the country. She is a member of multiple committees, helping to implement better diversity/ inclusion policies and practices needed throughout the industry, including current Chair of Montreal’s ACTRA – DEIB committee (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging) & ACTRA’s National’ Chair of DEIB committee.

Lydie Dubuisson
Artistic Associate

lydie@theatrebtw.ca

Lydie Dubuisson is a playwright, director, and curator from Tiohtià:ke/ Montreal. She studied theater and graduated with distinctions from Concordia University. Her work examines intersectionality, collective memory, rituals and multilingual creative processes.

Becks Lefranc
Associate Producer

becks@theatrebtw.ca

Becks Lefranc has vast experience coordinating and supporting various programs in the non-profit and performing arts sectors. While attending the University of Toronto, Becks was involved with the Trinity College Dramatic Society as a director and producer, helping develop and stage several original works by emerging playwrights. Having worked with Black Theatre Workshop on its School Tour and other programs, they are excited for the opportunity to forward their career in the arts while supporting a new generation of Black artists

Huriell Jerome
Admin. Coordinator

huriell@theatrebtw.ca

Huriell Jerome is an emerging scriptwriter and content creator out of Montreal. He is currently doing a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, reinforcing his passion for writing, filmmaking, and theatre. He wishes in becoming part of the Black Theatre Workshop family. He can become an active resource for the community and be available for all that feel unheard and unseen. Huriell desires to contribute to BTW’s grand history and important mission.

Board of directors

Andréa Springer

President
Andréa is a Public Relations professional with over 20 years experience in corporate communications, media and investor relations, as well as project and event management. She is currently the Programmes & Communications Director at the World Design Organization where she works directly with municipalities to develop strategies that communicate the value and impact of design on quality of life. As one of the newest members to join the Black Theatre Workshop in 2019, she hopes to contribute to the growth and appreciation of the performing arts within the local community.

Allison DaCosta

Board Member
Ms. DaCosta has a Master of Business Administration with concentration in Marketing and International Business as well as a B.Arch and a B.Sc.(Arch) from McGill University. She is currently a Co-op program coordinator at Concordia University and has career experience in business development support and marketing for leading Canadian and international professional service firms. Following her avid interest in the performing arts, Ms. DaCosta joined the Black Theatre Workshop Board of Directors in 2015.

Clarence Bayne

Board Member
Director of the Institute for Community Entrepreneurship and Development (ICED) at John Molson Business School at Concordia University. Dr. Bayne moved from the West Indies to study at the University of British Columbia, where he obtained a BA (1958) and MEcon (1960). He completed his PhD at McGill (1977) and taught at Concordia University (JMSB). Dr Bayne has made many contributions to the Black community in Quebec especially in the arts and his development work. He is best known as being one of the founding members of the Black Theatre Workshop and was the Vice-President from 1991 to 2019. 

Danielle Fortas

Treasurer

Ms. Fortas has over 35 years of experience focused on technology implementations at BMO. With an emphasis on enterprise wide initiatives in Finance and Data Analytics, she has held multiple senior IT roles. Her latest management position has been in Back Office Operations where she has enabled process change within business units. Danielle immigrated from France to continue her university studies. She holds a degree in Economics from Paris X and a Bachelor of Commerce (Option MIS) from Concordia. She followed the University of Waterloo Program for BMO Technologists and the Project Management Program from York University. She is a member of the BMO Alliance for Women in Canada and the Black Professional Network. Danielle is passionate about arts, the development of black culture in Montreal and the sustainability of black community institutions within Quebec and Canada.

Yvonne Greer

Board Member
Ms. Greer has a B.A. in English and Psychology from Concordia and a M.Ed. (Counselling) from McGill. Currently retired after 30 years in Education as a teacher/Guidance Counsellor, she has worked just as long within the Black community with the Negro Community Centre (NCC) and the Black Community Central Administration of Quebec (BCCAQ). She has been on the Boards of Elizabeth House, Women on the Rise, the Black Community Resource Centre (BCRC) and is currently a member of the Rev. Dr. Charles Este Scholarship Committee. She has a strong interest in theatre going back to the Negro Theatre Arts Club and has been a long-time supporter of BTW. She has been a member of the Black Theatre Workshop Board of Directors since 2015.

Deanna Smith

Board Member
Deanna Smith has an Honours B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Ottawa, a M.Sc. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Howard University, and a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College. She retired from the field of Speech-Language Pathology in 2017. Currently, she is a poet, performer and educator. She writes poetry and children’s books, participates in spoken word events, and facilitates creative writing, performance, and cultural awareness workshops for students in kindergarten through CEGEP. She was on the board of directors of the Quebec Writers’ Federation from 2012 through 2017, and is a member of QWF, ELAN (the English Language Arts Network), the Kalmunity Vibe Collective, and the Throw Poetry Collective. Deanna is a long-time supporter of BTW. She has attended productions since her childhood and volunteered during an archiving project in 2008. She is delighted to be a part of the board.

Carolyn Griffith

Board Member

Carolyn Griffith is a compliance manager for a major financial services firm and has her CPA, CMA designation.  Carolyn is a native Montrealer.  She has her Bachelor’s degree in commerce from Concordia University.  With over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, she brings to the board extensive experience in identifying, evaluating and mitigating risk in a heavily regulated industry.  She comes with a proven track record within the compliance function in implementing and testing controls, as well as analysis.  Carolyn recently joined the board of directors of the Black Theatre Workshop in 2022.  She is delighted to be part of the board and is excited to contribute to the living legacy of the Black Theatre Workshop.

Rashida Geddes

Board Member
Rashida Geddes is a Talent Acquisition leader with over 10 years of professional experience that includes recruitment, banking and career coaching where she’s made it her mission to help diverse talent get out of their own way and leverage their skills to add value to their organization and career goals. She’s had the privilege of working with some of the most respected institutions and companies looking for talent and has launched initiatives that have impacted how they find, engage and hire the Next Generation Workforce. As an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and voice for the next generation of leaders in her community, Rashida sits on the Concordia Black Alumni Advisory Council, the McGill EDI Advisory Board and the Riverside School Board. Rashida is a proud alumnus of Concordia University and as one of the newest members of the Black Theatre Workshop board, is looking to help contribute to this long-standing community organization with deep roots in the arts and Black culture in Canada.

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.