Interim Artistic Director
Tyrone Benskin has been a significant presence in theatre, film, television and music. His theatre credits include appearances on such celebrated stages as the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, the National Arts Centre and the Centaur Theatre here in Montreal. His many acclaimed performances include Mr. M in the South African play My Children My Africa and the 71 year old Nelson Williams Johns in the Black Theatre Workshop/Centaur productions of Wade in the Water. His over 70 film and television credits include the civil rights drama “Deacons for Defence” opposite Forest Whitaker and the late Mr. Ossie Davis. Mr. Benskin served as Artistic Director of Black Theatre Workshop, as well as President of the Board of Creations Etc…, a youth arts and outreach organization along with being a National and Executive Councilor for ACTRA, Canada’s national film and television actors union.
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
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.
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.
Artist Mentorship Program Coordinator
Mariah Inger has been an actress for over 30yrs. She works in Theatre, Film/TV, Voice, Video Game motion caption and Radio. She is grateful to have had the chance to work with some of the best in the biz. She is also Vice President of ‘Black Wealth Media’. A company she helped build 4 years ago, which focuses on producing afro-centric content, for Film, TV & Web. She is also a director, mentor to emerging marginalized artists, a member of multiple boards helping to implement better diversity and inclusivity policies… and is the proud single mother to her 26 yrs. old son. Today, she is happy to be sharing her knowledge and experience with BTW’s Artist Mentorship Program.
Becks Lefranc has worked in the nonprofit and higher education sectors, providing program support and conducting community research. While attending the University of Toronto, Becks was involved with the Trinity College Dramatic Society as a director and producer. Having curated the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Collection of Diverse Canadian Children’s Books, they believe that the arts can be transformational for young lives. Becks is very excited to connect Montreal schools with artistic programming at Black Theatre Workshop, finally getting to merge their love of theatre with community work.
Princess F.H. Symonds
Princess was born and raised on the small island of Bermuda. A traveller at heart, she has concerted a great deal of energy seeking the world beyond the confines of her island’s shores. After graduating from The University of Manchester with a B.A. in Language, Literacy and Communication she spent the next 6 years teaching English as a Second language in South Korea, China and the Cree Community of Chisasibi on the James Bay. Her experiences have afforded her the opportunity to widen her world view and increase her understanding of the human condition. Armed with unfailing enthusiasm and a deeper understanding of the importance of cultural awareness and engagement, she is ecstatic to join the colorful community of BTW.
Born and based in Montreal, Lydie Dubuisson is a theatre creator, playwright, director, and storyteller. Her art explores intersectionality, dystopian reality, and collective memory in a multilingual creative process. Dubuisson wrote QUIET/SILENCE (2018 Discovery Series – Black Theatre Workshop & Maison de la culture NDG) and she is currently writing her second play, SANCTUARY/SANCTUAIRE (Black Theatre Workshop & Théâtre aux Écuries). She is one of the four co-writers of BLACKOUT: THE CONCORDIA COMPUTER RIOT, (Tableau d’Hôte Theatre) and SHARING OUR STORIES, TELLING OUR LIVES (Teesri Duniya). She directed JANICE LA REINE AUX AILES D’ÉCAILLES (Places des Arts), AFRODRAG: PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE (Phi Center) and SHARING OUR STORIES, TELLING OUR LIVES (Teesri Duniya).
Board of directors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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.