Black Theatre Workshop kicks off 50th season online

A reading from the play Sanctuary will kick off Black Theatre Workshop’s 50th season online. (Black Theatre Workshop)

Billing itself as Canada’s oldest Black theatre company, Black Theatre Workshop will launch its 50th anniversary season online on January 15, 2021 at 3pm ET. It starts with the annual Discovery Series which features a reading of a new work in development.

This year’s play is Sanctuary by Lydie Dubuisson, a playwright and director who has just been appointed the company’s artistic associate. Dubuisson participated in the company’s mentorship program with a promising career in both English and French theatre.  While the company’s productions are mostly in English, it is committed to expanding its programming to offer performances in French which is one of Canada’s official languages, along with English.

Her play Sanctuary is billed as “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.” The play seeks to create a moment of reflection on the role of women and continuity and actors switch between English and Haitian Creole. It will be available on the company’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

The Poetry Jam event will enable viewers to speak virtually with presenting poets. (Black Theatre Workshop)
Gala, poetry event will be online

Black Theatre Workshop will also present an online Poetry Jam soon. This event will feature poets performing works based on a chosen theme. After the presentation, the audience will have a chance to speak with the artists in a virtual discussion and Q & A session. 

Because of the pandemic, the company’s 35th annual gala will be held online as well. The gala honours Black Canadians who have made significant contributions to performing arts. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award will be given to Haitian dancer, choreographer, teacher and artistic director Eddy Toussaint. A second award plus two for youth will also be presented. The event will be streamed live on the Black Theatre Workshop Facebook page on January 30, 2021 at 7pm ET. There will be live performances including one by renowned singer Ranee Lee. 

Black Theatre Workshop is one of 11 Canadian companies chosen by the National Arts Centre to bring performance to live audiences online. Because the company is located in Montreal and the city has a high incidence of COVID-19, its production which had been scheduled for October 2020 has been postponed for a few months. The precise date of it presentation has yet to be determined.

Black Theatre Workshop offers a retrospective video for its 50th anniversary.

31 Replies to “Black Theatre Workshop kicks off 50th season online”

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  2. CV UK says:

    It’s so amazing to see the community grow this way. I didn’t get to attend the event, but I can assume how beautiful the poetry jam must have been on its 50th season. Thankfully, I did check out a couple of videos on Facebook and YouTube. It was truly mesmerizing.

  3. Emma Sparks says:

    This is amazing

  4. mewstrait says:

    Sanctuary is a feminist dialogue between a teenage girl and her sister, her godmother, her closest friend, her pastor, slope unblocked and God as she seeks answers about her future in the sanctuary of her church.

  5. Eddy Toussaint, a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and creative director from Haiti, will receive the Achievement Award. Moreover, two additional awards for young people will be given out.

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  9. I am so excited for the 50th season of Black Theatre Workshop! This is a remarkable achievement for Canada’s oldest Black theatre company and a testament to its perseverance, resilience, innovation and growth.

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    The Black Theatre Workshop’s 50th season launch online is an exciting and innovative way to celebrate their milestone, reminiscent of the diverse conversations one might encounter on omegle. The inclusion of diverse voices and languages, such as English and Haitian Creole, in the play Sanctuary reflects a commitment to inclusivity and representation. The upcoming online Poetry Jam and virtual gala demonstrate adaptability and creativity in the face of the pandemic, providing opportunities for engagement and recognition of significant contributions to the performing arts.

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  25. This is a great lineup of virtual events from the Black Theatre Workshop, allowing them to continue celebrating and honoring Black Canadian artists and performers during the pandemic.

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