WHERE BLACK PLAYS MATTER
The Watah Theatre is going on hiatus after ten years of supporting and developing the legacy of Black Theatre through the production and cultivation of Black & diverse works. Let's celebrate all that Watah has accomplished in just 4 years! On June 26, at the Theatre Centre, The Watah Theatre will be hosting the D’BI. FAREWELL FUNDRAISER GALA, which will feature live performances, music, food and a good old-fashion dance party!
The Watah Theatre presents
JUNE 26 at 7:30pm | Theatre Centre
Advance $25 | Door $30 dbifarewellfundraisergala.bpt.me
The Watah Theatre contributes to, supports and develops the legacy of Black Theatre in Canada by cultivating and sharing a unique African-Caribbean-Canadian feminist theatre aesthetic, heavily informed by the radical performance tradition of Jamaica’s dub poetry and dub theatre. The company insists on challenging systemic barriers that exclude Black and diverse theatre artists, giving Black and diverse arts practitioners a local, national and international platform to showcase and celebrate their work.
Radical arts-engagement sits at the core of Watah's commitment to providing artists with the tools to self-actualize, create relevant art and uncover crucial mentorship skills for each one to teach one. The company insists on giving Black arts practitioners a local, national and international platform to showcase and celebrate their work. Since its inception, Watah has facilitated the growth and development of over 700 artists locally, nationally and globally through residencies, workshops and one-to-one mentorship.
Watah has also published three popular anthologies through Sorplusi Publishing featuring the theatrical and literary works of alumni arts practitioners; making archiving a priority. The company has also produced 57 new plays (from 2008-2016) by resident artists in our annual festivals: Mikey Smith Raw Works, Audre Lorde Works-In-Progress and Word! Sound! Powah Festival of Monodrama.
It is our mission to create, support & nurture:
the development & production of excellent Black & diverse theatre productions
a space for Black & diverse artists who are under-represented in mainstream theatre, addressing challenges in accessing mentorship & professional development as theatre practitioners by eliminating racially & economically restrictive selection processes
a new generation of African & diverse Canadian theatre-makers, arts-educators & mentors who are able to innovate future projects that further cultivate equity, justice, fairness, and accessibility in Toronto & Canada’s arts and social sectors
an intersectional (w)holistic approach to artists’ lives, their art & their communities, allowing them to tell their stories, create their art & lead others with compassion, authenticity & professionalism
a circular mentorship framework that nurtures strong engagement-based artistic practice between artists & community, developing artists who change the Canadian cultural landscape through their practice & their roles as ambassadors of change
an established practice of archiving African & diverse Canadian theatre in Toronto & Canada’s arts and social sector through ongoing publication via Sorpluis Publishing
collaborations with allies of individuals, groups & organizations who can support Watah's vision & mission
Watah Alumni include change-makers such as Amanda Parris of CBC's The Exhibitionist, Randell Adjei - founder of R.I.S.E, Che Kothari of Manifesto, Kim Katrin Milan & Naty Tremblay of The People Project, Natasha Adiyana Morris of Piece of Mine Festival, Mriga Kapadiya of Nor Black Nor White Fashion House, Lishai Peel - poet & arts educator, and Liza Paul and Bahia Watson of Pomme is French for Apple. These artists today, are leaders in their own creative fields, incorporating the Anitafrika Method's transformational skills-building and mentorship techniques as crucial facilitative, pedagogical and social frameworks in their creative and activist endeavors.
Watah is a professional theatre company that specializes in producing political theatre from a radical queer Black feminist lens. Founded in 2008 and incorporated in 2014 by Artistic Director d'bi.young, Watah cultivates artists as instigators of social change through ongoing arts residencies using the Anitafrika Method. Alumni include CBC's Amanda Parris, Manifesto's Che Kothari and RISE's Randell Adjei.
Watah residencies are year-long professional development intensives grounded in the Anitafrika Sorplusi Method that provide artists with a wholistic creative environment through which to continually self-actualize.
The Performing Arts Development Initiative aka PADI is Watah's bridge program into professional theatre that provides both theoretical and practical performance training while enabling mentorship between emerging/newly emerged and established artists. PADI is a TUITION-FREE residency primarily for performance artists. It offers professional artistic development for BIQTPOC artists between the ages of 18-30 who write and perform. Artists-In-Residence study the Anitafrika Sorplusi Principles and its three applications for a year, which culminate in a production and publication of a bio-mythographical work of art.
PADI for Performance Artists
Full Scholarship Available | 18-30 Yrs
The Transdisciplinary Arts Program aka TAP is a multi-layered arts residency for BIack and diverse artists ages 18 and over working in various creative disciplines. Visual artists, novelists, filmmakers and more, are welcomed to join TAP. It is a PARTLY-TUITIONED residency; offering a 50% energy-exchange with The Watah Theatre. Artists-In-Residence study the Anitafrika Sorplusi Method and its three applications for a year which culminate in a production and publication of a bio-mythographical work of art.
TAP for Transdisciplinary Artists
Partial Scholarship Available | 18 Yrs & Older
Blane Taye Solomon
Black queer feminist Jamaican theatre practitioner d'bi.young anitafrika, is a Canadian Poet of Honor, YWCA Womxn of Distinction in the Arts and three-time Dora Award winning Playwright-Performer. She is the author of five books, seven dub albums, seven plays and is the front-womxn of the Afro-Dub-Fusion Band d'bi. & the 333. d'bi is the Founding Artistic Director of Watah Theatre and Sorplusi Publishing. d'bi has toured nationally and internationally; she is currently in production for the world premiere of her Afro-futurist Dub Opera Lukumi.
Graduate of The Watah Theatre School & alumni of bCurrent's rAiz’n in the Sun ensemble, Najla Nubyanluv is a playwright, actor, author, doula & Residency Coordinator at The Watah Theatre. During her recent Sorplusi Arts Fellowship at Watah, Nubyanluv’s afrofuturist play I Cannot Lose My Mind received workshop-production funding from Canada Council for the Arts. She is also the author & illustrator of I Love Being Black, a children’s book published by Sorplusi Press. Look out for the world premiere of I Cannot Lose My Mind in Watah's upcoming 2017/18 Season of Nomads.
Associate Artistic Director of Watah Theatre & alumni of Obsidian Theatre's Playwrights' Unit, Sashoya Shoya Oya is a Jamaican-born oral-storyteller, writer, actor and graduate of Watah Theatre School. She most recently appeared in the award-winning play Lukumi aka Bleeders by d'bi.young anitafrika. Her plays and poetry have appeared in Black Solo I & 2 and From The Root Zine. Sashoya is the Founding Artistic Director of The Walking Griot, a Toronto-based storytellers' guild, where she recently facilitated the premiere Folklore Theatre Program funded by ArtReach & Toronto Arts Council. Her play Black MOon world premieres in Watah's 2018/19 Season.
Alexandra is a writer, activist, poet & performer. Her works explore the relationship between our social/environmental contexts & our sense of worth & power. Before completing two years of TAP at Watah Theatre, Alexandra studied at McMaster University & Studio Y. She worked with Engineers Without Borders Canada as an overseas fellow & national conference chair. Alexandra is currently Editor & General Manager at Watah. She is also a food packer at Mama Earth Organics, facilitates arts-based workshops around environmental justice & serves on her local neighbourhood association (Bayview Cummer).
Brett Haynes has been working as a producer for over 10 years and has produced over 14 new theatrical productions across Toronto. A graduate of the University of Waterloo and George Brown Theatre School, Brett has worked as a scenic painter, stage manage, actor and was director of the award winning New York City production of It All Leads To The Lemon Scene. Brett recently worked as a Special Events Associate at TAPA with a focus on producing the Indie X Conference and the 2016 Dora Awards After Party and is currently the Artistic Producer of The Watah Theatre and General Manager of Judith Thompson’s The RARE Theatre Company.