Beginning in the 2021–22 season, NAC English Theatre has committed to the annual appointment of a Co-Curating Company in Residence, with the pilot invitation for a Black-mandated theatre organization to envision their mandate through a national lens.
As the inaugural Co-Curating Company in Residence, Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) will have agency over half of English Theatre’s programming resources for the 2021–22 season. Black Theatre Workshop, the oldest Black theatre company in Canada, will have the opportunity to envision its mandate of fostering and showcasing Black Canadian art and artists on a national scale.
In light of recent calls for substantial change in our industry, and recognizing the significant lack of resources and opportunities available to Black artists in Canada, NAC English Theatre engaged members of the IBPoC arts community to guide us in a response. The catalysing force of Ravi Jain and his team from Why Not Theatre, along with advisors Audrey Dwyer and Mike Payette, worked alongside the leadership of NAC English Theatre to develop the model of the Co-Curating Company and the process to select the organization each year.
The Montreal-based Black Theatre Workshop has a long history with NAC English Theatre, presenting and co-producing several productions over the last several seasons. Works that have graced the NAC stage include Angélique (co-produced with Tableau D’Hôte Theatre), The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God (in association with co-producers NAC English Theatre and Centaur Theatre Company) and coming in the spring of 2021, their performance of Black and Blue Matters – Track 1: No one Gives a F**k about a Cop, will be a part of NAC English Theatre’s Grand Acts of Theatre.
“The solid history of the company, the current artists they engage, and excellent artistic work that our NAC audiences have come to expect from Black Theatre Workshop, sets us up for a great year to come,” said NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Jillian Keiley.
In addition, Black Theatre Workshop will participate in the process of identifying the next Co-Curating Company for the 2022-23 season.
“This is the time for Black stories to be seen and heard on all stages across the country. We need these stories now more than ever, and this shared curation model affords us the chance to expand the BTW mandate, providing more opportunities to Black artists and bringing even more stories from Black communities to Canadian audiences,” said Black Theatre Workshop Artistic Director Quincy Armorer.