Stage Door News

Toronto: Cahoots Theatre appoints Tanisha Taitt as Artistic Director

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Cahoots Theatre proudly announces the appointment of Tanisha Taitt as Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre. A notable theatre and anti-oppression educator with a deep and uncompromising commitment to racial justice and the empowerment of people of colour, Taitt is a natural choice as the artistic leader of the first professional company in Canada with a mandate to present culturally inclusive work.

"We’re thrilled to welcome Tanisha as the herald and guiding light to lead Cahoots through our next chapter of growth,” says Board Chair, and member of the Search Committee, Dale Yim. “Her fire is intense, yet draws people closer and she's incredibly warm and engaging. Not only do I look forward to every conversation that I have with her, I’m excited for every conversation that she will have as our new Artistic Director."

Director, actor, playwright, educator, and activist, Taitt made a name for herself as an artist and director with the award-winning Children's Peace Theatre, where she spent over a decade using the arts to teach children and youth about the creation of peace through justice. Taitt also spent seven years as Producer of V-Day Toronto/One Billion Rising Canada, an extension of her work as an anti-VAW (Violence Against Women) activist and part of the global movement to end violence against women and girls, during which time she directed eleven productions.

Taitt has a long history in the arts community, working with Obsidian Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, National Arts Centre, Workman Arts, Buddies in Bad Times, and Soulpepper. Her unwavering dedication to arts education has been demonstrated through her involvement with companies such as Young People’s Theatre, where she spent three seasons as a resident Artist-Educator; Paprika Festival, where she served as Artistic Mentor for the Creators' Unit; Musical Stage Company, where she lead the youth training initiative One Song Glory as Program Director; and in her role at Toronto District School Board, where she has been a Dramatic Arts Mentor since 2013.

As professor of First Year Contemporary Scene Study, in her time at George Brown Theatre School, Taitt has spearheaded a bold transformation of their syllabus, which now centers playwrights of colour. In recognition of this work, she was the invited to give a keynote address on culturally integrated theatre education and leadership at the inaugural Canadian Theatre Educators Conference.

Taitt’s list of accolades includes a Canadian Music Publishers Association Songwriters Award for Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting, a Pauline McGibbon Award nomination for Unique Talents and Potential for Excellence, and two nominations for YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Award for her commitment to artistic excellence and social justice.

“Our planet is at the crossroads of construction and chaos. All around I see building -- bridges and relationships and strong foundations -- on which to create art that can in turn create a world anew. At the same time, the need to dismantle existing norms is everywhere and how we use our time as human beings and as artists is paramount,” says Taitt. “Cahoots is a burst of love - the Little Engine That Could. Its commitment to those on the margins reverberates in my head and heart, and it moves me deeply. I am honoured and excited as I look ahead, and thankful to the Search Committee, the Board, and to Kat for their faith in the future I imagine.”

Cahoots Theatre held a national search beginning in March, with a six-person Search Committee comprising members of Cahoots’ Board of Directors and stakeholders from the broad arts community. The committee also sought consultation from the greater community with an invitation for input regarding the future of Cahoots.

“Many thanks to our Search Committee for their time during the past several months of our search,” added Yim. “Thanks also to our community members for their meaningful contributions in our request for consultation.”

Taitt will begin full-time as Artistic Director at Cahoots on October 1st, 2019.