Stage Door News

Toronto: CBC Arts presents “Seeding the Future” – 21 Black theatre students respond to “21 Black Futures”

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

To complement Obsidian Theatre’s 21 BLACK FUTURES — a collection of 21 filmed monodramas streaming on CBC Gem answering the question, “What is the future of Blackness?” — 21 Black theatre students, who are the future of Black theatre in Canada, are adding their voices to the project’s already historic group of creators. This initiative, entitled “Seeding the Future” was developed in a partnership between York University, Brock University, CBC Arts and Obsidian Theatre. 

“Seeding the Future” features creative responses from 21 Black theatre students from across the country, one for each piece in the digital performance series. The students responded to a nationwide call for participants that attracted the interest of over 60 applicants. Spoken word poetry, an audio recording, a performed reading, an Instagram essay and more: these responses will go beyond the traditional review in their reaction to the works in 21 BLACK FUTURES, the first major project from Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu, the recently appointed artistic director of Obsidian Theatre, Canada’s leading culturally specific theatre company. 

As we work at Obsidian to develop and advance Black artists across the country, we also recognize the glaring lack of Black voices in arts criticism and journalism. When we were approached by the team behind this project we wholeheartedly welcomed the opportunity to invite young Black voices to view and respond to 21 BLACK FUTURES. Black and other BIPOC artists deserve to have voices at the table from their own communities engaging in dialogue about their work. We can’t wait to see what these 21 Black students have to say,” says Michael Sinclair, General Manager of Obsidian Theatre.

A series that exemplifies this extraordinary time and place, 21 BLACK FUTURES features an impressive group of 63 Black Canadian playwrights, actors and directors creating art during the COVID-19 pandemic and a global reckoning with anti-Black racism. The "Seeding the Future" student participants are taking this artistic dialogue further through their responses,which will be presented online on the CBC Arts website.  

“Seeding the Future” will be published in three parts — the first, available now, responds to the first seven pieces produced in 21 BLACK FUTURES. The second group of seven respondents will be published the following Monday, March 1, and the third group will be published on Monday, March 8. They will be collected on the CBC Arts website, available at

The three groups of respondents were each matched with a Black mentor to guide their creative approaches: the mentors are York University PhD student Signy Lynch, writer and critic Jordy Kieto, and actor and writer Omari Newton. 

To read the entries in “Seeding the Future,” visit CBC Arts. To view the 21 BLACK FUTURES monodramas visit CBC Gem.