Stage Door News
Toronto: Soulpepper announces appointments for Associate Artistic Director and Baillie Artistic Fellow
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Soulpepper Theatre Company is thrilled to share that two tremendous artists will be joining the Company’s Artistic team. Working with Artistic Director Weyni Mengesha, and Executive Director Emma Stenning, will be Luke Reece, appointed as Soulpepper’s Associate Artistic Director, and Matthew MacKenzie joining as the Baillie Artistic Fellow. Within their new positions, Associate Artistic Director Luke Reece and Baillie Artistic Fellow Matthew MacKenzie will make meaningful contributions to all aspects of the Company including strategic planning, leadership, and artistic counsel. They will contribute to distinct areas of the Company’s work at local, national, and international levels, while also further developing their own artistic practices within Soulpepper.
“I am thrilled to be welcoming Luke and Matt to Soulpepper. They have both worked tirelessly to champion new voices and emerging artists on stages across Canada. They have also been invested and active in challenging and enriching our Canadian theatre ecology on a systemic level. These are artists who care deeply about how we move forward as a sector and whose work and leadership will be a great asset to the Company,” said Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director.
The role of Associate Artistic Director is an exciting next step for Luke Reece following his departure from Obsidian Theatre Company after over five years. In addition to his portfolio of work as Obsidian’s producer, Reece is an award-winning spoken word poet, and playwright (Notice – 21 Black Futures). Through his work as an educator and leader, he advocates for engaging and nuanced storytelling that challenges audiences. He is one of Toronto’s most decorated slam poets with multiple wins nationally, and has represented Canadian poets internationally. The position of Associate Artistic Director is made possible by generous support from the TD Ready Commitment.
“The national theatre community has given me so much love and support over the years, and really, I just want to give it back. I want to give it back in the form of art, opportunity, and continued dedication to changing the game. When we next gather in theatres, it’s not going to be the same, we know that. This time is about doing better, and being better. Nothing less. I’m ecstatic to be joining Weyni, Emma, and the entire talented team at Soulpepper,” said Luke Reece.
The multi award-winning playwright (Bears, After the Fire) and Edmonton’s Punctuate! Theatre Artistic Director, Matthew MacKenzie (Métis), is joining the Company as the Baillie Artistic Fellow, adding new reach to Soulpepper’s national artistic footprint. Dubbed one of Canada's most compelling writers, and winner of the Toronto Theatre Critics Outstanding New Canadian Play Award, the Carol Bolt National Playwriting Award, and Dora Awards for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production, MacKenzie brings fresh talent, perspective, and energy to the Company. The Baillie Artistic Fellowship was established by long-time supporters of the company, Charles and Marilyn Baillie, and is a position that brings with it a focus on artist training, and nurturing new voices within the community.
“The fight that artists like Weyni Mengesha are leading to transform our national theatre ecology is one I want to be a part of. I am deeply grateful to be given this opportunity to dream, work to disrupt, and create under the Soulpepper umbrella,” said Matthew MacKenzie.
Soulpepper is extraordinarily excited to have Luke and Matthew join the Company and share the with audiences the unique contributions they make in their new roles.
Photo: Luke Reece. © 2021 Cesar Ghisilieri.