Stage Door News

Toronto: Why Not Theatre announces Miriam Fernades as it new Co-Artistic Director

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

On behalf of the Board, Leadership, and entire team at Why Not Theatre we are excited to announce the appointment of Miriam Fernandes as Co-Artistic Director. Miriam joins the leadership team alongside Ravi Jain, Co-Artistic Director and Founder, and Kelly Read, Executive Director.

This change is reflective of our new organizational structure – which foregrounds increased collaboration and shared decision-making – and serves to acknowledge the impact that Miriam has had, and will have, on Why Not. As Co-Artistic Director, Miriam will share the responsibility for all artistic programming, relationships with artists locally, nationally, and internationally, and shape the vision for Why Not’s strategic projects like RISER National and the Space Project.

Miriam has been working with Why Not Theatre for almost ten years, first collaborating with the company on a workshop of Komagata Maru in 2012, followed by the development of PanAm Games-commissioned production Gimme Shelter in 2014. After graduating from École Jacques Lecoq in Paris in 2016, Miriam returned to Toronto and quickly found a home at Why Not Theatre. First, as Metcalf Foundation Artistic Directing Intern in 2018, moving to Associate Artistic Director the following year. Miriam’s artistic involvement within the company has steadily increased, and she has emerged as an essential collaborator on Why Not’s most impactful projects. Throughout her time at Why Not, she has been lauded by critics for her performance in our bilingual ASL/English Prince Hamlet, is a co-adapter and performer in our upcoming Mahabharata, and is co-creator and performer in What You Won’t Do For Love, starring Drs. David Suzuki and Tara Cullis. Miriam truly embodies our desire to provoke systemic change off-stage as well, leading both our ThisGen Fellowship BIPOC mentorship program, and our collaboration with the new Deaf-founded-and-led performance company, 1s1 (Artistic Director, Dawn Jani Birley). This appointment truly reflects Miriam’s contributions to Why Not, helping to shape a renewed vision of the arts in Canada.

Why Not Theatre was founded 14 years ago by one person, and has grown into an organization of ten strong, collaborative voices, all working hard to build a new kind of company. In the coming months we hope to share more about the work we have been doing in restructuring our leadership and organizational model. Join us in celebrating Miriam Fernandes, Co-Artistic Director of Why Not Theatre.

“Why Not has always been a company that has moved and inspired me by boldly reimagining what theatre can be. Over the past few years, I have been provided with great support to grow into a leadership role. The strength of the shared leadership model that we work within has empowered not only me, but our entire team, to grow and has expanded the vision and mission of the company into something much greater than the sum of its parts. This spirit of reimagining possible worlds is what drew me to Why Not, and what continues to guide us into the future. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and feel so lucky to work with a team that believes that anything is possible.”

— Miriam Fernandes, Co-Artistic Director

Photo: Miriam Fernandes.