Stage Door News

Toronto: Three theatre companies announce joint Creative Catalysts for Indigenous and Black Artists

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Black Theatre Workshop (BTW), Native Earth Performing Arts (NEPA), and the Thousand Islands Playhouse (TIP) announce the Creative Catalysts, a pioneering partnership and vital program designed to support works of emerging Indigenous and Black creators.

BTW is thrilled to partner with NEPA and TIP to launch this new program, aimed at developing work from among our most marginalized artists” says Quincy Armorer, Artistic Director of BTW. “The voices of Indigenous and Black writers are still underrepresented in Canadian theatre and this joint initiative is in response to this imbalance, addressing the need for added support and guidance to emerging playwrights from these communities.

In its inaugural year, Creative Catalysts will welcome four creators to the cohort, two from Indigenous communities and two from Black communities. This unique initiative offers compensation, resources, expertise, and mentorship tailored to the artists' individual needs. "Writing is a solitary vocation, and these kinds of supports give artists the opportunity to hone in on their creative process. Creative Catalysts will allow artists to freely develop work in their own creative process," says Keith Barker, Artistic Director of NEPA. "As a writer, I always appreciate models which allow for fluidity and conversation within the work. As I have learned, the creative process is never a straight line, with unexpected shifts in trajectory. Flexibility is paramount."

Following the program’s first year, the trajectory for each project will be reviewed in order to assess next steps of support or opportunities for the work. Such opportunities may include continued participation in the Creative Catalysts with the support of a creative consultant or involvement in one of the many developmental or production festivals across the country.

Submissions for the program are open now until May 31, 2021. Information about the Creative Catalysts and application details are available on all three company websites. The program will commence on July 15, 2021.

Launching the Creative Catalysts is an exciting first step in the long-term partnership between BTW, NEPA, and TIP to support Indigenous and Black creators,” says Brett Christopher, Managing Artistic Director of TIP. “We're looking forward to this inaugural year and welcoming the first of many cohorts to the program."

Black Theatre Workshop (BTW) is Canada’s longest running theatre company dedicated to the works of Black and diasporic communities. BTW’s mission is to promote and produce outstanding theatre that educates, entertains, and inspires. The company strives to create greater cross-cultural understanding by challenging its audience and the status quo. Expanding the representation of Black Canadian artists, BTW bridges cultural divides – uniting hearts, minds, and communities.

Native Earth Performing Arts is Canada’s oldest professional Indigenous performing arts company. Currently in our 38th year, we are dedicated to developing, producing and presenting professional artistic expressions of the Indigenous experience in Canada. Through stage productions (theatre, dance and multidisciplinary art), new script development, apprenticeships and internships, Native Earth seeks to fulfill a community of artistic visions. It is a vision that is inclusive and reflective of the artistic directions of members of the Indigenous community who actively participate in the arts.

The Thousand Islands Playhouse, otherwise known as Canada's Dockside Theatre, has been presenting live theatre in the heart of the 1000 Islands for over 35 years. As the largest theatre company between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, the Playhouse produces 8 plays annually as well as a series of educational and engagement opportunities throughout Eastern Ontario. The company is dedicated to nurturing creative collaboration, fostering engagement with the arts, and providing a fun and welcoming environment for all who come to visit, Dockside.