Film & Theatre: Playwrights


Aspects of African Canadian Film & Theatre
Film & Theatre | Feature Films | Independent | Documentary | Filmmakers | Playwrights | Theatre Companies

Ahdri Zhina MandielaAhdri Zhina Mandiela

Ahdri Mandiela was born in Jamaica but is a Toronto-based dub poet, theatre producer and artistic director. She is the founder and artistic director of 'b current', a performance arts company located in Toronto, and was chosen to write and direct a project for Winnie Mandela as part of the 50th anniversary of the South African Women's Liberation Movement. She has had two poetry books published by Sister Vision Press entitled Speshal Rikwes (1985) and Dark Diaspora (1991).Theatrical productions include A Midsummer's Night Dream, written with a Caribbean twist and Who Knew Grannie: A Dub Aria. She has won the 2006 Silver Ticket Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Canadian Theatre and the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for Theatre. See also in: Writers

Andrew Moodie Andrew Moodie

Actor, director and writer, Andrew Moodie was born in Ottawa and began his career on stage in a Zack Crane production entitled "Nothing to Lose", which was performed at the legendary Lafayette House. Moodie has performed at many famous Canadian theatres such as The Great Canadian Theatre Company, the Factory Theatre, Second City and more. For his performance as Othello, Moodie received a nomination for the Dora award for Best Male Performance. He later won that same award but for his performance in Roseneath's Theatre production of David Craig's Health Class. He finally began his writing career with his debut screenplay, Riot, which was put on by the Factory Theatre and won the Chalmer's award for Best New Production. Since then, he has written several other plays such as Oui, The Lady Smith, Toronto the Good. Moodie also worked in the creative team that developed the hit CBC radio drama, Afghanada, which won the Writer's Guild of Canada award in 2007.

D'bi Young AnitafrikaD'bi Young Anitafrika

Debbie Young, more commonly known as d'bi young antifrika is a afrikan-jamaican-canadian dubpoet, playwright, monodramist and educator. Her induction into the theatre world first began in 2001 when she played the role of the storyteller in da Kink in my Hair. She has published poetry, dub poetry albums and plays such as solitary, yagayah, androgyne, blood.claat: one womban story, and she which have been performed in theatres all around the world: London's Free World Center, Passé Muraille, Tarragon Theatre, Cape Town's City Hall etc. Young has garnered many awards such as the Canadian Poet of Honor award, two Dora awards (Outstanding Playwright and Outstanding Actor), the Toronto Mayor's Arts Council award and many more. She travels around the world, working with at-risk youth and emerging artists. Currently, Young is working on completing a monodrama, a comic book and an album.

Dian Marie BridgeDian Marie Bridge

Dian Marie Bridge has played a large part in the African Canadian Theatre scene. Born in Jamaica, Bridge spent the majority of her childhood in Toronto. She interned as an artistic director for Obsidian Theatre and led several writing workshops. She has assisted and directed many plays including Aneemah's Spot, 'da Kink in My Hair, and The Misanthrope. Her play, Appleway, was first performed at the Passé Muraille Theatre and depicts the immigrant experience through the eyes of children.

Djanet SearsDjanet Sears

Refer to: Writers.

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard is a playwright, director and performer. She has written several plays such as Salome's Clothes, Give It Up and Cake. Her play Gas Girls, which was published in 2011 by Playwrights Canada Press was the 2011 Governor General's Literary Award finalist, was awarded a Dora Award for Outstanding New Play, an Enbridge PlayRites Award at Alberta Theatre Projects and had earned second place in the Herman Voaden Playwriting Competition. Bernard has been a playwright in residence at Obsidian Theatre and was a NAC English Theatre Playwright in Residence. She has received a Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award from the Canada Council for the Arts and is currently the General Manager of Native Earth Performing Arts and the Artistic Director of New Harlem Productions.

Edwige Jean-Pierre Edwige Jean-Pierre

Edwige Jean-Pierre is of Congolese and Haitian descent and was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. She is a bilingual playwright and actor who graduated from the University of Ottawa and Studio 58, a professional theatre training program located in Vancouver. Some of her plays include SOS/MS/ASAP, Our Lady of Spills, The Big Mess, Lick'n Seal and Darkness is Made of Light. Pierre is a former member of Obsidian and Tarragon Theatres's Playwright Unit. Currently, Pierre is working on a play entitled Psychic: The Musical with bcurrent and a collective piece for Théâtre Français de Toronto.

Gail NyokaGail Nyoka

Gail Nyoka is a novelist, playwright and storyteller based in Toronto. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Ottawa. Nyoka won the Chalmers Canadian Play Award: Theatre for Young Audiences for her stage play entitled Mella Mella, which was produced by Black Theatre Workshop in Montreal. She has also worked alongside Rainos Mutamba on a Zimbabwean-Canadian piece called My Bones Shall Rise Again. Other original works have been performed with Theatre Local as part of Nuit Blanche. Nyoka is a storyteller who has performed in the Toronto Storytelling Festival and works for Storytelling Toronto.

George Elroy Boyd George Elroy Boyd

Refer to: Writers.

George Elliott Clarke George Elliott Clarke

George Elliott Clarke, born in Windsor Nova Scotia, is a poet and a playwright. He earned his Bachelor of Honors in English from the University of Waterloo and then his Master's and PhD in English from Dalhousie University and Queens University, respectively. His debut play, Whylah Falls: The Play, was awarded the Archibald Lampman Prize in 1991. He has authored many poetry books and has won awards for his work in Black Literature such as the Governor-General's Award for Poetry (2001), the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award (2004), the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellowship Prize (2005-08) and more. He has taught literature at Duke and McGill University. He also holds the esteemed position as Toronto's Poet Laureate. He is currently teaching at the University of Toronto.

Joseph Jomo PierreJoseph Jomo Pierre

Joseph Jomo Pierre is a playwright and actor who was born in Trinidad and Tobago but grew up in Toronto, Canada. Pierre received his Bachelors of Fine Arts in Acting from York University. He is most commonly known for his play entitled Shakespeare's Nigga which was first performed at the Obsidian Theatre. Shakespeare's Nigga was a finalist for the 2013 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama. Pierre has also written several other plays such as Born Ready, BeatDown, and Pusha-Man, all of which were published. He has been a playwright in residence at Obsidian Theatre, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passé Murielle, the playwriting group at Tarragon Theatre and the inaugural collective for Canstage's Festival of ideas and creation. Pierre's work focuses on representing the underrepresented on stage.

Lisa CodringtonLisa Codrington

Lisa Codrington is a first generation Canadian whose family was originally from Barbados. She grew up in Winnipeg and received her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the University of Manitoba. Codrington moved to Toronto and picked up her Bachelor of Fine Arts Honors in Acting from Ryerson University. She is known for her debut play entitled Cast Iron, which had its world premiere at the Obsidian Theatre. Cast Iron was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award.

Lorena GaleLorena Gale

Lorena Gale, actor and playwright was born in Montreal. She not only studied at the Marianopolis College but also took courses at the National Theatre School and received her Master's from Simon Fraser University. For her stage debut, Gale played the role of Puck in Montreal's Geordie Theatre's production of Midsummer's Night Dream. After moving to Vancouver, Gale won the Jessie Richardson Award for best supporting actress as Normal Jean in the Firehall Theatre's production of The Colored Museum. Gale also wrote famous plays such as Angélique (winner of DuMaurier National Playwriting Competition) and Je Me Souviens (nominated for Governer General's Award), and The Voice (2008). Beyond her successful career in theatre, Gale is also known for her roles in movies such as The Butterfly Effect, The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Chronicles of Riddick. Gale passed away in 2009 after a battle with cancer.

Lorris ElliotLorris Elliot

Lorris Elliot worked as a playwright in the 1970s. Her most prominent plays include How Now Black Man, which was performed at the Centaur Theatre in Toronto and A Li'lle Bit O'Somet'in. See also in: Writers.

Marcia JohnsonMarcia Johnson

Marcia Johnson is both an actor and a playwright. She is most commonly known for her play, Binti's Journey, which was an adaptation of a teen fiction novel entitled The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis. Johnson has also written other plays such as Courting Johanna, Perfect on Paper, Say Ginger Ale and Viola Desmond. Johnson has been a playwright for theatres such as Obsidian Theatre Company, Theatre Passé Muraille and Roseneath Theatre. She co-wrote a short opera entitled My Mother's Ring, which was nominated for a Dora Award. Currently, Johnson coaches musical theatre and is the Vice-President of Women Playwrights International.

Marlene NourbeSe PhilipMarlene NourbeSe Philip

Born in the Carribbean, Philip studied at the University of West Indies before moving to Canada for her graduate studies. She received graduate degrees in political science and law from the University of Western Ontario and had her own law practice for seven years. Philip is not only a playwright but also a poet, novelist and essayist. Her debut novel, Harriet's Daughter, was nominated for several awards and is studied in elementary schools across Ontario. While she is most known for her poetry, she has published plays such as the 1999 Dora award finalist, Coups and Calypsos, which was produced in Toronto and London. See also in: Writers.

Maxine BaileyMaxine Bailey

Maxine Bailey was born in London, England but raised in Barbados and Toronto. Before becoming involved in a number of community-based projects, Bailey spent ten years in theatre arts, writing and working for theatre companies such as Company of Sirens, the Factory Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, etc. Bailey co-founded Sugar 'n' Spice Productions, which produced her play, which was written alongside Sharon Lewis, Sistahs Stockholm(e), which received the Dora award for Best Performance and Direction. She is currently working as the Vice President of Advancement at TIFF.

Michael A. MillerMichael A. Miller

Miller is a prominent figure in African Canadian Theatre. While he was born in Germany and raised in US, Miller has worked in Canada for more than twenty years. He is the writer of several plays such as El Paso, which had its world premiere at Factory Theatre; A Patchwork Quilt, which was shortlisted for the Writers Guild Award for Excellence in Playwrighting; Birds of Feather, winner of Chalmer's Award for Playwrighting; Power of Harriet T and Sweating Sugar. Miller has been a playwright in residence at both the Factory Theatre and Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People and the administrator for Obsidian Theatre Company. He has also worked as Theatre Fountainhead's artistic director and been a CrossCurrents Festival coordinator for two consecutive seasons. Miller has won the esteemed Chalmers Canadian Play Award for Excellence in Playwrighting and been nominated for outstanding work by the Writers Guild of Great Britain.

Motion (AKA Wendy Braithwaite)Motion (a.k.a. Wendy Braithwaite)

Motion was born in Toronto, Ontario to parents of Antiguan and Barbadian descent. She is an award-winning emcee, poet, playwright, screenwriter and hip hop artist. Motion fuses sound, word and drama in order to create the perfect balance between ancient and futuristic African Canadian art. As a teenager, Motion was part of the longest running hip hop radio show in Canada entitled the Master Plan Show, which also won the UMAC award for Best Hip Hop Radio Show. Motion has released two works entitled Motion in Poetry and 40 Dayz alongside dramatic works such as 4our Woman, Aneemah's Spot (published in Give Works), Dancing to a White Boy Song, Mo'Suite, most of which have been performed at the Obsidian and Factory Theatres in Toronto, Theatre Passé Muraille, Summerworks and bcurrent's Rock.Paper.Sistahz. Festival.

Naila Kelata-Mae Naila Kelata-Mae

Originally named Naila Belvett, Kelata-Mae was born in Mississauga Ontario and has been active in the arts scene since she was four years old. She studied Journalism and Spanish at Concordia University and continued onwards to earn her MFA in Playwriting and PhD in Theatre Studies from York University. She has written two plays entitled Stuck and No Knowledge. She co-wrote a play with D'bi Young entitled yagayah and has been awarded many awards and research grants; her research focuses on black performance art.

Rachael-Lea RickardsRachael-Lea Rickards

Rachael-Lea Rickards received her first break into the theatre scene as an actor in Trey Anthony's 'da Kink In My Hair. She toured with the show for several years before finally starting her own writing career. In 2006, Rickards produced, performed and co-wrote her first play entitled I am Not a Dinner Mint. She was then selected to be part of the Mussorgsky Project, Playwrights Unit produced through the Obsidian Theatre. Rickards was also asked to write for the television series adaptation of 'da Kink In My Hair. Rickards is currently managing an academy for visible minorities, The Broadway Bound Theatre Academy.

Rebecca FissehaRebecca Fisseha

Rebecca Fisseha is a writer who was born in Ethiopia but grew up in Austria, Switzerland and Ethiopia. She moved to Toronto to study and received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from York University and her MA in Communications and Culture from York and Ryerson. Fisseha also holds a diploma in Writing for Film and Television from Vancouver Film School, along with completing the rAiz'n the sun training program, offered by bcurrent. Some of her works include February, The Exhibition of Love, Leaving Home, The Product and Daughter's Last Supper. Her plays have been housed by bcurrent, Obsidian, Summerworks and Crosscurrents festivals. Fisseha's short story "What Grows" has been shortlisted for Briarpatch Magazine's Short Fiction Contest and Room Magazine's 2014 Fiction Contest.

Sharon M. LewisSharon M. Lewis

Sharon M. Lewis holds a Honors Degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto. She began her career by working at a theatre company called Second Look Community Arts, where she quickly rose to success by becoming the co-artistic director. While at Second City, Lewis directed, wrote and taught drama to youth. Lewis eventually founded her own production company called Sugar 'n' Spice Productions, which promoted work by and for women of colour. Alongside Maxine Bailey, Lewis co-wrote the Dora nominated play Sistah's before beginning an active career in television. In 1995, Lewis founded her own production company entitled urbansoul inc and continues to work as an actor, director and writer.

Trey AnthonyTrey Anthony

Trey Anthony is an award winning playwright, producer, actor and stand-up comedian. She was born in London, England but grew up in Brampton, Ontario. Her debut play, 'da Kink in my Hair was first shown at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2001. Since then, the play has been nominated for four Dora Awards, received four NAACP Theatre Awards and has broken box office records in many cities; it was also the first Canadian play to be performed at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Anthony is the founder of Trey Anthony Studios and became the first black Canadian to write and produce her own television series. Anthony is a mentor and a role model, often attending schools to inspire youth.

Walter BordenWalter Borden

While Walter Borden is most often known as being one of the first Black professional actors in Nova Scotia, Borden is also one of the most prominent African Canadian playwrights. His debut play, Tightrope Time: Ain't Nuthin' More Than Some Itty Bitty Madness Between Twilight and Dawn, was one of the first plays in the history of Black Canada that has depicted themes of male homosexuality and has been performed across Canada. In addition, Borden has also written in Testifyin' and Tellin' It Like It Is. Borden is a Member of the Order of Canada, recipient of the Portia White Award, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award, Drama Achievement Award (from the Nova Scotia Drama League) and Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal. See also in: Writers.