Diane Roberts

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Diane Roberts, Playwright

Diane Roberts is a accomplished Canadian dramaturg who has worked across Canada, the United States, Britain, Europe, and the Caribbean for the past thirty years. Her directorial and dramaturgical work has been seen on stages across Canada and her reputation as a mentor, teacher and community collaborator is nationally and internationally recognized.


Diane Roberts has been a practicing theatre artist for over 20 years. In Canada, Diane has directed for such companies as Theatre Direct, The Company of Sirens, Black Theatre Workshop, b current, Cahoots Theatre Projects, Obsidian Theatre, Native Earth Performing Arts, Women in View Festival, The Sudbury Theatre Centre and The Stratford Festival. She is the former Artistic Director of urban ink productions in Vancouver (2007-2014) and former Artistic Co-Director of Nightwood Theatre in Toronto (1994-96). She is also a founding member of Obsidian Theatre and the Co-founder of Backforward Collective. She has taught theatre and interdisciplinary arts practice at York University and Concordia University and has lectured extensively. As Artistic Co-Director of Nightwood Theatre (1994 to 1996), she spearheaded the Groundswell Festival of New Works by Women.

Some of her most exhilarating directing projects have included: Gail Nyoka’s Mella Mella!, Femi Osofisan’s Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels for Concordia University, Andrew Moodie’s A Common Man’s Guide to Loving Women (nominated for a Mecca award for best production and best director, winner of Mecca Award for best ensemble), Darrell Dennis’ The Trickster of Third Ave. East, G.B. Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession, M. NourbeSe Philip’s Coups and Calypsos, Pauline Peters’ Dryland, Djanet Sears’ Harlem Duet, and Joan MacLeod’s Little Sister, for which she was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award in 1998. A reading of Diane’s play Bone Bred was featured in the 2003 AfriCanadian Playwrights Festival and in excerpt on CBC Radio. It was also co-featured in the 2004 Spring issue of Canadian Theatre Review.

Over the past few years Diane’s artistic passion has been to articulate, explore and practice African (and diasporic) forms of theatre in a New World context. The research includes ongoing development of her innovative ‘Personal Legacy’ methodology for theatre creation, and her current ground breaking project, The Arrivals Legacy Project, a workshop series making waves across the country bringing together First Nations and artists that fall in a meaningful creative interplay between artistic voice, ceremony and Ancestral recovery. Over the years, through practice and teaching, Diane has developed her voice as a cultural leader - one who would cultivate and promote a vision for theatre that encourages Indigenous ways of knowing as a stepping stone to authentic creative expression. This vision is bolstered by the creation of innovative projects inspiring trans-disciplinary and trans-cultural collaboration.