Obsidian Theatre’s threefold mission is to produce plays, to develop playwrights and to train emerging theatre professionals. Obsidian is passionately dedicated to the exploration, development, and production of the Black voice. Obsidian produces plays from a world-wide canon focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the works of highly acclaimed Black playwrights. Obsidian provides artistic support, promoting the development of work by Black theatre makers and offering training opportunities through mentoring and apprenticeship programs for emerging Black artists.
Obsidian Theatre Company was born out of a passionate sense of artistic responsibility – a responsibility to bring the Black voice, in its many artistic dialects, to Canada’s cultural forefront. Obsidian encourages Black artists to expand their vision of what they perceive, create and present to a national audience. Obsidian continues to play a prominent role in Canada’s theatrical mosaic by showcasing the work of both emerging and established Black artists.
Obsidian was founded in February 2000 by a collective of artists including Awaovieyi Agie, Ardon Bess, David Collins, Roy Lewis, Yanna McIntosh, Diane Roberts, Kim Roberts, Sandi Ross, Djanet Sears, Satori Shakoor, Tricia Williams, Alison Sealy-Smith ( Former Artistic Director) and Philip Akin-Artistic Director. Obsidian Theatre Company has quickly grown into one of the leading independent theatre companies in the country with a full schedule of productions, playwright/play development and professional training programs. Since the company’s inception, Obsidian has helped to change the profile of culturally diverse theatre in Canada by encouraging other companies to re-evaluate the way they involve artists of colour. As a result, the performing arts sector has seen a huge growth in the work of black artists nation wide.
Obsidian has established partnerships both locally and across Canada working with companies such as The Stratford Festival of Canada, The Citadel Theatre, Mirvish Productions, The Harbourfront Centre, The Canadian Stage Company, Nightwood Theatre, The Harold Green Jewish Theatre, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille and The Shaw Festival.
- Once on This Island (in association with Acting Up Stage)
- The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble (co-production with Factory Theatre)
- The Whipping Man (In Association with Harold Green Jewish Theatre)
- Shakespeare’s Nigga (in association with Theatre Passe Muraille)
- Top Dog/Underdog (co-production with the Shaw Festival)
- Caroline or Change (in association with Acting Up Stage)
- Intimate Apparel (presented by Citadel Theatre)
- Ruined (with Nightwood Theatre)
- Yellow Man (with Nightwood Theatre)
- Intimate Apparel (presented by Canadian Stage Company)
- who knew grannie: a dub aria (in association with Factory Theatre)
- Black Medea
- Intimate Apparel
- The Polished Hoe
- Hip Hop (Who Stole the Soul)
- The Monument
- Born Ready
- Cast Iron (in association with Nightwood Theatre)
- Born Ready
- Two Can Play
- Consecrated Ground
- The Piano Lesson
- The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God
In addition to producing, the company offers the following programs:
- Playwrights Unit
- Mentor/Apprentice Program
- Development Series
- Presentation Series
- Black Ties