Soulpepper Theatre Company and Toronto History Museums are delighted to announce the five selected members of the Awakenings Mentorship – Augusto Bitter, Samuel Davilmar, Aria Evans, Jay Northcott, and Racquel Rowe. The five artists will be working alongside the five Soulpepper Academy Artists — Samantha Brown, Liz Der, Daniel Krmpotic, Ahmed Moneka, and Natasha Adiyana Morris — and will be mentored by Weyni Mengesha, Esie Mensah, and d’bi young anitafrika. The program will include a new focus on civic engagement, furthering participants’ understanding of the relationship between the arts and the City of Toronto.
“Awakenings is shining a light on the stories and history that belong in our city’s collective narrative. Soulpepper is proud to be collaborating to support artists in sharing these stories, and with the mentorship program, ensuring the next generation of artists play a key role in building our collective culture,” said Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director.
Throughout the process of the mentorship, participants’ work and exploration will be documented by the City of Toronto, and the footage will be used for a mini documentary series chronicling the program. The first phase of the program will involve workshops along with the Soulpepper Academy, focusing on site-specific and immersive works. Workshop leaders include mentors mentors Weyni Mengesha, Esie Mensah, d’bi young anitafrika, Lucius Dechausay and Rachel Forbes from the team who came together to create the inaugural Awakenings performance piece A Revolution of Love. Participants will also be receiving private workshop sessions with internationally renowned immersive theatre company Punchdrunk (Sleep No More).
The artists will all be creating site-specific performance art related works that speak to the anti-colonial, anti-racist, anti-oppressive messaging behind the Awakenings philosophy. The program will include site-visits to Toronto History Museum locations: Spadina House, Colborne Lodge, Mackenzie House, Montgomery’s Inn, Scarborough Museum, Gibson House, Fort York Visitor Centre, Market Gallery, Todmorden Mills, and Zion Schoolhouse. This period of workshops and creation will culminate in a sharing hosted at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts to present the work thus far.
“Toronto History Museums is excited to be expanding its reach by creating programming that shares space and authority with community partners, such as Soulpepper Theatre Company. The Awakenings Artist Mentorship program gives new energy and vitality to the City's historic sites and provides opportunities for BIPOC artists to be supported by established BIPOC artists,” said Cheryl Blackman, Acting General Manager, Economic Development & Culture, City of Toronto.
Toronto History Museums are a group of 10 museums owned and operated by the City of Toronto that bring Toronto’s history to life for residents and visitors. More information is available at www.toronto.ca/museums. For information about Soulpepper visit: soulpepper.ca/awakenings.