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Even the busiest artists need a break!

Rachel Mutombo is an award winning actor and writer. She is a graduate of John Abbott College’s professional theatre program and the National Theatre School of Canada’s acting program. The experience of being a second-generation Canadian of Congolese (DRC) descent combined with living at the intersection of race and gender heavily influences her work as an artist. Rachel has written about these experiences and more for Intermission magazine, CBC and ByBlacks. Rachel has had the privilege of performing in the theatre across Canada. Some recent credits include: School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian Theatre/Nightwood Theatre), Selfie (Young People’s Theatre), Ruined (Pacific Theatre), Race (Montreal Theatre Ensemble), Twelfth Night (Repercussion Theatre).

When did you first think of yourself as an artist?

I think I truly considered myself an artist when I published my first piece of writing for Intermission magazine. Something about having another creative discipline to share with people was a real game-changer for me. It really helped me begin to take ownership of my art, acting included.

Who helped you develop your voice as an artist?

My mentors at Black Theatre Workshop in Montreal were instrumental in helping me develop my voice as an artist. Mike Payette and Quincy Armorer were two of the first artists who really helped me begin to navigate the journey of being a black artist in the theatre and negotiating how much space I wanted and was willing to take up in a room.

What’s something that’s inspired you this week?

A poem from Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo “do not forget your lineage, do not shrink, do not bend yourself, do not shift your tongue for anyone. whenever you forget who you are, remember the history you have inherited. now, speak.”.

What’s your favourite restaurant in the city to visit?

Banjara Bloor. In fairness, I just went there once for the first time a few weeks ago, but I’m already obsessed.

What do you want to see more of on Toronto stages?

Authentic diversity is something I want to see more of on Toronto stages. By that I mean, not just casting a token POC in the periphery of the narrative but, producing more plays that allow POC artists to be real people. Plays like School Girls; or the African Mean Girls play, highlight the innate diversity within the Black community. All eight of these characters are individuals, which provides the audience a range in the Black female experience.

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