On June 3 and 4, AMP (the Artist Mentorship Program) based out of Black Theatre Workshop, presented their annual Industry Showcase, in partnership with NAC English Theatre. AMP, is a six to seven-month program offered to emerging artists at the beginning of their careers.
The mission is to provide Black and other marginalized emerging artists a unique opportunity to strengthen their skills preparing them for professional careers in the arts, while also enhancing their ability to articulate their artistic practice. Mentorship is offered in disciplines such as acting, directing, playwriting, design, stage management and theatre administration. Artists receive expert guidance throughout the season, participate in weekly sessions including workshops, audition preparation, mock pitch sessions, discussions with guest artists and script readings, and are offered apprenticeship and/or assistant opportunities with partnering companies. At the end of the season, artists participate in the annual Industry Showcase, where potential engagers are invited to witness the ensemble’s work.
This season, as part of Black Theatre Workshop’s Co-Curating partnership with NAC English Theatre, emerging theatre artists from across the country were brought together to make this a truly national event. AMP Coordinators and Co-Directors Mariah Inger and Warona Setshwaelo, alongside acting mentors, worked with artists that included performers and playwrights, to shape the Showcase presentation. After a three-week rehearsal at the NAC, the artists prepared for two live performances in the Azrieli Studio and one livestream performance for national audiences.
Audiences were rewarded with excerpts from three plays, Tara L. Taylor’s musical Love, Peace and Hair Grease; Peace Akintade’s Painted Elephant, a West African and Indigenous Canadian folk story; and writer/performer Natasha “Courage” Bacchus presented sections from her one-woman show, Survivance. In addition to performing scenes from the three plays, cast members Alyssa Angelucci-Wall, Audrey Thibault, Bongani Musa, Christopher Parker, Grégory-Yves Fénélon, Isaac Cunningham, Paul Smith and Sasha Hayden, each included a monologue of their choosing, which were spliced throughout the performance. Bringing together these artists, the AMP Industry Showcase was a magical closing to Black Theatre Workshop and NAC English Theatre’s first collaborative season.