As a teaching artist with Arts Alive, Omari Newton offers workshops on Slam Poetry and performing as well as various presentations that cover issues of social justice.
The Montreal-born artist is an award-winning professional actor, writer, and director, and is a senior instructor at The Vancouver Film School.
Omari Newton kindly shared his thoughts about the arts, his own career, and igniting creativity in children and youth.
How did you start out as an actor?
I got my start doing improvisation at Greendale Elementary School, followed by taking Drama classes at Beaconsfield High School in the West Island of Montreal. I had a wonderful high school drama teacher, the late great Linda Mckenty, who instilled in me a love of theatre. She encouraged me to audition for the school play, and then cast me as her lead, Benedict, in William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
What was the spark that brought you to a career in theatre and on screen?
During a matinee of my first ever play, I was discovered by an agent who just happened to be watching the show. I was 16 years old at the time and have been working as a professional actor ever since.
As a teaching artist, tell us about what you have witnessed in terms of the impact of Arts Alive on children and youth?
It has been so rewarding to see the joy and excitement that workshop participants experience when luxuriating in the exploration of their creativity. Art has a way of igniting and inspiring in ways that few things can.
How do the arts foster creativity in children and young people?
The arts allow people of all ages to step outside of themselves and explore the world through the perspective of others. It invites and empowers young people to play, to create and to stretch their imagination.