Philip Akin has been acting and directing for over 30 years. In 2000, he was a founding member of Obsidian Theatre, Canada’s leading black theatre company, and has served as its Artistic Director since 2006. In this role, he has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities and guidance for emerging artists. In 2002, he was part of the team that launched the Obsidian Mentor/Apprentice Program, a one-of-a-kind program that has so far helped 31 black artists embark on exciting careers as directors, dramaturges, producers, production managers, lighting, set and costume designers with some of the most established performing arts companies nationwide.
Philip Akin was most recently seen on stage in the 2009 re-mount production of The Last days of Judas Iscariot (Birdland Theatre) and the 2007 productions of Othello and Of Mice and Men (Stratford Shakespeare Festival). His directing credits include Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize winning Ruined; Toronto the Good and El Paso (Factory Theatre); Intimate Apparel (Citadel Theatre, Canadian Stage, Obsidian Theatre), and Black Medea, Born Ready and Pusha Man (Obsidian Theatre). His film and television credits include Shake Hands With the Devil (2007), The Sum of All Fears (2002) and Flashpoint (2008-2011).
In 2011, Philip was honoured with the Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award, the Bra D’Or Award from the Playwright’s Guild of Canada and was the Toronto Sun’s Performance Artist of the Year. In 2010, he received the Silver Ticket Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts presented by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts. He is currently the Vice-President of the Board for the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, a member of the Metcalf Foundation’s Performing Arts Internship Jury and a member of the Humber College Theatre Program’s Advisory Board. He has also served on juries for Theatre Ontario, OAC, Canada Council for the Arts and has spoken on many panels particularly in the area of cultural diversity in the arts.
Tania Senewiratne worked for a Broadway producer in NYC for 10 years. In that capacity she worked on over 30 theatrical productions on Broadway, off-Broadway, on tour in North America, in London, on tour in the UK, in Canada, in Australia and throughout East Asia. Broadway shows include The Producers, Hairspray, Young Frankenstein, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, The Norman Conquests, A Little Night Music and many more. Off-Broadway shows include Old Jews Telling Jokes, Cookin’, My Old Lady, The Fantasticks and others. International productions include Porgy and Bess, The King and I, SpongeBob Squarepants, Cinderella, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and others. Tania was involved in the creation of 54 Below – a cabaret space built in the cellar of the iconic Studio 54 building in New York City. She is an instructor at the Theatre School at Ryerson University.
Play Development Coordinator
Mel Hague is a Toronto based dramaturge. She is the Play Development Coordinator at Obsidian Theatre Company. Mel is the Rhubarb Festival Director and Company Dramaturge at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Mel has worked with Factory Theatre, bcurrent performing arts, fu-Gen Asian Canadian Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre, Queer Acts Festival, The Paprika Festival, and Mulgrave Road Theatre. Other theatre credits include Litmus Theatre’s Birth of Frankenstein (Dora Nomination – Outstanding New Play Independent Category) Mel has an MFA in Theatre from York University.
Mentor/Apprentice Program Coordinator
Jamie has worked across North America as an actor, director, writer, teacher and producer. He is currently the Artistic Director of Scarborough’s Guild Festival Theatre, and teaches acting at York University and with numerous Toronto youth organizations. He has worked extensively with The Stratford Festival, Blyth Festival, Canadian Stage Company, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille and Young People’s Theatre to name a few. He is co-founder of several Theatre companies including Montreal’s Metachroma Theatre, promoting artists of diverse backgrounds. Jamie holds a Masters Degree in Theatre Directing and Teaching from York University, a BFA from Concordia University and is a graduate of the Stratford Birmingham Conservatory.