Obsidian Theatre Company

Young, Gifted, and Black Program

Applications are now closed.

official                   /yəNG/



                 unique lens on theatre


                                                                                              growth without the need to mute

                                                                                              cultural identity

Program Description

Young Gifted, and Black is a paid, national training program to support Black artists in non-performance disciplines. This program will explore the Black aesthetic through skill-based masterclasses, individual mentorship, practical work placements, and ensemble creation. 


Young, Gifted and Black seeks to support and uplift artistic leaders. This is an opportunity to create a future where Black designers, directors, dramaturges, stage managers, producers, and production managers aren’t in low supply and high demand, but overflowing and enriching our theatre community with their talents.

About the 22/23 Cohort

Young Gifted, and Black will support 5 up and coming leaders and changemakers in Canadian theatre. Through this program, we seek to interrogate the Black aesthetic and develop the Black voice to foster Black excellence. Starting July 2022, this program will help to build and develop each artists’ skill set as an ensemble member while enhancing their individual aesthetic specific to their discipline.

Program Timeline

Over the span of 14 months, the first Young Gifted, and Black cohort will build a holistic knowledge in their own discipline through 5 months of masterclasses and ensemble sessions led by industry professionals followed by paid work placements in their respective fields ending with the creation and presentation of an ensemble showcase.  


Exact dates and times TBD


Masterclasses and Ensemble Sessions

July 2022 – December 2022

Weekly. Online


Work Placements

January 2023 – May 2023

In-Person (Toronto and National)


Ensemble Showcase Creation and Presentation

June 2023 – August 2023

In-Person Toronto, ON


Masterclass Instructors

Weyni-Mengesha-Headshot-2021ForbesMikeP_hs (1)











Weyni Mengesha          Rachel Forbes               Mike Payette

Artistic Director            Set & Costume               Artistic Director

Soulpepper                   Designer                        Tarragon Theatre


DanielBennett Headshot (1)

Untitled design (36)

Luke's fresh cut-30











Daniel Bennett              Lisa Codrington            Luke Reece

Technical Director        Writer & Actor               Associate AD

The Grand London       Playwrights Unit           Soulpepper



image1 (2) (2)











LaMeia Reddick            Mel Hague

Executive Director        Associate AD

2b Theatre                    Canadian Stage



Application Details

This is a paid program.


To apply, you must first:

  • - Identify as Black (all intersections of Blackness are welcome)
  • - Seek to explore a non-performance theatrical discipline (directing, producing, design, dramaturgy, stage management, etc.)
  • - Be available between July 2022 and September 2023 (exact dates TBD)
  • - Be 20 years and older


Please note: If you are interested in playwrighting or developing a script, please apply to our Playwright’s Unit.


Application deadline:

  • - Applications closed on Saturday, April 30th 2022
  • - Successful applicants will be notified for a follow up interview in early May 2022


Meet our Young, Gifted & Black Program Director






















Jay Northcott (They/Them) is a multidisciplinary artist; director, playwright, burlesque dancer, and producer. Jay works to decolonize their art and practice through storytelling, movement, gesture, and joy to create the fundamentals of their work.


They continue to grow and make it their mission to uplift projects that put BIPOC Queer artists in the spotlight. Their goals: to make you cry and laugh at the same time, they want to bleed, break, grind, make money, fight and blow some stuff up. Inspired by pop culture, lived experience, and finding truth. They work to develop techniques and experiment with aesthetics to answer the question: Why is theatre still relevant?

Contact Details

If you have any general questions about the program or questions about the post-application process, please contact Jay Northcott at tc@obsidiantheatre.com or Vanessa Spence @ op@obsidiantheatre.com.


Young Gifted and Black is generously sponsored by: 

Obsidian Theatre’s Season Sponsor: TD Bank Group; 

Program Sponsors: Catapult/Rideau Hall Foundation,  Scotiabank, Toronto Arts Council Strategic Fund.

Back to top