Obsidian Theatre Company

Recent News

Philip Akin to step down as Artistic Director

April 11th, 2019

Philip Akin to step down as Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre


Philip Akin has announced that he will be stepping down after 14 seasons as the Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre, Canada’s leading culturally specific theatre company. Though he will remain in his position until 2020, the search for new artistic leadership begins now.


In 2000, Philip along with 12 other prominent Black artists came together with the vision for an organization by and for Black theatre creators; one that would never need to reach for whiteness. Obsidian Theatre was formed, named for a black volcanic glass that alluded to creation and breaking new ground. Philip served on the board of directors, and as the company’s administrative producer before becoming Artistic Director in 2006. After the company celebrates their 20th season, he will leave the Obsidian in the hands of someone new.


This transition marks an important time for both the company and the theatre community. Under Philip’s leadership since 2006, Obsidian Theatre has grown to become a hub for Black theatre makers across the country. We are now known as a company that creates space for risk-taking; values and pays for the work of artists; and which works for change by creating a culture of radical generosity. As Artistic Director, Philip has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities, guidance, and ongoing support for young-in-craft artists. He will be deeply missed.

- Harmony Cohen, Chair of Obsidian Theatre’s Board of Directors


Read the full release here:


2018 Premier’s Arts Awards

April 10th, 2019

We are proud to announce that our Artistic Director, Philip Akin, has been named the 2018 Artist Award laureate for the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, along with his selected Emerging Artist Leighton Alexander Williams.


They are sharing these honours with imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the 2018 Arts Organization laureate – the world’s largest festival showcasing film, video, audio, and digital & interactive media made by Indigenous screen content creators.


“I have always said that it’s the work and not the awards that matter. And yet I find myself profoundly touched that a group of my peers conferred this honour on me. I wish my mom was still alive to see this day.” – Philip Akin


Full release:

“I’m very blessed to achieve this award, especially after a year of producing work that speaks to social issues currently happening in our world. I’m eternally grateful to Philip Akin and Obsidian Theatre who saw something within me” - Leighton Alexander Williams


“This award is a testament to the incredible vitality of the Indigenous media arts community and the talented artists, supportive community members, and passionate staff, volunteers and Board that make imagineNATIVE possible.” – Jason Ryle, Artistic & Managing Director at imagineNATIVE


The Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts program is administered by the Ontario Arts Council – Conseil des arts de l’Ontario on behalf of the Ontario Government‘s Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Winners are selected by a jury of artists and arts professionals.

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