Mission & Mandate
Since its inception, our development programs have led many artists to expand their professional development and create new Canadian works. Through our training programs, we produce plays, develop playwrights and train emerging theatre professionals.
Obsidian is Canada’s leading culturally specific theatre company. Our threefold mission is to produce plays, to develop playwrights and to train emerging theatre professionals. Obsidian is passionately dedicated to the exploration, development, and production of the Black voice.
Obsidian produces plays from a world-wide canon focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the works of highly acclaimed Black playwrights. Obsidian provides artistic support, promoting the development of work by Black theatre makers and offering training opportunities through mentoring and apprenticeship programs for emerging Black artists.
Milestones & highlights
In February of 2000, Obsidian Theatre Company was founded by a group of Black artists, under the artistic leadership of Alision Sealy-Smith, with the mission to change the profile of culturally diverse theatre in Canada.
Obsidian staged its first ever full scale production with the world premiere of Adventures of a Black Girl In Search of God by highly esteemed Canadian playwright and Obsidian founding member, Djanet Sears.
Philip Akin became the new Artistic Director of Obsidian Theatre. He held the position for 14 years and continued to break many barriers for the company until his retirement in 2020.
The company put on the largest show in Obsidian’s history with it’s remount of Caroline or Change, a co-production with Musical Stage Company starting Canadian Singer Jully Black.
Obsidian Theatre welcomed Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu as the new Artistic Director. She has been leading the company through a global pandemic with innovative and experimental programming whilst deepening the company’s mission to support artists who identify with all intersections of Blackness.
In the midst of a global pandemic and under new artistic leadership of Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu, Obsidian partnered with CBC Arts to create 21 Black Futures. The project was a A historic and groundbreaking national film/theatre project employing over 100 Black Creatives from across the country. The project went on to win 4 major Canadian Screen awards the following year including Best Web Series.
Obsidian Theatre presented their first ever Black Out Night for the Canadian Premiere of Is God Is by Aleshea Harris (the company’s first live theatre show after the global pandemic) in partnership with Necessary Angel and Canadian Stage.
Founded in February 2000, Obsidian Theatre Company has quickly grown into one of the leading independent theatre companies in the country with a full schedule of productions, playwright/play development and professional training programs.
Since the company’s inception, Obsidian has helped to change the profile of culturally diverse theatre in Canada by encouraging other companies to re-evaluate the way they involve artists of colour. As a result, the performing arts sector has seen a huge growth in the work of black artists nation wide.
Obsidian has established partnerships both locally and across Canada working with companies such as The Stratford Festival of Canada, The Citadel Theatre, Mirvish Productions, The Harbourfront Centre, The Canadian Stage Company, Nightwood Theatre, The Harold Green Jewish Theatre, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille and The Shaw Festival.View Our Productions