Young Gifted, and Black is a paid, national training program to support Black artists in non-performance disciplines. This program explores the Black aesthetic through skill-based masterclasses, individual mentorship, practical work placements, and ensemble creation.
Young, Gifted & Black supports 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.
Over the span of 14 months, the first Young Gifted, and Black cohort has built 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.
The YGB Ensemble showcase was presented on September 16, 2023 at Factory Theatre in Toronto, ON, with a workshop of Picky, Peasy and Nappy Head by Kaygeni
Program Timeline 22/23
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
August 2022 – December 2022
January 2023 – May 2023
In-Person (Toronto and National)
Ensemble Showcase Creation and Presentation
June 2023 – September 2023
In-Person Toronto, ON
Introducing the 22/23 YGB Cohort!!
It feels incredible to be accepted into the first Young, Gifted & Black cohort! I am so excited to learn, grow, and expand my practice with other Black people! I am excited to learn across the mediums, and come out a more well-rounded, confident, and experienced director and creator.
I’m profoundly grateful. I can feel happiness like a little flame in my chest… I’m excited to meet the rest of the cohort, and to see how we’ve all changed a year from now. I’m super jazzed to see what we come up with for our showcase, from the process to the final product. I know we’re going to make something special.
Getting accepted into this program was actually kind of a shock. I didn’t think I had enough experience for it but I’m glad I was accepted. I’m absolutely grateful for this opportunity and I’m so excited to be able to network with other people in the industry. I’m very excited to be able to learn more about costume design and to explore why I fell in love with it!
I am grateful for the opportunity to be fortified and equipped with skills needed to build the non performance side of our sector. I am thrilled to have so many great minds contribute to shaping and fortifying my foundation. I look forward to be shaped and sharpened. My form and structure is in place, but the details and specific texturing is what my work within the YGB program will be about.
“We are so excited to welcome our first Young Gifted & Black cohort,” says Obsidian Theatre Artistic Director Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu. “We had such an overwhelming response to the national call and making the selection to choose these final five was really difficult. There is clearly a great need for this program and we are looking forward to this first year of getting to know these incredible emerging artists and to support their artistic growth. Canadian theatres are searching for Black talent not just on stage but behind the scenes, and we are truly hopeful that this program will help fill this gap. We are excited to have incredible multidisciplinary artist Jay Northcott as the Program Director and we know that the program and the participants will flourish under their care. We can’t wait for you to meet these remarkable artists and get to know their work!”
– Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu, Obsidian Artistic Director
Set & Costume Designer
The Grand London
Writer & Actor
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?
If you have any general questions about Young, Gifted & Black, please contact Jay Northcott at email@example.com or our interim producer Fatima Adam @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, Metcalf Foundation.