The mission of Black Theatre Workshop is: to encourage and promote the development of a Black and Canadian Theatre, rooted in a literature that reflects the creative will of Black Canadian writers and artists, and the creative collaborations between Black and other artists. BTW aims to promote and produce Black theatre that educates, entertains and delights its audiences. The company strives to create a greater cross-cultural understanding by its presence and the intrinsic value of its work.
Black Theatre Workshop was incorporated as a non-profit company in 1972. Before that time the organization was known as the Trinidad and Tobago Drama Committee, and operated as an amateur theatre group. Since becoming a fully professional company, BTW has been involved in spoken-word and innovative performance work, in addition to community-based work, plays by established Black and non-black playwrights, and commercially-viable productions. We present works primarily in English, occasionally in French, and in the past have toured internationally.
The Role Black Theatre Workshop Plays in the Arts Community
BTW is the only English-speaking professional Black Theatre Company in the province of Québec. The company has developed and produced new plays and nurtured the careers of a number of prominent Canadian theatre practitioners. Many high-profile Black artists whose careers began with or have been furthered by the company are now working in theatre, film and as arts educators throughout Canada. Black Theatre Workshop is a well-established presence on the professional theatre scene in Montreal, and has recently garnered two MECCA’s (Montreal English Critics Circle Awards) for BTW mainstage productions.
The Role Black Theatre Workshop Plays in the Broader Community
As a company of 41 years’ standing, BTW has developed a broad and faithful audience base. A significant number (approximately 50%) are from Black or other visible minority communities, and rarely attend professional theatre produced by other companies. BTW provides regular programming for youth, and each year, gives out two awards to young people who have shown promise in the arts, in addition to the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award, granted to an established senior artist who has made an outstanding contribution to Black artistic and cultural life in Canada.