A Bit About BTW’s Past:
The Trinidad and Tobago Association (TTA) began in the sixties as a large demand arose due to the large amount of West Indians moving to Montreal.
- A division within TTA was the Drama Group Committee which produced plays like Dance Bongo, The Professor, and The Calypso Operas. (See Before BTW for more details)
In July of 1972 the Trinidad and Tobago Drama Committee incorporated as a non-profit organization and become Black Workshop eventually evolving to The Black Theatre Workshop
- Their mandate was to promote and encourage the development of new works from Canadian Artists. This mandate has since expanded to include the promotion of all types of development of Black and Canadian Theatre and the creative collaboration between Black and other artists. (See About BTW for more details)
Fast Facts About BTW:
To date Black Theatre Workshop- at 40 years and strong- is the longest standing Black Theatre Company in Canada.
BTW Annually puts on a Mainstage theatre production with a fully professional cast, Afro-Canadian themes, and a diverse cast and crew (see Mainstage for more details)
Previous Mainstage productions include:
- Wade in the Water by George Boyd in 2008 which has since been published
- Le Code Noir by George Boyd in 2009
- Swan Song of Maria by Carol Anderson in 2010
- A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry as part of our 40th anniversary season
BTW is also known for its many programs focused on Montreal Youth:
– In 1983, with Martin Luther Who, Black Theatre Workshop began it’s Black History Month School Tour program, where cultural and Canadian based plays are brought into schools across Montreal and Ottawa
Now on an annual basis BTW tours schools during the month of February in Ottawa and Montréal areas (See School Tour for more details on this season’s performance
In the summer of 2000, Black Theatre Workshop launched a Theatre training program for Black youth, called the ‘Young Performers’ Initiative. Now renamed YouthWorks, the program is an ongoing, year-round training curriculum consisting of 4 separate sessions aimed at youth of diverse backgrounds. (See YouthWorks for more details
Since 1986 BTW has held a Gala where they award the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award to an individual whose life has a measure of distinction in Canada and who has made significant contributions to the development of Black Performing Arts
Also awarded at the annual Gala is The Gloria Mitchell-Aleong Award for emerging artists who have demonstrated commitment and exceptional talent in the performing arts and The Victor Phillips Award given to youth who have enrolled in an academic program and who has achieved excellence in the performing arts (See Vision for more details)
BTW is dedicated to supporting emerging artists:
Annually BTW hosts a Spoken Word event BTW’s Annual Poetry Jam where talent from across Montréal come together to explore their voices through poetry and rhythmic harmonies (See Poetry Jam for more details)
Annually BTW hosts a Discovery Series where new Canadian works are discovered and workshopped through a staged reading by professional actors and directors (see Discovery Series for more details)
George Boyd’s play Wade in the Water was produced in the 2003-04 season. It was awarded a 2004 MECCA Award (Montreal English Critics’ Circle Award) for Best Director, and was a runner-up for Best Production.
In 2004 BTW received a Trail Blazer Award (Black History Month Round Table Award) for its exceptional dedication to the development of the community in promoting educational awareness, cultural diversity,and social consciousness.
In 2005 the Martin Luther King Jr Legitimacy Committee awarded BTW for their historic Contribution to the development of Black Performing Arts in Canada.
In 2010 BTW receieved a MECCA for best lighting with our Lighting Designer Eric Mongerson for the 2009 production of Swan Song of Maria