Black Boys

Black Boys image 01

Created by Stephen Jackman-Torkoff,
Tawiah Ben-Eben M’Carthy, Thomas Olajide,
with Virgilia Griffith and Jonathan Seinen

Directed by Jonathan Seinen
Choreography by Virgilia Griffith

February 13 – 17, 2018

Buddies in Bad Times/Saga Collectif Production presented by
Espace Libre and Black Theatre Workshop

Théâtre Espace Libre
1945 rue Fullum, Métro Frontenac
For tickets click here



Presented in English with French Surtitles.





About the play

A raw, intimate, and timely exploration of queer male Blackness.

Black Boys is created from the lives of three people seeking a deeper understanding of themselves, of each other, and of how they encounter the world. As they explore their unique identities on stage, they subvert the ways in which gender, sexuality, and race are performed. Theatrical and intimate, Black Boys weaves together the ensemble’s own personal stories in search of an integrated self and a radical imagination.

At the heart of Black Boys is Saga Collectif, an impressive ensemble of skilled young artists. The three performers – Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, Tawiah Ben M’Carthy, and Thomas Olajide – have been seen on the stages of the Shaw Festival, the National Arts Centre, Canadian Stage, and the Stratford Festival, where Thomas received the Peter Donaldson Award. Stephen recently appeared in the Dora Award-winning double bill Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom(Canadian Stage) and Buddies audiences will remember Tawiah from his Dora Award-winning show Obaaberima. Director Jonathan Seinen has been the creative force behind such innovative indie productions as Unknown Soldier (lemonTree creations) and Like There’s No Tomorrow (Architect Theatre), while Dora Award-nominee Virgilia Griffith choreographs after establishing herself as a formidable performer in her own right, most recently in Obsidian Theatre’s production of Up the Garden Path.


Stephen Jackman-Torkoff - 8 x 10

Stephen Jackman-Torkoff | Creator + Performer

Stephen is very hopeful for the future. Stephen believes in a lot of things. Stephen is a Pisces.





Tawiah Ben M'Carthy - 8 x 10

Tawiah Ben M’Carthy | Creator + Performer

Tawiah is a Ghanaian-born theatre artist. His playwright / creator / performer credits include Blue Bird, Body 13, Obaaberima (Dora Award for Best Production) and The Kente Cloth. Tawiah has worked with theatre companies such as, The National Arts Centre of Canada, The Cultch Vancouver, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, MTSpace Theatre, The Globe Regina and InterArts Matrix as actor, playwright and/or director. Tawiah is a Co-Founder of Blue Bird Theatre Collective and Saga Collectif. @TawiahMcarthy | @BlueBirdTheatre | @SagaCollectif


Thomas Olajide - 8 x 10

Thomas Olajide | Creator + Performer

Thomas Olajide is a Toronto based actor from Vancouver, BC. He is a graduate of the National Theatre School and has had the privilege of working in theatres around the country.





Creative Team

Jonathan Seinen - 8 x 10 Jonathan Seinen | Creator + Director

Jonathan Seinen is a director, actor, playwright, theatre creator, producer, Co-Artistic Producer of Architect Theatre, Artistic Associate with lemonTree creations, and a Founding Member of Saga Collectif. He was last seen at Buddies in Body Politic, and also acted in The Normal Heart (Studio 180). He wrote and directed Unknown Soldier, inspired by the actions of Chelsea Manning, at SummerWorks, and co-created and performed in Highway 63: The Fort Mac Show (TPM/Tour) and Like There’s No Tomorrow (SummerWorks), based on first-hand research into the oil sands and the Northern Gateway Pipeline respectively. With Katie Sly, he co-created Charisma Furs, developed at lemonTree Studio and videofag and produced at SummerWorks and Vancouver’s rEvolver Festival. This year, Jonathan spent six months as Artist-In-Residence with the frank theatre company, Vancouver’s professional queer-mandated company, and up next will Assistant Direct Timon of Athens at the Stratford Festival as a participant in the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction.


Virgillia Griffith - 8 x 10 Virgillia Griffith | Creator + Choreographer

Virgilia Griffith is a Toronto based theatre artist. Winner of the Meta Emerging Artist Award for Gas Girls. She was also a Dora Mavor Moore nominee for Outstanding Female in an Independent Division for her performance of Honesty directed by Jordan Tannahill. Selected credits include: Da Kink In My Hair (Theatre Calgary / NAC), How We Are (Mikaela Davies and Polly Phokeev Productions), Up The Garden Path (Obsidian Theatre Company),  Byhalia, Mississippi (Cue6), The Power of Harriet T! (Carousel Players/ Black Theatre Workshop). Virgilia is honoured to be choreographing on Black Boys.


Mel Hague - 8 x 10Mel Hague | Dramaturge

Mel Hague is a Toronto based dramaturge and curator. Mel is a proud Queer woman of Jamaican-Canadian heritage. Mel is the Rhubarb Festival Director and Company Dramaturge at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and the Artist Development Coordinator and Company Dramaturge at Obsidian Theatre Company. Previously, Mel has worked with Factory Theatre, Banff Centre Playwrights Colony, bcurrent performing arts, fu-Gen Asian Canadian Theatre, Eastern Front Theatre, Queer Acts Festival, The Paprika Festival, and Mulgrave Road Theatre. Mel wrote the Play Notes included in the Playwrights Canada Press Edition of Shakespeare’s Nigga by Joseph Jomo Pierre. Recent dramaturgy work includes Venus’ Daughter by Meghan Swaby (Obsidian Theatre Company, February 2016) and Up the Garden Path by Lisa Codrington (Obsidian Theatre Company, April 2016). Mel has an MFA in Theatre from York University.

Rachel Forbes - 8 x 10
Rachel Forbes | Set + Costume Design

Rachel is a Toronto based set and costume designer. Recent design credits include: Set and costume designs for Turkey Shoot (Single Thread), Bleeders (Watah Theatre), How Black Mothers Say I Love You (Trey Anthony Productions), Black Boys (Buddies in Bad Times/Saga Collectif), Brimstone and Treacle, Talking Heads I and II (Precisely Peter). Set Design for Esu Crossing the Middle Passage (Watah Theatre), Contempt (Safeword), We Must Have More Men! (Theatre by the Bay), Mary Poppins (Steppin’ Out Productions), Potosi (Good Old Neon), Next to Normal (Clearwater Theatre). Assistant Designs for Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God (NAC/Centaur Theatre/BTW), Niagara (Panamania), Watching Glory Die (Canadian Rep Theatre). Rachel has had the pleasure of working with many companies in Toronto including Obsidian Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times, VideoCabaret, Nightwood Theatre, and Acting Upstage.


Stephen Surlin - 8 x 10Stephen Surlin | Sound + Video Design

Stephen Surlin is a designer, visual artist, and sound designer based in Toronto. Surlin’s interdisciplinary process bridges digital production methods and analog materiality to augment the familiar and question reality. Surlin uses field recordings, spoken word, found sounds, and musical composition to create the divergent soundscape of Black Boys. Surlin has a background in Recording Arts, Fine Arts and Design, recently graduating from OCAD University’s Graduate Program in Design. Surlin has had work in the Summerworks Theatre Program, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre’s Residency Program, Nuit Blanche, Xpace Cultural Centre, and OCAD University, and will be working with Obsidian Theatre in 2017.


Jareth Li - 8 x 10Jareth Li | Lighting Design

Jareth is a freelance lighting designer based in Toronto. Select 
lighting designs include: The Glass Menagerie, Casimir and Carolin (The Howland Company); Sinners’ Lounge (Canada’s Wonderland); Dusk Dances (Dusk Dances – Sylvie Bouchard); Crazy For You (Port Hope Festival Theatre); The Trial of Judith K (Thought for Food Productions); Mourning Dove (Sudbury Theatre Centre); Dangerous Liaisons (Red One Collective/Storefront); The Widow (Summerworks); Disco Pigs (A Lasting Dose Productions). Jareth is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.



Laura Baxter - 8 x 10Laura Baxter | Stage Manager

The 20th of November, Arigato Tokyo, Obaaberima, The Maids, The Silicone Diaries, Breakfast, Neon Nightz (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre), You Will Remember Me, NSFW, God of Carnage, Clybourne Park (Studio 180 Theatre), Tails From the City, The Public Servant, The Story, Happy Days, All That Fall, And Up They Flew (Common Boots), Elle (Theatre Pasee Muraille), Dirt, Jitters (Soulpepper), Hamlet, All’s Well, Julius Caesar, Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, Titus Andronicus, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Winter’s Tale (Canadian Stage Shakespeare in High Park), Venus in Fur (CanadianStage), Soliciting Temptation, More Fine Girls (Tarragon Theatre), Speaking in Tongues, Festen (The Company Theatre), A Sleigh Ride Christmas Carol, Everyone, The Story, Macbeth (Caravan Farm Theatre), Age of Arousal, Toronto the Good, (Factory Theatre).

Technical Director ADRIEN WHAN



Black Boys was developed in Buddies Residency Program, sponsored by BMO Financial Group.