Mentorship Ensemble 2018-19

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The 2018-19 #AMPEnsemble


Candace Blake-Amarante (Playwriting)

Candace Amarante is an author and emerging playwright in the BTW Artistic Mentorship Program, where she will be adapting her historical fiction story, “You, Me and Victor Hugo!” for TYA. Her short play, “House Hunters”, is being developed in Teesri Duniya Theatre’s Fireworks Program.

Candace is also a children’s book author. Thus far, she has published a picture book, The Pheasant’s Tale…or was it its Tail? and two interactive picture books (iBook) that are available on iTunes: How Little Pump became Big Jack and Tundra’s Moon Bunnies. She also writes about food.

She holds a doctorate in political science from Columbia University, NY. Candace has led a pretty itinerant life. Her parents moved from Sierra Leone to Buffalo, NY, where she was born. She spent her childhood in Tokyo, Nairobi and several places in the US. She has also lived in Italy. Currently, she resides in Montreal with her family. 

Stephen Booth (Performance)

Stephen Booth is an actor/playwright based in Montreal who works in theatre and film. I am a graduate of Concordia University’s with a BFA in Theatre and Political Science. I have worked with the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre won The Dybbuk, VillageScene Productions on A Twin’s Tail, and Cote Saint Luc Dramatic/Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre on The Producers. Most recently, I appeared in La Tigressa Productions’ The Autism Monologues in the 2018 Montreal Fringe Festival. I am currently working on a solo show that explores a drifter who travels in dimensions to expose the human condition. Film Credits include The Maple Syrup Files, and City of Fools.




Zaynab Bourezza (Playwriting)

Zaynab Bourezza. Writer and screenwriter. Originally from Morocco. Born and bred in Côte-des-Neiges, Montreal. Her short-lived career as a stand up comic put $20 in her pocket and that was enough to convince her to quit biology to become a writer. She has a BA in screenwriting and creative writing from Université de Montréal. Zaynab published some of her work in literary magazines such as Le Pied, Minorités Lisibles and in three collections of short stories with the Collectif Nyx. When she’s feeling reckless, she goes to open mics to make sure that she can still read. She just finished writing a play WOCness Munsters, she’s currently working on a collection of poetry. Her first short film was shot this summer, as part of the Uptown crew (a collective of artists, women of color, based in Montreal). For samples, here’s her blog


Maryline Chery (Performance)

Maryline Chery is a bilingual actress of Haitian decent based in Montreal.  You might have seen her in French improv troops, abroad on cruise ships performing or in one of her solo shows in which black identity always finds focus. Maryline has played in French TV shows, films and theatre festivals such as Revolution they Wrote, Fringe and presented her first cirque act last year at Montreal’s clown festival. Since graduating from Concordia University’s theater program, she as produced her own one-woman show AFRODISIAQUE twice! An important piece in which she tackles the representation of black women through their hair and the way we treat them today’s society. Maryline is an engaged actress, performer and writer. Through her work she wishes to open a conversation with her community and strives to create art that represents the more diverse crowd of the Quebec province.


Willow Cioppa (Playwriting)

Willow Cioppa is an interdisciplinary artist and playwright who’s work focuses on the nuances of sexuality, trauma, self-reflection, femininity, Blackness, and their undying love for rap music. They are currently earning their Bachelor of Fine Arts at Concordia University in Art History & Film Studies with a minor in Sexuality. Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, their work has taken on many faces since childhood; from diaries, to painting, to illustration, to moody poetry written in dark spaces, and here, to play-writing where their aim is to create decadent visual, auditory, and written landscapes.





Georges Micheal Fanfan (Design)

Georges Michael Fanfan is a designer and stylist that is deeply passionate about interpreting compelling stories through clothing and always willing to take on any creative challenges. Michael has produced two collections; one with cégep Marie Victorin where he graduated from and the second with L’École supérieure de mode at Uqam. His first collection was well received by his colleagues and was featured in the American magazine XIOX with Canadian model Tifeny Moreira. The second collection was produced under the guidance of fashion designer Ying Gao. In between his time in school, Michael has worked as a stylist on many fashion editorials that allowed him to collaborate with many photographers, models, and artists. Having always appreciated film and theatre to the point of which he has drawn inspiration from, Michael decided to venture into costume design; using garment as a tool to help artists tell their stories and with his skillset Michael produce the costumes for Afrodisiaque written by Maryline Chery.

Briauna James (Performance)

Briauna James has been acting since she was 5.  Her first starring role was that of herself in her Living Room’s production of How One Deals With Bullies written and directed by her mother.  Acting quickly became something that she was passionate about and a way that she was able to relate to the world. After graduating from Dawson College’s Professional Theatre Program she immediately moved onto completing Geordie Productions 2Play Tour in April 2018. Briauna’s goal as an actor has always been to be a looking glass for humanity reflecting things back in an altogether new light while learning to become a better version of herself. This new opportunity is both an honour and a challenge that brings her one step closer to that goal. She is so excited to embark on this new journey and to be a part of the BTW AMP family!



Schelby Jean-Baptiste (Performance)

Schelby Jean-Baptiste se démarque dans le 7e art en obtenant un premier grand rôle à la télévision québécoise en 2014. Elle incarne le rôle de Sivélia dans Trauma, une série diffusée sur Radio-Canada. En 2015, elle tient un rôle principal dans le film québécois intitulé Scratch. Un film de Sébastien Godron pour lequel elle s’est mérité une nomination au Gala du cinéma québécois en 2016 dans la catégorie meilleure actrice de soutien. En 2018-2019, le public aura la chance de voir la comédienne camper des rôles importants au petit écran dans les séries Unité 9 réalisée par Jean-Philippe Duval ainsi que L’Heure Bleue réalisée par Stephan Beaudoin. Au cinéma, cette dernière incarne le rôle de Rose dans le prochain long-métrage de Ky Nam Le Duc; un film qui devrait voir le jour au début de l’année 2019. Plusieurs ont pu la voir performer en août 2018 à l’Espace Libre dans un collage de la tragédie Antigone, dans le cadre du Festival ZH. Récemment graduée en théâtre à l’Université Concordia,  elle avance avec la tête pleine de projets, ainsi que le mantra « Rien n’est impossible à celui qui croit ». Elle est prête à surmonter les embûches les plus farouches afin de réaliser ses rêves les plus fous!

Katharine King (Performance)

Katharine King is a recent graduate of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University here in Montreal. Originally hailing from Vancouver, she has worked as an actor, artist, and filmmaker. Recent TV acting credits include NBC’s The Bold Type and CBC’s The Detectives. Theatre performances include the Frankie-nominated play Lucky at Montreal Fringe and The History of Sexuality at Place des Arts. Her personal video work has screened at the VAV Gallery in Montreal and in festivals internationally. She has also worked in production for a number of franchises such as Fear the Walking Dead, X-Men, Extinction, Book Club, and many more. Most recently, she directed the LGBTQIA+ web series The Walk-In Closet.




Jahlani Knorren (Performance)

Raised by the love and kindness of a strong black mother, Jahlani was first exposed to theatre through his mom’s love of Shakespeare. He was more formally introduced to theatre, while in his third year sociology, at the University of Saskatchewan. Athlete turned theatre maker, Jahlani has recently graduated from Concordia University with a BFA in theatre.  His first professional theatre role is an upcoming play called Blackout, where he is part of the Chorus/African gods. This Tableau D’hôte production premieres early next year (2019).

Jahlani is committed to the positive representation of people of colour and uses his multimedia platform “Own Your Shade” as a medium to promote his love of people of colour. When he’s not Acting he writes poems, reads comics, listen’s to audiobooks and enjoys discovering new music. His favorite pastime is free styling with his “day ones”.  His biggest Inspirations include Malcolm X, Denzel Washington, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou and most importantly his Mom.

Öykü Önder (Design)

After a series of happy and unpredictable events, Öykü Önder moved from Istanbul to Montréal in 2014 and completed Concordia University’s Design For The Theatre program in 2016. Since arriving in Canada she has collaborated with different artists from various backgrounds in theatre, music and dance. Öykü tries to combine her own experiences with that of her collaborators’, rooted in the belief that art is a crucial step towards a better understanding among people. Most recently she designed lights for Je Suis La Fille in Tangente Danse, toured with The Village to the United Arab Emirates, and worked on Fourth International Conference on Technologies for Music Notation and Representation. She is equally currently a member of the production team for Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. She also feels very privileged to participate Black Theatre Workshop Artist Mentorship Program in 2018-19.


Adam Pierre (Performance)

Adam Pierre Adam is very excited and honored to be part of the BTW Mentorship program. Adam was last scene in the productions of Generous at the GCTC, Extremely Short Play Festival at the Arts Court, and Midsummer Nights Dream at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. Adam has always had a passion for theatre, telling a story that captivates the audience. He first discovered his love for theatre at the age of 12 when he moved from Brooklyn to Ottawa. Adam has pursued his love for the stage in training at the Ottawa Theatre School 2009. When not performing, Adam enjoys playing the piano, singing, and dancing bachata, hip hop, and Kompa. He looks forward to the upcoming challenges and creativity that the program has to offer.




Darren Schilling (Production)

Darren Schilling is a trained actor, writer, improviser, broadcaster, and storyteller. He is a graduate of the SFU Writers Studio and the School Creative-Institute of the Arts in Vancouver, BC. He has been a co-producer of the national, all-true storytelling series Confabulation since 2016. His stories have been featured on CBC Radio Montreal and in the Wildside Theatre Festival. His current project, Potentially Sketchy, is an ambitious effort to bring regular, monthly, pre-written live sketch comedy to Montreal. As the co-creator and showrunner of Potentially Sketchy, Darren aims to create a space for his unique voice of colour and the unique women’s voices of the project’s other co-creators in both the local Montreal comedy scene and in online, filmed sketches.

Darren is driven by a passion for critical, comedic social analysis and a desire to influence changes of opinion in the ways that we think of colour, masculine and feminine energy, relationship norms, heritage, Canadiana, and poop jokes. Darren is proud, honoured, and grateful to have been selected as the first ever Production Mentee in the Black Theatre Workshop Mentorship Program. If you see him and have the time, he invites you to come up to him and chat about what you think is funny.

Mahalia Golnosh Tahririha (Performance)

Mahalia Golnosh Tahririha is an actor, dramaturg, and producer, who is grateful to have spent her time on stages across the country. Her passion lies in making theatre more accessible and inclusive, and making plays that question, subvert, and re-define the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. She holds a Bachelor’s in Theatre and Psychology and a Master’s in Theatre, both from the University of Ottawa, and received the 2017 Prix Rideau Award for Emerging Artist. Recent credits include The Team (Thousand Islands Playhouse), Swan River, (Skeleton Key Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Pericles (A Company of Fools), The Last Wife (Belfry Theatre/Great Canadian Theatre Company), and she assistant directed Don’t Read The Comments (Sermo Scomber Theatre). She is excited and delighted to be a member of this year’s Artist Mentorship Program, and can’t wait to be a part of this wonderful community.


Katey Wattam (Direction/Theatre Maker)

Katey Wattam is an interdisciplinary artist of mixed settler and Anishinaabe ancestry, approaching theatre as a way of mining her and other bodies for their ‘blood memory’, uncovering experiences and traumas (past and present) for the purpose of reclaiming and decolonizing bodies, minds, and spaces. Theatre allows her to take the vivid imagery she experiences–the feelings of colours, shapes–and tether them from the text and the actors. She is heavily influenced by the voice and breath work of Linklater, Berry & Rodenburg,  Viewpoints, and the Pochinko clown technique which she studied under John Turner of Mump & Smoot at The Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation and Performance. Her process is one that accesses and pulls from ones’ corporeal realities, rather than a forced placing upon. Using the controlled setting of theatre to self-inflect harm in a way that recalibrates it into a coping mechanism. Her work seeks to touch trauma in a feasible way. In this sense, not all harm is bad. In fact, harm can have a productive purpose for some; functioning as a sight of control to re-live and re–write histories. /

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