By Tawiah Ben M’Carthy
Obaaberima originally premiered at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (Toronto) in 2012.
The play was commissioned and developed by Buddies in Bad Times through the Buddies Residency Program.
Imprisoned in Canada for committing a violent crime, a young man from Ghana tells his cellmates a story on the eve of his release. Although there is great risk in sharing his tale, he must tell it to be truly free. Through storytelling, dance and live music, Obaaberima chronicles a young African-Canadian’s journey across continents, genders, races and sexualities.
March 24-28, 2020
1945, rue Fullum
Box Office: 514.521.4191
PLAYWRIGHT / PERFORMER
Tawiah Ben M’Carthy
Tawiah M’Carthy is a Ghanaian born, Toronto based Theatre artist: Playwright/Creator/Performer/Director. His playwright/creator/performer credits include, Obaaberima (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre), Black Boy (SagaCollectif) and Maanomaa (Blue Bird Theatre Collective). He appeared at Globe Theatre, Regina; Romeo and Juliet, The NAC, Ottawa; Alice Through The Looking Glass, Stuff Happens, Theatre Hetaerae; He Left Quietly. Tawiah worked as an Assistant Director at Shaw Theatre Festival; The Baroness And The Pig and Henry V, Obsidian Theatre; Venus’ Daughter, National Arts Centre; The December Man. He is the director of Bush of Ghost (Blue Bird Theatre Collective) and Our Daughters (working title) in residency at Canadian Stage. Tawiah is a Dora Nominated Playwright and Performer.
Evalyn Parry is the artistic director of Buddies. Recently nominated for a Governor General Award for her play Gertrude and Alice (co-authored with Anna Chatterton and Karin Randoja), which opened the Buddies season in September, Evalyn is a collaborative, interdisciplinary performance creator, whose practice includes directing, writing, performing, composing and curating. Her 2017 Buddies production Kiinalik:These Sharp Tools (co-created with Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Erin Brubacher and Elysha Poirier) won the 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Award for both Outstanding New Play and Sound Design and Composition (Parry and Cris Derksen); it will be touring to Iqaluit, Vancouver and Montreal before returning to Toronto, presented by Luminato in June 2019. Other recent projects for Buddies include directing the Youth/Elder Project (2017, with co-directors Vanessa Dunn and LeeLee Davis) and her well-travelled show SPIN. Gratitude to the Obaaberima creativity team for their brilliance and generosity.
Kobena Aquaa Harrison
Kobena Aquaa Harrison is a Ghanaian-Bermudian performer, composer and producer. He builds instruments and is a prolific, internationally respected creator in diverse genres. Awards highlight his work in radio, media, TV, film, dance and theatre including: a Dora Mavor Moore, Chalmers Awards, TAMA and Toronto Indie Music Award nominations, and features on JUNO awarded R&B, children’s music and spoken word albums. His all-star band, Djungle Bouti Orchestra, features top Canadian jazz & world musicians playing music from his ongoing autobiography, Golden Tale of Djungle Bouti. Kobè has worked with Divine Brown, Deborah Cox, Alicia Keys, Nissan, Montana Steele, FIFA, Stratford Summermusic, Shaw Festival, arts councils and event planners. A former CKLN radio host, AfroFest President and Artistic Director, Kobè is founder of Michèzo! festival on Toronto Island –and Cultural Development Director at Abandze Embassy. @paapakobe
SET & COSTUME DESIGNER
Camellia is a Toronto-based designer for theatre, opera and dance. Recent theatre collaborations include designs for Cahoots Theatre Projects, Factory Theatre, Shaw Festival, Stratford Festival, National Arts Centre and Tarragon Theatre. Opera collaborations include designs for Against the Grain,Boston Lyric Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Edmonton Opera, Helikon Opera (Moscow), Minnesota Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria and Tapestry New Opera.Camellia has received six Dora Mavor Moore Awards, a Sterling Award, a Chalmers Award Grant, shared the 2006 Siminovitch Protégé Prize, Third Prize Team 2011European Opera Directing Prize, and the 2016 Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award for Costume Design. Upcoming projects include designs for Hansel and Gretel (Edmonton Opera), Shawnadithit (Tapestry New Opera), La Bohème (Santa FeOpera) and The Mahabharata (Why Not/Shaw Festival).
Michelle Ramsay is a Toronto based lighting designer who has created designs for dance, theatre and opera companies across Canada and around the world. Recent designs include: Acteon and Pygmalion. . . (Opera Atelier/The Royal Opera of Versailles/Harris Theatre Chicago); The Royale (Soulpepper); Gertrude and Alice (Independent Aunties); Ricciardo e Zoraide (The Rossini Festival – Pesaro, Italy); To Kill A Mockingbird (Stratford Festival); Return of Ulysses (Opera Atelier); Drawer Boy (Theatre Passe Muraille); Ipperwash (NEPA/Blyth Festival); Broken Tailbone (nightswimming); Daughter (Quiptake/Pandemic Theatre); Lukumi (Watah Theatre); Our Town (Theatre Rusticle); The Magic Hour – co-designed with Jennifer Tipton (Jess Dobkin). She has received seven Dora Awards, a SATAward, a Harold Award and the 2008 Pauline McGibbon award.
Black Boys, The 20th of November, Arigato Tokyo, Obaaberima, The Maids, The Silicone Diaries, Breakfast, (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre), My Name is Asher Lev, My Night With Reg, You Will Remember Me, NSFW, God of Carnage, Clybourne Park (Studio 180), The Story, Tails From the City, Happy Days (Common Boots Theatre), Little Pretty and the Exceptional, Age of Arousal (Factory Theatre), Elle (Theatre Passe Muraille), I Call myself Princess (Cahoots/ Paper Canoe/ Native Earth), Elle (Theatre Passe Muraille), Love and Information, Venus in Fur, Shakespeare in High Park: 6 seasons (CanadianStage), Soliciting Temptation, More Fine Girls (Tarragon Theatre), The Berlin Blues, Ipperwash (Blyth Festival), Speaking in Tongues, Festen (The Company Theatre), Music Music Life Death Music (One Little Goat), A Christmas Carol, The Story (Caravan Farm Theatre)
Virgilia Griffith is a Toronto based theatre artist. Winner of the METAs Emerging Artist Award for Gas Girls (Black Theatre Workshop). 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: Harlem Duet (Tarragon Theatre) Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Soulpepper Theatre),The WeddingParty (Crow’s Theatre), Other Side of the Game (Cahoots/ Obsidian Theatre), TheWatershed (Porte Parole), Da Kink In My Hair (Theatre Caldary/NAC), How We Are (Mikaela Davies and Polly Phokeev Productions), Up The Garden Path (ObsidianTheatre Company), Byhalia, Mississippi (Cue6),The Power of Harriet T! (CarouselPlayers/Black Theatre Workshop)
Bio for “Obaaberima”
Ausar Stewart is one of Canada’s leading voice, speech and communications coaches. An accomplished actor, teacher and coach, he has brought his brand of coaching to many of Toronto’s most respected institutions; most recently George Brown’s Theatre and Media Arts Programs. Drawing from his wide-ranging training and experience, Ausar integrates core performance principles with energetics and voice coaching modalities to contribute to transformative, theatrical experiences such as Obaaberima. As the owner of Free Your Voice, he works with private and corporate clients to help them develop confidence, power and impact so that they can speak, inspire and lead. www.freeingourvoice.ca
About Buddies …
Established in 1979, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is Toronto’s leading destination for artistically rigorous alternative theatre and a world leader in developing queer voices and stories for the stage. Buddies offers a year-round program that includes a full season of queer theatre, new works festivals, artist residencies, and intergenerational training and education initiatives. In its 40-year history Buddies has welcomed over one million people into its home in the heart of Toronto’s queer village and has premiered nearly 1,000 new works for the stage, making it the largest and longest-running queer theatre company in the world.
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