Saturday February 1, 2020
The Black Theatre Workshop takes great pride in bringing Montreal our prestigious annual Vision Celebration Gala. An official launching pad for Montreal’s Black History Month celebrations, the event serves to pay homage to outstanding Black artist changemakers who contribute to the development of arts in Canada, while celebrating the vision of growth, solidarity and unity inspired by the great historical and contemporary figure, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement will be awarded to:
H. Nigel Thomas
H. Nigel Thomas will be recognized for his significant contribution to the development of Black arts and cultural life. A lifelong learner, an educator, an activist and author, Mr. Thomas has been instrumental in providing a nuanced perspective of the inner lives of marginalized voices in Canada.
” Mr. H. Nigel Thomas has been a long-time supporter of Black Theatre Workshop and has dedicated his life and work to the promotion and elevation of Black voices in literature. We are thrilled to pay tribute to his extraordinary achievements at this year’s Vision Gala.”
– Quincy Armorer, Artistic Director of Black Theatre Workshop
Nigel Thomas emigrated from St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1968. A graduate of Concordia University, McGill University, and Université de Montreal, he taught for 18 years at the Université de Laval.
Upon retiring from education in 2006, Mr. Thomas undertook his next occupation; full time writer. Dozens of his essays in literary criticism, short stories, and poems have been published in journals and anthologies worldwide. He is the author of five novels, three collections of short fiction, and two books of literary criticism. His sixth novel, Easily Fooled, will be published in 2021.
Mr. Thomas is a dedicated activist and advocate for Black writers. In the late 70s until the late 80s, he tutored students and advocated for justice for Black students in the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. During this time he co-founded The Free South Africa Committee which organized vigils and protests in support of Black South Africans living under apartheid.
Mr. Thomas has shown a continuous dedication toward empowering others and providing a platform for uplifting the works of Black writers both in Canada and in his native land. In 1986, in cooperation with Horace Goddard, Shirley Small, Anthony Joyette and Randolph Homer, founded Kola Magazine to provide a platform for the works of Black writers. In 2015 he founded Lectures Logos Readings, a monthly writers gathering, and acts as the English language coordinator. And in 2018, in cooperation with the University of the West Indies Open Campus St. Vincent and the Grenadines, he established two prizes. He is the principal patron of both The Shake Ellsworth Keane Poetry Prize and the H. Nigel Thomas UWI Open Campus Fiction Prize.
The 2020 Dr. Clarence Bayne Community Service Award will be presented to:
Leon Llewellyn is a community driven arts educator, activist, and multi-disciplinary artist. Born on the island of Grenada, he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University and a Diploma in Art Education. In addition to working as a political cartoonist, he has created imagery for many Black community organisations including the UHURU, Focus Umoja, Black Theatre Workshop, The Negro Community Center and the Black Community Central Administration of Quebec.
Mr. Llewellyn worked as a high school art teacher for EMSB for 35 years, encouraging his students to examine the relationship between art and personal experience. He continues to volunteer his time teaching art to seniors at the Cote des Neiges Black Community Association and running intergenerational art collaborations.
Most recently, Llewellyn donated his original photographs, drawings as well as archival textural material to Concordia University’s Special Collections Archives. This material provides a unique slice of Montreal black history between 1969 and the late 1970s.
Two young talented Black artists will be recognized for their artistic accomplishments.
The Gloria Mitchell-Aleong Award
will be presented to musician and drag performer Athena Holmes.
Victor Phillips Award
will be presented to Méshama Eyob-Austin.
Master of Ceremonies:
We are pleased to announce Kym Dominique-Ferguson as this year’s Vision Gala host! Kym is a longtime friend of BTW and AMP alumnus. With his infectious charisma and charm, he will surely keep us energized and entertained!
Kym Dominique-Ferguson is a poet by birth, a theatre performer and filmmaker by training, and a producer by nurture. For over a decade he has serenaded Montreal and international audiences with his blending of spoken word poetry and theatre. He successfully produced and performed his first one man show to a sold-out audience back in August of 2015: The Born Jamhaitianadian. Ferguson is also a radio show host on Soul Perspectives since 2012 which talks about the issues affecting the Black community here in Montreal, across Canada and internationally. He is currently in development his first theatre play: The #DearBlackMan Project, officially commissioned by Black Theatre Workshop.
The live jazz project Kalmunity will be kicking off the dancing with their funky music blended with spoken word poetry!
When: Saturday February 1, 2020
Regular Price: $135 ($45 tax deductible)
Table of 10 people: $1,250
Four ways to purchase a ticket:
• Please mail cheques to:
Black Theatre Workshop
432-3680 rue Jeanne-Mance
Montreal, QC H2X 2K5
Past recipients of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award include:
2019 33nd Fabienne Colas: Film
2018 32nd Don Jordan: Dance, Theatre & Education
2017 31st Winston Sutton: Theatre & Education
2016 30th Jackie Richardson: Theatre & Music
2015 29th Dany Laferrière: Literature
2014 28th Zab Maboungou: Dance
2013 27th Gregory Charles: Music
2012 26th Tonya Lee Williams: Film & Television
2011 25th Doudou Boicel: Music
2010 24th Bertrand A. Henry: Theatre
2009 23rd Ethel Bruneau: Dance [Tap]
2008 22nd Terry Donald: Theatre
2007 21st Charles Ellison: Music [Jazz]
2006 20th Walter Borden: Theatre
2005 19th Jeri Brown: Music [Jazz]
2004 18th Dr. George Elliot Clarke: Poet
2003 17th Djanet Sears: Theatre
2002 16th Anthony Salah I. Wilson: Music [Steel pan]
2001 15th Aldwin Albino: Music
2000 14th Michelle Sweeney: Music [Singer]
1999 13th Austin Clarke: Writer
1998 12th Anthony Sherwood: Actor
1997 11th Lorraine Klaasen: Music [Singer]
1996 10th Salome Bay: Music / Actor
1995 9th Dr. Daisy Peterson- Sweeny: Music
1994 8th Professor Trevor Payne: Music
1993 7th Dr. Oliver Jones: Music [Pianist]
1992 6th Dr. Clarence Bayne: Theatre & Educator
1991 5th Dr. Dorothy Wills: Community / Arts
1990 4th Rufus Rockhead (posthumously): Music [Jazz]
1989 3rd Charlie Biddle: Music [Jazz]
1988 2nd Ranee Lee: Music / Actor [Jazz]
1987 1st Oscar Peterson: Music