BTW Playwrights Conference 2011

Kola, Spring 2012 | Go to article overview

BTW Playwrights Conference 2011


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The Panelists

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Amiri Baraka (US)--Born Everett Leroi Jones in New Jersey, Baraka has produced over 40 books of plays, essays, poems, and music history and is an esteemed lecturer. In 1961, he published his first volume of poetry, Preface to a Twenty-Volume Suicide Note. His reputation as a playwright was established in 1964 with the production of Dutchman at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York which won an Obie Award for "best off-Broadway play". He has received many awards including the American Academy of Arts & Letters award, and the James Weldon Johnson Medal for contributions to the arts. George Boyd--An award winning playwright and former co-host of the CBC "Morning News", was born in Nova Scotia. His professional career began in 1988 with the production of Shine Boy at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax. In 1999, Boyd was nominated for a Governor General's Literary Award for his play Consecrated Ground. Other works include Wade in the Water and Gideon's Blues. His play Le Code Noir was recently produced by BTW at the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts. He currently resides in Montreal and is at work on a new play tentatively titled, In the Wildwood.

George Elliott Clarke--Born in Nova Scotia, Clarke, in addition to being a poet, playwright and literary critic Clarke, is also the E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto. His 2001 collection, Execution Poems won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. In 1997, Clarke adapted his verse book, Whylah Falls into a stage play (1999-2000). Followed by his opera Beatrice Chancy (1999), and Quebecite (2003), a jazz libretto. Clarke has received numerous including the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations for his outstanding achievements and commitment to racial relations in Toronto.

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Patricia Darbasie--Pat has been an actor in Edmonton for many years winning two Sterling awards. In 2001 she wrote her first play, Carnival Magic, based on West Indian culture. Her play, Ribbon, is a one-woman show she wrote and performed for her MFA thesis in directing at the University of Alberta. Pat's latest work includes When Stone Meets Water, which was part of Concrete Theatre's Sprout's festival in 2010, and West Indian Diary based on interviews with the Caribbean community, which was produced this March by Ground Zero Productions. Pat currently teaches at the University of Alberta and Concordia University College of Alberta.

David Edgecombe--Born in Monteserrat--works extensively in the arts. In Canada, Edgecombe served as resident playwright/director for BTW and was appointed Canada's administrator of the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) He was commissioned to write the play Strong Currents which became part of Canada's contribution to that world event. Upon returning to the Islands, Edgecombe became artistic director of the Montserrat Theatre Group (MTG) before joining the faculty at the University of the Virgin Islands where his play Heaven was premiered in 1992. Soon after, he became director of the Reichhold Center for the Arts and has since rejoined the faculty fulltime teaching Speech, Theatre, and Playwriting.

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Ahdri Mandiela--Jamaica-born and Toronto-based dub poet and theatre director, mandiela has gained worldwide attention for her books, music recordings, film, theatre and dance productions. Founder and artistic director of Toronto-based B current, mandiela fuses dance with dub poetry creating such works as the dub classic Dark Diaspora in Dub. She has made several dub recordings including step/ into my head. In 2006 mandiela was selected to write and direct a project for the 50th anniversary of the South African Women's Liberation Movement. Her unique lyrical style has been influenced by her Jamaican upbringing and cultural heritage of African-American writers. …

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