Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu to lead Obsidian Theatre

Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu has been appointed the new artistic director of Obsidian Theatre, the country's premier Black theatre company. She.

Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu has been appointed the new artistic director of Obsidian Theatre, the country’s premier Black theatre company. She takes up the position in August.

“Over the course of my career I have been passionate about creating work that explores the depth and breadth of the Black voice in its many artistic dialects, and having an opportunity to continue to do this within the context of Obsidian is such a gift, said Otu in a statement.

Otu succeeds company co-founder Philip Akin, who had been artistic director since 2006. He leaves this June.

The director, who was raised in Kenya and Victoria, B.C., is one of the country’s most exciting theatre voices. Last year NOW named her one of Toronto’s top 10 theatre artists for her work on The Brothers Size for Soulpepper (where she graduated from the Academy), Trout Stanley at Factory Theatre and Here Are The Fragments at the Theatre Centre (a co-production with ECT Collective).

Other impressive shows on her C.V. include a thrilling revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and a fierce, visceral production of Oraltorio: A Theatrical Mixtape, both for Soulpepper.

Otu says the appointment news feel like a full-circle moment.

“Obsidian gave me my first foot inside the professional theatre scene in Toronto through the Mentor/Apprentice Program and has continued to be an important artistic and cultural home for my growth as an artist ever since,” she said.

“I would not be where I am today as an artist If I had not had the support of Obsidian, especially early in my career. Im sure there are many other Black artists in the country who feel the same. I am excited to continue the work of championing and advocating for the work of Black artists, and training the next generation of theatre-makers.

Obsidian was founded in 2000 by a group that included Akin, Awovieyi Agie, Ardon Bess, David Collins, Roy Lewis, Yanna McIntosh, Diane Roberts, Kim Roberts, Sandi Ross, Djanet Sears, Satori Shakoor, Tricia Williams and former artistic cdirector Alison Sealy-Smith. Previous acclaimed productions include The Adventures Of A Black Girl In Search Of God, Cast Iron, Intimate Apparel, Ruined (in association with Nightwood), Topdog/Underdog and Master Harold… And The Boys (in association with the Shaw Festival).

I am full of gratitude to Philip Akin, Alison Sealy Smith and all the founding members legends that built this company and have shepherded it ever since,” says Otu. “We stand on their shoulders.

Obsidian’s next show, a remount of its acclaimed 2012 production of the musical Caroline, Or Change, a co-production with Musical Stage Company starring Jully Black, opens in February.


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