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Word Power - Keeping Oral Traditions Alive

There was one a time when storytelles brought the news, were healer, and entertainers, tellers advised on the ways of the world and passed on our history.  CELAFI welcomed eveeryone to join in the magic of telling and participating in stories and celebrate storytelling the tree whose branches are reading and writing:

Participating Storytellers: Zambia's Dr. Mapopa Mtonga; Toronto's Emerita Emerencia and Ian Jones as they tell stories with drums and music; Ricardo Keen Douglas, satirical Itah Sadu with tals of Canada and the Caribbean, and master tellers of tales Nomadlozi Kubehka-Zimbabwe and Nise Malange-South Africa

THINK: Theatre In A New Key

THINK is a community based theatre group based in New York composed of talented Black Youth  from 13 – 21 years of age.


Under the artistic director of Dale Byam, Think has developed from a community theatre workshop to an exciting repertory company with individual members conducting independent theatre workshops throughout the city. The core members of the company are Broadway veterans and we are very excited  about bringing The Chalk Circle too Toronto as part of celebrating African Identity

WORKSHOP: Black Drama

Workshop Facilitator:  Alwin Bully

Panel:  Dirk McLean, Calvin Butler, Amar Harris, Mapopa Mtongo, Marcia Brown,Marcia Williams, David Collins, Kevin Sinclair, Jesse Cook, Nise Malango,

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Theatre & 


CELAFI 1997 celebrated the dawning of a new era of triumphant bold and original theatre in Canada, an epic chorus of voices distinguished by sensuality, humour and ancient and contemporary spirituality.

Understanding and appreciating the lineage of contemporary black theatre in Canada means confronting it's chameleon-like intercultural influences and manifestations. CELAFI presented a selection of groundbreaking works and works-in-progress by African Canadian playwrights, from full stage productions to intimate gatherings, a collection of programs that still challenge, provoke and entertain

Canadian "Black Theatre " is often characterized as "theatre of survival," wrapped in humour, sensuality, rhythms and spirituality. Understanding and appreciating the lineage means confronting its chameleonic intercultural influences and manifestations. CELAFI 1997 brought a number of significant contemporary theatrical works to the stage.

Beatrice Chancy, (Stage Reading)

Tuesday July 8 to 10, Theatre Passé Muraille Mainstage

World Premiere of the first major stage work by the extraordinary lyric poet George Elliott Clarke. In this awe-inspiring, brutal, sensual and hilariously theatre piece, Clarke reconnects his ancestors' existence and contributions to Canada's Nova Scotia history

Writer: George Elliott Clarke
Director: Colin Taylor
Admission $15 , $10 students and seniors, $12 CAN:BAIA members

Stay Black Or Die

Stay Black Or Die

Studio  Theatre, Harbourfront Centre

Monday, July 8- Sunday, July 13,

Addenda Sumter-Freitage's skillful, moving look at growing up black in Winnipeg "Pick of the Fringe", this dazzling one-woman show resonated deeply with CELAFI theatre goers

Addena Sumter-Fretage, Writer Actor, Director

Who Is In the Rabbit's House


July12,1997, Ann Tindale Stage at Harbourfront

This drama is an inventive adaptation of an Masai tale about a demanding, short-tempered, possessive rabbit whose house has been taken over by an intruder. It is a new-music dramatization in Swahili and English customer in vibrant expressive masks, and staged against a Swahili village backdrop. 

TBC Vivine Scarlett

First AfriCanadian Playwrights Series

July 7 - 13, various venues 

This was the inaugural  gathering of the The First  AfriCanadian Playwrights Series presented in collaboration with Canadian Stage Company and Young People's Theatre.

Program and Curator: Djanet Sears

6-9pm AfriCanadian Playwrights Series
The First AfriCanadian  Playwrights Series

Tuesday, July 8, 8pm, Young Peoples Theatre
On / Black/ Stage, ( AfriCanadian  Playwrights Series)
a documentary film celebration of Black women theatre artist in Toronto, chronicles 30 years of performance in the making by ahdri zihna mandiela.

Thursday, July 10, 8pm, Canadian Stage Company
Angelique (AfriCanadian  Playwrights Series)
Reading a new script by  Lorena Gale inspired by the compelling and tragic story of  Marie Josephe  Angelique, a black slave, who in 1734, was accused of setting a fire which destroyed a substantial portion of Montreal, and was hanged. Was it to cover her escape with a white lover? Was she seeking revenge against her mistress? Or was it simply an accident?

Friday,  July 11, 7pm , Canadian Stage Company
Oui (AfriCanadian  Playwrights Series)
Reading of a new five-person play by Andrew Moodie (Arthur of Riot).  In Oui, Moodie continues to confront the issues of our times with a play about the Quebec Referendum on sovereignty. Oui is intended to be a mirror, a reflection of ourselves, as we struggle over the future if our nation into the new millennium.

Saturday, July 12, 8pm, Canadian Stage Company
Coups and Calypso, (AfriCanadian  Playwrights Series)
A sensual and revolutionary romance set in Trinidad against the backdrop of a military coup. Written by award winning poet, essayist and novelist Nourbese Phillip.

Sunday, July 13, 8pm, Young People's theatre
Caribbean Cindy, (AfriCanadian  Playwrights Series)
A spry and funny musical re telling of the Cinderella story, by actor/writer Ricardo Keens Douglas.


Djanet Sears; Actor, Writer, Director

Theatre Round Table Discussion

Thursday, July 10 to Saturday July 12
Theatre Round Table discussion, Ryerson University in association with WUM Theatre

Thursday, July 10, 10 - 1pm 

Black Theatre History in Canada

Friday, July 11
10- 1 pm Black theatre and the Avante-grade
2-5pm Trekking Black Theatre across Canada (touring)

Saturday, July 12
10 - 1pm Trekking Black Theatre across Canada (touring)
2-5pm On/Black/Stage

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