The Obsidian Theatre is a place where the Black voice takes centre stage in dramatic productions. Now in its 21st year, this vital institution in the Toronto Arts community teamed up with CBC to created 21 Black Futures, a series of dramatic representations of the future of Black existence.
As the new director of the Obsidian Theatre, Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu wanted to support black artists during the pandemic and create a “radical offering” that was unapologetically Black, especially after the summer of 2020 and the unrest borne from George Floyd’s murder. The result was commissioned works from 21 playwrights, directors and actors to ask the question, “What is the future of blackness?”
These works also celebrate 21 years of the Obsidian Theatre amidst the pandemic. Directors like Charles Officer, Ngozi Paul, Alicia K. Harris, alongside playwrights like Amanda Parris, activist Syrus Marcus Ware, Lawrence Hill, and Djanet Sears, bring their visions to life. The actors perform monodramas in a pandemic-safe and effective way; and the talent of Philip Akin, Alison Sealy-Smith (both former directors of the Obsidian) and Lisa Berry, to name a few, shines through with their emotional, thought-provoking performances.
21 Black Futures is a testament to Black art and innovation as the community continues to create despite global pandemic restrictions.