September 28, 2020
Montreal, September 28, 2020 – On September 21st, 2020 Centaur made good on its commitment to a more diverse and inclusive future with the launch of the first monthly Artistic Diversity Discussion at Centaur (ADD @ Centaur). A five-member panel met with Centaur Theatre board members and Eda Holmes, the Artistic and Executive Director, to develop more ways to de-stigmatize and celebrate diversity on stage and off. The esteemed panel consists of jazz icon Ranee Lee; Indigenous Francophone writer/actor Charles Bender; Managing Director of the Quebec Drama Federation, Patrick Lloyd Brennan; Japanese Canadian performer and theatre creator, Julie Tamiko Manning; and biracial Filipinx French Canadian Muslim, Jensil Bruyère, a jurist with valuable experience shaping policy to protect the underrepresented.
“Overall the ADD @ Centaur invites all artists and audiences to engage in the conversation about what it would take to make Centaur look like Montreal. We start by listening to our diverse colleagues, identifying our organization’s blind spots, and then addressing those issues to create opportunities at Centaur, a cultural institution that continually strives, through every exchange and enterprise, to respect and reflect its varied communities.” - Eda Homes, Centaur Theatre Artistic and Executive Director
The panel will four more times throughout the year to explore Centaur’s role in creating a cohesive cultural community, its day-to-day operations, creative content, and best practices to provide a welcoming, respectful and stimulating environment for artists and cultural workers.
Results of the ADD @ CENTAUR will roll out through ongoing and newly created initiatives as the year unfolds, the first of which is the return of the Saturday Salons @ Centaur. This autumn, the series will focus on sharing the panel’s findings with audiences in order to expand on the recommendations and ideas. The first salon, featuring ADD panelists Patrick Lloyd Brennan and Jeansil Bruyère, will be October 17, 2020 at 2PM and will be available on Facebook Live and YouTube. Other salon guests in November and December are the Governor General Award-winning translator, Linda Gaboriau, whose work introduced the plays of such renowned Quebecois writers as Michel Tremblay, Daniel Danis, Michel Marc Bouchard and Wajdi Mouawad to Anglophone audiences, Laurence Dauphinais, the creator/director of next season’s world premiere of CycloramaOpens a new website in a new window, and Ms. Dauphinais’s Cyclorama co-star, Antoine Yared.
A second outcome of the ADD @ Centaur is the Catalyst @ Centaur, conceived specifically to support and develop new plays by emerging artists from diverse backgrounds, some of which came to Centaur as Portico Project submissions. Ms. Holmes, Centaur Associate Artist, Rose Plotek, and diverse theatre professionals will work one-on-one with the playwrights to develop the scripts for online public readings as part of the Wildside Festival.
With the absence of a season of plays this year, The Canada Life Assurance Company has shifted its long-time support of Centaur’s Theatre of Tomorrow (TOT) to sponsor this newly formed initiative through its Stronger Communities Together program. For over 40 years Canada Life has been an indispensable supporter of the TOT educational program, which reaches into communities to bring school groups into the theatre, challenging and expanding minds, sparking imaginations, and nurturing a passion for the arts. Through its decision to support ADD @ Centaur and its associated activities, Canada Life aligns itself with Centaur’s ardent goal to bridge communities and create a more just and open society enriched by diversity.
“At Canada Life, we’re committed to fostering diversity and inclusion in our communities,” said Monique Maynard, President, Quebec Affairs for Canada Life. “Centaur Theatre’s Artistic Diversity Discussion is one way we can help do that, by supporting diverse voices and stories. We’re eager to see what opportunities these discussions will uncover and the positive outcomes of this unique program.”
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