The First Stone

by dm st. bernard

An epic exploration of history, war and forgiveness, The First Stone by DM St. Bernard considers the exploitation of child abductees in the Ugandan civil war, and their long path home.


With thanks to all those who have offered their stories and their guidance.

COMMUNITY JUSTICE FORUM: MAY 3-16, 2021

We want to know how theory around justice manifests in our collective and individual lived experiences. We want to be challenged, informed, driven into reflection and action. The Justice Forum sets the table for a number of critical (and digital) conversations.


WORKSHOP: MAY, 2021

Our team gathers at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre for an immersion in themes and provocations,

led by directors Yvette Nolan and Tawiah M'Carthy.


YVETTE NOLAN DIRECTOR

Yvette Nolan is a playwright, dramaturg, director and educator. Her plays include BLADE, Job’s Wife, Video, Annie Mae’s Movement, The Birds, The Unplugging, and the libretto Shanawdithit. She is the editor of Beyond the Pale: Dramatic Writing from First Nations Writers and Writers of Colour, and of Refractions: Solo, and the upcoming Refractions: Scenes with Donna-Michelle St Bernard. Directing credits include The Tombs of the Vanishing Indian, Salt Baby, A Very Polite Genocide, Death of a Chief, Tales of An Urban Indian, The Unnatural and Accidental Women, Annie Mae’s Movement (Native Earth), The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (Western Canada Theatre/National Arts Centre), The Only Good Indian…, The Triple Truth (Turtle Gals). As a dramaturg, she works across Canada, most recently at Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre Spring Festival of New Plays. In 2007, she received the Maggie Bassett Award for service to the theatre community. She has been the president of the Playwrights Union of Canada (1998- 2001), of Playwrights Canada Press (2003-2005), and of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (2007-2008). In 2007-2008 she was the National Arts Centre’s Playwright-In- Residence. The Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts from 2003-2011, she was recently awarded the City of Toronto’s Aboriginal Affairs Award.

TAWIAH BEN M'CARTHY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Tawiah is a Ghanaian born, Toronto based Theatre Artist and Professional, notable as a Dora nominated performer and playwright. In his action as an artist, Tawiah strives to create works and characters that contribute new narratives to the stage, works that reflect the truths of society as it was, is and could be. His playwright/creator/performer credits include Maanoma, My Brother (Blue Bird Theatre Collective), Black Boys (Saga Collectif), Obaaberima (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre),and The Kente Cloth (Summer Works). He was recently featured as a playwright (Yɛn Ara Asaase Ni) in 21 Black Futures by Obsidian Theatre on CBC Gem. In his action as a theatre professional, Tawiah aims to create opportunities for young and emerging artists to become the administrators of their own artistic practices. Tawiah is a founding member of Saga Collectif and Blue Bird Theatre Collective. He has worked with theatre companies such as, Shaw Festival Theatre, Stratford Festival Theatre and Soulpepper. He is currently the Artist Outreach and Development Coordinator at Canadian Stage and Director of the Emerging Creators Unit at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

ISAAC THOMAS DRAMATURGE

Isaac Thomas moonlights as a dramaturg having worked on occasion with, amongst others, Donna-Michelle St Bernard, Sunny Drake and Keith Barker. He is currently the managing director of Native Earth, the longest standing board member at Cahoots Theatre, and one of the newest at TAPA. A former stage manager, he was once the Drama School Director at Young People's Theatre and general manager of Theatre Kingston. Amongst his slew of underutilized degrees he is the baselessly arrogant holder of an MFA in acting from Ohio University, and an MA in English Literature from Delhi University.

PULGA MUCHOCHOMA CHOREOGRAPHER

Pulga Muchochoma was born in Mozambique where his dance career and training began with Montes Namuli Dance Company. In 2006 he came to Toronto with the company for the International AIDS Conference. He later stayed in Toronto to study at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre.

In 2009 he joined the company( TDT) under Artist Director Christopher House. This year marked his 11th and final season with the company.

While his time with TDT he had the pleasure of working and collaborating with a lot of well known local and international choreographers.

He is a co-founder of 3+ Collective and he’s also the creator and founder of Pulga Dance which focuses on self solo creations and traditional African dances since 2015.

INDRIT KASAPI CHOREOGRAPHER

Born in Albania, Indrit and his family feel privileged to have made Tkarón:to their home since 2000. He is the Founding and current Artistic Producer for lemonTree creations and Associate Artistic Director for Theatre Passe Muraille. Indrit has been a company member of the award winning dance theatre company CORPUS since 2008. Through Corpus he has helped develop and premiere two new works (Machina Nuptialis, House Guests) and continued touring other repertoire to North America, Europe and Asia. He’s a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, a 2018 Harold Award Recipient and a 2020 Dora Nominated performer (Box 4901, Ensemble). Indrit believes his art must provide necessary discourse to fight against white supremacy, colonialism, heteronormativity and misogyny. Upcoming: Toka (Writer/Choreographer, lemonTree creations/TPM).

maddie bautista composer

Maddie Bautista is a Bi, Saudi Arabia-born Filipinx artist based in Toronto.

As a sound designer, Maddie has been nominated for both a Dora Award for her music in Eraser at RISER 2019 and nominated for the 2020 Pauline McGibbon Award. Her sound design and compositions have been featured in theatres across the country, including Luminato, Theatre Passe Muraille, Aluna Theatre, b current, rEvolver Festival in Vancouver, High Performance Rodeo in Calgary, and more.

Award-winning performance and original work has included the Nightswimming’s 5x25 2017 Commission and NOW Magazine’s Audience Choice Award 2018 for co-creating 4inXchange in her performance art duo xLq, which toured across Canada. She is the recipient of fu-GEN Theatre’s inaugural Walk the Walk Commission for emerging femme Asian-Canadian playwrights for her play Kersey Kamayan Gets Woke.

rachel forbes set designer

Rachel Forbes is a Toronto based set and costume designer. Her work has been seen across the country with the Shaw Festival, Obsidian Theatre, Neptune Theatre, Centaur Theatre, Confederation Centre of the Arts, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Tarragon Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times, Young People’s Theatre, Saga Collectif, Watah Theatre, and Ballet Creole. She is also a guest designer and design mentor at Ryerson University. Rachel’s work is often focused on new creations in theatre and dance. She has a particular interest in works that explore the experiences of the African diaspora. Rachel is a graduate of Ryerson Theatre School's Performance Production program. She has been mentored closely by Astrid Janson and Obsidian Theatre Company.

Selected credits: Victory (Shaw Festival), Pomegranate Opera (Buddes in Bad Times), The Brothers Size (Soulpepper), Fences (Grand Theatre), School Girls (Obsidian Theatre, Dora Award Nominated), The Bridge (Neptune Theatre/2b Theatre), Choir Boy (Centaur Theatre), Risky Phil (Young People's Theatre), Speaking of Sneaking (Riser Project), Other Side of the Game (Obsidian Theatre/Cahoots), Lukumi: a dub opera, Bleeders, Bloodclaat, Esu Crossing the Middle Passage (Watah Theatre), The Dream Catchers (Charlottetown Festival), 1837: The Farmers’ Revolt (Shaw Festival), Black Boys (Saga Collectif/Buddies in Bad Times).

michelle ramsay lighting designer

Michelle is a lighting designer who works with dance, theatre, and opera companies across Canada. Selected designs include: acts of faith (Factory Theatre); Lady Sunrise (Factory Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatre Rusticle); The Jungle (Tarragon Theatre); trace (Factory Theatre); Broken Tailbone (Nightswimming); The Russian Play (Shaw Festival); Shanawdihit (Tapestry Opera); Through the Bamboo (Uwi Collective); Lilies(lemonTree Creations/Why Not); Under the Stairs (YPT); School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian/Nightwood); The Royale (Soulpepper); To Kill A Mockingbird (Stratford Festival); Daughter (Quiptake/Pandemic). She has received eight Dora Awards, a SATAward, and the 2008 Pauline McGibbon Award. She is on the board of the Associated Designers of Canada.

JEFF CHIEF

COSTUME DESIGNER


A Plains Cree costume designer from Saskatchewan, Jeff’s designs have been seen across Canada. Credits include: Kronborg – The Hamlet Rock Musical (Confederation Centre of the Arts); Honour Beat (Theatre Calgary); Hedda Noir (Theatre NorthWest); Le Wild West Show de Gabriel Dumont (National Arts Centre); Othello (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan); Where the Blood Mixes (Western Canada Theatre); Dreary and Izzy (Theatre NorthWest); and A Man A Fish, God of Carnage, and The Berlin Blues (Persephone Theatre).

MARK CASSIUS

Mark Cassius is a graduate of Sheridan College. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Music Composition at York University. He has appeared in productions of Shenandoah , Ragtime and Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway, in addition to Toronto productions of Cats , Showboat , Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Miss Saigon . He has also appeared on stages at the Shaw and Stratford festivals. A member of the critically acclaimed a capella group The Nylons (1997-2005) and a professor at Randolph College for the Performing Arts since 2001, he remains committed to the creation, development and survival of art.

TSHOLO visions KHALEMA

Tsholo Khalema is a Multi-disciplinary, Multilingual artist born and raised in the middle of apartheid South Africa. A man of trans experience, who currently resides in Tkoronto as a settler. Actor, director and visual artist driven by many unheard and often uncelebrated black queer and trans voices past, present and future. He is guided and protected by those who came before him, his ancestors in the spirit world and those currently living. (xoxo Mama Le Dada)

UCHE AMA

Uche Ama is a Dora nominated, Black queer womxn, dedicated to telling stories that instigate questions within self and about the world around us. You may also know her from The Negroes are Congregating and Obeah Opera.

MAKAMBE K SIMAMBA

Makambe K Simamba is a multidisciplinary theatre creator who works across Canada. She is a two time Dora Award winner, and the 2020/21 Urjo Kareda Artist in Residence at the Tarragon Theatre. Makambe is a proud Zambian whose intention is to be of service through her ability to tell stories.

DANJELANI ELLIS

daniel jelani ellis is a Tkaròn:to-based multidisciplinary artist raised in Jamaica by a village of theatre artists, poets, and educators. His varied art practice includes performance creation, playwriting, dub poetry, and acting. danjelani is the Artistic Programs Manager at Paprika Festival. He has been resident artist at the BAND (Black Artists’ Network in Dialogue) Gallery and Cultural Centre. He is currently in residency at The Theatre Centre developing a performance series. ellis is a proud parent to plenty plants.

DOROTHY ATABONG

Dorothy A. Atabong is an award-winning actress and filmmaker born in Cameroon, and graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in NYC. Theatre highlights: The Africa Trilogy(Volcano/Stratford) and The Overwhelming(Studio 180/Canstage). Her short film Sound Of Tears, screened at over 40 film festivals worldwide winning numerous awards including the African Movie Academy Award in 2015. Recent work: CBC’s critically acclaimed 21 Black Futures – Season 3 - YEn Ara Asaase Ni/This Is Our Own Native Land. 2020 Cayle Chernin Award winner, gearing up to film her new script, Eye of the Veil, and currently mentored by two-time Oscar nominee, Atom Egoyan. www.dorothyatabong.com

NAWA NICOLE SIMON

Nawa, a Humber College alumni, has performed in UMOJA at Elgin Theatre (Toronto) danced with at the Quebec City's International Faracophonie Festival, toured with Expect Theatre and Mixed Company Theatre worked with Mad Science Productions in Cape Canaveral Florida “Mad Mission To Mars” and starred in “Once A Flame” at Factory Theatre with C Theatre Works. Nawa received a Dora nomination for her work in New Harlem Productions Dora winning play " Gas Girls" and most recently performed in Ballet Creoles' "Cry Freedom"

KWAKU OKYERE

Kwaku Okyere is a Ghanaian actor, writer, and dancer born and raised in Brampton, Ontario, and is a recent graduate from Humber’s Theatre Performance program. Selected credits include: Tideline (Canadian Rep/Hart House), Death and the King’s Horseman (Cardinal Direction Workshop Series), and The Clowns (Humber Theatre). Kwaku is currently reprising his role as Queer Black Civil Rights activist Bayard Rustin in Steven Elliot Jackson’s award-winning play The Seat Next to the King, for which he was named an Outstanding Performer in NOW Magazine as part of the 2017 Toronto Fringe.

TAIJA SHONéE CHUNG

TAIJA SHONÉE CHUNG is a Jamaican-Chinese multi-disciplinary artist, based in Toronto. A passionate actor, mover and creator, she's enthusiastic about exploring the intersection of theatre and film to highlight the talent and voices of her community. Her theatre credits include: The Green Bird (Humber Theatre), 100 Years of Solitude (Humber Theatre), We Are humans, Aren’t We? (Act Fast Theatre Festival), and A Family Affair (Georgetown Little Theatre). When not on stage, she has extended her talents to TV, commercial work and short films. She has also been known to work behind the camera, acting as an assistant art director, location scout and production assistant on music videos, feature and short films. She is looking forward to amplifying her voice as an artist both on stage and on screen.

LILI ROBINSON

Lili Robinson (she/they) is a playwright, poet, actor, and community organizer based on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Lili is passionate about centering voices at the intersections of queerness, Black diaspora, socio-economic diversity and femme identity in their work. In addition to her artistic practice, Lili is also building her practice as a facilitator, and investigating how Black Feminist teachings can further inform all that she does.

LISA KAREN COX

A graduate of Concordia University's Interdisciplinary Studies program, Lisa Karen Cox relishes work that combines music, movement and heightened language. Often playing men and other mythical creatures, theatre credits include: The Penelopiad (Royal Shakespeare Co/NAC); Friar Laurence in Romeo & (her) Juliet and Manfred Karge’s Man to Man; Horatio in Hamlet; and Brutus in Julius Caesar. Lisa was also the choreographer for Nightwood Theatre's Bear with Me and Comedy of Errors, the Assistant Director for We Are Proud to Present a Presentation about the Herero of Namibia...(Theatre Centre), and Salt-Water Moon (Factory Theatre) Lisa is the Intimacy Consultant for RedWit Theatre's In the Next Room and the Associate Director for Why Not Theatre's upcoming production of Like Mother, Like Daughter.

NATASHA "COURAGE" BACCHUS

I am Natasha Cecily Bacchus. I am an athlete and performing artist, passionate about Deaf advocacy, fitness and physical expression. Throughout my life, I have nurtured my passion for fitness competing as a professional athlete and securing medal positions in the Deaf Olympics, Pan Am Olympics and many other competitive sporting events. As an actress, I have participated in numerous theatre and film productions and have a strong desire to continue to grow and develop as a performing artist, expanding representation to include differently-abled persons and empowering Black Deaf women in Canada to shine on and off the stage.

WARONA SETSCHWAELO

Storyteller. Mother. Creator.

Over almost 12 years in Montreal she has worked with companies such as Teesri Duniya, Black Theatre Workshop, Tarragon, Imago, Geordie, Tableau d'hote and Royal Manitoba Theatre Company

Film, TV and video game credits include Northpole (Hallmark), Quantico, Death Wish, The Disappeared, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, Assassin's Creed: Origins.

SARAH O'BRIEN STAGE MANAGER

Sarah is absolutely thrilled to be doing this project, to be creating theatre, to be surrounded by artists, and to not taking any of those things for granted ever again. Her most recent foray into the weird world of pandemic performance was way back in October with Fall For Dance North, and the online stream of their Signature Series Program, featuring Red Sky, Sonia Rodriguez, and Mafa Makhubalo. The future is currently undetermined, but there will be one for the storytellers and their audiences.

HEATHER BELLINGHAM ASSISTANT SM

Heather has worked in stage management on 70+ shows throughout Canada and internationally, ranging from small-scale Fringe productions, to pieces in festivals such as World Pride and Panamania, to large scale shows at the Stratford Festival and for Mirvish​​. She has even stage managed a private performance for royalty. See credits at heatherbellingham.wordpress.com

CHARISSA WILCOX PRODUCTION MANAGER

Charissa most recently worked at Iconic Queer Canadian Art Organization, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (BIBT) as the Head of Production. As a Production Manager/Technical Director she has worked with Aluna Theatre, Tapestry, Modern Times, Coal Mine Theatre and Nightwood Theatre.

Charissa Wilcox is the Artistic Producer and co-founder of FLYING SOLO and the lead designer and fabricator of FLYING SOLO’s cutting edge circus apparatuses.

This is her first production with New Harlem Productions.

SHANAE SODHI ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

Shanae Sodhi is a graduate of Studio 58 where he was one of the establishing members and Head Organizer of the school's Student Diversity Committee, a student lead group working to strengthen marginalized groups within the theatre community by empowering students with the tools and knowledge to engage in the conversations of inclusivity around them. Shanae’s work is influenced by decolonization and intersectionality. He works as Rumble Theatre’s Associate Artistic Producer. Recent producing credits: Coyuntura 2020 (Canadian Latinx Theatre Artist Coallition), Selective Memory, Straight White Men (ITSAZOO Productions), and Mx (winner of 2019 Fringe New Play Prize and Cultchivating the Fringe Award).

DM ST. BERNARD PLAYWRIGHT

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard aka Belladonna the Blest is an emcee, playwright, administrator and agitator. Her work has been nominated for the Siminovitch Prize, Governor General’s Literary Awards, SATA, Herman Voaden Playwriting Award, Enbridge PlayRites Award and Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play. Works for the stage include Sound of the Beast, They Say He Fell, A Man A Fish, Cake, The House You Build, Salome’s Clothes, Gas Girls and a number of interdisciplinary co-creations. DM is currently the emcee in residence at Theatre Passe Muraille and associate artist at lemonTree Creations. She is a true believer. (photo by Graham Isador)