Overall, 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 colleagues from the diverse community, identifying our blind spots as an organization, and then addressing those issues to create opportunities for diverse artists and staff to become fully integrated into the art we make at Centaur.– Eda Holmes, Centaur Theatre Artistic and Executive Director
This year, Centaur has launched the initiative, Artistic Diversity Discussion at Centaur. Throughout the year, the five-member panel will meet with Centaur Theatre board members and Artistic and Executive Director Eda Holmes to develop more ways to de-stigmatize and celebrate diversity on stage and off. Results of the ADD @ Centaur will roll out through ongoing and newly created initiatives as the year unfolds, the first of which are the:
Nov 21 Jessica Carmichael & Émilie Monnet: Two artists who would have been part of this season’s line-up join Eda to talk about amplifying Indigenous voices at Centaur.
Oct 17 Patrick Lloyd Brennan & Jeansil Bruyère: The first in a series of comprehensive conversations examining Centaur Theatre’s relationship to Montreal’s rich cultural diversity.
Oct 24 Ranee Lee & Julie Tamiko Manning: Our second Salon around how to develop Centaur Theatre’s role in reflecting Montreal’s cultural 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.
For 15 years now, Charles has been a fixture of the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. He was host of the award nominated youth show C’est parti mon tipi, he played lead roles in Sioui-Bacon and Mohawk Girls, he’s a regular presence as host of the Aboriginal Day Live event and hosts a brand new show called Sans reserve. Charles has worked as host/facilitator for many First Nation organisations and groups across Canada. He wasmain host for the unveiling of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report in June 2015. He was also host of the French version of the four-part documentary series, Le 8e feu (8th Fire), a series tackling a variety of contemporary First-Nation issues, produced and broadcast by Radio-Canada.
Patrick Lloyd Brennan holds a BFA in Contemporary Dance from Concordia University and has been an active member of the performing arts community for over ten years engaging in performance, choreography, research, and creative direction. As a cultural worker and arts administrator he has an extensive profile including Just For Laughs, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Helen Simard Choreography, Centaur Theatre Company, the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, and Quebec Drama Federation where he is currently Managing Director.
A Quebec jurist, seasoned communicator and community mobilizer, Jeansil holds degrees in Communications Studies, Religious Studies, Globalization, Common Law and Civil Law. As a biracial gay man of colour of Filipinx-Muslim and French Canadian heritage, his penchant for anti-oppression and anti-racism is rooted in lived experiences. He has contributed to non-profit management and leadership work in the fields of access to justice, sexual health, and policy change with respect to trans folks, migrants, and refugees, as well as people living with HIV. He currently sits as Philanthropic Foundations Canada’s Director of Policy & Communications, fostering strong national partnerships and a unified voice in demanding concrete action from the federal government for the benefit of the charitable sector and the wellbeing of all Canadians, particularly those at the margins.
For 50 years Ranee Lee has called Montréal, Québec home, where she enjoys a successful, multi-faceted career as one of Canada’s most popular jazz vocalists. She is an award-winning actress, a songwriter, and a proud author of the children’s book Nana What Do You Say?, inspired by her song of the same title, from the 1994 release, I Thought About You. Ranee has recorded twelve albums on the Justin Time label, a proud discography of acclaimed recordings that feature some of the finest jazz musicians of our time among its sidemen.
Julie Tamiko Manning is an award-winning Montreal actor and theatre creator. Selected acting credits include: Sin/ Zephon in Paradise Lost (Centaur Theatre), Marion in Team on the Hill (Blyth Festival Theatre), Annie in Jean Dit (Théâtre D’Aujourd’hui), Elena in Butcher (Centaur), Isabella Bird in Top Girls (Segal), Emilia in Othello (Scapegoat Carnivale/Segal), and Nancy in Oliver! (National Arts Centre).
With the absence of a regular season of plays, Canada Life has found a new way to continue its longstanding support of Centaur Theatre. Through its Stronger Communities Together program, it has shifted its support from Centaur’s Theatre of Tomorrow (TOT) to an extensive new initiative designed to develop and implement permanent changes around inclusive diversity on and off stage at Centaur.