“What can I bring to the theatre as a creator. What Baghdad taught me, what my journey here has taught me, and what Canada continues to teach me everyday is that ‘love is the main reason for a great future’. This will forever be my driving artistic principle. I want to use my creativity to continue bridging cultural divides, giving all humans greater understanding, empathy and joy”.
“I’m excited to be a student again, to collaborate and learn from my favorite theatre-makers in Canada. I hope to improve my writing and directing skills and expand my connections to produce shows for Canadian audiences, and be acknowledged as a local artist.”
Ahmed Moneka was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq and arrived in Toronto five years ago and has since collaborated with many artistic institutions including the Canadian Opera Company, Tarragon Theatre, Aga Khan Museum, Tafelmusik, Driftwood Theatre Group, Toronto Jazz Festival, Koerner Hall, Modern Times Stage, Jabari Dance Theatre, Toronto Laboratory Theatre, Theatre Centre, Aluna Theatre ,and TRIA Theatre. He is one of the founders of the band Moskitto Bar and is the creator and leader of Moneka Arabic Jazz – a 2019 Stingray Rising Stars Finalist at the Toronto Jazz Festival.
In Baghdad, Ahmed studied theatre at the Institute of Fine Art and then at the prestigious Academy of Fine Art. During his formative years, he also learned Afro-Sufi singing and drumming in the tradition of his family, who came to Iraq from Kenya in the 8th century. He was the first Black Iraqi to host a television program, the youngest member of the Iraqi National Theatre, and he played Romeo in Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad at the Royal Shakespeare Company in England. Other performances with The Forum Theatre, Iraqi Theatre Company, Street Art Company, and Baghdad Theatre Company took him to Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, and many other festivals. He co-wrote and starred in the film The Society which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and resulted in his exile from Iraq because of its subject matter of homosexuality. His family was later exiled to Turkey and after waiting for four years the family has finally been reunited in Toronto, Canada.