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Meet the 2023 Soulpepper Academy

Soulpepper is pleased to introduce the five promising artists that will be a part of this year's Academy: Theresa Cutknife, Charlotte Dennis, Landon Krentz, Ziska Louis, and Durae McFarlane.  

soulpepper academy first term sharing

On August 3 & 4, we were pleased to invite audiences to the First Term Academy Sharing in the Tank House Theatre at Soulpepper. The Academy shared five works-in-progress developed through their first term module, Decolonial Performance Praxis and Biomyth Making facilitated by d'bi.young anitafrika. 

View the Program for the Solo Show Sharing here.

Support for the Soulpepper Academy

The Soulpepper Academy is supported by the RBC Emerging Artist Project, with additional generous support from Sylvia Soyka, the Kingfisher Foundation, and the Canada Arts Training Fund.

The main thing I’m taking away from this Academy experience is a deeper sense of confidence and understanding of myself as an artist. One of the aims set out in the Academy application was to help artists discover their unique artistic voice. And while I think this is an ongoing and perhaps ever-changing search, I do feel like I now have a deeper appreciation for the kinds of aesthetics, styles, and content I want to explore.


- Liz Der, 2021 Soulpepper Academy Graduate

At RBC, we care about investing in the places where we live and work. Our support of the arts has been a long-standing priority as we recognize that the arts plays an important role in building vibrant communities and strong economies.  Through RBC Emerging Artists, we are thrilled to continue our support of the Soulpepper Academy and its commitment to provide artists the opportunity to advance their career trajectory in a meaningful way

- Ramin Fazel, RBC Regional Vice President, Downtown Toronto

As an Academy Graduate myself it was so meaningful to work with the Academy cohorts that graduated in 2021 & 2022. To watch them take risks and hone in on skills they had not had the chance to explore. It only reinforced my belief in the importance of a program like this, to ensure the next generations voices are supported and amplified. These five new Academy members are exceptional artists whose curiosity and bold creativity will help us shape the future of the company. I’m excited to watch them learn and grow and share their work with our audiences.

- Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director


The Soulpepper Academy aims to develop highly skilled theatre artists who are equipped to make significant contributions in rehearsal halls and to the cultural landscape of Canada. Since the program's return in 2021 under the guidance of Artistic Director Weyni Mengesha, new and returning faculty members have included some of Canada's leading artists: d’bi young anitafrika, Ins Choi, Kim Collie­r, Ravi Jain, Gregory Prest, Lorenzo Savoini, and Guillermo Verdecchia, who have helped Academy artists develop their artistic voice with original creations throughout the 26-week paid training program.

The members of this year's Academy were chosen through a rigorous selection process that focused on their skills as performer-creators who are invested in collaborative theatre-making as a pillar of their practice. The Academy curriculum will be taught through rehearsals, classes, studio intensives, and workshops, aimed to enrich the thinking and practice of the individual artist while developing strong, responsible, and skilled collaborators in an ensemble setting.

Soulpepper would like to acknowledge that Landon Krentz has made a significant contribution to the Soulpepper Academy and has played a vital role in establishing resources for ASL/ENG interpretations and more within the program. 

Term One instructor: d'bi young anitafrika

d’bi.young anitafrika, a nonbinary African-Xaymacan-Tkarontonian playwright-performer, scholar and activist, champions liberatory art practices. The celebrated three-time Dora Award winner is renowned for their contributions to theatre and performance. With a diverse portfolio that includes twelve plays, seven albums, and four collections of poetry, anitafrika's influence extends globally. Their PhD research explores how Black womxn theatre-makers in Canada foster decolonial praxes and transformative pedagogies through performance, advancing their Anitafrika Method, a Black-queer-feminist paradigm derived from Anita Stewart's dub theory.

For twenty years, anitafrika has produced literary and theatrical works, pioneered a decolonial framework, and launched Black-queer-feminist ventures such as fiwi aat space, anitafrika dub theatre, Spolrusie Press, Watah Theatre, and the Ubuntu! Decolonial Arts Centre. These initiatives offer decolonial artist-mentorship opportunities that have nurtured hundreds of artists globally. anitafrika’s latest onstage role in Trey Anthony’s ‘da kink in my hair as Stacey-Anne garnered their most recent Dora nomination.

At present, anitafrika is involved in multiple impactful projects: they're curating an anthology of Anita Stewart's writings alongside their own collection of plays, authoring an inaugural monograph on the subject of Black womxn's theatre in Canada, and spearheading the establishment of the Ubuntu! Decolonial Arts Centre in Costa Rica, poised to be a global platform for artists to explore and practice decolonial arts. d'bi.young anitafrika is excited to guide the Decolonial Performance Praxis & Biomyth Monodrama Module at the 2023 Soulpepper Theatre Academy.

If you would like to be notified of other artist training opportunities, including The Training Room and The Academy, please sign-up below:

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The Soulpepper Academy is supported by RBC Emerging Artists Project, and the generosity of Sylvia Soyka, Kingfisher Foundation, and canada arts training fund. we are also grateful to canada council for the Arts for their significant contribution towards accessibility support in the 2023 academy. Thank you!

Lead Support for the Soulpepper Academy

Additional Support for the Soulpepper Academy