Dr. Overton — Professor, Dalhousie University Department of Theatre
I have known Anne Marie since she was a student in the Theatre Department here at Dalhousie University, and have watched with interest how her career has expanded to include work as an actor, a singer, a dancer, and a spoken word poet. In this last area, she seems to be able to combine all her theatrical and performance and writing skills into a single focused endeavour, and I’ve found her work to be exciting and innovative.
Last year, I invited Anne Marie to come and speak to my second year creative writing class, where we examine the creative process. In this session, she spoke with assurance and authority about the process she uses in creating a spoken word piece, and she guided the students through some fundamentals so they could experience the process for themselves. Anne Marie is, I believe, a naturally gifted teacher; she engaged the students on a number of different levels intellectually and creatively and they were both fascinated and excited by her approach. She answered their questions clearly and engaged them personally. It takes someone both confident and experienced in their work to be able to perform so well in the classroom, and Anne Marie clearly brought both these things into the room with her. It was a wonderful session, and I’d be happy to have her repeat it again if her schedule would allow.
Nicole Habus — Youth, KYTES Theatre and Employment project
I’ve never met anyone like Anne‑Marie Woods. I found it to be a special experience working with her because she is so talented, not to mention multi-talented. Not only that she has an amazing understanding of people and carries so much knowledge everywhere she goes. She has a very unique personality that makes her stand out. One person you will never forget is Anne‑Marie Woods and only in the most positive way.
Anne-Marie went out of her way to help me. She would work with me one on one to help me with my confidence issue. Only giving me motivation and positive feedback to give me the confidence I needed. She also recommended me for an interview with Nicholas Davis from the Toronto Sun where I was interviewed about our program and being a single mother. I know she thought that I was a good candidate for the spot, but I also feel that this was another way for her to help me become more confident in speaking. She will find any way to help people get past their fears.
Anne-Marie has taught me a great deal, but most of all she has taught me to believe in myself and to be confident. Through my experience in the program, Anne-Marie has taught me that I can speak out in front of an audience without wanting to hide away. Before Anne-Marie believed in me and helped me achieve this, I would have never spoken in front of a crowd. This has helped me become a stronger individual. Confidence WAS something I lacked.
Natalie McDoom — Teacher, St. Dorothy Catholic School
Anne Marie Woods was the featured artist at St. Dorothy School’s annual Spoken Arts Festival. It was a pleasure working with her. She was enthused and prompt in responding to my initial invitation, and also with the follow-up calls that were required for booking and arranging a suitable presentation for our school. Her humility did not go unnoticed as she repeatedly declared how honored she was to be playing a role in the festival, and to be sharing the stage with the students of our school community.
Anne Marie Woods was well organized and prepared for her presentation. After giving her a history of the festival and a description of the experiences and interests of the students at St. Dorothy School, she arrived with a variety of poems, songs and stories that spoke authentically to the lives of the children.
I was more than pleased with Anne Marie’s presentation. Not only was it entertaining, but her message was inspiring and meaningful to both staff and students. She appealed to an audience that was comprised of children as young as 7 years old. Her presentation included a variety artistic forms, including poetry, song, rap and storytelling, all of which kept the audience engaged and attentive.
Raven Dauda — Accomplished Toronto Actress and Star of Da Kink In My Hair
The Grant Writing 101 Workshop had a very clear step-by-step process, as well as individual and group participation opportunities.
I liked the fact that it created a communal environment, where the participants were able to help each other in some way or another, simply with the different connections and knowledge that we all possessed.
I would Absolutely recommend this workshop because it was made very simple for everyone to understand, no matter what your background of grant writing is. Anne-Marie is very personal in that she talks to you with genuine concern and interest. You can tell she really wants you to be able to write the best grant you can to support your project.
Terry Bridle — International Director, Ministry Event Management
Grant Writing 101 was informative without being too 'heavy'. It very much helped to allay the 'fear' of getting started with a grant application. Anne-Marie was realistic in saying that it is not necessarily an easy or 'fun' process, but that with proper preparation it CAN be done. It Definitely!!!!! Helped me to develop my ideas for a proposal further…What I liked most about the workshop was that it flowed well, the 3 hours went by very quickly.
For those seeking the kind of information that this workshop offers - it's a must!!!! It is also a good opportunity to network with other people and make connections.
Anne-Marie has a relaxed, easy-going, interactive style which is disarmingly effective. Rather than 'dominating' the proceedings, she allows others free reign to comment whilst subtly keeping control of the room.
Erin Oke – Coordinator Evangel Hall Outside the Lines Programs for Girls at Risk
I found out about Anne-Marie through a co-worker’s contact. We were looking for a guest artist to give a workshop that combined music and writing, and her organization seemed like a perfect fit.
For the past 3 years, Anne-Marie has led spoken word/song writing workshops at our camp programs for teen girls, Outside the Lines. She was great as a facilitator and connected with the youth and gave a wonderful workshop in a short amount of time. Anne-Marie travelled to our camp site and delivered workshops based on the needs of our program and group.
We were looking to add a writing and music component to our program, and Anne-Marie tailored her workshop to fit our programming needs as well as taking into account the needs of each group of youth that she worked with. Our workshops didn’t culminate in a final presentation, but I’m happy that each group came away with a collectively written song.
Her workshop is generally well- received and a highlight of our camp program for many young women and I hope to have her return to Outside the Lines for more workshops, because they’re a great addition to our program
Katherine Kedey English - Literacy and Student Success Curriculum Consultant York Region District School Board
I first heard of Anne-Marie Woods on CBC Radio. Ms. Woods provided audio recordings and lyrics of two of her spoken word pieces for the Ministry of Education’s eLearning initiative to support students studying English at the secondary level. I also know Ms. Woods because she wrote and performed an original piece for the York Region District School Board’s Words, Words, Words: A Symposium for Creative Writers. Ms. Wood’s creativity, talent, passion and professionalism all make her work stand out. She engages young people in her delivery of thoughtful and thought-provoking messages.
Ms. Woods is extremely flexible and eager to provide a message that suits the audience and purpose of an event. She is considerate of the needs of the organization and the response from staff and students was overwhelmingly positive. Many of the students in our audience would not have seen spoken word performed live before. Students were very engaged by both the message and its delivery. There was cheering, clapping, laughter and attentive listening from the audience. I would highly recommend Ms. Woods. Her exploration of creativity and identity resonated with young people while her delivery entertained young and old alike.
Executive Staff Feedback – Winners Distribution Centre
We found out about Imani Enterprises through a Winners Associate and we felt that Imani Enterprises met the needs of what we were trying to accomplish for Our Diversity day. We used them to present vignettes regarding the topic of inclusion and exclusion. As a facilitator Anne-Marie Woods was very talented knowledgeable and insightful. She has an amazing ability to “capture exactly what you want to do, but didn’t know how to do it.” The experience was unique because we were able to explore this very sensitive topic in a very respectful and dignified manner; it was incredible how our topic became this powerful series of vignettes that grabbed hold of everyone in the room. We loved the creative use of our Company Values. It was very professionally executed and presented. The feedback was very positive and appreciative. It was amazing / very powerful! Very professional. We were very impressed! We are still receiving feedback from our Associates! They all enjoyed the way our topic was presented and many of them had experienced a lot of what was presented. Everyone said that it made them do a lot of thinking (which was the exact outcome we were aiming for) We would definitely utilize the company Imani Enterprises again because they were very professional and understand our issues. For me the service is “perfect”!
Marvin George Artistic Director Arts-in-Action , University of the West Indies Trinidad and Tobago
One of the things that we endeavour to do with our young people in Wordsmiths (Arts-in-Action's poetry writing and performance programme) is expose them to the work and ways of working of various artists. We sincerely believe that this kind of contact is critical to their artistic development. Artistically, Anne-Marie's work as an artist spans theatre, poetry, and music. And naturally her work with the young people challenged our writers to consider movement and music as integral functions in developing their performance poetry. Indeed what this did was deepen the kind of approach to the programme that we started but two years ago when we decided to put the idea into action.
So this kind of approach is precisely what we were looking for. Arts-in-Action is an applied theatre company. All of our facilitators - notwithstanding our individual artistic meanderings into music and spoken word - are essentially theatre artists: actors and directors. Because of this grounding and the programme's interest in strengthening - not only our young people's writing - but their ability as performers, having a like minded lead artist to concretize our experiments with the young people was a welcomed resource. We draw inspiration and artistic strength for our work from ritual. We are keen on exploring and exploiting the ways in which the 'poetics' if you will of our traditional and popular rituals and festivals can be harnessed in giving an artistic identity/integrity. A lot of this is captured through movement. As Anne-Marie is a dancer and singer as well, she was able to engage our young people in exploring how movement and sound, and other 'mechanics' of the body could be used to amplify their writing/performance.
Like us Anne-Marie 'teaches' through structured play and experimentation. Not very many teachers/facilitators believe in the power of play in engaging young people/adults in devised work: babies yes, but adolescents? It was indeed beautiful to see Ms. Woods at play with our youth. And while we believe that this way of working coincides with our own outlook, we recognise its uniqueness in an environment that still insists on 'teaching' youth when we know so much of the benefits of 'play' in education and development.
Expressing gratitude again for the time you spent with us.