THE IMANI REPORT 2016 YEAR IN REVIEW

Imani Report
year in review 2016

THIS IS ANNE-MARIE WOODS – CREATIVE DIRECTOR/LEAD CONSULTANT OF IMANI ENTERPRISES AND I WANT TO SEND YOU A PERSONAL THANK YOU AND EXPRESSION OF GRATITUDE FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT IN 2016. I LOOK FORWARD TO YOU BEING A PART OF OUR JOURNEY IN 2017

“It is only because of YOU that WE exist!”

Commentary

Many people make New Years Resolutions but that’s not something that I do. My time of renewal and planning tends to be in the Spring. But I do use this time to reflect on all that I did the previous year and what I am about to do in 2017. I am in the middle of creating a new script and finalizing bookings at several schools. I admit that 2016 kind of wore me out. But, I have learned something the last few months and that is that you can’t really fight your passion and its really hard to do anything other than what you have been placed on this earth to do. I try not to have regrets but I’m human – so I admit that producing my play SHE SAID/HESAID in September without a team and without funding really took a toll on me. (This was not my choice, but the theatre was booked and I could not cancel the booking). I have been quiet for a few months now, but interestingly enough the thing that has brought me back to life is being commissioned to write a new play. I had just finished my final draft of my other new script; Scotian Journey when I was asked to write a play on Race Relations and African Canadian History for the City of Barrie.

2016

2016 Started with Shannon Bramer and I wrapping up the Regent Park Poet/Lyricist Program. Shannon and I formed a Co Poetic Partnership as we taught students at the Regent Park School of Music skills to write and present Spoken Word and Poetry. These young people’s poems were then turned into original songs by a professional lyricist and composer and was presented through a live showcase later on in the year

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Regent Park Poet Lyricist Participants

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Jamii Patchwork Village Participants

Between January and May I worked on two incredible Arts Outreach Projects. I was one of the lead artists on the Jamii Patchwork Village Project where I taught community members from the Esplanade who ranged in age from Elders in the community to the youngest who was 9 years old. I taught them the creative writing skills to turn a series of interviews into short stories or poems that were then part of a display for CONTACT Photography Festival in Crombie Park later in the year.

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Regent Park Writes Students working on a group piece

I also was the Arts Educator/Facilitator for REGENT PARK WRITES. I worked with students from Lord Dufferin and Nelson Mandela Public Schools to teach two sets of grade 5 students the art of writing spoken word and presenting their work as solo presenters and as part of a group. I then edited over 100 poems and turned their work into an anthology.

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Me, Coko & Daphney and Keesha Brownie making all things funny

February 5th I produced and starred in “BLACK LIKE SHE” an all Black Female Comedy Showcase as part of the Kuumba Celebrations at Harbourfront Centre. This showcase was a huge success with over 300 people packed into the Brigatine Room

She Said/He Said, my new play on Black Love in Toronto, had it’s World Premiere in April of 2016 at the MAI in Montreal produced by Black Theatre Workshop Montreal and Directed by their Artistic Director Qunicy Armorer

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I sat in the audience on opening night in April and then went back for 3 more nights and I can’t explain how achieving this life long dream felt. I even went back for the final two shows. Mariah Inger played a strong and feisty SHE and Christian Paul played the handsome hard loving HE

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For the past three years I have been invited by Lorne Kulak to be a part of the Rosedale Heights School of the arts Poetry Jam and this year I got to share the poetic showcase with Patrick De Belen and Clifton Joseph

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Clifton Joseph, MOI(Amani) & Patrick de Belen

Then my new play SHES SAID/HE SAID was chosen to be one of the Main Stage featured plays at Eastern Front’s STAGES Theatre Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My company Imani Enterprises produced the show and I directed and starred in it as SHE alongside newcomer to the stage Neville Coke who played the role of HE. It was so nice to be doing theatre again after a 10 year hiatus and even nicer to be doing it in Nova Scotia where I started my career as an artist

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The opening scene with SHE and HE

While in Nova Scotia I did a live on air interview with Don Connolly at CBC Radio in Halifax about my play

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Then it was back to Toronto to curate and star in two showcases for Harbourfront Centre’s Shield to Shore Festival. “Scotian Groove” featured Jeremiah Sparks and Shelley Hamilton and fused jazz, gospel, spoken word and rhythm and blues and … “WORD UP!! Eastern Corridor” had an awesome poetic lineup that included three-time TDSB Spoken Word Jam Youth Slam Champion Faith Paré, Filipino activist and educator Patrick De Belen, and Halifax’s first Aboriginal Poet Laureate Rebecca Thomas. Both showcases were highly entertaining and successful.

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Finally in August it was time to prepare for the “Toronto Premiere of SHE SAID/HE SAID. This would complete my play’s 3 city tour. This time I worked with Matthew G Brown one of Toronto’s finest actors and a Dora Mava Moore Award winner. Matthew was originally cast in the Nova Scotia production but was unable to make it so I was thrilled to have him for the Toronto Show. My play got more great reviews and our audiences were very interactive. I really hope to get my play into another theatre… I can’t stop now!

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SHE comforts HE when he’s upset about not knowing his father

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SHE and HE try to work out their differences

In November I had a beautiful and fulfilling spoken word experience. I was hired as one of the Featured Poets in WORDS ALOUD International Spoken Word and Storytelling Festival. Then soon after that I was a featured poet in WORDSPELL in Toronto.

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Just as 2016 was coming to a close I got a contract in December to write a play for Black History Month 2017 I and so I came up with the title and the entire concept for The “Three Friends”

AND THAT CONCLUDES MY YEAR AND MY WORK IN 2016

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FOR BOOKINGS PLEASE GO TO OUR WEBSITE OR GIVE US A CALL AT 1-416-706-7694 WE COACH, TEACH WORKSHOPS AND CAN PERFORM OR PRESENT FOR YOUR EVENT OR CONFERENCE

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