THE THREE FRIENDS – (A new show on race relations and African Canadian history) And it’s not only for Black History Month

The Three Friends  is a new production that explores the question – What would happen to friendship or relationships if they weren’t always acceptable?

Written, Directed and Starring Award Winning Playwright and Activist Anne-Marie Woods aka Amani alongside Up and Coming Youth Actors-Antonio Parsons, Sheree Spencer and Kaia Richardson.

Synopsis

Miss Akuba is the Black Student Advisor who lends support to students at Jean Augustine University after a Black Lives Matter protest goes array, she organizes a student assembly as a way of healing and dealing with some of the racial tensions on campus. During the assembly Maggie does something that throws off the entire mood of the assembly and the Three Friends; one African Canadian, one African American and one of European descent have all ended up in a boardroom to deal with the feelings brought up by her one woman protest. As temperatures rise and the discussion heats up they soon learn that Black, White, American or Canadian… conversations about race and culture aren’t always easy but they are necessary.

History, Fiction and Fantasy will unite to deal with the topic of Race Relations and Black History In Canada through the eyes of these Three Friends using spoken word, theatre, and movement.

Playwright’s Notes

I spent the last 2 years working on my new play “She Said/He Said” (She Said/He Said Press Page) a Theatrical Rhapsody on Black Love in Toronto which had its World Premiere at The MAI in Montreal and was produced by Black Theatre Workshop Montreal (Canada’s oldest Black Theatre Company) and then in the Fall of 2016 I spent time rewriting “Scotian Journey – (A new youth production that celebrates the History of African Nova Scotians).” So, when I was approached by Ebenezer Inkumsah who officiates the Black History Month Events in Barrie, Ontario, and asked to write a script on Black History in Canada with very specific themes. I was going to present a one woman show. But, the City of Barrie really wanted a showcase with more than one character. I accepted their request.  “Creating a new play that deals with Black History and Race Relations that was relatable to high school students … was right up my alley” I let my thoughts percolate for a few days and came up with a title “The Three Friends.”  The original cast Antonio Parsons (Eric), Kaia Richardson (Maggie) and Sheree Spencer (Jasper), brought my words to life. It is my hope that the teen audiences who experience this play are able to take in the historical content and the life lessons presented to them.

The Three Friends is a fusion of History, Fiction and Fantasy where I present historical facts through the story of  Viola Desmond, the Civil Rights Shero from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.  She will be on our $10.00 bill in the year 2018.  I also set the play at a Fictionalized University Campus; Jean Augustine University (JAU). Many people don’t know that Jean Augustine was the first African Canadian woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons. She was also the first to serve in the federal Cabinet. It was in 1995 that Jean Augustine was solely responsible for championing legislation to recognize February as Black History Month in Canada with a unanimous vote of 305 – 0.  I chose topics and people that show a well rounded representation of our History, our Present and our Future. I also chose the topics that changed my life when I was a youth. 

 


Anne-Marie Woods- SHERole – Akuba The Black Student Advisor at Jean Augustine University/Narrator 

Anne-Marie Woods aka Amani is an award winning multi-disciplinary artist, based in Toronto, Canada but with International Acclaim. As an arts educator, producer, director and creative consultant, with roots in London, England and Trinidad; her life and career have had no regional boundaries. She holds the honour of being the first African Canadian to have a featured play (Waiting to Explode) at the National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina. In 2013 she won the BBPA Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in Entertainment. She sang for twelve and a half years with Nova Scotia’s Acapella Sensation Four The Moment, who had the honour of opening up for Maya Angelou on two separate occasions. Her work screams ingenuity and culture and she always finds unique ways to tackle the Black Experience whether on stage singing acting or poeticizing or as an arts educator in the classroom. She has headlined at many festivals including: Hillside Music Festival, Irie Fest, the Nuyorican Café in New York City, Rapsofest in Trinidad, The Drum in Birmingham, England and the Word Power International Literature Festival in London, England. She has been a featured actor in: Whylah Falls, Consecrated Ground, Gospel at Colonus, Afrika Solo and She Said/He Said. She was the Creative Director and wrote the script adaptation for Mitchell Cohen’s (President of Daniel Corporation) original play The Journey “The Living History of the Regent Park Revitalization”, presented at Daniels Spectrum as an annual fundraiser in 2013 and once again in 2015. The Journey starred Jackie Richardson (Canadian jazz icon) and Jeremiah Sparks (Mustafa in The Lion King). As a playwright her new play She Said/He Said (a Theatrical Rhapsody on Black Love in Toronto) has received favourable reviews in Montreal and Toronto. She Said/He Said had its World Premiere in the Spring of 2016 in Montreal at the MAI produced by Black Theatre Workshop and directed by Quincy Armorer (BTW’S Artistic Director) and a Toronto Premiere in September of 2016 at Native Earth AKI Studio, directed, produced and starring Anne-Marie Woods along Dora Mava Moore Award Winner, Matthew G Brown. She has curated and produced diverse showcases for Harbourfront Centre including: Word Up – Bring on Da Love, Afro Celtic Jam, Black Like She Comedy Showcase, Word Up Eastern Corridor (which featured Rebecca Lea Thomas the first Aboriginal Poet Laureate of Halifax, NS) and Scotian Groove. In November of 2016 she was one of the featured poets in the Words Aloud International Poetry and Storytelling Festival in Durham, Ontario. She’s just finished her new script for young audiences called Scotian Journey -the story of Sierra Carvery a young lady heading back home for the Africville Reunion. However even with all of these accomplishments, being a part of Black History Month Events in Ontario is always one of the major highlights of her year. To learn more about Amani’s story please check out her website www.imaniartsbiz.com/

 

antonio parsonsRole – Eric a student from Nova Scotia and the President of the Black Student Advising Centre at Jean Augustine University

Antonio Parsons was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this inspiring actor is more than excited to be performing on an Ontario stage with his co-actors. Since a young age, Antonio has had an outgoing personality and has wanted to entertain, whether it be in front of family or being apart of school performances. At the age of sixteen, he started pursuing a career in both film and theatre. Although he has acted on camera more than the stage, he is always enthusiastic about the differences that lie between them. His experience with stage include performances at the Dunn Theatre (The Curse of Allie Smith, Orders Up), Neptune Theatre (The Dining Room), and NSCC Waterfront Campus Theatre (The Color Purple). Antonio trained at Dalhousie University, and Neptune Theatre in Halifax, where he has studied Physical Theatre, Acting and Movement. Working with Anne-Marie Woods will not only help strengthen his skills, but will also help turn his weaknesses into strengths. Every new opportunity is an adventure waiting to happen, and this will be one for the ages!

 

kaia richardsonRole – Maggie a student from Toronto at Jean Augustine University

Kaia Richardson is an actor, singer, dancer and graduate of Randolph Academy’s conservatory performance program having grown up in Toronto, studying voice and dance from the age of 13. She is very excited to be a part of The Three Friends. Recent credits include an adaptation of Caryl Churchill’s A Dream Play, Footloose The Musical, Ismailova Theatre of Dance Production: The Little Mermaid, and Hexen by Canadian playwright Caleigh Crow.

She would like to thank her loving family, friends and mentors for their relentless support as she continues to grow as an artist.

 

sheree

 Role – Jasper an African American student at Jean Augustine University

Sheree Spencer is a performing artist and producer with a strong passion for music and theatre.  A graduate of McGill University (Music and Drama Performance), Sheree has sung alongside noteworthy jazz musicians Oliver Jones and Ranee Lee while singing with the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir. Having had the opportunity to perform in the 2015 Pan Am Closing Cermonies, theatre credits include, Persephone (Fringe 2016 with Pencil Kit Productions), Ragtime (Wavestage Theatre), Apocalypsis (2015 Luminato Festival), Till We Have Faces (Ismailova Theatre of Dance), Jesus Christ Superstar (Hart House Toronto), Unknown Territory (Piece of Mine Festival), Sweeney Todd (No Strings Theatre), and The Orestia Rewritten (Players Theatre).


If you are interested in booking “The Three Friends”  then please contact us. It is a 75 minute Showcase suitable for grades 6 – 12 and beyond with a Q&A section. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

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