Mitchell Cohen and Heela Omarkhail – Co-Producers, The Journey: A Living History of the Regent Park Revitalization  “We were first introduced to Anne-Marie Woods as a vocalist and performer in 2012. We were delighted at the opportunity to work with her again in the year 2013 as the Creative Director for The Journey,  an 80-minute stage show telling the stories of the Regent Park revitalization through spoken word narrative, song, film, images and dance.  Anne-Marie was deeply involved in each component of the production.  Her organizational skills, work ethic, and professionalism are truly impressive.  It was wonderful to watch Anne-Marie work with the young people involved in the production.  She has an amazing ability to connect with youth as a coach, a mentor, a confidante, and a fellow artist.  With Anne-Marie’s leadership, The Journey was an overwhelming success.  We look forward to the next opportunity to work with Anne-Marie!”

 Mike Prosserman – Executive Director of UNITY Charity
I contacted Anne Marie because we had just started a youth focused organization called UNITY Charity and were looking to train a group of hip hop artists to better do arts education in schools. We were looking for a dynamic, experienced facilitator to work with our group of artists and we found exactly that when we met Anne Marie. She was selective of those she worked with and I guess she saw something in our group. She took a chance on us and I’m glad she did. Over 6 years later we are still empowering youth through hip hop arts education programs across Canada. Through our time with her our team gained insight into new techniques for facilitation when working with youth. UNITY employs over 80 artist educators on contract. She helped train a group of around 20 of our artists to better utilize their talents and core strengths. Mentorship is key within our community. Without those like Anne Marie who are passing on the knowledge and experience to the younger generation we often lose something that is critical in our work as artists. Mentorship allows generations to be connected but also allows best practices to be passed down and shared. Mentorship is key to progression and innovation in any industry.

Britta B – Spoken Word Artist/Activist
Thank you for guiding me, for providing me with work to do. Thank you for writing and rewriting and rewriting the script over and over. Thank you for those nights you left sleepless because you helped me (and so many others, I’m sure) to partake in a dream. As a little girl, I saw myself on many stages, playing in countless realms full of fantastical scenes but who knew there’d be a time I’d get to play me? Thank you for your work ethics, your heart and your courage. Thank you for taking on a job where the amount of ‘Thank You’s’ could never equate to what you truly deserve. I am full of gratitude for being able to work under your wing and I hope in some small way, this show has made you a proud woman. Together now, we have shared somewhat of a history book of stories to a room full of cherished community members. To me, that is unique and something like a phenomenon. I appreciate you for all that you are and all that you continue to be.

Allen MacInnis – Artistic Director, Young Peoples Theatre I know Anne-Marie Woods because she has been an Artist-Educator in Residence at YPT. She has greatly enhanced our connection to urban performance, youth leaders, and high-quality arts training.

Isaac Thomas -Drama School Coordinator, Young People’s Theatre Anne-Marie is on the Drama School faculty and has taught our weekend Drama classes and Summer Drama Camps. She brings a determined professionalism and an engaging sense of humour to all of her classes. It is a pleasure to continue working with her.

Donise Campbell Scheffler – Special Education / English Teacher, Heart Lake Secondary School Anne-Marie delivers a powerful message that highlights the contributions of members of the African diaspora to the development of the Arts and Canadian culture in general.  She engages and inspires young people through song and poetry that is relevant and uplifting. At a time when our youth need to be empowered and encouraged, Anne-Marie’s approach to understanding self and honoring our ancestors forces all to engage in reflection as we consider how to promote dialogue that helps us better understand diversity and work towards acceptance of each other. Her message is a good for all times. I encourage anyone who is looking for a motivational speaker, coach, or mentor for young people in schools or other environments to consider drawing on her expertise.”

Ellen Walton- Elementary Teacher, North Kipling Junior Middle School “I know Anne-Marie through her visit to my school during Black History Month 2011. She performed, taught and supported my students through her passion for literacy and the arts. Anne-Marie’s historical knowledge strengthened our program and her creativity inspired our students.”

Melissa McGrath- Program Manager at Lakeshore Arts Anne-Marie Wods has run a number of community based arts programs at Lakeshore Arts. We enjoy working with her because she has an excellent rapport with young people, creating a safe and comfortable environment in which they can express themselves. Though many people think they don’t have the talent for drama or creative writing, Anne-Marie is able to create an experience in which young people surprise themselves with the abilities they didn’t realize they had.

Krishinda McBride – Educator (Race Relations, Cross cultural Understanding and Human Rights for the AVRSB) I know Anne-Marie because of her work with learners of all ages and her commitment to supporting and empowering the African diaspora. Ann Marie exhibits and holds Iwa Pele. Ashay (Iwa Pele in Yoruba means Gentle or Good Character)

Rosella Fraser – HRM Community Recreation Coordinator I have known Anne Marie Woods since her early beginnings as a performer, playwright, poet and now speaker…her ability to positively affect and influence youth, I believe, has been her greatest gift to us all. Her passion for the Arts has inspired numerous youth both nationally and internationally. Keep it up Anne Marie. Thanks for all the laughs.

T.Olive Phillips -Retired High School Teacher I know Anne- Marie to be an excellent performer, she produces inspiring and thought provoking writings.

Marcus Rolando Lomboy – Spoken Word Artist “My name is Marcus Lomboy and I am a spoken word artist. I know Anne-Marie through the production Word Up: Why I Write and she helped me write for myself and to address issues we all deal with. She helped me listen when I was too busy trying to find my voice that I forgot to have ears, and she made me many times better. She also made me run laps around a studio.”

Tashia Jefferies -Founder – Green Minutes Canada Anne-Marie has been my mentor for the past fifteen years she’s someone who I’ve always recognized as a leader, tremendously talented performer, and a visionary. She has a way of connecting with audiences, transcending age and culture. Her professionalism is highly valued as she can work within any environment from community-based organizations to the corporate world.

Jabari Lynch – Wordsmith, Student aka Question-Meister Anne-Marie Woods (Amani) came to Trinidad in 2011 to facilitate a string of spoken word poetry Workshops at the University of the West Indies’ Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA). During that time the Wordsmiths, the Spoken Word Poetry Family at DCFA, gleaned so much and reached for greater levels of artistic expression. Generally Amani was seen as more than an artist, a facilitator or a youth leader; she was an experience. Bringing to the table a multitude of dimensions that equipped my Spoken Word family and I with new found gifts that remain with us today she shattered preconceived notions with her unique style, versatility and zeal. One element that really stuck with me was Amani’s innate gift to allow her poetry to leap from her mind to her tongue and to encircle her body; she became the poem. She used the elements of drama to do what Tolstoy in his, “What is Art”, says that Art is supposed to do, to “… interchange feelings.” To transfer emotions over the gap of minds to stimulate another, far distant cranially, to feel what you feel. Only a true artist can share her tears by stimulating another to shed their own. Amani is a true artist if I have ever seen one.

Pauline Padmore – Friend, huge fan and ‘lover of all things good’ Quote: “I know Anne-Marie Woods to be a deep thinker and communicator of every emotion. Anne-Marie can move you with the simplest of words and hold you in that place for a very long time, although you may not even know how you got there!”

Rose-Marie Wright – Teacher at Leo Hayes High School in N.B.  Anne Marie Woods is one of the Canadian artists highlighted in the Canadian Identity text book used in our classroom. Two of my students chose to do their research project on her life and she was gracious enough to let them do a short interview with her with her answers recorded on video. I feel that the video she made for the girls was very inspirational for young people and myself included. The video of the poem “Why I write,” made ME want to return to my own writing. Anne-Marie has a gift and it is refreshing to meet someone of her status who is so willing to freely share that gift even with strangers from a small city in New Brunswick. You leave me with wanting to know more about your work. You’re MY new SHero

Janique Dennis, – Committee Member, Circle of Poets TT, Lecturer UWI, Open Campus I met Anne-Marie Woods on her visit to Trinidad and Tobago during a workshop with Wordsmiths operating out of the Department of Creative and Festival Arts, Faculty of Humanities and Education, University of the West Indies. I was so impressed with her approach and effectiveness that as the then President of the Circle of Poets TT, I immediately arranged for her to conduct a similar workshop with my organization. She did, and it was thoroughly appreciated by all. To this day, over a year later members refer to techniques learnt in said workshop.

Anne-Marie, or Amani as we call her, was clear, capable and managed multiple diverse personalities professionally yet, oddly enough, warmly. The impression was that she sincerely cared about the experience and the members themselves, their dreams and their ambitions. She enquired about our interests and worked her material to specifically be of benefit to the group.

Since then I have been in contact with Anne-Marie anxiously awaiting her return so as to further our work with the performance of poetry and spoken word for writers of all ages, races and both sexes.

Amani is a true artist if I have ever seen one.