The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely, playing as part of this year’s Toronto SummerWorks Festival, is a fantastic coming of age one-woman story. Through this 80-minute show, you get to know Lovely and journey with her as she explores herself as a young black woman learning to love the different curves of her own body and searches for more meaning and satisfaction out of her sexual encounters.

It’s a story that any woman, especially women of colour, can relate to — in particular when bridging cultural conservatism and expectations with personal exploration and sexual liberation. It’s a story I’m particularly thankful I had the chance to see.
The simple set is surrounded by full length mirrors giving the audience a 360 degree view of performer Ngozi Paul as Lovely. The mirrors are a wonderful choice providing the audience numerous angles to perceive Lovely’s story. They also reflect the various sides of Lovely back to herself. Joining Paul on stage is percussionist Waleed Abdulhamid and DJ L’Oqenz providing Lovely’s soundtrack. The music and Paul’s performance paired with the lighting effects by Chris Malkowski make for a wonderful show.

You see Lovely’s journey from from being a child discovering her sexuality and how it clashes with her conservative church-going grandmother. You see how her father’s affairs tainted her view of sex growing up. You relate with her when Lovely explores and learns to accept the traits of her body (her bulbous nose and apple-shaped butt). You truly relate when she discovers dating and therefore rejection, sex and therefore bad ‘don’t tell anyone about this’ sex.

Interwoven throughout Lovely’ story is the story of Sarah Baartman, or the “Hottentot Venus”, a woman known for her particularly large buttox and vulva and was placed as an “attraction” at human zoos in 19th Century Europe. Paul found herself mirroring Sarah’s story strongly and used spoken word excerpts of it as background for her movement pieces. I’m leaving myself a reminder here to seek out the recordings of Sarah’s story as it’s simply incredible.

This story struck a chord with me. Though I’m from a different cultural background as Paul, I saw myself in her story, in her need to search for her own answers when exploring sexuality and love because her cultural upbringing told her all of this was inherently wrong. Her message of embracing self love and reclaiming your own body and spirit is incredibly uplifting and powerful.

I did find that some of Paul’s line delivery came out in a rush of words and emotions and I wish she had given herself the chance to breathe so the power of her words had a chance to settle in — both for herself and the audience. It would have a much stronger impact. There were also more than a few moments in Lovely’s life that I wish Paul had spent more time exploring for a resolution before she transitioned into a movement piece followed by the next story.

But in essence The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely is something you owe yourself to see — if you’ve ever struggled with your body, with your family, or with love and sex. Just be warned — Paul doesn’t hold back from the punches here, so when she starts describing, and miming, her sexual encounters, you get the full deal.


The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely plays at Factory Studio Theatre, 125 Bathurst St.

Show times:

Monday August 10th 7:15 PM
Tuesday August 11th 9:45 PM
Thursday August 13th 4:45 PM
Friday August 14th 7:15 PM
Saturday August 15th 12:15 PM
Sunday August 16th 5:15 PM
Individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Live Art Series tickets are free – $20. Tickets are available online at, by phone at 888-328-8384, Monday – Friday 8:30am-5pm, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St). Open August 4-16 from 10am-7pm (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows

Audience advisory: Coarse language, mature subject matter, strong depictions of sexuality

d’bi.young anitafrika Directs The Phenomenal Ngozi Paul in her Debut Monodrama ‘The Emancipation of Miss Lovely’


director’s notes…
The Emancipation of Miss Lovely is an emancipation of us all. This journey with Ngozi has allowed me access to parts of myself I tucked away in the folds of my unconscious. From our beginnings some 3-4 years ago in Cape Town South Africa, to the Yemoya residency in the Bahamas, to rehearsing at Artscape Youngplace, to dramaturging at The Young Centre, to prepping for this incarnation at The Watah Theatre for SummerWorks; we have indeed crossed oceans and rivers, mountains and molehills. The dramaturgy and direction of Emancipation is steeped in The Sorplusi Method, a human development framework that nurtures the artist as healer and leader. Along our journey, the ancestral spirit of Sara Baartman envelops us in her ancient mother-womb. Thank you Ngozi for daring to speak. Thank you for allowing me to deeply understand the sacredness of midwifery. You my friend and comrade are a galactic force flowering in the prime of her time. Ase to the ancestors for your birth. Ase to all of our mothers. Ase to all of our daughters. Ase to you Sara and you Ms. Lovely. To our incredible team of theatre makers, you make storytelling a courageous collaborative ritual. May we truly innerstand that ‘we are the ones, we are waiting for.’
-d’bi.young anitafrika

The Watah Theatre Seeks Part-Time General Manager



THE WATAH THEATRE IS HIRING A PART-TIME GENERAL MANAGER                                                                                                                           July 16, 2015


Are you someone who is determined to bring your experience, energy and enthusiasm to a unique wholistic theatre company?  Do you have keen financial acumen and experience in community cultivation? Do you have a track record of success in moving theatre companies forward? Do you love theatre and are passionate about it?


Working together with the Artistic Director and reporting to The Watah Theatre’s Board of Directors,  the General Manager is the senior administrative leader, accountable for the operational functions of the organization, specifically all legal, contractual, human resources, and financial management and administration.

The primary responsibilities of THE WATAH THEATRE’S General Manager are:

Administrative  Leadership

  • Developing  sustainable, financially viable business plans and critical  paths  for  each fiscal year
  • Working with Artistic Director to develop long term strategies to ensure the continuation and expansion of Watah’s work and mission

Financial  Management

  • Jointly  with  Artistic  Director,  developing  annual  budgets  for  presentation  and  approval  by  the  Board  of  Directors 
  • Monitoring,  controlling  and  reporting  on  revenue  and  expenditures  to  ensure  that  approved  budgets  are  maintained
  • Supervision of all financial matters, transactions and reports, including preparation of financial statements for the Board of Directors (delegating where appropriate)
  • Fundraising  work  with  the  Board  and  staff  to  develop  and  implement  fundraising  strategies


  • Working with  the Artistic Director and Assistant Artistic Director to prepare grant applications for all funding  bodies
  • Compliance  with  federal,  provincial  and  municipal  legislation  and  regulations  including  required  filings,  remittances and  reporting,  particularly  compliance  with  charitable  regulations
  • Recommending/implementing  procedural  changes  to  improve  the  organizational  health  (financial  and  administrative) of  the  company
  • Maintaining relationships with banks, auditors, insurance brokers and others including the negotiation of agreements and contracts on behalf of the Theatre and the management of these areas

Human  Resources

  • Responsible for all human resources functions for salaried and part-­time operational staff, including personnel policies, documentation, contracts, records, and management of the group benefits program
  • Maintenance and issuing of employee records and all related government forms, filings and remittances (e.g. payroll deductions, Records of Employment, WSIB  and Employer Health tax, T4, T4As, T4ANRs supplementary and summaries)
  • Ensuring compliance with required employment regulations and legislation such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Act
  • Act as liaison to Board of Directors regarding the business and producing affairs of Watah and staff representative on Board committees

Venue  Operations

  • Accountable for all facility operations including: rentals,  repairs and  maintenance,  and security monitoring,  alarm, fire  alarm  and  HVAC  systems and supervision of facility staff and subcontractors
  • Ongoing   management   of   client   relations   for   all   facility   rentals,   including   marketing, contracting,   guest and rental company   liaison
  • Accountability for all patron services with senior customer relations responsibility, including hiring, training and supervision of Front of House & Events and Box Office Managers
  • Ensuring compliance in operations as they relate to the facility with all municipal, provincial and federal legislation including but not limited to: AGCO and licensing, Workplace Health & Safety, Ontario Fire and Building Codes, hazardous materials, Ontario’s AODA, etc.

Capital Needs

  • Jointly with Artistic Director, makes recommendations in respect to capital planning, acts as staff lead in all capital planning  and  projects
  • Development  and  management  of  capital  budgets,  accountability  for  expenditures
  • Manages  maintenance  and  capital  improvements  in  consultation  with  the  Artistic  Director

Candidate Profile

  • The ideal candidate for this essential role is a strong leader and motivator of people, someone who is dedicated to a job well done and who is open, empathetic, collaborative, with a great sense of humour. The Watah Theatre seeks an arts professional with strong understanding of the professional theatre community and a minimum of 5‐7 years in theatre or arts management with specific skills and experiences including:
  • Financial  management  (budgeting,  reporting,  record-­‐keeping  and  cash  flow  management)
  • Human  resources  (staff,  volunteers  and  working  with  a  Board  of    Directors)
  • Public  sector  funding  (including  identification  of  potential  funding  sources/agencies,  grant  writing, negotiations, government liaison,  reporting)
  • Experience in events or theatre producing in the non-­profit sector, ideally in a venue
  • Stakeholder  relations  including  identifying  local  and  regional  groups  to  grow  new  audiences
  • An  understanding  of  or  experience  in  marketing  audience  development    from  planning  to  implementation
  • Private  sector  fundraising  including  plan  development  (targeting  individuals,  foundations  and  corporations), implementation  and  donor  recognition  would  be  ideal
  • Experience  in  office  management  and  infrastructure  from  IT  through  administrative  systems  and  a  strong  comfort  and familiarity  with  technology
  • High  professional  standards  with  acute  attention  to  details
  • Exceptional  verbal  and  written  communication  abilities  with  a  creative  flair

Details:  Salary commensurate with experience: Please send resume with cover letter stating salary expectations in pdf format (please label the pdf with

your name: CompleteName.pdf) via email to:

Part-Time General Manager Application, THE WATAH THEATRE

Deadline for applications:  August 5, 2015 at 5pm

All applications will be treated in confidence.  Telephone inquiries are welcome. 647.303.4465

Be An Artist-In-Residence at Watah Theatre Institute. July 15 & 24 Deadlines!

watah promo

Watah, previously ‘anitafrika dub theatre,’ is a professional theatre company & trans-disciplinary arts institute, founded by d’bi.young anitafrika, grounded in The Sorplusi Method.

There are 5 Artist Residency Programs at The Watah Theatre including The Yemoya Intl Artist Residency (hosted in a different country yearly), The Professional Artist Development Initiative (PADI), The Trans-disciplinary Artist Residency (TAP), The Artist Shaman Exhibit (ASE) and The Sorplusi Arts Fellowship (SAF).

1.YEMOYA – Deadline July 15, 2015 – Apply Now!
Aug 9-Aug 30, 2015 –
YEMOYA is a 3 week retreat that combines trandisciplinary arts development with wellness practices for the (w)holistic growth of people. Founded in summer 2008 in Toronto Canada, YEMOYA’s intensive 21 day program focuses on the creative, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual liberation of its resident artists, using the Sorplusi Method.

2.PADI (18-29) – Deadline July 24, 2015 – Apply Now!
Sept 2015-June 2016 –
The Professional Artist Development Initiative (PADI) is a bridge into professional theatre that provides both theo-retical and practical performance training while enabling mentorship between emerging and established artists. PADI offers profession- al development to emerging Black and diverse artists (18-29) who write, perform and publish a bio-myth monodrama at the end of the year.

3.TAP (24+) – Deadline July 24, 2015 – Apply Now!
Sept 2015-June 2016 –
Trans-Disciplinary Artist Program (TAP) is a multi-layered artistic experience for emerged and mid-career career performance, visual, musical and video artists who create cross-genre works of art that defy traditional categorization. Artist -In-Residence study the Sorplusi Method and its 3 applications for a year which culminate in a production and publication of a bio-mytho-graphical work of art.

4.ASE (18+) – By Invitation – 3 Visual Artists
Oct-Nov 2015. Jan-Mar 2015. April-June 2016
ASE is a 3 month visual arts residency for painters, photographers, muralists or multi-media artists. During the program artists create works alongside the performance residencies focusing on a particular Sorplusi principle, which culminate in a solo exhibit at a Watah Theatre festival. The artist is also interviewed about their creative process during an Artist Shaman Session.

5.SAF (24+) – Deadline July 15, 2015 – By Invitation
Sept 2015-June 2016 –
The Sorplusi Arts Fellowship is a joint initiative of Watah Theatre Institute and the Sorplusi Institute. It is an arts and research fellowship for mid-career to established artists who have studied the Sorplusi Methodolgy and who wish to deepen their artistic and scholarly practice of the method as well as have a deep desire to become Sorplusi Method Facilitators. To apply to become a Sorplusi Arts Fellow write to the Artistic Director.

Ongoing Monthly Deadlines
Apply Now For July 18-19, 2015
The Sorplusi Method Weekend Intensive provides the practitioner with an introduction to The Sorplusi Method
and gives an overview of its three applications: self- actualization, art creation and leadership; focusing specifically on self-actualization.

The Watah Theatre cultivates artists as healers, mentors & keepers of the sacred. Watah specifically contributes, supports & develops the legacy of Black Theatre in Canada by 1) cultivating & sharing a unique African-Caribbean-Canadian theatre aesthetic, heavily informed by the radical performance tradition of Jamaica’s dubpoetry & dubtheatre, 2) challenging systemic barriers that exclude Black theatre artists & 3) giving Black arts practitioners a local, national & international platform to showcase & celebrate their work. | |