?SOULPEPPER ARTISTIC DIRECTOR WEYNI MENGESHA ON HER VISION FOR THE THEATRE COMPANY’S NEXT CHAPTER

Last January, four actors went public with allegations that rocked the theatre community in Canada. One year later, Soulpepper's new Artistic Director Weyni Mengesha shares her vision for the theatre company.

Weyni Mengesha is an award-winning theatre director and the artistic director of the Soulpepper Theatre Company. (Daniel Malavasi/Soulpepper)

SOULPEPPER’S FIRST FULL MUSICAL SET TO HIT THE STAGE IN TORONTO THIS MONTH
The 2019 theatre season starts off with an original production three years in the making

This month, Soulpepper Theatre offers Rose to the city, the company’s first full-blown musical in its history. And it is shaping up to be something special.

The production first saw the light of day four years ago when Soulpepper’s Sarah Wilson pitched an idea to director of music Mike Ross: a piece based on the beloved writer Gertrude Stein children’s story “The World Is Round” and its determined main character Rose. READ MORE


SOULPEPPER THEATRE’S NEW LEADERS, WEYNI MENGESHA AND EMMA STENNING, ARE DRAWING THE CURTAIN ON A DIFFICULT PAST
This week sees the world première of Rose, the first musical Soulpepper Theatre has ever created from scratch.

Its authors, Mike Ross and Sarah Wilson, are graduates of the Soulpepper Academy, the company’s training arm.

Four more productions will open on Soupepper’s stages between now and March.  READ MORE


SOULPEPPER ARTISTIC DIRECTOR WEYNI MENGESHA ON HER VISION FOR THE THEATRE COMPANY’S NEXT CHAPTER
Last January, four actors went public with allegations that rocked the theatre community in Canada. They sued Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company and its founding artistic director, Albert Schultz, over allegations of sexual harassment, abuse and unwanted sexual touching.

Their statements of claim called Schultz “a serial sexual predator.” Schultz denied the allegations and resigned. The lawsuits brought against him and the theatre company were settled out of court. READ MORE


ONE YEAR AFTER SOULPEPPER, WHAT STAGE HAVE WE REACHED?
A year ago this week, news broke that shook Canadian theatre to its core. Four actors — Diana Bentley, Kristin Booth, Patricia Fagan and Hannah Miller — filed civil lawsuits alleging that Soulpepper Theatre’s founding artistic director, Albert Schultz, had sexually harassed and assaulted them, some claims going back decades. Soulpepper Theatre itself was named in the statements of claim, which referred to Schultz as a “serial sexual predator.”

Schultz resigned on Jan. 4, the day after the suits were filed, and Soulpepper severed its relationship with Leslie Lester, the theatre’s executive director and Schultz’s wife, two days after that. The suits were quietly settled out of court in June. READ MORE


Mengesha, Bailey and their two sons

SOULPEPPER’S NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR SHARES HER OWN HER REAL-LIFE LOVE STORY
Director Weyni Mengesha returns to Toronto, where she met her husband Eion Bailey eight years ago

Award-winning director Weyni Mengesha is ditching L.A. to return to Toronto as the newly appointed artistic director of Soulpepper theatre company. She is best known for directing Da Kink in my Hair and Kim’s Convenience, among the many other projects she’s worked on. Her husband, Eion Bailey, is an actor best known for his television roles in Band of Brothers, Ray Donovan and Once Upon a Time. Post chatted with Mengesha about her and Bailey’s love story while preparing for their move to the East Coast.

How they met
We met at Afrofest in Toronto in 2011. He was playing a role on Covert Affairs at the time and a Toronto-based stuntman (Moses Nyarko) who was doing a couple days on an episode invited him to the festival. Through mutual friends, we all ended up hanging out together. At the end of the day, he asked me if I would like to grab a tea.

The first date
We went on our first date about a week after we met. It was at Sassafraz. There was a little party happening there. We ate dinner and danced. READ MORE


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