Voices Black Theatre Ensemble

About Us


Halifax based Voices Black Theatre Ensemble was founded in 1992 by multi-disciplinary artist/performer/writer David Woods with the goal of the creation and professional presentation of theatre and storytelling performance that explore African Nova Scotian and African Canadian experiences. Voices is currently the only theatre company producing African Nova Scotian drama and storytelling on a consistent basis in the province producing at least one new annually between 1990-2017.. Noted productions include Nova Scotia Black Reality Song (1990), Woman Songs (1995), Choices In The Skin (1997), The Meeting (2002), Black Journey (2010), Once: Africville Stories (2015-18), The Return (2017). The Ensemble has toured plays and other stage performances across Nova Scotia and Canada including performances at Harbourfront Centre Toronto, Parliament Hill, Ottawa; Museum of History, Gatineau; Chinese Cultural Ctr, Calgary; and Vancouver East Cultural Ctr, Vancouver. In addition to stage performances, Voices has also created drama for CBC Radio and participated in a number of video and documentary projects. Voices is a mainstay of the Halifax Fringe Festival where it has won several major awards at the annual festival. Voices was the launching pad for several noted African Nova Scotian performers including singer, actors Jeremiah Sparks and Jivaro Smith, actor Nathan Siimmons, actress, storyteller Celeste Bernard and the late Wanda Robson, Viola Desmond’s sister (storyteller). Founder and principal playwright David Woods has won several awards for his writings for Voices including The George Elliot Clarke Literary Award (1998,1999) and The Harry Jerome Award (2017).

Mission statement

  • To create and maintain a professional theatre arts company dedicated to the presentation of drama and performance on African Nova Scotian (and African Canadian) culture, history and experience.
  • To present original stage drama and performance exploring African Nova Scotian contemporary experience.
  • To recruit, develop and expose local African Nova Scotian theatre performers
  • To pursue performance opportunities that share the ensemble’s work with Canadian audiences.
  • To promote professionalism and excellence in ensemble presentations and among ensemble members
  • To provide an African Nova Scotian perspective on Canadian experiences through theatre.

2023-2025 Ensemble Members

CELESTE BERNARD

CELESTE BERNARD

Ensemble Actor, Storyteller

KITCHENER ON

GORDON BLACKMORE

GORDON BLACKMORE

Ensemble Actor, Storyteller

HALIFAX

LOUISE DELISLE

LOUISE DELISLE

Storyteller

SHELBURNE

MALACHI JEFFREY

MALACHI JEFFREY

Ensemble Actor

HALIFAX

TESIA ROLLE

TESIA ROLLE

Storyteller

DARTMOUTH

VETTY THOMAS

VETTY THOMAS

Ensemble Actor, Storyteller

EAST PRESTON

DAVID WOOODS

DAVID WOOODS

Artistic Director, Pricipal Director, Principal Playwright, Storyteller

DARTMOUTH

Voice Membership Application

 

Click the link below to apply to become a member of the Voices Black Theatre Ensemble.

Application Form

 

Performances


Past Performances

BLACK EXPLOSION (2018)

BLACK EXPLOSION (2018)

Stories collected by David Woods Directed by David Woods A multi-media presentation (drama, video, music, storytelling) of Black community’s experiences during the 1917 Halifax...

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THE RETURN (2017)

THE RETURN (2017)

Written and directed by David Woods Vicki Flemming, a beautiful, ‘married to wealth’ socialite suddenly returns to her family home in the rural Black community of Coleville, NS...

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SPEAKING IN TONGUES (2016)

SPEAKING IN TONGUES (2016)

Stories by Louise DeLisle, Wanda Robson, Vetty Thomas, David Woods Edited and directed by David Woods Four noted storytellers present African Nova Scotia tales taken from history...

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ONCE: AFRICVILLE STORIES (2015-2018)

ONCE: AFRICVILLE STORIES (2015-2018)

Written and directed by David Woods A more developed version of ‘Once: Africville Stories’ Voices popular play on the expropriation and destruction of the Black community of...

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WITNESS (2004)

WITNESS (2004)

Written and directed by David Woods The arrest of African Canadian businesswoman and civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow on November 6, 1946...

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THE RETURN (2003)

THE RETURN (2003)

Written and directed by David Woods Jimmy ‘Butterboy’ Willis meets the ghost of Rev Richard Preston (a runaway slave who came to Nova Scotia in search of his mother and later the...

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CHOICES IN THE SKIN (2002)

CHOICES IN THE SKIN (2002)

Written and directed by David Woods Dwayne Jones- an African Nova Scotian teen and high school basketball star growing up in rural of Guysborough County NS, faces the day-to-day...

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Home (1999)

Home (1999)

Written and directed by David Woods CBC radio drama production   Clem Downey returns home to the community of North Preston after years of living in Toronto. He is picked up by...

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ONCE: AFRICVILLE STORIES (1997)

ONCE: AFRICVILLE STORIES (1997)

Written and directed by David Woods  Once is a dramatization of the people and events of Africville- an African Nova Scotian community destroyed by the City of Halifax in the...

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COMING UP FOR AIR (1996)

COMING UP FOR AIR (1996)

Written by Celeste Willis and David Woods, directed by David Woods  This play consisting of monologues, acted sequences, contemporary dance pieces, poetry, and original music,...

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Productions in Development

Part of The Deal

Part of The Deal

Written by David Woods The play is set in 1963, in Africville - a Black village in the Halifax’s northend on the rim of the Bedford Basin. Africville residents are informed by the City of Halifax...

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The Monkeyhouse

The Monkeyhouse

Written by David Woods Nova Scotia has been transformed into a racist, totalitarian society modeled on apartheid South Africa by a new right wing government called The Second Clan Under this new...

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Witness: The Stories of Viola Desmond

Witness: The Stories of Viola Desmond

Developed by Wanda Robson and David Woods    The development and performance of stories of Viola Desmond and family in northend Halifax 1890-1960.    PRODUCTION SCHEDULE  October 2023 Call for...

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EXTRAORDINARY ACTS

EXTRAORDINARY ACTS

Written by David Woods   A play exploring Halifax’s Black community experiences during the historic 1917 Halifax Explosion (hereafter referred to as HX).  The play’s action follows the life...

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Contact Us


Mailing Address
P.O. Box 23106 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B3A 4S9

Address
404 Bissett Rd., Cole Harbour NS

Email
voices@banns.ca

Phone
(902) 902 430-3560