Black Theatre Workshop's Vision Gala honours black leaders
Published Saturday, January 30, 2016 5:22PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 30, 2016 7:04PM EST
Montreal's Black Theatre Workshop turns 45 this year and is celebrating Saturday night with its annual Vision Gala.
The evening promises star-studded performances, meant to honour several black leaders in Canadian arts, culture and sports.
Canadian singer and actress Jackie Richardson, who has graced both the theatre and the screen with her talent, will be given theDr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement award at the 30th annual gala.
“She's the perfect person to pay tribute to because her career and her talent is almost unmatched in this business,” said Quincy Armorer, the artistic director of the Black Theatre Workshop.
At 45 years strong, the Black Theatre Workshop is Canada's oldest black theatre company, celebrating black Canadian stories in their stage performances and school tours.
World champion boxer Otis Grant will also be receiving the community service award.
He and his brother Howard run a local boxing gym, and Otis also has a foundation in his name that provides those in need with food, clothing and scholarships.
Grant believes these awards will inspire a new generation of leaders.
“I think that highlights to young people that there are people from the same community that are doing extremely well and with that you can be role models, you can be examples for the youth,” he said.
Montreal actor Vladimir Alexis, who recently played a supporting role in Stonewall, a film about the crusade for LGBT equality in 1969, will receivean award for artistic excellence
“Today I'm really happy to be honoured at the Vision Gala but I also want to take the opportunity to take a stand for diversity, for the right and fair representation of the Montreal cultural life,” he said, adding that he feels he's been lucky, but wants to see more roles for black actors.
Recently there have been cases of blackface in Quebec theatre productions, and in light of the recent Oscars controversy, members of the Black Theatre Workshop stress that celebrating diversity in the arts is perhaps more important now than ever before.
“Black Theatre Workshop was started to give voice to black stories and black artists. And 45 years later, we're noticing there's still a need for us to be around,” said Armorer.
Saturday night's honors and celebrations take place at Evo Montreal in Plaza Centre-Ville.