East African Youth in Diaspora

40 Acres and a Spaceship : Play + Panel

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 02:53 -- Rania

40 Acres and a Spaceship
"Ain't a damn thing changed"

SpeakSudan presents "40 Acres and a Spaceship" an original production by our Young African Men's Theater Arts Program (YAMTAP) Participants.

Please join us for a one night staging of the original theater production, followed by a panel discussion on Black theater and storytelling as well as the importance of community based arts for racialized communities.

About the play

40 Acres and a Spaceship is a critical examination of race and class politics in the unlikely setting of another planet in the far future.

The play reflects on the realities of state sanctioned violence, policing, loss and family.

About the panel

Panelists: Amanda Parris, Matthew Progress, Natasha Adiyana Morris and Rania El Mugammar

This Event is Pay What You Can/Pay What You Want, no one will be turned away.

Doors 6:30
Show 7:00 PM
Panel 7:45

Saturday, May 9th, Ada Slaight Hall
Daniels Spectrum
585 Dundas Street East
Toronto, ON


This program was made possible through generous funding from ArtReach Toronto.

SpeakSudan would like to thank the following organizations for their generous contributions and support with performance space and printing:

Artscape Toronto
Centre for Social Innovation- Regent Park

Trigger Warning: The content of the production deals with gun violence, state and police violence.


Jega Delisca as Uti /Creative Director

Jega Delisca is a Haitian American multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto's east end. Jega is a community-based spoken word performer and visual artist with an interest in social justice.
Jega is passionate about freedom of expression, anti-oppressive politics, and community building through artivism (Artist as Activist). Jega work is informed by his queer & racial identity as a young black man, as well as his family dynamics being the youngest of 5 brothers. Jega is inspired by the art scene in Toronto and hopes to contribute in a profound way.
Jega volunteers at R.I.S.E Edutainment, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Wex2world , Y.A.M.T.A.P. and is a student of Wexford’s Special Series Arts + Media Program. As
art director for the production, 40 Acres and A Spaceship, Jega created storyboards, costumes, and set designs, as well as imagined and actualized other visual elements of the production. Future ambitions include creating an animated mini series that portrays a more inclusive and anti-oppressive world. Jega portrays the character of Uti.

Ahmed Girde as News Anchor/ Director

Ahmed Girde is an aspiring writer and filmmaker from Scarborough. He is currently studying journalism at Centennial College. Ahmed’s work is informed through his experiences as a first generation Canadian of East African descent. Inspired by independent black media he plans to tell stories that accurately reflect the lives of youth of color in western society. Ahmed is currently working on many projects including a web series. Ahmed portrays the News Anchor Character and is the Director of the play "40 Acres and a Spaceship".

Jerome Grant as Melanin/ Lead Playwright

Jerome Grant is an aspiring Singer/songwriter, actor and model from Toronto. With his family in mind (mother, father and three younger brothers) He has always done what he could to help make a better life for them. Jerome has always been a creative spirit from a very young age, participating in various community talent shows and school productions. He has also done a lot of volunteer work with the City of Toronto (Downsview Park Art Alliance) painting murals, performed at the very first Manifesto, Urban Noise festival , FYI (for youth initiative) annual block party . One of his fondest memories was being a founding member of the non-profit organization ‘United Voices’ organizing a talent showcase centered around youth and gun violence. Jerome has been a part of b current (non-profit performance arts company) summer arts program. Under the direction of Ahdri Zhina Mandiela and mentorship of Nichole Brookes, Levi Lingwabo, and Rehaset Yohanes, Jerome performed in the production “Testify” ; a piece work shopped throughout the program. Jerome is currently performing with Sunset Service Toronto Fellowship choir and YAMTAP (Young African Men’s Theater Arts Program) in connection with SpeakSudan.

Rudy Tijerino as Lovo/ Writing and Music

Matthew Progress as Wittness / Program Mentor


YAMTAP is a pilot project running from November 15th 2014 to April 30th 2015. The program will provide an opportunity for Black Identifying (African, Afrodiasporic, Black Canadian, Caribbean, Latino) young men (ages 16-25) to participate in a 16 week theater program during which youth will write, create, produce and stage a theater production under the guidance of artist mentors from the community. Gaining valuable skills in play-writing, stage management, set design, event planning, performance, acting, lighting, graphic design and more. The program will engage 15-20 youth and 20 mentors in it's 32 session duration. The program culminates in a performance of the original material developed.

Our mentors include Darren Anthony (Secrets of a Black Boy), David Delisca (Spoke’n’Heard/ UNITY Charity), Natasha Adiyana Morris ( Piece of Mine Festival), Randell Adjei (RISE Poetry), Anthony Gebrehiwot (XvXy Photo/RISE), Kofi Frempong (Freedom Fridays/ Freelance Artist).


About the Program:

Free, all supplies provided + food + ttc tokens
32 sessions
Located in Regent Park
Tuesday + Thursday evenings + some Saturday afternoons
Learn play-writing, creative writing, acting, stage management, directing, event planning + marketing, performance + spoken word, set and costume design
Mentoring from professional local artists
Portfolio building + professional headshots
Final production performance on a world class stage

Eligible Participants:

16-25 years old
Male or Trans identifying
Black/African/Afrodiasporic identifying
Interested in the arts
Interested in creating an original theater production
Residing in the GTA
Able to commit to program sessions
No previous theater/arts experience necessary