Searching for a Black Pacific: An Alternative Archive

Group Four: Theatre & Touring Artists

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 (Canadian Artist Network: Black Artists in Action)
Pelekeana Pamphlet

The Canadian Griots:
Tour Across Canada, pamphlet 
Workshop, poster

Theatre: Sepia Players and More 
Images of Whole, 1995. 
Our Lost Heroes, the Sepia Players, date unknown. 

These pamphlets come from various groups and coalitions connected with the spaces and artists referenced elsewhere in the archive. CAN:BAIA was a grassroots network of black artists founded in Toronto in the late 1980s. This network helped to organize and produce festivals, exhibitions and events across Canada, including "Pelekeana" in Vancouver, 1995. 

The Sepia Players was a black theatre troupe created by musician and nightclub owner Ernie King in 1969,[1] directly following the demolition of Hogan's Alley, the nucleus of black community and art in 20th century Vancouver. As performer and playwright Celeste Insell details in her article “Laying the Groundwork for Survival: African Canadian Theatre in Vancouver,” the Sepia Players and later iterations of black theatre companies in the Vancouver area had to fight to attain funding and provide much needed space and support to the artists and audiences alike.[2]The Sepia Players also eventually gave rise to other coalitions of black theater such as Black Theatre West which was established in 1980 by Michelle Williams, former co-director of the Sepia Players.[4] As urban renewal remade the landscape of the city, black theatre companies continued to produce black art and correlate community members, providing a tie between the entertainment industry of Hogan’s Alley and the alternative art scene that would rise in the early 1990s, the scene that produced the pamphlet literature around which this archive centres. 


[1] Celeste Insell. "Laying the Groundwork for Survival: African Canadian Theater in Vancouver." The International Review of African American Art, 1992. 7.

[2] Ibid., 6.

[3] Ibid., 8.

[4] Ibid., 9.

[5] “Black Theatre West,” in Revue Noire: African Canada. June 25th, 1997. 44.

[6] Celeste Insell. "Laying the Groundwork for Survival: African Canadian Theater in Vancouver." 9.

[7] Nini Baird and Christopher Wallace. “Theatre Space in Vancouver.” Published September 1977. City of Vancouver Archives Pamphlet Collection, item PAM 1977-52. Print.

[8] Ibid., 44.




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