"Kim's Convenience" Directed by Weyni Mengesha Opens in NYC

Soulpepper's international hit play Kim's Convenience, directed by Weyni Mengesha opened to great success as part of a month-long residency at the Pershing Square Signature Center in New York City.

I cried, too. This was not just the magic of the fine performances, particularly Mr. Lee’s, under the direction of Weyni Mengesha. It was also my belated recognition that the story was, in part, my own.
— Jesse Green, New York Times
Director Weyni Mengesha’s vital staging tenderly realizes the author’s vision with its steady pace and sensitive performances.
— Darryl Reilly, Theater Scene
Under Weyni Mengesha’s astute direction, the ensemble cast tackles their characters with a high level of believability.
— David Roberts, OnStage Chief New York Theatre Critic
From left, Rosie Simon, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Ronnie Rowe Jr. in “Kim’s Convenience.”     Credit: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

From left, Rosie Simon, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Ronnie Rowe Jr. in “Kim’s Convenience.”     Credit: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

The Ins Choi play follows a Toronto variety store run by a family of Korean-Canadians. The Mengesha-directed production has toured internationally since 2012 and inspired a spin-off sitcom on CBC Television.

FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS wins Big at 2017 Dora Awards

In the play categories, Soulpepper had a triumphant night at the 38th
Annual Dora Mavor Awards.

The Toronto theatre company’s critically lauded production of Suzan-Lori Parks’s Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts I, II and III) directed by WEYNI MENGESHA had eight nominations and was named the Best Production of the year. 

The Dora Mavor Moore Awards are administered by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA).

Read more at tapa.ca

Intermission Magazine

Spotlight: Weyni Mengesha

By Bahia Watson 

ARTICLE EXCERPT: The evidence is in the listening. Where most people listen only long enough to inspire and prepare a performance of their own, Weyni actually listens. When you speak, she follows your words like a map, as though she expects you to be profound, as though she believes that the next word you say might hold the key to an elusive treasure. It’s like she’s perched at the edge of herself, focus fixed outward, forward, searching for the answer to some great wonder she has.

Thrust into the big leagues straight out of York University’s director program with the successes of trey anthony’s da kink in my hair and d’bi young anitafrika’s blood claat, the professional opportunities that take most artists years to access came in the earliest days of her career and she soon found her name appearing on award nomination lists alongside colleagues with sometimes decades more experience. Weyni came into the game strong, and has stayed dependably so. She’s one of our country’s most trusted directors, consistently mounting and remounting productions with all the major players, from Mirvish to the Stratford Festival. Still, her passion for new works keeps her involved in fertile circuits like SummerWorks and Fringe.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT intermissionmagazine.ca

Eight Dora Nominations for 'Father Comes Home From The Wars'

What this year's Dora Mavor Moore Awards nominations got right: Soulpepper’s Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts I, II, III) directed by Weyni Mengesha garnered EIGHT nominations, including Outstanding Production. Mengesha's production of Suzan-Lori Park's play is tied with the Canadian Opera Company’s Gotterdamerung for the most nominations received for the 2017 Dora Awards.

Soulpepper's Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts I, II, III) got a total of eight Dora nominations, including one for its terrific ensemble, which included Peter Fernandes (left) and Dion Johnstone.

Soulpepper's Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts I, II, III) got a total of eight Dora nominations, including one for its terrific ensemble, which included Peter Fernandes (left) and Dion Johnstone.

Read more at NOWToronto.com

‘Five in Focus’ 2017 Selected Directors

Women in View announces the finalists of its inaugural “Five in Focus” initiative at CMPA's Prime Time in Ottawa.

The initiative -- part of Women in View's 2xMore campaign to double the number of women directing -- is intended to bring greater attention to the depth of directing talent among Canadian women. The finalists were selected by an esteemed panel of jurors representing both the broadcast and production communities.

Launched at the 2016 Whistler Film Festival and headed up by a stellar jury, Five in Focus will identify and promote five talented female directors every year for three years. 

2017 Five in Focus winners are Gloria Kim, Jem Garrard, Sherren Lee, Wendy Morgan, and Weyni Mengesha.

“It’s an invitation we’re sending out to our colleagues in the industry,” said Louise Clark, President and Executive Producer, Lark Productions, “We simply want to say, ‘these are terrific talents. We wanted to bring this talent to the industry’s attention.” 

READ MORE at womeninview.ca

'Bars And Measures' Garners Three LADCC Award Nominations

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards announcement of the 2016 Nominees included three nominations for Boston Court's production of "Bars And Measures" written by Idris Goodwin and directed by Weyni Mengesha. 

Nominations include recognition of Matt Orduña in a lead performance, Idris Goodwin for writing, and Noah Agruss for his original music score composed for the Mengesha directed production in Los Angeles, CA.

Weyni Mengesha Joins CBC as Theatre Correspondent

 

 

About Q: When it comes to arts and entertainment, q leads the conversation. Whether it's music, TV, film, visual art, theatre, or comedy... we take you up close to the innovators making a mark, and let you in on why they matter. q gives you deeper insight into the big names and stories you know, introduces you to the emerging stories and talents you should know, and helps you understand the ways they reflect and affect our world. q - where arts and entertainment get personal.

@ This Stage Magazine Artist Profile

Photos by Peter Konerko for @ This Stage Magazine

Photos by Peter Konerko for @ This Stage Magazine

Award-winning Canadian director Weyni Mengesha was profiled by This Stage magazine, a program of LA Stage Alliance. Her Los Angeles directorial debut is "Bars and Measures" opening at the Boston Court in Pasadena, CA on September 24th.

What energizes you as an artist?

Collaboration. As a director, I get a front row seat to the journey of an actor creating a character… it is incredible. Writers, reading their poetry. Music — whether in the rhythm of the text I am directing or in the music I play while prepping/researching shows. Music is big part of my process.

What’s been inspiring you lately?

People. I really didn’t know anyone in the LA theatre scene when I got this job at Boston Court last year. Based on my work and aesthetic, the artistic directors suggested designers and actors to meet with. I ended up with a great team that have been amazing to jam with. I really enjoyed dreaming up this world with them.

READ THE FULL PROFILE @ THIS STAGE

HOW STORIES SHAPED WEYNI MENGESHA

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Article by J. Kelly Nestruck

Weyni Mengesha, director of the upcoming Soulpepper play ‘Father Comes Home From the Wars’ sits in Toronto on July 20.
(Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail)

HOW STORIES SHAPED WEYNI MENGESHA INTO THE THEATRE DIRECTOR SHE IS TODAY

Two stories from Weyni Mengesha’s upbringing help explain how she became the storyteller she is – a Canadian theatre director whose bridge-building philosophy has led to big box-office successes like ’da Kink in My Hair andKim’s Convenience, and an artist with unusual insight into plays about war and royal families.

Mengesha, who has an incredible track record of picking projects that connect with a wide audience, has used stories to bring different communities together. (The Globe and Mail/ for The Globe and Mail)

The recent Dora Mavor Moore Award-winner for outstanding direction tells these stories well – as simply and captivatingly as any of her theatre productions – one sunny day, relaxing on a couch in the Soulpepper office.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

2016 DORA AWARD WINNER

Winner Outstanding Direction - Weyni Mengesha

Outstanding Direction Winner Weyni Mengesha after receiving her award for Why Not Theatre's production of "Butcher."

The 37th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards for the 2015-2016 season were handed out in a star-studded ceremony in Toronto on the evening of Monday, June 27 at Harbourfront Centre's Concert Stage, hosted by two-time Dora Award winner and leading actor, Bruce Dow.

The OUTSTANDING DIRECTION award went to Weyni Mengesha for Why Not Theatre's Butcher

READ MORE AT BROADWAYWORLD.COM

Meet Stratford's New Royal Family

Cousins Weyni and Araya Mengesha are taking on Shakespeare together. (Mercedes Grundy for CBC Arts)

As children, cousins Weyni and Araya Mengesha loved acting out their favourite movie scenes and impersonating their dads to make each other laugh. Fast forward to 2016 and the Mengeshas both have successful theatre careers. Weyni is a Dora-nominated director and Araya is a celebrated theatre, TV and film actor. And now the pair are collaborating on the Stratford Festival stage together as director and actor for the first time. But there's another layer to their story — in the process of rehearsing the new Shakespeare adaptation, Breath of Kings, the Mengeshas realized that they share a very rare family connection to Shakespeare's royal subjects.

Produced by Mercedes Grundy, CBC Arts catches up with the Mengeshas at the Tom Patterson Theatre in Stratford to talk about this new production, their connection to the material, and to find out Araya's thoughts about being the first actor of colour to play a Shakespearean king at Stratford.

VIEW THE VIDEO AT CBC.CA

Star Director Weyni Mengesha On Her Latest Project, Butcher

BYBLACKS.COM / Interview by Teneile Warren

When people go see a play, they are usually so mesmerized by the actors on stage that the people behind the scenes are often overlooked in the celebration of a play’s success.

But if you’ve seen a production directed by Weyni Mengesha, you quickly learn that it’s the director who breathes life into a playwright’s words.

A multi-award winning director and dramaturge, Mengesha launched her career directing one of the most successful plays in Canadian history, Trey Anthony’s ‘da kink in my hair’. Mengesha has only added to her stellar catalogue of work directing Ins Choi’s ‘Kim’s Convenience’, d’bi young’s ‘blood.claat’, Loraine Hansberry’s ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ and her most recent production, ‘Butcher’ by Nicolas Billion. The play is getting rave reviews including 4 stars from the Globe and Mail.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT ByBlacks.com

DIRECTOR WEYNI MENGESHA ON NEW PRODUCTION BUTCHER

Listen to the full interview with Director Weyni Mengesha at JAZZ.FM

Listen to the full interview with Director Weyni Mengesha at JAZZ.FM

Written by Shirley Camia

Justice and peace – is it possible to have both?

This very question brought award-winning Ethiopian-Canadian director Weyni Mengesha to her latest production, Butcher, which is receiving rave reviews.

Butcher is a drama-thriller about justice, peace and revenge, with plenty of twists and turns that will leave you surprised and wondering long after it’s over.

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW AT JAZZ.FM

2015 Bikila Award Winner

Bikila Award congratulates Weyni Mengesha for being selected as the 2015 Bikila Professional Excellence Award winner for her outstanding achievement as a producer of acclaimed plays and visionary leadership inspiring a growing community of black artists in Toronto.

The 2015 Bikila Award Lifetime Achivement, Professional Excellence, Community Service Excellence and Academic Excellence Award Winners.

Director and dramaturge Weyni Mengesha is well known for her extraordinary accomplishments in Theatrical Arts including directing ‘da kink in my hair’ and composing its Dora-nominated score.

Da kink in my hair went on to make history as one of the most successful shows of the nineties selling out some of the largest houses in the country and being developed into a TV series.

In 2010 she made her Stratford Festival debut (North America’s largest classical repertory theatre) as one of the youngest directors to date. She followed that with two critically acclaimed productions in 2011 and 2012. Kims Convenience which broke box office records and won two Toronto Critic Awards, including best play, and The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs which won 2 Toronto Critics Awards including best direction.

    Weyni earned a spot among NOW magazine’s “Top Ten Toronto Theatre Artists” in both 2008 and 2012. Bikila Award congratulates Weyni Mengesha for being selected as the 2015 Bikila Professional Excellence Award winner for her outstanding achievement as a producer of acclaimed plays and visionary leadership inspiring a growing community of black artists in Toronto.

    The Bikila Award was created mainly to empower young people reach their highest potential and to celebrate their achievements.

    Q&A With Acclaimed Theatre Director Weyni Mengesha

    Director Weyni Mengesha on remounting Tarragon Theatre's award-winning show "Lungs"

    After earning the Toronto Theatre Critics' Award for Best Production of a Play and four Dora Award nominations in the 2013-2014 season, Weyni Mengesha is back at the helm of Tarragon Theatre's acclaimed production of Duncan Macmillan's Lungs, on stage from December 31 to January 25, 2015. Starring Lesley Faulkner and Brendan Gall, the play is an intimate look at a young couple struggling with the decision of of whether or not to bring up a baby in a world of global and economic uncertainty.

    READ THE FULL Q&A AT THEATROMANIA.COM

    Theatromania talks to director Weyni Mengesha about Tarragon Theatre's remount of Lungs.

    Theatromania talks to director Weyni Mengesha about Tarragon Theatre's remount of Lungs.

    Spotlight on Alumni: Weyni Mengesha

    YORK UNIVERSITY Interviews Award-Winning Director 

    York Alumni Spotlight: Weyni Mengesha

    York Alumni Spotlight: Weyni Mengesha

    While at York, Weyni Mengesha (BFA 2005) did an independent study that she created with the help of the then Chair of the department, Peter McKinnon. The study was investigating the black Canadian theatre aesthetic which led her to do some work in Nova Scotia with some of the oldest black communities in the country, and assisting Djanet Sears on her play adventures of a black girl in search of God. She also started working on da kink in my hair with Trey Anthony, which was in the early stages of its development. Once she'd graduated, she wrote the music for da kink in my hair and directed it on tours in Toronto, New York, and London.

    READ THE FULL PROFILE

    The Metaphor at the Top of the Stairs

    To Live With Culture: A Guide to Toronto's Culture Scene interviews Tarragon Theatre director Weyni Mengesha about her production of Quebec playwright Carole Fréchette's play, "The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs."

    The Cast of Tarragon Theatre's "The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs" directed by Weyni Mengesha. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

    The Cast of Tarragon Theatre's "The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs" directed by Weyni Mengesha. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

    The play, by Quebec’s Carole Fréchette, is a bit “abstract” concedes director Weyni Mengesha, and it requires the audience to do a bit of mental heavy lifting. “I wanted to keep a balance between the literal and the visceral,” says Mengesha, who had to decide from the outset how much to reveal and how much to leave to the audience’s imagination.

    READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT LIVEWITHCULTURE.CA

    Tadias Magazine Interview

    Tadias Magazine Interview by Aida Fikre

    Director and founding member of "Sound the Horn" Weyni Mengesha in Tadias Magazine

    Director and founding member of "Sound the Horn" Weyni Mengesha in Tadias Magazine

    A Canadian of Ethiopian descent, Weyni Mengesha is an accomplished director, actor, composer and a founding member of "Sound the Horn," the group that organizes the annual Selam Youth Festival. 

    The event was initially developed to empower Ethiopian and Eritean youth across Canada through education in the arts to raise awareness about the growing number of HIV cases in both communities. 

    READ THE FULL INTERVIEW AT TADIAS.COM