Toronto's Soulpepper has named Weyni Mengesha the company’s new artistic director. A director, dramaturg, and teacher, Mengesha takes on the role after having directed several successful productions at the Canadian theatre company, including last year's Father Comes Home from the Wars, Kim’s Convenience (2012), and A Raisin in the Sun (2008).
The appointment of Mengesha follows the recent announcement of Emma Stenning as Soulpepper's incoming executive director, officially marking a complete change in leadership after the dual departure of Executive Director Leslie Lester and former Artistic Director Albert Schultz earlier this year. The departure was prompted after four women filed civil suits against Schultz and Soulpepper while detailing a history of sexual assault allegations.
Mengesha has been an instructor at the National Theatre School of Canada; she was co-artistic director and teacher with The A.M.Y. Project for nine years. Other recent directorial credits includes Breath of Kings at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2016; and Why Not Theatre’s national touring production of Butcher, for which she won a Dora Award for Best Direction. Mengesha started her career directing da Kink in my Hair across North America and in London.
“I feel my entire professional career has been leading towards this opportunity. I am absolutely thrilled to build on the company’s existing talent, and shepherd it towards national and international collaboration,” commented Mengesha in an online statement. “Soulpepper has been a place where I’ve had some of my most fulfilling artistic experiences. I’m excited to be coming back home to this city that I love and work with artists I’ve admired for years. I believe in the company’s vision, and I look forward to fostering its legacy of excellence and innovation and helping to shape its next chapter. I want to acknowledge the incredible leadership Alan Dilworth has shown in guiding the company during the recent difficult period, continuing to produce world-class work, and building an exciting season ahead. I look forward to collaborating with him for years to come.”
In light of the allegations earlier this year, Soulpepper had named Alan Dilworth acting artistic director until the permanent appointment of a new leader.
For more information on the Canadian company, visit SoulPepper.ca.