#80 – Steven Elliott Jackson and Tanisha Taitt

The Seat Next to the King
Behind the door of a public washroom in a Washington, D.C. park, two lives linked to the country’s most influential figures collide when a white man seeking a sexual encounter meets a black male stranger. Winner of the 2017 Toronto Fringe FesIval New Play Contest, this bold, affecting piece tackles race, sex, the meaning of ‘manhood’, and the cost of reconciling each for two disparate human beings with a shared innate need. Featuring blistering performances by Kwaku Okyere and Conor Ling, The Seat Next To The King is directed by Tanisha Taitt.

The Seat Next to the King was the winner of the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival New Play Contest

Tanisha Taitt – Director

Tanisha is a director/actor/playwright/arts educator/activist and accidental essayist. She has worked with Obsidian, NAC, The Musical Stage Company, Nightwood, BIBT and Soulpepper, and spent two seasons as a Resident Artist-Educator with YPT. Tanisha is a Drama mentor for tdsbCreates, a TDSB/TAC initiative that brings professional artists into classrooms to nurture artistic expression in students and teachers. She is an Anti-Oppression facilitator and Director of the Peace Camp program for Children’s Peace Theatre, an organization that teaches young people about conflict transformation through theatre. Also a singer and songsmith, she is a recipient of the Canadian Music Publishers Association Songwriters Award for excellence in songwriting. Tanisha spent 7 years as the Toronto and then the National producer for V-Day/One Billion Rising — the global movement to end violence against women and girls. In 2014, she founded Teenage Graceland, a youth theatre collective that challenges societal attitudes leading to gender-based violence. Tanisha was ‘Harolded’ in 2013 and in 2015, critic Lynn Slotkin bestowed upon her an inaugural “Tootsie” Award in the “They Can Do Anything” category. She is currently writing two musical theatrical works: FORCE, a musical about rape; and ERACED, which began when she heard the voices of unarmed dead black men singing to her in her sleep. Tanisha is the new co-host of The HUM Human Rights & the Arts podcast and will make her hosting debut this June. She is a two-time YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for her commitment to artistic excellence and social justice.

Steven Elliott Jackson – Playwright

Steven Elliott Jackson was the recipient of the 2017 Best New Play at the Toronto Fringe for “The Seat Next To The King” and previously placed second in the contest in 2007 for “The State Of Tennessee”. He is the Artistic Director for Minmar Gaslight Productions as well as its family theatre company, 3 Little Bears Productions with his partner Todd Davies. Previous credits: Brothers And Arms (2010, Toronto Fringe Festival), The Dark Part Of The Snow (2011, Mount Marty College, Yankton, ND), Real Life Superhero (2012, Toronto Dance Theatre), The State Of Tennessee (2013, Theatre Passe Muraille), Rapunzel (adaptation, 2014, Toronto Kids Fringe/Stage Centre Productions), Threesome (2016, Red Sandcastle Theatre). Upcoming Productions: The Prince’s Big Adventure (Nov. 2017, Stage Centre Productions), A Question Of Character (Jan. 2017/ Stage Centre Productions), Real Life Superhero (Spring 2018, Brandon, MB) and currently he is developing Kick Start: Featuring the music of Lisa Loeb for a future reading.

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