ABOUT WEYNI MENGESHA

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Mengesha is the Toronto director who helped shape the most successful Canadian play of the noughties (da Kink In My Hair), then was behind the scenes of what’s shaping up to be the most successful Canadian play of this decade (Kim’s Convenience). She’s proved adept with pre-existing plays, too, at the Tarragon Theatre and Soulpepper.
…a talented director who knows both how to reflect the diversity of the country we live in today on the stage and excite a wide audience for new work.
— Globe and Mail

On October 11, 2018 it was announced that Weyni Mengesha is the new Artistic Director of Soulpepper Theatre Company in Toronto, Canada. Read the press release here.

Award winning director and dramaturge Mengesha started her career directing 'da Kink in my Hair' across North America and in London, helping build it into an international sensation; and composing its Dora-nominated score. The show went on to make history, selling out some of the largest houses in the country and becoming a national television show.

Mengesha recently made her U.S. directorial debut with Bars and Measures at the Boston Court in Los Angeles, which earned her a NAACAP Theatre Award nomination in direction. She also made her New York City debut in 2017 with Martín Zimmerman's Seven Spots from the Sun at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, along with the Off-Broadway debut of Kim’s Convenience, part of Soulpepper on 42nd Street. Mengesha is a 2017 "Five in Focus" winning director, part of Women in View's 2xMore campaign to double the number of Canadian women directing scripted productions. 

Recent directing work includes the Canadian premiere of Father Comes Home from the Wars by Suzan-Lori Parks at Soulpepper Theatre Company (Winner “Outstanding Production” 2017 Dora Award) and Breath of Kings, an original adaptation of the Herniad Cycle, and Hosanna at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Mengesha won the "Best Direction" 2016 Dora Award for Why Not Theatre's production of Butcher. She also directed an episode of CBC’s hit television comedy Kim’s Convenience.

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Further credits include direction and dramaturge of d'bi.young.anitafrika's play 'blood.claat' across Canada and in New York. The production was nominated for five Dora Awards including best direction and won for best new play.  She directed Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (Nominated for six Dora Awards); Kim’s Convenience which broke box office records and won two Toronto Critic Awards, including best new play, and The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs which won Mengesha “Best Director”  at the 2012 Toronto Critics Awards. The Globe and Mail said the production “..shows her to be one of the more versatile directors in Toronto”. Both plays were nominated for multiple Dora Awards.

Mengesha is also a committed mentor of new talent, and a producer of youth arts initiatives.  She has been the co-director of the acclaimed A.M.Y. Project, training young women in performance arts since 2005.  She is also the co-founder and artistic director of the annual Selam Youth Festival, which trains and gives a platform to over 60 young artists from the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities annually.  She continues to be a guest teacher for the acting training programs across the country including The National Theatre School of Canada.