Canadian Theater Receives Backlash For Announcing ‘Black-Only’ Shows

Photo Credit: Unsplash/ Martin de Arriba

The National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada is receiving backlash for hosting a blacks-only play, that only allows

“black identifying audiences”

to attend, NY Post reported. 

The news comes as Black History Month approaches. The National Arts Centre announced that they’ll be putting on a “Black Out” night at its Babs Asper Theatre on Feb. 17th. The play,

“Is God Is,”

is written and will be performed by black women and will be available to black people only. 

“A Black Out is an open invitation to Black-identifying audiences to come and experience performances with their community,”

the theater announced earlier this month.

“The evenings will provide a dedicated space for Black theatergoers to witness a show that reflects the vivid kaleidoscope that is the Black experience,”

they added. 

The announcement spurred outrage on social media. One individual took to Twitter stating,

“Racism is alive and well in Canada. I hope this event is boycotted.”

Another asked,

“So given that the National Arts Centre now does single-race-only shows, are they planning on doing a whites-only show?”

A spokesperson for NAC told Quillette podcaster Jonathan Kay that despite its policy ushers will not be


attendees at the door.

“No one will be turned away at the door,”

the spokesperson told Kay. The company is expected to host another

“Black Out”

show in May. However, another Canadian theater that also hosts

“Black Out”

shows says they won’t be bullied into changing their policy.

“If someone self-identifies as a non-Black person and demands to enter the room, a member of our staff will be present to chat with this person… to help de-escalate such situations,”

Toronto’s Theatre Pass said on their website. 

#Clique, what are your thoughts? 

Our biggest stories, straight to your box.

Sign up now to get our essential daily briefs on politics' Environment, Royals and more.

By signing up you agree to our User Agreement and Privacy Policy & Cookies Statement


Editors Picks