Nightwood Theatre’s Board of Directors are thrilled to announce Naz Afsahi (she/they) as the new Managing Director. Bringing over a decade of experience in the Toronto theatre sector, Naz first joined Nightwood in 2015 as the Metcalf Foundation General Manager Intern, working closely with the previous executive leaders, Beth Brown and Kelly Thornton. Over the years, her unique role as Business Manager and Artistic Associate saw her offering her expertise and support to both the executive roles and to the staff in their various departments, giving her a deep understanding of the company’s operations, and making her a vital voice in building the bright, bold future Nighwood continues to move towards.
The Search Committee – led by Nightwood Board of Directors member Tara Remedios – was composed of Isaac Thomas (Native Earth Performing Arts), Sedina Fiati (Artist/Activist in residence), Dr. Barbara Moses (Board member) and Andrea Donaldson (non-voting Artistic Director), and was facilitated by Jeanne LeSage and Joanna Yu of LeSage Arts Management. Following a rigorous interview process the committee is excited to share the announcement of Naz’s appointment. Remedios says, “I am delighted that we have appointed Naz Afsahi as our new Managing Director. Naz has been an integral part of our local and national theatre community and joins us at an opportune time as we look forward to growing the ambitions Nightwood has set out to accomplish.”
Managing Director Designate, Naz Afsahi offers: “Over its 40+ year history, Nightwood has supported and propelled the trajectory of many Canadian theatre artists, including my own. I joined Nightwood as a Metcalf General Manager Intern in 2015 and have been able to learn and grow tremendously during my time with the organization. I strongly believe in Nightwood’s values and will continue to merge my intersectional feminism, anti-racist and anti-oppressive activism with the organization as it honours the company’s past and paints a way forward. Nightwood must be active and intentional about the inclusion of IBPOC folks and those from other equity-seeking communities. I am excited to continue working with Andrea in modelling a positive and collaborative work environment for staff and artists where we centre care.”
Artistic Director Andrea Donaldson shares, “Since my time as Artistic Director, Naz has been a trusted collaborator who speaks her mind and shares her heart, and it has been thrilling to learn from her and watch her grow. Over the last several months, I’ve been in awe of the ease with which she has stepped into the role of Interim Managing Director, and I’m confident Naz will make an indelible mark on Nightwood and on our theatre industry.”
ABOUT NAZ AFSAHI
Naz Afsahi (she/they) is an arts manager of West Asian descent with over a decade of experience in the Toronto theatre sector, supporting artistic creation and operations. Naz deeply values the unique mission that Nightwood champions and is delighted to transition in her sixth season with the company to the Managing Director role.
Her personal and professional work in the world is grounded in principles of social justice and anti-oppression. Naz is particularly interested in how power operates, who is afforded the privilege to speak from a place of authority – often in contrast to those with lived experiences – and how we can shift and dismantle systems to create more liberated futures. Their definition of feminism hinges on an intersectional approach, with an understanding that there are numerous obstacles faced by individuals, and that these obstacles meet at the convergences of different forms of oppressions, including but not limited to race, class, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status and age. Naz’s goal is to challenge the underlying assumptions and systems that feed into and foster oppressions faced by those from equity-seeking groups in order to better support artists and arts workers, and challenge how work is created in the sector.
Naz believes in community engagement and volunteering: they are the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Paprika Festival, and she has been a decade-long volunteer editor with Shameless Magazine. Overall, she believes in being an active witness in the world. Prior to joining Nightwood, Naz spent five seasons with Theatre Direct in a variety of roles, and has served on two Juries at the Ontario Arts Council and as a Jury Member at TAPA. Naz holds a Masters of Arts in Media Studies from the University of Western Ontario, and an Honours B.A. (double major) from Queen’s University. Naz replenishes her joy through chats with loved ones, contemporary romance novels, cooking while watching reality television, time spent in nature and deep heart to heart hugs.