Founded in 2005 by theatre artists Claire Calnan and Pasha Mckenley, The AMY Project began as a program aimed at providing opportunities for young women from across the GTA to access live theatre and develop their writing and performance skills.

The passion and drive of the first small group of participants fuelled the forward movement of the company. In 2006 AMY launched our first full-scale Creation and Performance program, with acclaimed theatre director Weyni Mengesha joining Claire as Co-Artistic Director of the program, continuing in that role until 2011. That spring the project welcomed its first ensemble. The participants worked together to generate creative material. The individual pieces were then woven into a collective performance piece that was staged at Theatre Passe Muraille that June, marking the first of what would become an annual public event. Each participant was also paired with a mentor of their choosing from the local arts community.

Throughout our history, we have partnered with many Toronto arts and community organizations, including Children’s Peace Theatre, Cosburn United Church, and Theatre Passe Muraille. In 2010 we partnered with Canadian Stage, who host the culminating workshop performance of the Spring Theatre Creation Program. In 2012, AMY’s Summer Performance Intensive began through a partnership with the SummerWorks Performance Festival. In 2015, we began a partnership with Jumblies Theatre, who provide us with studio space for our creative programming.

In 2011 we were incorporated as a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency (charitable number 814248266RR0001). Also in 2011, AMY launched our pilot Alumni Program, aimed at further serving the needs of the organization’s growing list of past participants.

In January 2015, Nikki Shaffeeullah joined AMY as the company’s new Artistic Director, bringing a wealth of experience in theatre-based community engagement, artistic direction, and producing. Under Nikki’s leadership, we have expanded our gender-based mandate to welcome non-binary youth in AMY’s programming and introduced the new AMY Performance Poetry Program for young trans women and trans feminine youth.

In 2017, AMY was honoured to receive the prestigious Arts For Youth award. Presented by the Toronto Arts Foundation, The Arts for Youth Award is a $20,000 cash prize that celebrates an individual, collective or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to engaging Toronto’s youth through the arts and artistic creation.

In 2017, The AMY Project became a resident company at Generator, a mentoring, teaching, and innovation incubator that empowers independent artists, producers and leaders.

AMY has developed into one of the most highly respected arts education programs in the Greater Toronto Area. AMY has been invited to perform at a variety of venues and festivals including the LabCab at Factory Theatre, The DARK Festival at Todmorden Mills, ARCFest (Arts for Real Change), the Luminato Festival, the Cabaret Festival at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, and the Summerworks Theatre Festival. We boast an illustrious roster of artistic mentors including professionals at the top of their fields in a variety of disciplines. Our graduates have gone on to establish themselves as leaders in the arts, within their communities, and beyond. AMY serves as a creative hub for inspiration and new work for both the youth and the artistic community involved.

Production History

Behind the Brickz (2006)
I am Her (2007)
Force over Area (2008)
Face Value (2009)
Step Right Up (2010)
Check Out (2011)
Derailed (2012)
Zero Visibility (2013)
Transfusions (2014)
Aperture (2015)
Quiet Revolution (2016)
Almeida (The Glorious) (2017)


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