Started in 2019 by American playwright Jeremy O’Harris for his play Slave Play, Black Out Nights are specific performances held during a show’s run where only Black audience members are invited to attend. In Toronto, companies like Theatre Passe Muraille have adopted this idea, hosting their first Black Out Night in 2020 with Natasha Adiyana Morris’s show The Negroes Are Congregating, with plans to offer it for future shows by Black artists. As well as creating an opportunity for Black patrons to attend theatre by Black artists, scholar Signy Lynch suggests that these “Black Out” performances cast their audiences in a way that de-centres whiteness and confronts the white-dominated spaces in the theatre industry. For more, please see Lynch, Theatre Passe Muraille.

Sources and Further Reading:

“About” Black Out, https://blackoutnite.com/#about.

“Black Out Nights: A Night Dedicated to Black Audiences.” Theatre Passe Muraille, www.passemuraille.ca/blackoutnight/.

“Black Out Night, Dixon Road.” Canadian Stage, www.canadianstage.com/pages/dihp22-dixon-road-black-out-night.

“Black Out Night, Is God Is.” Canadian Stage, www.canadianstage.com/21.22-is-god-is-black-out-night

Lynch, Signy. “Casting Audiences: How Theatre Passe Muraille’s ‘Black Out Nights’ Challenge Conventional Approaches to Audience.” Canadian Theatre Review, vol. 193, Winter 2023, In Publication.