PHOTO BY JO-ANN RICHARDS, WORKS PHOTOGRAPHY
I am thrilled to introduce you to Isaac Thomas, the Belfry’s new Executive Director—and I hope you will get a chance to meet him in person over the course of this season. Isaac moved into his office off the lobby a mere two months ago, but already he’s part of the Belfry family and is making his presence felt. Personally, I am feeling invigorated by the numerous conversations he and I have had about life and art, and the purpose behind why we do what we do—!
Isaac is an arts executive who is passionate about the arts—! He has a deep commitment to new play development, arts education, and training. He is a core member of Rising Tides, a national initiative for the advancement of IBPOC arts managers, and is a vocal proponent for equity and inclusion in the arts. Isaac currently sits on the board of Cahoots Theatre—a company for equity-deserving artists.
Isaac came to the Belfry from Toronto, where, for the past 10 years, he was the Managing Director of Native Earth Performing Arts, Canada’s oldest professional Indigenous theatre company. Prior to that appointment, he held the position of Director of the extensive Drama School at Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre, and before that was General Manager of Theatre Kingston, in Ontario. He has served on the Advisory Committee of New Harlem Productions and as Chair of the Toronto Association of Acting Studios and Theatre Ontario’s Youth Theatre Training Program (YTTP).
Originally from Delhi, Isaac came to Canada after completing an MA in English Literature at Delhi University, and an MFA in Acting at Ohio University. He also holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto’s OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), having focused on inner-city education.
Prior to his administrative career, Isaac was a member of the resident acting company at the Cleveland Playhouse and toured schools with Karamu House, an African American theatre company in Cleveland. After moving to Toronto, he worked as a stage manager for 10 years, with such companies as Canadian Stage, Young People’s Theatre, fu-GEN, Cahoots Theatre, Modern Times, and Theatre Direct.
When his appointment to the Belfry was announced, Isaac said: “I am thrilled to be joining the Belfry and working with the exceptional team of the Board, Michael, and the dedicated staff. The Belfry is a great institution, deeply respected for its work and culture, both in the community of Victoria and nationally. I am fortunate to have the support and guidance of Ivan Habel, who in partnership with Michael, has accomplished so much at the Belfry. I look forward to building on that legacy. I am profoundly honoured by the faith placed in me and look forward to engaging with the broader community in this beautiful city.”
Isaac’s arrival marks a new chapter in the Belfry’s history, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be embarking on this journey alongside such an intelligent, dedicated, and passionate partner.