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Soulpepper Academy

Soulpepper is pleased to have the five finalists chosen from a national selection process to as members of the Academy: Will Dao, Varun Guru, Annie Luján, Shaquille Pottinger, and Kiana Woo

Take a moment to click into these artists profiles to get to know them and personal work. Soulpepper looks forward to sharing their work with you in the future, including on stage in King Lear.

Following the successful return of the program in 2021 the Soulpepper Academy continues to develop and grow to support the needs of the next generation of leaders in Canadian theatre. The Academy will focus on the member’s disciplines while exposing them to a variety of theatre making skills. This intake will provide training in Acting & Performance and Directing. Varun Guru, Annie Luján, Shaquille Pottinger, and Kiana Woo will take to the stage alongside some of the most celebrated Canadian artists in Soulpepper’s production of King Lear, while Will Dao joins Directors Kim Collier and Weyni Mengesha as an Assistant Director on King Lear and Queen Goneril.

Support for the Soulpepper Academy

The Soulpepper Academy is supported by the RBC Emerging Artist Project, with additional generous support from Sylvia Soyka and the Kingfisher Foundation.

At RBC, we care about investing in the places where we live and work. Our support of the arts has been a long-standing priority as we recognize that the arts plays an important role in building vibrant communities and strong economies.  Through RBC Emerging Artists, we are thrilled to continue our support of the Soulpepper Academy and its commitment to provide artists the opportunity to advance their career trajectory in a meaningful way

- Ramin Fazel, RBC Regional Vice President, Downtown Toronto

As an Academy Graduate myself it was so meaningful to work with the Academy that graduated in 2021.  To watch them take risks and hone in on skills they had not had the chance to explore. It only reinforced my belief in the importance of a program like this, to ensure the next generations voices are supported and amplified. These five new Academy members are exceptional artists whose curiosity and bold creativity will help us shape the future of the company. I’m excited to watch them learn and grow and share their work with our audiences.

- Weyni Mengesha, Artistic Director


The Soulpepper Academy aims to develop highly skilled theatre artists who are equipped to make significant contributions in rehearsal halls and to the cultural landscape of Canada. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Weyni Mengesha and the new and returning faculty members including d’bi young anitafrika, Ins Choi, Kim Collie­r, Ravi Jain, Gregory Prest, Lorenzo Savoini, and Guillermo Verdecchia, the five vibrant emerging artists will gain hands-on professional theatre experience through Soulpepper’s Mainstage programming, and will further develop their artistic voice with original creations throughout the 24-week paid training program. The Academy curriculum will be taught through rehearsals, classes, studio intensives, and workshops, with more exciting Canadian and international instructors to be announced.


TERM ONE — June to October 2022

Split time between rehearsals/performances of King Lear and studio classes including a focus on growing the personal artistic voice.

TERM TWO — October 2022

Includes a focus on new play creation through the development and performance of short (5-10 minute) solo works.

TERM three — November to December 2022

Includes the rehearsing and staging of a final showcase created by the ensemble.

If you would like to be notified of other artist training opportunities, including The Training Room and The Academy, please sign-up below:

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The Soulpepper Academy is supported by RBC Emerging Artists Project, and the generosity of Sylvia Soyka and the Kingfisher Foundation. Thank you!

Lead Support for the Soulpepper Academy

Additional Support for the Soulpepper Academy