Weyni Mengesha is a Canadian film and stage director known for her ground-breaking work and community engagement. Since graduating in 2005 with a BFA from York University, she has directed plays that have gone on to break box office records, tour nationally and internationally, and have been developed into television shows playing on CBC, Global, and Netflix. She made her U.S debut in 2016 at Theatre @ Boston Court directing Bars and Measures which received three Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award nominations and an NAACP nomination for her direction. Mengesha went on to make her New York debut with Martin Zimmerman’s Seven Spots from the Sun at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, along with the off-Broadway debut of the critically acclaimed Kim’s Convenience. In 2019, she became artistic director of Soulpepper Theatre Company in Toronto, a celebrated artist-driven company that offers year-round programming and training for artists from across the country. She is also cultivating a television and film career with numerous award-winning short films and episodic TV shows under her belt and a feature in development.
Mengesha is also a committed educator, mentor of new talent, and producer of youth arts initiatives. She was the co-director of the acclaimed A.M.Y. Project (artists mentoring youth) from its inaugural showcase in 2005 until 2011 and continues to be a member of their advisory board. In 2004, she co-founded Sound the Horn and was artistic director of the organization for seven years providing a training and performance platform to hundreds of young artists from Ethiopian and Eritrean communities across North America. She continues to be a guest teacher for artistic training programs across Canada, including the National Theatre School of Canada, Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and The Soulpepper Academy. In 2018 Mengesha was named one of The 50 most influential Torontonians by Toronto Life magazine.