Temilola Gafaar

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Temilola (Lola) Gafaar (she/her) is a Nigerian born, Toronto-based writer and director. She is a graduate from the University of Toronto and is currently working on developing several short and long-form stories. Temilola explores her passion for storytelling in theatre and film. She hopes to continue working with and facilitating for other creators.


Temilola has directed several new works for the New Ideas Festival @ the Alumnae theatre and continues to contribute to their digital in-house programming. Temilola worked as the AD/SM for ‘Dancing Man of Macklin Street’ in NIF 2018 and directed ‘The Last Date’ for NIF 2019. She was part of the Hamilton Fringe alongside the ‘Back Home’ team members. Other works include: performances in amateur productions of Hamlet and 3 Generations and Counting (Original Play in the U of T – NSA Terracotta Cultural Show). Most recently she is the Assistant Director of Cast Iron a co-production of Obsidian and Factory Theatre. Currently she is part of the Factory Theatre’s Foreman Program. 

Temilola Gafaar: Summer Ensemble 2021  

Temilola is a Crane Creations Theatre Company 2021 Summer Ensemble Member. This was Crane Creations Third Annual Summer Ensemble and Temilola’s addition as a member of the ensemble, helped make this year a memorable experience for everyone. 

What is the Summer Ensemble?

The Summer Ensemble is an 8 week training program for theatre artists. In this paid working opportunity artists learn skills required to be a professional artist in Canada, and gain valuable insights into the theatre industry in Canada and abroad. To apply artists must be between 18 and 30 years of age. 

“Crane Creations Sumer Ensemble Program was very eye opening.  It’s an awakening to the realities of what it is like to make a career in theatre in Canada.”

Temilola Gafaar

Due to lock down restrictions a large portion of the program was conducted over zoom in 2021. Temilola Gafaar as well as the rest of Crane Creations 2021 Summer Ensemble handled the transition beautifully, and Temilola was quickly able to adapt her talents to a Zoom’s online platform

Temilola was an Artistic Producer for the Summer Ensemble. fellow 2021 Summer Ensemble Artistic Producers Include: 

  • Mya Wong (Communications Intern) 
  • Jordine De Guzman
  • Shannon Farrell
  • Robin Kadigamar
  • Nicci Pryce 
  • Emmanuelle So

Temilola is an artistic producer in the 2021 Summer Ensemble. Temilola Gafaar participated in many activities and project with Crane Creations Theatre Company as a Summer Ensemble Member. She assisted in the production and organizing of many events. Temilola assisted in the play translation project of Ivan Cankar’s works. Temilola assists as an organizer in Bridges Festival 2022. She assists in producing they play Terror, which is playing at Clarke Hall, Port Credit Mississauga. Temilola helped the SpringWorks! PuppetWorks Festival 2021. 

She assists Artistic Producers Aimee Poulin and Aditi Sharma in day to day activities. She was part of important and lively discussion and debates about the Canadian theatre industry. Temilola learned about the industry of theatre and what it looks like to be a professional full time artist. She learned about theatre in Mississauga. Temilola wrote grants and presented pitches for future theatre projects. She organized and participated in a seminar held by Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council. 

With her fellow Summer Ensemble members she explored the arts outside of Canada as well, and conducted workshops and presentations on prominent International and Canadian artists and theatre companies.

What is an Artistic Producer? 

An artistic producer has an essential role in theatre. They oversee organizational operations and all aspects of a theatre production. Artistic Producers are responsible for the strategic planning and production of theatrical events and take care of the financial and managerial functions to make these theatrical events happen. They also manage day to day activities to make a company run. An Artist Producer balances the big-picture with everyday tasks required to make a business run. An artistic producer must be have the following skills: event management, time management, project management, teamwork, problem solving, leadership, financial planning, business management and communication. Their roles and duties constantly change depending on the need of the theatre company. In summary, an artistic producer is the person who makes theatre happen.  

You think about how to facilitate a creative theatre endeavour. You are thinking about the logistics, the finances, how to bring in audience, how to source materials, build and design your project, who to hire. 

Temilola Gafaar

What Does an Artistic Producer Do?  

  • Look after the finances and manage how the budget is spent
  • Hire creative and technical teams 
  • Issue contracts
  • Organise and manage technical, stage management and workshop functions
  • Agreeing projects and financial backers
  • Agreeing production timelines
  • Finding and booking venue 
  • Setting ticket prices 
  • Selling tickets 
  • Create and implement marketing strategies 
  • Outreach
  • Holding regular meetings with Directors, creative teams and Artists
  • Hold regular meetings with stakeholders
  • Ensuring legal compliance such as copyright law, insurance liability, payroll and tax

Who is Temilola Gafaar? An interview with Temilola. 

Q: What was your favourite part of the Summer Ensemble?

A: It expanded my mind. It was a rude awakening. Not in a bad way. It’s an awakening to the realities of what it is like to make a career in theatre in Canada and the rest of the world. It was very eye opening. 

  I really liked getting to hang out with other creators and hear them bring up interesting ideas and discuss. It’s like this creative incubator. 

Q: you were an artistic producer in the Summer Ensemble? What’s it like to be an artistic producer? 

A: You think about how to facilitate a creative theatre endeavour. You are thinking about the logistics, the finances, how to bring in audience, how to source materials, build and design your project, who to hire. It boils down to being a logistical facilitator for the arts. One of my struggles used to be figuring out if I wanted to be a director or a producer. Ultimately when you are a young artist, you have to do it all. You have to take on administrative tasks even if your strengths lie in the creative. You have to learn how to do it all yourself a lot of times.

Q: You are an aspiring director. Why do you want to be a director? 

A: I grew up loving stories and loving to be in other worlds. When you are younger and you see a movie, you tend to connect with actors first. That makes sense, the actors are the conduit for the story. That’s why I think a lot of people want to become actors. I wanted to become an actor at first, but at some point, I can’t exactly pin when, I realized that there was someone behind the scenes who was creating the story. I wanted to tell stories, I didn’t just want to be the conduit. I started learning about directors and learning about the whole process of creating a story. 

It’s also way to share myself with the world. I can’t always say the right things, but I can through storytelling. I want to expand human hearts with empathy and a really compelling way to do that is by drawing people into stories.

Q: What does leadership in the arts mean to you? 

A: I think about leadership a lot. Good leaders are people lead by serving and lead by example. Show people that you care, and you do that by being down in the trenches with them.  

Q: Do you have any hobbies? 

A: I like sports. I play ultimate frisbee and I run. I started running during the pandemic. I also like watching basketball.

Q: Are you watching anything right now, you recommend we see. 

A: I saw the most recent season of succession. I strongly recommend that. I also saw West Side Story. The new one by Steven Spielberg. That’s good. 

Q: Do you have a favourite play? 

A: I’ve always been partial to Hamlet. In High School, I organized this school project where we did scenes from Hamlet. It was the first time in my life where I led a team and I felt really empowered and excited. I played Ophelia, and I loved it. I loved breaking down the story and reworking it. It was a special experience and Hamlet has special place in my heart. 

Q: What have you been up to since Summer Ensemble? 

A:. I went on a couple of projects after Crane. I did a theatre project as an Assistant Director with Factory and Obsidian. Andreja encouraged me to reach out and send an email to Nina Lee Aquino. I never through she would respond, but she did, and I wouldn’t have had that opportunity and met such an amazing person like Nina, if I hadn’t tried. 

The whole experience was really cool. I was in awe with a lot of the people I was working with. Its as intimidating at times and I try not to be intimated and just take it all in. It was an opportunity to learn. I learned about sound building and got to watch live sound design. T I just loved being a fly on the wall, watching the actor and designers and the stage manager and director do what they were really good at. 

Fun Facts About Temilola

Temilola can’t ride a bike. 

“I never learnt when I was a kid and now I’m too afraid to fall!”


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