By michelle-lee: Dora-winning actor Raven Dauda is starring in Lynn Nottage’s “Intimate Apparel” – a component of the Canadian Stage Company’s new season. Dauda, the offspring of a Jamaican mother and a father (now deceased) from Sierra Leone, was born in Ottawa in 1973. Her Mom, says Dauda, always pushed her to explore her artistic talent, often reminding her of cousins who worked in Caribbean Theatre and telling her that theatre “was in her blood”.
Dauda performed the role of Esther the shy seamstress in “Intimate Apparel” for the first time in 2008 at the intimate Berkeley Street Upstairs Theatre. At the time she was unknown to Toronto audiences but her performance drew raves from critics and theatergoers alike. Between then and now Dauda has made lasting impressions in three other plays (“Wild Dogs, “Miss Julie: Freedom Summer” and “Doubt”) and earned two Dora nominations and one Dora award for her work. She also attended Vancouver’s Studio 58 for a short time (she says she regrets not completing that program). She returned to Toronto, toured with Children’s Theatre until TV and Film entered her life. She was cast in nearly three dozen projects beginning with “Murder at 1600” and including recurring roles in series such as “Paradise Falls” and “Across the River to Motor City”.
She starred in trey anthony’s “da Kink in my Hair” when the play was remounted for Theatre Passe Muraille. She says of “da Kink…” – “I was so honored to be a part of that journey with trey and it helped me redefine my devotion to the theatre”. Her acclaimed performances have all been in roles specifically written for Black women but Dauda has no problem with that. She said, “Yes It has been Black specific, but it’s allowed me to delve into myself and into my race and I am grateful for those opportunities.” She added that she takes pride in “telling these stories”.