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Jamar Adams Thompson

“[The rehearsal process for ‘Tyson’s Song’] has demanded from us a greater amount of trust in our vulnerability with each other and our ability to hold space and grace with one another.”

Joe Szekeres

The last time I saw Jamar Adams Thompson appear on stage was in Cahoots’ Theatre Production of Steven Elliot Jackson’s ‘Three Ordinary Men’, directed by Tanisha Taitt.

I remember being so moved by that production that I could not speak for a moment afterward. Jamar was part of a terrific ensemble that kept me riveted by the story’s action. He was appreciative and humbled by the audience’s experience of ‘Three Ordinary Men’ at the time, and he says that experience will remain part of his heart forever. Knowing that Jackson’s story deeply touches audiences means the world to him.

We interviewed via email.

Jamar is a University of Windsor alumni and holds a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) Honours in Acting.

He is smack dab in rehearsals for the upcoming Canadian premiere production of Peter N. Bailey’s ‘Tyson’s Song, ’ which opens April 26 at Toronto’s Factory Studio Theatre. This is Adams Thompson’s debut working with director Ash Knight and production company Pleiades Theatre.

Working on the production with a team that he calls passionate and intelligent has made the process both inspiring and challenging as an actor. He calls Ash Knight: “one of the most passionate directors I know who really speaks true to his convictions.” Knight is always keen on exploring the most interesting choice in a character’s objectives and motivations. For that reason, Jamar feels he has never felt more born for a role.

‘Tyson’s Song’ is a story about two best friends, two brothers, on one last big night out in the city. The play is a conversation not only among brothers but also one that is unspoken for many of the viewers who might relate to these characters. This conversation, this story, ultimately unpacks some very real issues in the Black male community of mental health, the absence of genuine emotional support and positive emotional outlets, and questions of masculinity, identity and self-fulfilment. It is a story of real pain but also one of hope.

Adams Thompson truthfully claims that ‘Tyson’s Song’ found its way to him. Unbeknownst to each other, two close friends of his had forwarded the e-drive submission about the show, demanding that Jamar audition.

When he read the submission email the next day, it was as if I was coming home after a very long pilgrimage:

“The email mentioned “Black men’s mental health” and “Brotherhood” and specifically sought second-generation Jamaican/Caribbean-Canadian artists. I have and will always remain an advocate for the continued discussion of mental health and support among all people, but to know that someone was finally writing a Canadian story for someone like ME was nothing shy of a dream come true.”

Excitement would be an understatement describing how Jamar feels about the upcoming premiere. He recognizes the pressure artists always feel when presenting new work. Still, as surreal as that may sound, this is the first time Jamar has had the chance to explore a character from his particular side of the Black diaspora.

Although many more stories are being told and written for his people in general, there is still so much more room for the stories of Caribbean people in Canada. Jamaica has influenced so much of the culture in Toronto, from its cuisine to music to art and, most notably, its cultural slang.

Despite this influence and the abundant population of Jamaicans in the city, their stories have not made footing in the theatre as they have in the poetry, music and dance scenes, or even the visual arts. One of his biggest hopes with the premiere of ‘Tyson’s Song’ is to motivate a greater ushering of Caribbean and Jamaican-Canadian stories within the city.

‘Tyson’s Song’ appeals to me for several reasons. One is to learn more about the stories of the Caribbean people in Canada. I also want to see Jamar’s work in a completely different setting from ‘Three Ordinary Men.’

I also have a personal connection to Jamar’s fellow actor, Kyle Brown.

I taught him when he was in high school:

“WOW! What a full-circle moment for you as well! You'll be proud of him. Kyle and I hit it off very strongly from the auditions. We had the pleasure of working together in the callback, and right away, a palpable grace came with his presence. It was so easy to play off one another and help each other shine.”

Jamar calls Kyle an incredibly generous and honest performer. Their most significant discovery with these characters is their unique ability to relate with both of them. They each carry a bit of Tyson and Bryan and could easily have read for the other’s part. This unique empathy has allowed them to bridge many hidden gaps and barriers in connecting with the characters and each other in a way that he thinks has surprised them both.

What’s next for Jamar Adams Thompson once ‘Tyson’s Song’ concludes its Canadian premiere?

He jokingly stated in jest that a nap would be ideal, as I’m sure any actor who is presenting new work would.

But he’s not one to rest too long.

Jamar has been keeping busy in hopes of pursuing his MFA (Master of Fine Arts degree) quite soon. While his goal is always acting, be it on stage or in front of the camera, he is taking more steps towards participating in his own play premiere. Writing has not so secretly been a large aim in fulfilling his purpose as a storyteller! His hope is to have some scripts and anthologies that he has been working on come to life at a theatre near us.

He closed off our email conversation with a 😊 and said: “Stay tuned.”

‘Tyson’s Song’ runs from April 24 to May 19, 2024, in the Factory Studio Theatre (125 Bathurst St.). Tickets are pay-what-you-choose starting from $5, at or

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