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Owais Lightwala

Owais Lightwala's headshot

Owais Lightwala


Acting Assistant Professor, Production


  • BFA Theatre Production and Design


Owais Lightwala is an arts leader and creative producer. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Performance, Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University, where his teaching and research focused on creative producing and arts management. Prior to that, he spent 8 years as the Managing Director for Why Not Theatre, external link, where he produced sold-out runs of award-winning new works, national and international tours, presentations from around the world, and co-helmed the creation of innovative new producing models like the RISER Project, external link. He advises many arts organizations (including theatre and dance companies, music presenters, film festivals and more) as a strategic consultant, particularly on finding better ways of doing things, changing who’s on stage and in the audience, and anything to do with numbers.  He also dabbles in theatre making as an artist, and is a prolific web and graphic designer. A lifelong learner, he was selected for the Impact Program for Arts Leaders (Stanford Graduate School of Business), has completed the CORe program (Harvard Business School), was a 2018 DiverseCity Fellow (CivicAction), a fellow in the 2018 Leaders Lab (Toronto Arts Council/Banff Centre), is a graduate of York University’s Theatre program, and currently pursuing his MBA at Ryerson University.

  • Producing live performance (theatre/dance/music)
  • Entrepreneurship in the arts
  • Disruption and innovation in the arts 
  • Non-profit arts management
  • Arts leadership
  • Economics of arts