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Owais Lightwala

Owais Lightwala


Assistant Professor, Production


  • BFA Theatre Production and Design
  • MBA


Owais Lightwala is an arts leader and creative producer. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Performance at the Creative School at Toronto Metropolitan University, where his teaching and research focus on creative producing and entrepreneurship. One of his major research projects is building Sai (external link) , a new app that is hoping to revolutionize the way that creative people manage their finances. 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 innovative new producing models like RISER (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 has served on many nonprofit boards, including TO Live, AMY Project, and Art Ignite. In addition to his work in the arts, he is a prolific web and graphic designer. 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 did his MBA at Toronto Metropolitan University.

  • What is the future of performance? How do we build new works, in new ways, for new audiences?
  • How do we make the persistent cliche of the “starving artist” obsolete? 
  • art + technology + entrepreneurship = something awesome maybe?
  • Why do artists hate managing money? Can we change that? 
  • What is all this “innovation" for exactly? And why is so much “innovation” bad?