By Kanika Ambrose
Based on the novel “The Gospel Truth” by Caroline Pignat
Directed by Sabryn Rock

On the Ada Slaight Stage Jan. 29 – Feb. 23, 2024
Recommended for Ages 10+ | Grades 5+
Run time: approx. 70 minutes



“Even if I don’t know the way, the where, or the how, I know I’s goin’ somewhere and someone out there waitin’ for me — I just know.”

– Phoebe

It’s 1858 on a Virginian tobacco plantation. Deep in a forest, a young Black girl named Phoebe sits in the hollow of a tree, a notebook in her pocket and a harrowing choice ahead. Truth is adapted from the Governor General’s Award-winning novel “The Gospel Truth”, and tells the story of a courageous 16-year-old, the arrival of a stranger from the north, and a trail of secrets that could change everything. From the American South to St. Catharines, Ontario, Truth chronicles the fierce strength and resilience of a community as it struggles to find freedom.


“VITAL.” **** — Next Magazine

“A MUST-SEE… and a GORGEOUS addition to the collection of learning events taking place in Toronto in honour of Black History Month.” — Intermission Magazine

Truth is a great way to start our young theatre enthusiasts onto a path of learning about slavery, emancipation, and the Underground Railroad.” — A View from the Box

“ENTHUSIASTIC and HEARTFELT production.” — Our Theatre Voice

The Inspiration Behind Truth

Kanika headshot“I wanted to write a story that centered the Black characters and brings their beauty and humanity to the forefront of difficult circumstances. Both Sabryn, the director, and YPT have shown really careful and thoughtful planning around the needs of both the young audiences that will see the play and the needs of this story. And that is really special.”

— Playwright Kanika Ambrose


Sabryn headshot

“What is particularly inspiring to me is Truth’s heroine, Phoebe: a mute teenaged girl who is enslaved yet who somehow finds the courage to risk everything to seek freedom in the face of brutal oppression. Working on a narrative that follows a young Black female character who is underestimated and surprises everyone (including herself) by what she is capable of, this is a story I never got to see much in the theatre growing up. I hope audiences can relate to this journey and are empowered by Phoebe’s spirit. I know I am!”

— Director Sabryn Rock

Herbie headshot“I think it is important to remind ourselves of our history: our victories and our defeats, the good and the ugly aspects of how we, as people, arrived at our present reality. Our young people tend to live in the ‘right now’. Thus, at times, a gentle reminder of who we are – and who we were – helps to ensure our future will be more promising.”

— YPT Artistic Director Herbie Barnes

  • Truth production image
  • Truth production image
  • Truth production image
  • Truth production image
  • Truth production image
  • Truth production image

Truth Cast

Book covers

Looking to dive a little deeper? Check out these Staff Picks from Marissa Blagrove, YPT Education & Participation Programs Coordinator: The Gospel Truth by Caroline Pignat and Trailblazers by Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore. Available at our Box Office or online.

Content Advisory

Relaxed Performances

relaxed performance symbol
SCHOOLS: Friday, Feb. 9 at 10:30AM
PUBLIC: Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2:00PM

Relaxed Performances include extra features to make the theatre-going experience more sensory-friendly. These include a relaxed attitude to our general policies, slightly adjusted sound and lighting levels, a calm area to watch the show on a lobby monitor if a break is needed, and additional resources before and during the show.

Teacher Resources

Program & Study Guide


Drama Workshop

Curriculum Connections

The Arts – Drama


Canadian and World Studies – American History, World History Since the Fifteenth Century (Black Communities, the Institution of Slavery and the Abolitionist Movement)

Social Studies – History: Creating Canada 1850-1890

7 Ancestral Teachings



Facing history
Finding your voice
Confronting injustice