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meet the team

Akilah Newton

Founder & Executive Director

Akilah Newton has a deep appreciation for performing arts. Early in life, she discovered a fascination with dramatic arts while performing in an elementary school production of Annie. She continued to nurture her interest with training in music, drama, dance, and stage production. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Arts, Music & Entertainment Management, she felt a need to give back to the community that had helped foster her own dreams and aspirations in performing arts. Recognizing that not all kids have the means to participate in arts programs, she set out to make training accessible to young people from all socio-economic backgrounds. She founded Overture with the Arts in 2009 to share her passion and experience with the youth in her community. Reaching out to her network of talented artists and friends, Akilah assembled a team of dedicated instructors to deliver fun, power-packed educational sessions. Since then, new programs have been added to OWTA’s arts education, responding to the creative needs of Montreal’s youth.

Omari Newton

Actor, Writer, Comedian, MC

Montreal-born artist, Omari Newton, is a professional actor, writer, poet, Comedian and MC whose work can be seen on television, film, stage or heard on radio. He is currently a City of Vancouver funded Artist in Residence with Urban Ink. His stage work in Québec has earned him a number of favorable reviews and awards. Some career highlights include a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his work in the Centaur Theatre’s production of Joe Penhal’s “Blue Orange” (Soirée des masques). The play also went on to win Best English Language Production (Soirée des masques). He is the winner of Champion of Vancouver’s 2010 Pan African Poetry Slam, a qualifying event in the Van Slam Poetry season.

Barbara Ford

Public Relations

Barbara has been involved with the performing arts in one way or another for most of her life, first on stage as a professional dancer and choreographer and latterly behind the scenes as an arts administrator and communications specialist. She has had the great honour of working with established artists at the top of their game however supporting the development of emerging talent is one of the most rewarding aspects of her profession. “I love Akilah’s dedication, vision and boundless energy. We can never give up on our youth and Overture with the Arts is abundantly clear on that important message. If we invest and believe in them, they will too; then there is no limit to what they can achieve.”

Kim Sullivan

Radio Personality, Educator

Born and raised in Montreal, Kim obtained 3 degrees, traveled to over 30 countries and lived on 3 continents before becoming a teacher for the deaf. Too quiet for her, 3 years in, she threw herself into Montreal’s radio scene! After enjoying broadcasting stints in Winnipeg and Ottawa, where she also had her own bucket-list-accomplishing TV show, move #3 brings Kim back to Montreal! It’s been 9 years since she first started her career in the city and she’s thrilled to be back! Kim loves to give back to the community and teaches broadcast journalism for our student run radio program, Overture Radio.

Sarah Holmes

Dancer, Choreographer

Sarah first started dancing and choreographing in highschool participating full force in the school’s dance program and taking over the reins. For four years she assisted her teacher in choreography as well as performing with Excel Danse and her hometown’s multiple theatre companies. After graduation, she continued to pursue dance studies in jazz, ballet and hip hop including theatre, musical theatre and voice training at George Brown college in Toronto. Upon returning to Quebec Sarah moved to Montreal and began training at the 8Count Dance Complex for several years. It led her to countless opportunities, including a role in the last Step Up movie, Step Up 5 : All In. Although performing is an immense passion of hers, recently Sarah has found it a lot more satisfying to teach. Aside from teaching, Sarah also works with the mentally and physically deficient in readaptation. Born with an endless supply of optimism, Sarah puts her energy towards helping and caring for others. Thus, teaching dance to small children as well as teens satisfies her in a way no other job can. She’s responsible for spreading love and giving self confidence to the world’s most important humans: the next generation.

Jordann Ades

executive assistant

Jordann Ades has been volunteering since the age of 9 for various residences for the elderly, and started working with The West Island Mission and Overture with the Arts when was 10 years old. Her passions include dance, music, acting and helping others. She is looking forward to fulfilling her love of the arts and making a difference in other people’s lives as a member of the Overture with the Arts family.


Telephone: (514) 889-8678