Stage Door News

Toronto: Buddies in Bad Times announces its Queer Pride programming June 15-27

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Buddies’ annual Queer Pride Festival celebrates our community’s unstoppable spirit, with free digital and in-person (at a distance) offerings in performance, music, dance, and installation. And of course, a few parties for good measure. For the second year, the festival expands its footprint beyond the theatre’s home in the heart of The Village with livestreams, publications, and pop-up performances occurring around the city.

Interim Programming Director Daniel Carter, who curated this year’s festival, comments: “This has been a challenging year for many in so many ways; we’ve lost friends and community members, community and gathering spaces, and we continue to navigate the anxieties and fatigue brought on by COVID-19. At the same time, over the past year, our queer communities have consistently risen to the challenge of finding new ways to connect, to celebrate, and to care for each other. In this spirit, this year’s Queer Pride artists have dreamed up thoughtful, provocative, and genre-defying offerings, both on and off screen, to forge connection across the distances between us and showcase the tenacity of our queer communities.” 

Capping off a season focused on development and creation, the festival features showcases from some of Buddies’ core artistic development streams. Three Emerging Creators Unit artists, newly led this year by Tawiah M’Carthy and Philip Geller, share excerpts from their works, while Emerging Company-in-Residence artists, Courage Bacchus and Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon host two events centring Deaf theatre artists. The 2-Spirit Cabaret, Buddies’ annual partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts, makes its Queer Pride Festival debut, with a digital edition hosted by Mx Wolverine, featuring nine 2-Spirit and queer Indigenous artists showcasing poetry, drag, music, and burlesque.

Pride in Place, a programming response to the pandemic last June, returns with more than twenty projects bringing Pride to different parts of the city (virtually and in-person). From activations to zines, and one-on-one performance to digital dance parties, this year’s lineup includes Prince Johnny, Jay Light, Split Britches (Lois Weaver + Peggy Shaw), Boiband the Boyband, Jocelyn Reynolds, #ClownsKillEmpires, Jord Camp + Elizabeth Staples, and many more. The series also includes a partnership with lemonTree creations and bigT collective for a reading of Gabe Maharjan’s Eva in Rio, and with Exhibition Place and the Canadian National Exhibition for an intimate performance by rock legend and Rough Trade frontwoman, Carole Pope.

The festival wraps up on Pride Sunday with a Pride Tea Dance, a casual, early evening get-together to catch up with Buddies staff and regulars. Hosted by the inimitable Ryan G. Hinds, with special appearances by Bom Bae, Wrong Note Rusty, Elvira Kurt, and Patricia Wilson.

Alongside these events, June sees the return of the successful Pride Pen Pals matching program that received over 500 signups from across the country when first launched last year. Plus, the second iteration of The Youth/Elders Podcast debuts on June 15 - a nine-episode season featuring conversations curated and hosted by Naomi Bain, S. Bear Bergman, leZlie lee kam, Ty Sloane, and Rhoma Spencer. 

Buddies will be monitoring public health regulations and will provide updates on any necessary changes to in-person events on our website and on social media. Ticketing, sign-up, and distribution details for all Pride events will be released June 1, 2021. 


Emerging Creators Unit sharings

June 19 + 20, 7PM ET

Since January, three artists have been working with Tawiah M’Carthy, Philip Geller, and guest mentors to develop new works, and hone both artistic and producing skills. At our Queer Pride Festival, the ECU artists share a sneak peek into their projects and processes.

Now in its fifteenth year, the ECU offers an intensive, process-focused opportunity for emerging performance creators to develop their artistic practice and producing skills through the creation of a new project. 

27 Club
by Ajahnis Charley

The year is 2046, and folks hitting the age of 27 have to prove their worth… or die. Combining sketch with playwriting, this dark comedy, speculative fiction piece digs into the pressures of youth, and the value of comedy.

Park Life
by Janis Mayers

Blending physical theatre, poetry, and in situ wanderings, Park Life follows Jade’s recovery from addiction alongside the revitalization of her neighbourhood, Regent Park. The paths diverge as the quick fixes of gentrification are contrasted with long-term healing and renewal.

Whose Land is it Anyway?

by Weird Alice

Weird Alice brings a QTBIPOC twist to classic 1970s game show tropes. This interactive, fever-dream piece asks audiences to see the real life of impacts of their consumption of other cultures.


Emerging Company-in-Residence Projects

In January, Buddies welcomed its first-ever Emerging Company-in-Residence at Buddies. Deaf BIPOC artists Gaitrie Persaud Dhunmoon and Courage Bacchus have been working with Buddies staff and outside mentors to gain experience in script development, grant-writing, workshop planning and facilitation, and communications - using their play, The Two Natashas, as a focal point and case study. 

Finding Community in Deaf Queer Women Spaces
June 22, 7PM ET


Courage Bacchus is joined by three Deaf women artists  - Tamyka Bullen, Thurga Kanagasekarampillai, and Gaitrie Persaud Dhunmoon - for an open discussion of their journeys through queerness and art-making, and the barriers that they’ve had to overcome.

Tamyka Bullen, Thurga Kanagasekarampillai + Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon // panelists

Courage Bacchus // moderator

Splitting the Lens
presented by Phoenix the Fire

June 23, 7PM ET
Outside of Buddies

Led by Gaitrie Persaud, Deaf actors and hearing actors re-imagine improv and create a way to work together without ASL interpreters. Happening outside Buddies, for anyone to observe, this workshop hopes to bridge language divides, and create more opportunities for Deaf and hearing performers to share a stage.

Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon // Facilitator

Courage Bacchus, Jaideep Goray, Robert Haughton + Sage Lovell // Deaf actors

Derek Kwan, Uche McKenzie, Tsholo Visions + Suchiththa Wickremesooriya // hearing actors


2-Spirit Cabaret
presented by Native Earth Performing Arts and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Wednesday, June 24, 8PM ET


Back for its fifth year, the 2-Spirit Cabaret is a celebration of the strength, beauty, and talent of queer and 2-Spirit Indigenous people. This year, after a series of workshops with guest artists and mentors, nine artists take the digital stage as the cabaret makes its Queer Pride festival debut.

Hosted by Mx Wolverine, with performances by Nina Boujee, Ronald R. Braman, Sophie Dow, Seán Carson Kinsella, Roger Kuhn, Denise B. McLeod, Raylah, Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone, and Weird Alice, and a DJ set by Deejay Jams. 


Pride Tea Dance

Sunday, June 27, 5-7PM ET

Hosted on Gather.Town

Every Pride Sunday, we open up our cabaret in the afternoon for some respite from the sun and the parade crowds. While the Village will be a little quieter this year, we’re creating an online space to catch up with Patricia and all your favourite Buddies regulars. Join us on for a casual get-together hosted by Ryan G. Hinds, with performances by Bom Bae, Rusty Note Wong, and Elvira Kurt. 


Pride in Place
June 15-27

During this ongoing time of isolation and physical distancing, we ask: how can we still find ways to take up public space, be visible, out, loud and proud, political?  How can we bring the spirit of queer pride to our neighbourhoods, public, private and shared spaces right across our city? This year, over 60 artists respond, with 22 digital, in-person, and object-based projects animating streets, parks, screens, and mailboxes across the city.


Pride Pen Pals
Sign-ups open now through to June 8

Connecting queers across generations, geographies, and stay-at-home-orders, our Pride Pen Pals program is back after resounding success last year. 

We are looking for queers from across Canada—artists, audience members, club goers, retirees, arts workers, community leaders, arts appreciators — anyone who would welcome the chance to write an email (or maybe a few), and get to know someone through a one-on-one exchange. 


The Youth/Elders PodcastSeason Two premieres June 15

The Youth/Elders Podcast returns for a second season, and a brand new format. Co-hosts and curators Naomi Bain, S. Bear Bergman, leZlie lee kam, Rhoma Spencer, and Ty Sloane are joined by guests to chat about  topics affecting our queer communities, including navigating identity across different contexts, activist movements, institutional change in the arts sector, and the need for intersectional community spaces.