Stage Door News

Toronto: Buddies in Bad Times Theatre announces its 2022/23 season

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Buddies in Bad Times theatre marks its 44th season with a full return to in-person programming featuring presentations, world premieres, and festivals, alongside new opportunities for creation and artistic development, and community engagement in processes both onstage and off.

Interim Programming Director Daniel Carter who has programmed the season remarks, “Our 2022/2023 season peels back layers of time, history, community, and language. It explores notions of accountability and justice, it expands our understanding of belonging, home, and family, and compels us to think about and be critical of our futures. As we enter a new phase of the pandemic, and a new pivotal chapter of this company’s history, these questions feel more relevant than ever.”

The fall sees a double presentation series. Starting in October with a New Harlem Productions and Great Canadian Theatre Company production of DM St. Bernard’s The First Stone, a play developed from interviews with former abductees in Uganda, and whose process is rooted in New Harlem Productions’ ongoing Community Justice Forum. This world premiere production is directed by Yvette Nolan. In November, Montreal-based poet Kama La Mackerel takes to the stage with a solo interdisciplinary performance adapted from their award-winning poetry collection, Zom-Fam, a coming-of-age story mythologizing a queer and trans narrative of and for La Mackerel’s home island of Mauritius.

In December, Martin Julien’s The Man That Got Away (A Special Appearance), developed in the Buddies residency program, makes its world premiere, directed by Peter Hinton Davis. This deeply intimate piece plays with the cabaret form, bringing together pieces of celebrity culture, family history, and musical theatre to explore a uniquely queer upbringing. In April, Buddies teams up with madonnanera and b current for a new production of Amanda Cordner and David di Giovanni’s hit show, Body So Fluorescent. Following critical acclaim at festivals across the country, this piece that digs into questions of friendship, appropriation, Blackness, and otherness, is reimagined for the Buddies mainstage.

The Rhubarb Festival returns for a 44th edition in February curated by festival director Clayton Lee. This year, the festival expands its reach through a curatorial exchange with three performance festivals: FLAM in Amsterdam; Les Urbaines in Lausanne, Switzerland; and BUZZCUT in Glasgow. The season closes, as always, with the Queer Pride Festival in June.

Offsite, Buddies supports the world premiere of Makram Ayache’s The Hooves Belonged to the Deer, playing at Tarragon Theatre in April 2023. Further afield, the acclaimed Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools—created by Evalyn Parry, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Erin Brubacher, and Elysha Poirier with Cris Derksen—resumes its international tour after two years, with stops planned in the UK and Europe in November, and more dates to be announced for 2023.

Alongside its mainstage programming, Buddies continues its commitment to developing queer voices, with artist Celia Green joining the Seeding Work micro-residency, and Residency artists artists Bilal Baig, Pencil Kit Productions (with Raf Antonio), Julie Phan, and Heath V. Salazar continuing to move their works forward. Intergenerationally focused community programming will be led by leZlie lee kam. Throughout the season, Buddies also welcomes a number of rentals and events, including Untitled Landscape Project, a Bad New Days production in the Chamber, and parties, fundraisers, cabarets and more in the Cabaret space.


Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents a New Harlem Productions and Great Canadian Theatre Company production

The First Stone

by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

directed by Yvette Nolan

Oct 6-16, 2022

An epic exploration of history, war, and forgiveness, The First Stone delves into the exploitation of child abductees, the communities from which these children are stolen, the determination to bring them home, and the hard road to reconciliation that follows. Through poetry and song, this world-premiere production follows one family’s effort to reunite, measuring the cost of holding on, and of letting go.

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents


an interdisciplinary solo by Kama La Mackerel

November 3-6, 2022

In Mauritian Kreol, “zom-fam” means “man-woman” or “transgender.” This intimate solo brings to the stage Kama La Mackerel’s award-winning eponymous poetry collection. Through dance, storytelling, spoken word, and ritual, the piece weaves together ancestral voices, femme tongues, broken colonial languages, and a tender queer subjectivity, all of which grapple with the legacy of plantation servitude.

a Buddies in Bad Times Theatre production

The Man That Got Away (A Special Appearance)

by Martin Julien

directed by Peter Hinton-Davis

December 8-18, 2022

How do we reinhabit the stories that make us who we are? How do those who’ve left us continue to inhabit us? In an intimate performance weaving together music, confessionals, and personal archives, Martin Julien unmaps, through space and time, his queer upbringing as the child of a lesbian mother and gay father in mid-20th-century Toronto.

Exploding the cabaret form, The Man That Got Away grapples with the layers of our performed identities and the plurality of ways that we ‘come out.’ Family secrets, shared histories, and the musical theatre canon come together in this gesture towards a space of liberation, memory, desire, and truth.

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents

The Rhubarb Festival

Festival Director Clayton Lee

February 2023

Back for a 44th year, Rhubarb transforms Buddies into a hotbed of experimentation, with artists challenging our notions of what art-making and art-watching can be. As Canada’s longest-running new works festival, Rhubarb is the place to encounter the most adventurous ideas in performance and to catch familiar and unfamiliar artists venturing into uncharted territory.

This year, the festival intentionally expands its scope internationally, through a curatorial exchange with three live art festivals in Europe and the UK: FLAM in Amsterdam; Les Urbaines in Lausanne, Switzerland; BUZZCUT in Glasgow. As part of this multi-year exchange, Rhubarb will invite artists from and send Canadian artists to each of these contexts to perform.

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre welcomes a Bad New Days production

Untitled Landscape Project

created and directed by Adam Paolozza

March 9-19, 2023

Inspired by post-humanist thought, this new creation from Bad New Days brings fresh eyes to the age-old predicament of being human. An experiment in form that digs into our relationship to the landscape—both natural and artificial—and our nostalgia for personal and collective pasts in the face of environmental collapse.

a Tarragon Theatre production, in association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

The Hooves Belonged to the Deer

by Makram Ayache

directed by Peter Hinton Davis

April 4-23, 2023

When Izzy’s family immigrates to a small rural town, the young queer Muslim boy becomes the salvation pet project to the local Pastor Isaac. In his attempt to reconcile his sexuality and faith, Izzy invents an imagined Garden of Eden, where Adam and Hawa’s (Eve in Arabic) relationship is turned upside down by the arrival of Steve, a beautiful, blue-eyed, white-skinned northerner.

An emotionally-charged and ritualistic journey of two universes colliding, The Hooves Belonged to the Deer offers an epic story of life, discovery, and belonging, where small-town Canada meets the Garden of Eden.

Presented at Tarragon Theatre

a madonnanera, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and b current production

Body So Fluorescent

by Amanda Cordner & David di Giovanni

April 13-23, 2023

What happened last night on the dance floor? Two friends retrace their steps from the night before to figure out how it all ended in an explosive fight, shifting from self to alter-ego in their effort to untangle the facts. Body So Fluorescent is an electrifying solo performance that asks difficult questions about Blackness, otherness, and appropriation.

Following a national tour, critical acclaim, and a short film adaptation, co-creators Amanda Cordner and David di Giovanni reimagine their hit show for the Buddies stage.


a Buddies in Bad Times Theatre production

Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools

created by Evalyn Parry, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Erin Brubacher and Elysha Poirier with Cris Derksen

A concert and a conversation, Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools is the meeting place of two people, and the North and South of a country. Inuk artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and queer theatre-maker Evalyn Parry met on an Arctic expedition from Iqaluit to Greenland. Now sharing a stage, these two powerful storytellers map new territory together in a work that gives voice and body to the histories, culture, and climate we’ve inherited, and asks how we reckon with these sharp tools.

The award-winning production picks up its international tour this season, with presentations in the UK and Europe in November, and more stops to be announced.