Stage Door News

Toronto: Tarragon Theatre presents the world premiere of “The Hooves Belonged to the Deer”

Monday, March 13, 2023

Mike Payette, Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre and Managing Director Andrea Vagianos are delighted to announce the world premiere of The Hooves Belonged to the Deer, in association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. The play, written by Makram Ayache and directed by Peter Hinton-Davis, runs in the Mainspace from March 28 – April 23, 2023 (opening April 5).

Following the story of a young queer Muslim boy who becomes the salvation pet project to the local pastor, The Hooves Belonged to the Deer is a journey of self acceptance, battling through the intersection of an entrenched culture of shame, faith and sexuality.

Continuing his exploration of representations of queer Arab voices, Ayache’s achingly affecting writing is brought to life with direction from Hinton-Davis in a mythical, other-worldly, yet familiar way, dreaming audiences through the Garden’s desert oasis where civilization began, through to contemporary, small town Alberta.

“I was fortunate enough to catch one of the earlier workshops of The Hooves Belonged to the Deer, virtually, at the start of the pandemic. I was immediately engrossed in Makram’s epic scope of poetry and longing against the backdrop of a timeless plane where mythology, spirituality and knowledge meet intimacy and community within small-town Canada,” recalls Artistic Director Mike Payette. “The powerful journey of one young man’s search for identity and belonging is visceral, and with Peter Hinton-Davis’ visionary ability, the audience is immersed in an unforgettable artistic voyage that champions the incredible creatives involved.”

The Hooves Belonged to the Deer is written by Makram Ayache (Betty Mitchell Award-winning The Green Line, Playwrights Guild of Canada’s Tom Hendry Award-winning Harun) and features Makram Ayache (Tarragon debut; as performer: Harun, Canadian Stage’s Much Ado About Nothing, Downstage and Chromatic Theatre’s The Green Line), Noor Hamdi (Tarragon debut, National Queer Theatre’s Drowning in Cairo, Lincoln Center Theater’s The Skin of Our Teeth), Ryan Hollyman (Tarragon debut, Factory Theatre’s Among Men, NAC’s carried away on the crest of a wave), Adrian Shepherd Gawinski (Tarragon debut, Buddies in Bad Times’ Box 4901 (Dora Award), fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company/Theatre Smash’s Durango), Eric Wigston (Tarragon debut, Theatre Calgary’s The Secret Garden, Citadel’s Romeo and Juliet) and Bahareh Yaraghi (Tarragon debut, Stratford’s An Ideal Husband, Why Not and Factory Theatre’s Salt-Water Moon). 

With dramaturgy by Evan Medd (Tarragon debut, Alberta Theatre Projects’ The Circle, RISER fest Edmonton’s MINE), set and costume design by Anahita Dehbonehie (Tarragon debut, Soulpepper’s Marat/Sade, Outside the March and Theatre Passe Muraille’s Vitals), lighting design by Whittyn Jason (Tarragon debut, Major Matt Mason’s NIGHT, Citadel Theatre’s The Wolves), sound design by Chris Pereira (Tarragon debut, Sound Designer for Citadel Theatre’s Rochdale), associate sound design by Jacob Lin (Tarragon’s Post-Democracy, Cahoots Theatre’s REplay: Goodmorning Viet Mom) and choreography and intimacy coordination by Corey Tazmania (Tarragon debut, Crow’s Theatre’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Theatre Passe Muraille’s Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land)). With direction by Peter Hinton-Davis (Tarragon’s The Millennial Malcontent, Buddies in Bad Times’ The Man That Got Away, Canadian Opera Company’s Hadrian, Crow’s Theatre’s Michi’s Blood, Burning Vision) and assistant directed by Michelle Mohammed (Tarragon debut, Why Not Theatre and Shaw Festival’s Mahabharata, Shaw Festival’s Oh What a Lovely War).

The Hooves Belonged to the Deer runs in the Mainspace, March 28 - April 23, 2023, opening on April 5. The Hooves Belonged to the Deer will also be available digitally from April 18 - May 31, 2023 as part of Tarragon Theatre’s “Chez Vous” subscription, offering fully realized recordings of the performances in the 2022/23 season. An early version of The Hooves Belonged to the Deer was offered as an audio play as part of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Queer, Far, Wherever You Are 2022 series - this debut represents the world premiere of a fully realised production.

The Hooves Belonged to the Deer (World Premiere)

In association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Written by Makram Ayache

Directed by Peter Hinton-Davis


Live on stage: March 28 – April 23, 2023 (opening April 5)

Tarragon Chez Vous: April 18 - May 31, 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.

Showtimes are Tuesday - Saturday at 8pm and Sundays at 2:30pm, with additional matinees on select Wednesdays at 1pm and Saturdays at 2:30pm..

Single Tickets range from $15 - $55 and can be purchased online at, or by phone at 416-531-1827. Discounts are available for students, groups, arts workers, Front Line Workers, and the Underemployed. Contact the box office for more information.

Tarragon offers the most flexible subscription packages in the city with significant discounts on subscription pricing. Plus, allowing patrons to choose their productions, change their dates free of charge. Visit the website or call Patron Services today for more information.

Rush tickets are sold for $20, by phone, in person or online via starting 3 hours before the performance. Rush tickets are subject to availability.

For more information on Tarragon’s events and activities, visit