Stage Door News

Toronto: Buddies in Bad Times Theatre announces its 2023 Queer Pride line-up

Monday, May 1, 2023

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is pleased to announce the line-up for Queer Pride 2023 – a festival of queer theatre, comedy, cabaret, art, music, and parties that showcases our community's unstoppable spirit. All month long, Buddies hosts a stellar line-up of Toronto’s most exciting queer entertainers, with guest producers bringing their best, alongside Buddies staple events like the 2-Spirit Cabaret (with Native Earth Performing Arts), Emerging Creators Unit showcase, and Tallulah’s Pride Party.

“The Queer Pride Festival is always such a fitting way to close our season, highlighting our space as a dynamic hub for celebration and a confluence of communities. This year, I’m thrilled to welcome new and familiar artists to Buddies’ cabaret and chamber spaces with provocative and genre-defying new work” says Managing Director Daniel Carter, who curated this year’s festival alongside Artistic Producer Intern Julie Phan 潘家雯. “Alongside this stunning list of artists, I’m grateful to deepen Buddies’ relationships with our community partners and our commitment to create intergenerational spaces, provide mentorship and showcase opportunities for emerging artists, and create spaces to celebrate our communities.”

In addition to a month of onsite programming, Buddies is thrilled this year to be named one of the beneficiaries of The Pride & Remembrance Run taking place June 24th. Part of the funds raised will go towards the Rainbow Seniors Project, a new initiative as part of our 45th anniversary season that will guide a group of queer seniors through storytelling and performance workshops, culminating in a presentation at our 2024 Queer Pride Festival.


 • New theatrical offerings from Chase Lo (Ruby) and David Benjamin Tomlinson (Fagnificent), plus an offsite presentation of Boys In Chairs collective’s Access Me, sharing the stories of three queer, disabled men;

 • Sharings from this year’s Emerging Creators Unit cohort, C4LDEIR4, James Knott, and Marium Masood, a special Queer Pride edition of QueerCab featuring emerging artists from across the city, and the return of the 2-Spirit Cabaret, in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts;

 • The best queer comedy in town, with Buddies regulars GayAF and Homo Night in Canada– showcasing the talents of DeAnne Smith, Brendan D’Souza, Elvira Kurt, Martha Chaves, Vong Show, Hilary Yaas, and more– plus a new solo show by social media sensation Anesti Danelis;

 • A new variety show celebrating the best of Toronto’s disabled performers by Buddies’ Emerging Company in Residence, The Disability Collective;

 • Late night fun including Lavender, Amateur Strip Night judged by Drag Things, Throb, Steers and Queers, featuring their unmissable Night of 1000 Dollys—all with advance tickets available—plus three Pride weekend full-facility parties with some of Toronto’s best drag queens and DJs.

 • Introducing tip tap machines around the building: an easy way for patrons and party-goers to make small donations leading up to Buddies’ 45th birthday next season.


Queer Pride is radical love and defiant self expression. It’s a time to celebrate everything that we are and all that we can be, while reimagining the spaces we create for all of our queer communities to come together.

It's in this spirit that we present Queer Pride 2023 – a festival of queer theatre, comedy, cabaret, art, music, and parties that showcases our community's unstoppable spirit. All month long, Buddies hosts a stellar line-up of Toronto’s most exciting queer entertainers, with guest producers bringing their best, alongside Buddies staple events.

So come catch a show and dance until last call. Come and connect with community. Come and celebrate your Queer Pride at Buddies.

Anesti Danelis: Artificially Intelligent

June 3, 6:30PM + 8:00PM | The Cabaret | $25

Award-winning musical comedian and viral internet hit-maker Anesti Danelis returns from the deep dark web with his guitar, piano, and violin (yes b*tch, a violin), to bring you a comedy concert of his critically acclaimed songs. “Had people laughing non-stop" ★ ★ ★ ★ Deadline News.

Lavender Wonderland - Pride Kick-off

June 3, 10:30PM | The Cabaret | $10/PWYC

Lavender is a staple in Toronto’s Queer nightlife. An award winning queer party series in Toronto for folks of all marginalized genders – Women, Trans and Nonbinary folx for our full facility party to kick off your Pride!

In the Margins (bisexual bodies are always queer)

June 6–9, 12-9PM | The Cabaret | Free

In the Margins (bisexual bodies are always queer) depicts the pubescent fantasies of a bisexual girl in the year 2000. Inspired by the lurid rainbow aesthetic of the late 90s and Y2K girlhood, this multi-channel animated installation confronts the audience with their assumptions about bisexuality.

2-Spirit Cabaret

Presented by Native Earth in partnership with Buddies

June 6, 7:30PM | The Chamber | $10 / $25 / $40 / $70

The 2-Spirit Cabaret is back for its 7th edition! A celebration of the strength, beauty, and talent of queer and 2-Spirit Indigenous people, the Cabaret features music, dance, drag, performance art, spoken word, poetry and comedy.


June 7, 8PM | The Chamber | PWYC, $15 Students/Seniors/Arts Workers, $25 Regular

The Bad News Bears of Choirs is feeling the PRIDE and happy to return to Buddies for their end-of-year stage offering -- showcasing extraordinary artists with lived experience. Founder Jim LeFrancois welcomes talented Co-Director Sistah Lois Jacob to shape a bill featuring new tunes performed by the BYC, plus a sneak peek at work developed for new digital revue, HEARTBREAK CABARET.

Lady5 Community Drag Pageant & Party: All that Glitters

June 8, 8PM | The Chamber | $25

Lady5 is back, back, back again! Get dressed up, celebrate queerness and take up space in the face of the erosion of queer rights and expression! Combining amateur drag competition with a fabulous dance party, this year’s theme is “All that Glitters”. Ticket sales support Rainbow Railroad.

Gay AF Comedy Pride-A-Palooza

June 9, 8PM | The Chamber | General $31, Artsworker $21

Gay AF Comedy Pride-A-Palooza is serving up a cornucopia of Canada's top Queer comedic talent! Hosted by Robert Watson, headlined by DeAnne Smith, featuring improv from comedy Queens Yaas & Vyle, and stand-up sets from Clif Knight, Heather Mariko, Brendan D'Souza & Daphney Joseph with special guest Vong Show. Presented in partnership with Freddie.

Flamingo Market - Pride Expo

June 10 + 11 | 11AM-7PM | Full Facility | PWYC/Free to attend

Toronto’s 4x award-winning 2SLGBTQIA+ Market returns to Buddies for Flamingo Market as a full facility Pride Expo! Come support their flock of 100+ 2SLGBTQIA+ artisans, businesses and nonprofits, with over 50 different vendors each day. This is an all-ages event, everyone is welcome to attend!

Amateur Strip Night Judged by Drag Things

Presented by Bathhouse & Bodyworks

June 10, 10PM | Full Facility | $15

We invite you to a night of amateur strip / performance art for cash with fierce judgement by people who absolutely do mind if you choose us as your family - in life, in roleplay, in whatever. You can be blessed to witness the filthiest strip acts from your local pervs, or do a strip for a ridiculously supportive audience.

Mirror Me Productions presents


June 14, 7PM | The Cabaret | PWYW / $16

From playwright Chase Lo comes a theatrical thriller about a family of trans/nonbinary Asian and migrant sex workers on a vigilante search for their missing sister, Ruby. In their quest, they seek the aid of ancestral ghosts and memories to solve the puzzle of her disappearance. Shared for the first time as a staged reading, this is a story about chosen family and the choices we make to pursue our dreams; no matter the cost.

Muslim Pride Toronto

June 15, 6PM | The Chamber | $21

After kicking off virtually in 2020 with an international celebration, Muslim Pride Toronto makes its in-person debut at Buddies this year! Presented by ScrapARTS and featuring Halal Bae, Mango Lassi, Ola Minou, Rosina, Robbie Ahmed and more in a diverse lineup of queer and trans Muslim artists in burlesque, DJing, drag, live music and spoken word.

Kevin Morris: Bad Gay

June 15, 8PM | The Cabaret | $25

Cabaret superstar Kevin Morris returns to Buddies with his big voice, hilarious storytelling, and a brand new show! With Donavon LeNabat leading a live band, expect some of your favourite Pride tunes by the likes of Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift amongst many others.


June 16, 7PM | The Cabaret | $10 / $25 / $40 / $70

The third and final show of a three-part series, QueerCab is a space for first impulses, uninhibited thoughts, the weirder the better. Celebrating artists’ most unedited thoughts and feelings.

Les Femmes Fatales Present

Showgirls! Glitter and Grime

June 16, 9PM | The Chamber | $30

Celebrating Black and POC burlesque, our beauty, tough and tenderness, the glitter and grime of our resistance and survivorship. Featuring Kimora Koi, Soft Serve, Irmita La Dulce, Ivory, Zyra Lee Vanity, Suki Tsunami, Sze-Yang, Gala Joon, with music by El Toro, hosted, produced, and curated by Dainty Smith.

Boys In Chairs Collective Presents

Access Me

June 16–24 | Aki Studio, Daniels Spectrum | General $35, Disability Community $5, Student/Senior/Artsworkers $20

A queer disability sex-positive performance, Access Me is provocative, intimate, and hot.

In this fun, sexy, and all-access exploration of the lived experience of three queer disabled men, creators and performers Andrew Gurza, Frank Hull, and Ken Harrower create a space where we can all speak to experiences that rarely, if ever, are seen on stage.

David Benjamin Tomlinson is FAGNIFICENT

June 17, 8PM | The Cabaret | Regular $25, Student/Senior/Artsworker $18

FAGNIFICENT is an entertaining stroll through the exotic wilds of queer middle age. Delivered in David Benjamin Tomlinson’s signature comedic style, this hilarious and thoughtful collection of autobiographical stories revolves around the multi-layered adventures of turning 50, coming into bloom, and being a proud gay flag bearer for Generation X.

THROB: Club Pride

June 17, 10:30PM | Full Facility | $15 Advance, $20 at the door

THROB is the Queer dance party that plays what you want to hear and everything in between. This is Pride with a twist. DJ Tom Cable spins all the slut pop, throwbacks (disco/90s/early 00s), and sexy grooves all night long. Featuring drag performers Rosacea Cheeks and Destiny Doll!

Here, There, Everywhere: Celebrating our Champions THEN & NOW

June 17, 1–4PM | Rekai Centre - Wellesley Place | Free to attend

Join us at the Rekai Centre at Wellesley Central Place for a celebration of queer seniors in support of the 1st Rainbow Wing in North America. This free event features drag performances, local artists, ice cream, snacks, and more! Engage with intergenerational conversation, advocacy, and queer artistry this Pride.

Emerging Creators Unit Showcase

June 17, 7PM |The Chamber | $10 / $25 / $40 / $70

Facilitated this year by multidisciplinary artist Erum Khan, our Emerging Creators Unit has been curating a path of artistic exploration and discovery. At our Queer Pride Festival, participants C4LDEIR4, James Knott, and Marium Masood conclude their time with a sharing of newly developed work and insights into their creative processes and learnings.

The Reading Salon presents

Poetry Open Mic

June 18, 5PM | The Cabaret | PWYC/Free to Attend

Join host Raymond Helkio for some of Toronto's most dazzling, brazen, saucy, shameless, flashy and flamboyant poets. Our Featured Poet for this special Pride edition is the legendary Bitch Diva!

Youth/Elders Pride Party + Rainbow Seniors Showcase!

June 18, 1-4PM | The Chamber | FREE

Buddies’ Youth/Elders Program invites all you wonderful Rainbow Seniors, younger queers folks, and everyone in between, to COME OUT and celebrate Pride across generations! Join us at Buddies for an afternoon of performances by talented community members! Stick around for snacks, karaoke, and community chats.

The Disability Collective presents


June 21, 8PM | The Chamber | PWYC - $5 / $10 / $15 / $30 / $50

Introducing CripCab, a new variety show celebrating queer and disabled performers by Buddies’ Emerging Company in Residence, The Disability Collective. Join us in-person at Buddies or online via livestream at as we celebrate the intersectionality of queer and disabled identities and create a safe and inclusive space in our community!

Steers & Queers- Night of 1000 Dollys

June 22, 9PM | Full Facility | $25

Toronto's cult queer honky tonk returns to Buddies for a Pride celebration of our lord and saviour Dolly Parton. This gay ole opry features drag, burlesque, live music and dancing. Dress code: Divine Dolly, Double Denim.

The B-Girlz present

Homo Night in Canada

June 23, 7:30PM | The Chamber | $30

Hosted by The B-Girlz, Homo Night in Canada has become the must-see event of Pride weekend in Toronto, showcasing some of North America’s best queer comics. Featuring Kyle Brownrigg, Martha Chaves, Adrienne Fish, Paul Hutcheson, Elvira Kurt, Ted Morris, Vong Show and Hillary Yaas!

Tallulah’s Pride Party

June 23-25, 10:30PM | Full-Facility

The best party on the block takes over the whole building for Queer Pride. See Toronto’s top drag and burlesque artists in a super-charged floor show, and stay late with our resident DJs spinning your favourites.


June 24, 7:30PM | The Chamber | $20 | 19+

A chaotic show hosted by Bombae, featuring a diverse and eclectic mix of performance art that pulls together drag, burlesque and queer messiness. Featuring Ocean Giovanni, Cyril Cinder, Gay Jesus, Van Goth, Nicolette Brown, Feather Talia, Anne Alien, and Fantasia Royale Gaga!

Pride Tea Dance

June 25, 1–6PM | The Cabaret | Free

Buddies provides cool respite for the weary and thirsty on Pride Day afternoon, spreading out the welcome mat for a friendly gathering just off the parade route. Stop by the cabaret to toast the end of the season!

For updated lineups and more event details please check out our online Queer Pride listings at