Artistic Director Evalyn Parry has announced an exciting line-up for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s 2017/18 season. The season presents a series of engaging, timely productions that grapple with questions of race, indigeneity, sex, queerphobia, religion, and climate change. It includes a new multidisciplinary work co-created by Parry, a national tour of the 2016 hit Black Boys, and the premiere of a new work from the Buddies Residency Program, alongside several shows from guest companies. It is a season of partnerships and conversations, both new and ongoing, with theatre companies and artists at a local and national scale.

The company also announced that the upcoming season will take place in a renovated facility. With support from the City of Toronto and the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Cultural Spaces Fund, Buddies’ home on Alexander Street will undergo important renovations over the next year including an improved cabaret space, accessibility upgrades, new seating, and soundproofing.

In announcing the season, Parry remarks: This season we implicate ourselves both in history and in our collective future. I’m excited to unveil significant new queer works on our stage, as well as welcoming back audience favourites from last season. I am also excited to be deepening our relationships with Toronto’s most groundbreaking indie companies, and establishing new and innovative partnerships with theatre makers here in Toronto and across the country.” 

The Buddies season opens in October with Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools, an exciting collaboration between Buddies artistic director Evalyn Parryand Inuk artist and Qaggiavuut artistic director Laakkulukk Williamson Bathory. The piece blends Parry’s unique style of storytelling and music with Williamson Bathory’s Uarjeeneq (Greelandic mask dance), putting a face to the colonial histories, power structures, and the changing climate that lie between them. Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools is a co-production between Buddies and Theatre Passe Muraille, a unique partnership between two venued theatre companies to share resources and introduce audiences to work being done on other stages in Toronto. This partnership continues later in the season with Acha Bacha, a new play by Bilal Baig about the intersection of queerness, gender identity, and Islamic culture that will premiere on the Theatre Passe Muraille stage in January 2018, directed by Brendan Healy.

In November, Roseneath Theatre and Buddies collaborate to bring the Dora-nominated Outside by Paul Dunn to the theatre for a week-long run of high school matinees, with two public performances – a rare chance for a general audience to see this powerful and moving piece of theatre. After a successful debut last year, Buddies continues its partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts with The 2-Spirit Cabaret in November as part of the Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival.

Canada’s longest running new works festival, The Rhubarb Festival, will be back in February for its 39th year, with Festival Director Mel Hague at its helm. Also returning, after a hugely successful run this past season, is Saga Collectif’s Black Boys, which hits the Buddies stage in February following a national tour to Calgary, Montreal, and Vancouver. The show, a multidisciplinary investigation of queer male Blackness, is co-created and performed by the Dora-nominated ensemble of Thomas Olajide, Tawiah Ben M’Carthy, and Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, in collaboration with director Jonathan Seinen and choreographer Virgilia Griffith.

Closing the 2017-18 season is a work emerging from the Buddies Residency Program. Collaborating with the red light district, Buddies will mount LULU v.7 // aspects of a femme fatale, created by Susanna Fournier, Ted Witzel, and Helen Yung. LULU v. 7 is the culmination of a series of pieces deconstructing one of Western drama’s most provocative and problematic figures – Frank Wedekind’s Lulu. The project has been in residence at Buddies since 2014, involving more than 30 of the city’s most exciting writers and theatre artists in the process.

Buddies also welcomes five productions from a variety of guest companies. Nightwood Theatre presents the world premiere of Audrey Dwyer’sCalpurnia, produced with Sulong Theatre, and brings back two of last season’s hits – the Dora-nominated Unholy by Diane Flacks, and a presentation of Quote Unquote Theatre’s Dora Award-winning Mouthpiece, by Norah Sadava and Amy Nostbakken (produced in association with Why not Theatre). Vancouver’s Zee Zee Theatre brings Dave Deveau’s critically-acclaimed My Funny Valentine to the cabaret space whileModern Times Stage Company returns to Buddies with a new production of Guillermo Verdecchia’s bloom, inspired by TS Eliot’s The Wasteland, directed by Soheil Parsa.

Click here for a full description and dates of each production.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.