Toronto’s annual Gay Play Day LGBTQ theatre festival is celebrating its 7th anniversary of queer theatre at the Alumnae Theatre studio space on September 7th and 8th. This year, we have two completely unique blocks of shows encompassing 8 plays in total. This year’s festival features short plays by Tina McCulloch, Philip Cairns and Steven Jackson, among others.

Gay Play Day’s founding Artistic Director, Darren Stewart-Jones, has written a script specifically for 84-year-old Canadian theatre legend Nonnie Griffin. In the piece, Griffin plays an aging former Hollywood star who meets her young, gay #1 fan, played by Nathaniel Bacon.

From Festival Founder, Darren Stewart-Jones:

About seven years ago, I decided to start a small festival of LGBTQ theatre. I had written a script that I wanted to see performed and I figured there were probably other playwrights in the same boat. I put out a submission call and received several scripts from other playwrights from within Toronto’s queer community. I also reached out to Canadian queer theatre heavyweight, Sky Gilbert, who agreed to allow me to showcase a reading of one of his plays. In that moment, Gay Play Day was born!

Fast forward seven years later and our little festival of queer theatre is still running at the Alumnae Theatre studio space. There are so many queer stories that need to be told. This year’s festival is comprised of two completely separate blocks of plays, containing four short scripts each. Both the LAVENDER and PINK shows receive three performances each over the weekend of the festival. This year’s playwrights include Steven Elliott Jackson, Erika Reesor and Mark Keller.

Subjects tackled in this year’s plays include online dating, transitioning from female to male, coming out as lesbian and, of course, falling in love. I have also included a script of my own that I wrote specifically for Canadian theatre legend Nonnie Griffin. She plays an aging former Hollywood star who meets her young, queer, #1 fan, played by Nathaniel Bacon. The two of them have such great chemistry together and I’m really pleased with how the play is progressing in rehearsals.

This year, Gay Play Day is returning a large portion of ticket sales directly to the artists involved in the festival. Almost everyone involved, from the playwrights to the actors to the technical support, come from within Toronto’s LGBTQ community. I’m really pleased to be able to give these artists a platform from which to showcase their works. It would mean a lot to have Toronto’s queer community come out to support us. I think there may even be some nudity on stage this year, if that’s your thing!

Gay Play Day founding Artistic Director Darren Stewart-Jones is an award-winning theatre producer, director and a member of Playwrights Guild of Canada. He has produced/directed plays at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto Fringe, Hamilton Fringe and the United Solo Festival in New York City. His plays include Sherlock & Watson: Behind Closed Doors, The Judy Monologues andRamblings of a Middle-Aged Drag Queen.

Other plays in this year’s festival tackle subjects such as online dating, transitioning from female to male, coming out as lesbian and, of course, falling in love. 

Performance times are as follows:

PINK show – September 7 at 7 pm and September 8 at 5pm & 9 pm

Fade To Black by Darren Stewart-Jones

An aging former Hollywood star meets her young, gay, #1 fan.

Nathaniel Bacon and Nonnie Griffin star in Fade To Black

Labels by Erika Reesor

Mia and Danny are a lesbian couple who are in for a big change when Mia accidentally discovers a prescription for testosterone in Danny’s jeans.

Emily Schooley and Leigh Patterson appear in Labels

Diamonds on Plastic by Philip Cairns

Doris, a suburban housewife, discovers the joys of lesbian sex in middle age.

Point and Click by Steven Elliott Jackson

A flippant photographer trashes everyone on his phone while waiting for a male model to arrive at his studio. Or is he already there?

LAVENDER show – September 7 at 9 pm and September 8 at 3 pm & 7 pm.

I’ve Just Seen A Face by Kris Davis

Charlie, who has facial blindness, attends a Queer Date Night with their friend Mel.

Missed Connections by Mark Keller

When does the quest to find love and companionship turn from longing to unhealthy obsession?

The End is the Beginning by Tina McCulloch

Snapshots of the relationships between three women played out in reverse order.

Coming Clean by Laura Piccinin

A lesbian finds humour in the sometimes painful stories of coming out to the different people in her life.

Laura Piccinin, writer and performer of Coming Clean

Tickets to all performances of either the PINK or LAVENDER shows are $15, available here or at the door an hour prior to each performance. A full listing of individual plays is also available on our web page.

Gay Play Day LGBTQ Theatre Festival, September 7 and 8, various times, at the Alumnae Theatre studio space (70 Berkeley St, Toronto). Tickets $15 at the door or in advance at gayplayday.blogspot.com

Come celebrate Toronto’s indie LGBTQ theatre festival!

About the Author

Darren Stewart-Jones is an award-winning theatre producer, director and a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada. He is the Artistic Director of Gay Play Day, an annual festival of LGBTQ theatre in Toronto. www.gaytheatretoronto.blogspot.ca