Rhubarb Festival, Canada’s longest-running new works festival is back for its 44th year this February. In a new four-day format, The Rhubarb Festival transforms Buddies in Bad Times Theatre into a hotbed of experimentation, exploring new possibilities in art-making and performance. This year’s festival, curated by festival director Clayton Lee, brings together both local and international artists for a series of one-off presentations, in a format that is designed to allow audience members and artists to experience the Festival in its entirety. This intentionally shorter format, too, provides more fulsome support to artists.

Over the past three years, Rhubarb has been developing relationships with live art festivals around the world, with the intention of contextualizing local artistic practice within a larger, global performance ecology. For this year’s festival, this curatorial network brings to Toronto audiences works by Bastien Hippocrate (Les Urbaines, Lausanne, Switzerland), Laura Fisher (BUZZCUT, Glasgow, UK), and Publik Universal Frxnd (fka Richard John Jones) & Louwrien Wijers (FLAM, Amsterdam, Netherlands). As part of this same partnership, Rhubarb artists Louise Liliefeldt  Brawk Ward & Esther Splett have brought their works abroad over the past year.

Practice cannot exist—or, for that matter, shift or expand—in a vacuum and the curated artists are sharing ways of making work that have the potential to unlock, for the audience, new modes of performance creation,” says festival director Clayton Lee. “By inviting international artists into the fold, through the curatorial network and beyond, we are able to deepen these conversations by locating these strategies within a broader global context.”

The festival’s 2022 programming also includes a super queer social curated by Myung-Sun Kim, Jody Chan, and Ness Lee; a puzzle lounge designed by Moe Angelos and Rachel Hauck, featuring over 400 puzzles from the collection of the late Melissa Levin; a food burlesque performance by Mars Alexander; a new, post-apocalyptic multimedia piece by Keioui Keijaun Thomas; an award-winning self-defense/dance hybrid piece (Impulstanz’s Young Choreographers’ Award) by Davi Pontes & Wallace Ferreira; and more. Full schedule and programming details are available on the website.

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.

Wednesday February 8

Davi Pontes + Wallace Ferreira
Julian Higuerey Núñez + Henry Adam Svec,
Laura Fisher

Thursday, February 9
Myung-Sun Kim, Jody Chan + Ness Lee
Publik Universal Frxnd (fka Richard John Jones) + Louwrien Wijers
Mars Alexander

Friday, February 10
KINUK (Ursula Johnson + Angella Parsons)
Simla Civelek
Bastien Hippocrate

Saturday, February 11
Celia Green + Madeleine LeBlanc
Keioui Keijaun Thomas

Throughout – in the cabaret

Moe Angelos + Rachel Hauck




Wed-Sat: Sliding scale, $10/$25/$40/$70

Performances at 7PM, Guzzle ‘n’ Puzzle lounge opens at 6PM

Box Office buddiesinbadtimes.com/rhubarb or 416-975-8555

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street, Toronto ON

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.