At the Buddies 2014/15 season brochure photo shoot Brendan Healy told me they were putting me in a bald cap. Little did I know my photo, and Alejandro Santiago‘s incredible design, would inspire a brunch menu at Betty’s pub on King Street.
This is my first year as the Associate Festival Director of Rhubarb and I am humbled by the opportunities the Festival has provided me over the years – that photo being one of them. Last year my queer theatre company lemonTree creations participated in an offsite showing at the Pink Triangle Press office. Two years before that I was an intern for Laura Nanni, during her first year as Festival Director. My first Festival experience was during Erika Hennebury’s time at the helm of Rhubarb, with a piece on the solo stage shortly followed by my showing in the Young Creator’s Unit (with fancy fellow alums Kim Katrin Milan, Rob Salerno, and the exquisite Tawiah M’carthy).
As I observe this year’s YCU participants develop I am inspired by their ability to grapple queer identity alongside cultural heritage. As a newly self-identified Métis theatre artist I was not yet ready to navigate my ancestors and my queerness in my own YCU project. I would like to acknowledge this year’s youth for their bravery. I think the presence of intersectional identity politics is a sign of the maturation of the Buddies Youth Program that points to rumblings of a queer renaissance for all Canadians no matter their race, class, and ability.
As the Executive Director of the arts service organization Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance I don’t often get to don heels and a bald cap for provocative black and white photo shoots, but I do get to promote the work of Indigenous artists. It is my pleasure to celebrate the incredible contributions of IPAA members in the Festival. The lineup includes work by Aboriginal Music Award winning cellist Cris Derksen (who kicks off the Festival at our rocking opening night party), What’s Left of Us is a new dance piece from Justin Many Fingers and Brian Solomon, a video performance by Cherish Violet Blood featured in The WOW Project Comes Out and Tara Beagan is directing Kumari Gile‘s YCU performance.
It has been a privilege to witness the work leading up to the 2015 Festival and Mel and I are honoured to share these diverse artists with you.
See you from the side of the building!