The 39th Rhubarb Festival
February 14-25

TDLogoFestival

“The wildest theatre fest in town”

— Toronto Life

Canada’s longest-running new works festival returns for a 39th year. Rhubarb transforms Buddies into a hotbed of experimentation, with artists exploring new possibilities in theatre, dance, music, and performance art. Rhubarb is the place to see the most adventurous ideas in performance and to catch your favourite artists venturing into uncharted territory.

Rhubarb is a space for artists and audiences to experiment together by trying new things and testing their boundaries. You always get to see more than one show (often 3 or 4) in one night, and no two nights of Rhubarb are ever alike. So come out and see what’s happening.

The Rhubarb Festival is funded, in part, by the Government of Canada | The Rhubarb Festival est financé en partie par le gouvernement du Canada.

photo by Tanja-Tiziana  _ design by Lucinda Wallace

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Week One // February 14-18

Click here to download the Week One Schedule at a Glance

Core Programming
Wed-Sat starting at 8 PM // Sun starting at 2:30 PM

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IN THE CHAMBER

Otros Rostros

Fusing movement, sculpture, and aerial dance, Otros Rostros delves into Mexican masks, folklore, popular culture, and memory.

THE ARTISTS
Diana Lopez Soto / artistic director, choreographer + rigging designer
Elizabeth Dawn Snell, Lara Ebata + Irma Villafuerte / performers
Tony Neale / music composition
Natasha MacFadyen / regalia artist
Rebecca Carney / outside eye
Charissa Wilcox / production manager + rigging artist

FIND THEM ON
the internet / instagram / facebook

White Girls in Moccasins

How do you stay connected to your culture and find your roots growing up in a white-washed world? Through humour, song, and Wheel of Fortune, a young Indigenous woman contends with her inner white girl.

THE ARTISTS
Yolanda Bonnell, Elizabeth Staples + Binaeshee-Quae / performers
Clare Preuss / director

FIND THEM ON
the internet / twitter 

The Worst Thing I Could Be (Is Happy)

Confessions, home videos, dance, song, and sentient projections all come together as four performers embark on a spontaneous investigation of the politics of feelings in a culture obsessed with positive thinking.

THE ARTISTS
Elena Eli Belyea / co-creator, playwright, performer
Ley Doré / co-creator, choreography, performer
Tori Morrison / co-creator, projection and sound design, performer
Philip Nozuka / co-creator, videographer, costumes
Alison Yanota / costume design

FIND THEM ON
the internet / twitter / instagram / facebook

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IN THE CABARET

Midnight, Toronto

Three bandmates stare down their 20-something ennui as a mystery plague ravages Toronto. A quarter-life crisis of epidemic proportions set to live, original, Canadian indie music.

THE ARTISTS
Collette Radau / co-director + dramaturge
Leighton Alexander Williams + Marienne Bulson / performers
Curtis te Brinke / co-director + writer
Rouvan Silogix / performer, musician + composer
Daniel Bagg / songwriter

FIND THEM ON
twitter

Random Closeness

Alek and Dayna fall for each other quickly, only to find that it isn’t always easy to keep politics out of the bedroom. Their relationship challenges the notion of the universal Black experience.

THE ARTISTS
Teneile Warren / writer
Audrey Dwyer / director
Emerjade Simms + Aisha Bentham / performers
Rebecca Warren / production assistant

FIND THEM ON
twitter / instagram

Chicho

Chicho wants to be beautiful. Can he still be beautiful and be Queer, Catholic, and Venezuelan? Can he still be beautiful as his birthplace descends into chaos? Spanglish, song, movement, stand-up comedy, storytelling, and lecture-style projections all scramble together in one young, diasporic body.

note: no performance on Wednesday or Thursday

THE ARTISTS
Augusto Bitter
/ creator + performer
Claren Grosz / director
Jivesh Parasram / dramaturge
Deanna Choi / sound designer

FIND THEM ON
the internet / twitter / instagram / facebook

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Empty Orchestra Dreamland

WED AT 10 PM // IN THE CABARET

Alien android (and 1% human) Miss Sinvergüenzilla kicks off week one of Rhubarb with karaoke for the end of the world and, of course, a dance party.

THE ARTISTS
Jessica Zepeda / performer + creator
Ben McCarthy / sound design and composition + creator
Bruce Gibbons Fell / director + creator
Alisson Escobar / design, CG + stage manager
Cale Weir / video + gifs

FIND THEM ON
facebook / bandcamp

Speak to the Vagina

WED-FRI, 7-10 PM // IN THE ANTECHAMBER

An immersive installation invites you to celebrate and interrogate this highly charged part of the anatomy, with performance, dance, somatic healing arts, sound, video, and sculpture.

THE ARTISTS

lo bil / “clitoris”
Victoria Cheong / “breath”
Susan Wolf / “blood”
KINSFOLK (Holly + Jackie Timpener) / “muscle”
LeeLee Davis / “uteral oracle”
Brian Solomon / “ghost vagina”
Rain Chan / “fire heart medic”
Francesca Chudnoff / “cellular”
Nazli Dincel / “solitary acts”
Kate Barry / “bums”
Cathy Gordon / outside eye
Robert Kingsbury + claude wittman / inside eyes
claude wittman / inside eye

Pearle Harbour’s Battle Cry

THURS AT 10 PM // IN THE CABARET

Starring Pearle Harbour as chanteuse, bandleader, and dear leader, Battle Cry is a queer reimagining and re-enactment of some of the most popular pro-war rallying songs of the last century — proper propaganda to get your toes tapping and feet marching!

THE ARTISTS
Justin Miller / creator + performer
Rebecca Ballarin / director
Steven Conway / musical director + creator
Emmalia Bortolon-Vettor + Sarafina Bortolon-Vettor / musicians
Ashleigh Furniture + Keith Lam / guest performers

FIND THEM ON
the internet / instagram / facebook

Shades

FRI AT 10 PM // IN THE CHAMBER

Choreographer Esie Mensah tackles our insecurities and truths around the subject of shadeism through theatre and dance.

THE ARTISTS
Esie Mensah / choreographer, creator + dancer
Akosua Amo-Adem / dramaturge + director
Percy Anane-Dwumfour, Tereka Tyler-Davis, Roney Lewis + Miranda Liverpool / dancers

FIND THEM ON
the internet / twitter

Too Queer

FRI AT 10 PM // IN THE CABARET

Katie Sly curates a special Rhubarb edition of Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret, a multidisciplinary performance event celebrating bisexual and pansexual artists and culture.

After the show, stick around for the after party with DJ Coco Supreme.

THE ARTISTS
Katie Sly / producer, curator + emcee
Wayne Burns, #ClownsKillEmpires, David Frankovich, Jackie Torres + Dominique Wakeland / performers
Dainty Smith / choreographer

FIND THEM ON
facebook

FADO PERFORMANCE ART CENTRE PRESENTS

WHAT TAMMY NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING OLD AND HAVING SEX

SAT AT 10 PM // IN THE CHAMBER

Performance legend Lois Weaver brings her country singer-turned performance artist character Tammy WhyNot to Buddies for a one-night-only “concert”, performed with the participation of Toronto LGBTQ elders, talking about age, sex, love, desire, fear, and intimacy.

Tammy will be hosting some drop-in sessions and a workshop for elders leading up the the festival. Details here.

THE ARTISTS
Lois Weaver / creator + performer

FIND THEM ON
the internet / twitter / instagram / facebook

 

Week Two // February 21-25

Click here to download the Week Two Schedule at a Glance

Core Programming
Wed-Sat starting at 8 PM // Sun starting at 2:30 PM

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IN THE CHAMBER

Amy and Irma

An experiment in form that tells the story of Amy – a girl trying to save her father from the latest in a wave of tsunamis – first as a solo live performance and then as a ten-minute suspense film.

THE ARTISTS
Chala Hunter / performer, co-director + writer
Jill Connell / director, dramaturge, story editor + collaborator
Tim Dowler-Coltman / cinematographer + editor

FIND THEM ON
twitter / instagram / facebook

Ouff

Can you see the colour of the water when you’re drowning? Using her unique sound art and wit, Alexis O’Hara invites you to join her in a transformational exploration of the muck we’re soaking in: white privilege, youth culture, late-capitalism, oh my!

THE ARTISTS
Alexis O’Hara / creator + performer
Atom Cianfarani / production design

FIND THEM ON
facebook / soundcloud / bandcamp / vimeo

Gashkigwaaso

Waawaate Fobister explores the resilience of the Anishnaabe people of Grassy Narrows and the ways in which they are stitching their fractured landscapes back together.

THE ARTISTS
Waawaate Fobister / creator + performer
Troy Emery Twigg / director + outside eye
Sage Paul / costume designer
Marc Merilainen / sound designer + composer

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IN THE CABARET

Motherload

Two older gay men inhabit their mothers’ psyches to better understand their experience of having sons who came out later in life.

THE ARTISTS
Brian Cope / creator + performer
Charles Hayter / creator + performer
Sadie Epstein-Fine / director
Steph Raposo / sound designer

Ceremony

A choreographic investigation of the moments when words are not enough, Ceremony contrasts the burgeoning love of a young couple with the life-long relationship of an elderly couple.

THE ARTISTS
Kanika Ambrose / writer
Virgilia Griffith / choreographer
Tsholo Khalema, Ordena Stephens-Thompson + Amanda Cordner / performers
Wagner Pierre Pembe / musician

FIND THEM ON
twitter / facebook

missdick vibrocis

The noise/performance art duo of crypto-femme demoness Jill Flanagan and garbage-mouth seabird Lorene Bouboushian put on a punk set and tear apart ideas of art-world desires and respectability politics.

THE ARTISTS
Lorene Bouboushian / performer + creator
Jill Flanagan / performer + creator

FIND THEM ON
the internet / bandcamp / another bandcamp

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Boiband the Boyband

WED AT 10 PM // IN THE CABARET

The Latinx drag king experience you’ve been waiting for; Papi, H&M, and Baby Face dance their way into your hearts (with your consent, of course) at our week two kick-off party.

THE ARTISTS
Monica Garrido / creator, performer + producer
Heath V. Salazar / creator + performer
Lucia Linares / creator + performer
Tricia Hagoriles / director + creator
Camila Diaz-Varela / musical director + composer
Sebastian “El Toro” Marziali / choreographer
Sofía Rodríguez /  Vocal Coach
En Tze Loh / Logo Design

Jiisakan

WED-FRI, 7-10 PM // IN THE ANTECHAMBER

JL Whitecrow reclaims the lost Anishinaabe tradition of jiisakan, creating a futuristic shake-tent and calling on you to consider your own presence in this sacred space.

THE ARTISTS
JL Whitecrow / artist
Louis Esmé / production support

FIND THEM ON
facebook / bandcamp

Deaf That!

THURS AT 10 PM // IN THE CABARET

A Deaf Culture cabaret showcasing three performers’ unique experiences within the d/Deaf community.

THE ARTISTS
Tamyka Bullen, Ralitsa Rodriguez + Sage Willow / creators + performers
Elizabeth Morris / director

Noor

FRI AT 10 PM // IN THE CABARET

17-year old Noor encounters her own sexuality and Islamic faith through a contemporary examination of the poet Rumi and his muse, Shams. A staged reading of a new play by Erum Khan, featuring live music by LAL and Anwar Khurshid.

THE ARTISTS
Erum Khan / writer
Erin Brubacher / director
Amanda Ghazale Aziz, Madison Baines + Rosina Kazi / performers
Nicholas Murray / composer + sound artist
Anwar Khurshid / performer + musician
Liz Peterson / outside eye

FIND THEM ON
the internet / twitter

The Communist Manifesto for Children

FRI AT 10 PM // IN THE CHAMBER

Four children discover Marx and Engel’s manifesto and decide to play and act out passages from the book, which leads to introspective journeys, betrayal, and possibly an exorcism. A play for grownups about class, boredom, and innocence lost.

THE ARTISTS
Bruce Gibbons Fell / writer
JH Capraru / director
Liz Peterson, Carlos González-Vio, Sofia Rodríguez + Justin Miller / performers
Ben McCarthy / sound design
Allison Escobar / stage manager

Angry Album Launch

SAT AT 10 PM // IN THE CHAMBER

Too Attached (sibling duo Vivek Shraya and Shamik Bilgi) launch their second album Angry, a reclamation and a celebration of POC rage.

THE ARTISTS
Vivek Shraya + Shamik Bilgi / Too Attached band members
Lido Pimienta, Casey Mecija, Jenny Mecija, Kamilah Apong + TiKA / special guests

FIND THEM ON
the internet / twitter / instagram / facebook

Emerging Creators Unit

The Emerging Creators Unit showcases original work created and developed by young artists as part of Buddies’ Queer Youth Arts ProgramThis years Emerging Creators are Kwaku Okyere, Heath V Salazar, Rhiannon Collett, Erum Khan. Members of The Emerging Creators Unit will present their work as part The Rhubarb Festival.

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Week One
February 16 + 17 at 6:00PM

Becoming

A woman is trapped in purgatory and forced to navigate a space she has no power to escape. As she waits for an ultimate judgement, she grapples with various fractured memories of her life. Inspired by the work of avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren, Becoming delves into a stream of consciousness exploration of the ever-evolving perspectives we are subjected to, and the ways in which it informs the identities we take on for ourselves. 

THE ARTISTS
Erum Khan / creator + performer
Liz Peterson / director

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Week Two
February 23 + 24 at 6:00PM

Virgen

The one and holy Gay Jesus is a fluid king serving mouth-watering communion with latinx wine and non-binary bread. Born of virgin-ish loins and baptized in sex-appeal, Gay Jesus is best known for bending politics and gender with multidisciplinary protest pieces. In Virgen, our sultry saviour spits garter-clad gospel restructuring scripture and stripping down the chastity belt. The Church of Gay Jesus is in session and this propheta puto is pounding out prayer after prayer for Purity.

THE ARTISTS
Heath V Salazar / creator + performer
Evalyn Parry / director

There Are No Rats In Alberta

There’s a 400 km corridor between Saskatchewan and Alberta that is monitored closely for signs of rat infestation. Phil is a chocolate-milk enthusiast and rat hunter in search of his heart. Ricky is his eager apprentice. Stella is a high-femme dream jumper navigating past traumas. She also happens to be the Last Rat in Alberta.

There Are No Rats In Alberta is an exploration of dreams, rats, and gender identity.

THE ARTISTS
Rhiannon Collett
/ creator + performer
Moe Angelos / director

photo by Tanja-Tiziana

Creating Performance on the Subject of Variations in Mental Wellness
February 15 at 6:00PM

In theatre, we often see portrayals of characters living with “mental illness”. What responsibility do artists have to honour truth in these narratives to diminish misconceptions and stigma? How can artists create works that speak to the spectrum of experience within this community? Join our panel of artists as they discuss how they integrate stories about mental health in their work and discuss the representation of those living with mental illness in theatre and performance.

Olive Jane / moderator
Thomas McKechnie, Lorene Stanwick, Bruce Gibbons Fell / panelists

Financing the Creation of Art
February 22 at 6:00PM

As theatre artists, financial obligations often limit the ability to do and create work. Can we ever be full-time artists? Is more funding the solution? How can we create better opportunities for artists?
Warren Kang / moderator
Bilal Baig, Marjorie Chan, Bessie Cheng / panelists

Starting at 8pm (or 2:30pm on Sundays) there are shows happening in both spaces at Buddies (the Cabaret and the Chamber), so when you arrive at the theatre pick the show you want to see first, and 30 minutes later when it’s done you can either stay where you are or move to the other space for your next performance. There is a different set of shows each week – so keep coming back. There are also exhibitions in the building that you can only see before the shows start, so be sure to show up early.

THE EVENING PASS
This gets you into a whole night of Rhubarb and the 12-ish shows that happen at Buddies that day. And remember, Rhubarb starts at 8pm and shows are not individually ticketed. So that show you want to see at 9:30? If you just show up at 9 you will probably be out of luck and all the tickets were sold to people who came for the whole evening.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
These shows are special events that happen after the regular program for one or two nights only. Admission to Special Presentations is included in your Evening Pass.

EMERGING CREATORS UNIT
These shows are earlier in the evening, starting at 6pm every Friday and Saturday. A pay-what-you-can ticket gets you into all of the Emerging Creators Unit performances in an evening, or buy an Evening Pass if you’re planning to see shows later in the night.

Buy Tickets


Buddies in Bad Times is pleased to partner with TodayTix to give away two free passes for each day of the festival. Enter every day on the TodayTix app for iOS and Android for your chance to win two free passes. Double or triple your chances of winning by sharing on Facebook and Twitter.

For full details, see the TodayTix website.

Ticket Prices

Evening Pass $20
Emerging Creators Unit Presentations PWYC
Rush PWYC

EVENING PASS // $20
Gets you into everything happening that day at Rhubarb, including the emerging creators unit, special presentations, exhibitions, and parties.

EMERGING CREATORS UNIT // PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN
If you are just coming for the Emerging Creators Unit presentations, tickets are pay-what-you-can and only available at the door.

RUSH TICKETS // PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN
A limited number of pay-what-you-can tickets will be available every day of the festival on a first-come-first-served basis. Rhubarb Rush Tickets can be purchased in person at the box office from 12-6pm for that evening’s performances, limit 2 per person and subject to availability.

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