The 40th Rhubarb Festival
February 13 - 23

“The wildest theatre fest in town.”

— Toronto Life

FESTIVAL DIRECTOR MEL HAGUE

Canada’s longest-running new works festival returns for a 40th 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 of Makram Ayache, Ammanuel Solomon, Kate Lushington + Simon Bracken by Tanja-Tiziana

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“Toronto’s go-to event for thought-provoking, political, adventurous entertainment”

-Toronto Life

“One of the best events on the toronto theatre calendar”

-Toronto Star

“A toronto theatre institution”

-Xtra

“The wildest theatre fest in town”

-Toronto Life

“Rhubarb is impossible to predict, but even more impossible to resist”

-My Gay Toronto

CORE PROGRAMMING
Starting at 8pm, 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.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
These shows are special events that happen after the regular program for one or two nights only. There are also exhibitions in the building that you can only see before the shows start, so be sure to show up early. Admission to Special Presentations is included in your Evening Pass.

THE EVENING PASS
This gets you into a whole night of Rhubarb and the 8-ish shows that happen at Buddies from 7pm onwards (tickets for earlier Saturday shows are separately ticekted). 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.

SATURDAY EARLY SHOWS
Tickets for How To Self-Suspend, Fay and Fluffy’s Family Fun Cabaret, and Feygele must be booked separately from (or in addition to) a Rhubarb evening pass. You can attend just the show for $10 or see the show and that evening’s Rhubarb programming for $25. Ticket options are available under the online listings for “The 40th Rhubarb Festival” or can be purchased by phone or in person at the box office. Note: Tickets for How to Self-Suspend (Feb 16th, 5PM) are sold out.

THE PERFORMANCE BUS
Hop on board the inaugural Progress-Rhubarb Festival performance bus, transporting the Progress audience over to Buddies in Bad Times for an epic Rhubarb Party on Wed Feb 13, and Rhubarb’s audience to Progress’ closing night celebration on Sat Feb 16. With pop-up performances en route by Brian Solomon & Leila (Wed) and Ulysses Castellanos (Sat).
Ride with us for free!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Pick up Location: The Theatre Centre
Departure Time: 9:15pm
With performances by Leila (bus #1 at 9:15pm) and Brian Solomon (bus #2 approx 10.15pm) en route
Destination: Buddies In Bad Times Theatre for our Week 1 Opening Night party: Empty Orchestra Dreamland

Saturday, February 16, 2019
Pick up Location: Buddies In Bad Times
Departure Time: 9:45pm
With a performance by Ulysses Castellanos en route
Destination: The Theatre Centre for Uma Nota / Progress Closing Weekend Party

Week One // February 13-16

Click here to download the Week One Schedule at a Glance

Core Programming / Wed-Sat starting at 8 PM

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IN THE CHAMBER

“How was your day, honey?” And everything else I’m afraid of

A new parent attempts to recreate the emptiness of the year she spent alone at home with her baby.

THE ARTISTS
Katie Swift / performer + creator
Rose Plotek / director
Amy Nostbakken / movement director

FIND THEM ON
soundcloud

Hold it, Squeeze it, Sing to it, etc

Two misfit artists take a plunge into the taboo yet inevitable subject of death in a non-linear performance incorporating video, crafts, and dress-up.

THE ARTISTS
Jacqueline van de Geer + Michael Martini / co-creators and performers
supported in development by Montréal arts interculturels (MAI)

FIND THEM ON
the internet

Wasp

In a town where Angels are impregnating women on their 21st birthdays, a genderqueer revolutionary holes up in an abandoned church to take control of their own destiny.

THE ARTISTS
Rhiannon Collett / playwright + director
Cole Alvis, Robin Luckwaldt Ross, Gabe Maharjan + Heath V. Salazar / performers
James Knott / designer
Brian Quirt / dramaturg
commissioned and developed with the support of Nightswimming

FIND THEM ON
the internet

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IN THE CABARET

The Apocalypse Plays: A Legacy Project

A radical feminist inheritance, a lost text called Sex in a Box, and childcare after the Bomb? Natasha and her mother Kate combine forces to finish a performance trilogy from the 80’s – how has the game changed?

THE ARTISTS
Kate Lushington + Natasha Greenblatt / co-creators + performers
ahdri zhina mandiela / director
Astrid Janson / design dramaturge

FIND THEM ON
the internet

The Big Sissy Show: The Message

This afro-futurist, queer rock opera charts alien witch BiG SiSSY’s journey from Black Starr Planet to Earth to liberate us from our oppressive systems.

THE ARTISTS
Athena Holmes / writer, performer, video designer + producer
Jupiter Brown / performer
Aisha Bentham / director
Ugo Nganga Gitau / costume designer

FIND THEM ON
facebook / instagram / soundcloud / the internet

Temple of the Divine Queer

Imagine a future world where Queerness has become the dominant religion. You’re invited to take part in a future-faith that isn’t just making room for you, but where your joys are the very Word of God. There will be glitter.

THE ARTISTS

Adam Barrett / producer, director, projections + preacher
Kaleb Robertson / preacher + DJ
Trixie & Beever / design + iconography
Shadowland Theatre / design consultants
Matthew Eger / choreographer + movement consultant
Mary-Dora Bloch Hansen, Rodney Diverlus, Justin Gray + Geoff Stevens / dancers
Michael Robert-Broder / music director + choir
Devin Herbert, Sarah Hicks + Renée Salewski / choir

with script support from the Toronto Arts Council

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

ANDROMEDA GENESIS β

WEDNESDAY – FRIDAY AT 7 PM / IN THE ANTECHAMBER

An otherworldly multimedia installation takes over the Antechamber, sharing the fable of an intergalactic cyborg.

THE ARTISTS
Waleed Ansari / set, lighting, and projection designer
Angela Cabrera / costume designer
Electa Porado / videographer
Ammanuel Solomon / creator, director (film + live performance) + star

FIND THEM ON
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Empty Orchestra Dreamland

WEDNESDAY 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
Bruce Gibbons Fell / director + creator
Ben McCarthy / sound design and composition + creator

Deafies’ Unique Time

THURSDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CABARET

Three BIPOC Deaf artists weave together their diverse backgrounds into a theatrical experience you won’t want to miss. Performed in ASL with English subtitling.

THE ARTISTS
Thurga Kanagasekarampillai, Ralitsa Rodriguez + Ali Saeedi / creators + performers
Elizabeth Morris / Deaf consultant

A Trouble of Queers: The Bricks and Glitter Cabaret

FRIDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CABARET

Bricks and Glitter, Toronto’s DIY summer QTBIPOC festival, brings their queer magic to Buddies for an evening that includes performance art, queerlesque, comedy, and an avant-garde slop queen.

THE ARTISTS
Brock Hessel + Vince Rozario / curators
Mikiki Burino / host + performer
Carolina Brown, Sedina Fiati, Monica Garrido + Coco La Creme / performers

FIND THEM ON
facebook / twitter / the internet

Shabeh Eshgh

FRIDAY + SATURDAY AT 10 PM // IN THE CHAMBER

Multimedia artist Maziar Ghaderi envisions a futuristic concert, with live projections and sci-fi remixes of the Iranian pop songs of his mother’s youth.

THE ARTISTS

Maziar Ghaderi / director, original concept
Amirali Kamali / music producer, arranger, violin, kamancheh & tanboor
Sara Ahmadieh / singer
Mona Moradi / percussionist
Jeremy Sykes / show switcher, software development
Maziar Ghaderi, Jeremy Sykes / visuals
Loretta Faveri & Egan O’Sullivan / costume

FIND THEM ON
twitter / the internet

How to Self-Suspend

SATURDAY AT 5:00 PM / IN THE CHAMBER

Part storytelling, part photo-essay, part movement piece, part rope bondage scene, How to Self-Suspend is an interactive performance about how trauma informs – and can be perpetuated by – the choices we make.

Presented in association with Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre.

THE ARTISTS
Mx. Katie Sly / writer + performer
Justin Many Fingers / director + choreographer
Nicole Olson Grant-Suttie / lighting design + stage manager
Bianca Guimarães de Manuel / spatial dramaturg, costume + set design
Davey Samuel Calderon / creation facilitator
Addie Tahl / rope bondage instructor

FIND THEM ON
twitter

Note: This is a separately ticketed performance – ticket options are available under the ticket listing for “The 40th Rhubarb Festival” for Saturday, February 16. Tickets for How to Self-Suspend are SOLD OUT.

Week Two // February 20-23

Click here to download the Week Two Schedule at a Glance

Core Programming / Wed-Sat starting at 8 PM

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IN THE CHAMBER

In the Fire

Femmes du Feu’s Holly Tredennick grapples with fire, trauma, and the memories of her firefighter father in an intimate aerial circus performance.

THE ARTISTS
Femmes du Feu / producer
Holly Treddenick / creator + performer
Monica Dottor / director
John Gzowsi / composer
Renee Lear / video projection
Angola Murdoch / aerial choreographer outside eye
Sara Porter / outside eye
Alex Bulmer / dramaturg + accessibility consultant
Mel Hague / dramaturgy
Kat Germain / audio description
Stacie Patterson (Dagg & Stacie) / costume designer
Upstage Fabrication / apparatus build

FIND THEM ON
instagram / vimeo / the internet

The Green Line

Following two queer relationships as they unfold against a backdrop of war in an unnamed Arabian city, The Green Line contemplates the way cultural memories are inherited and erased.

THE ARTISTS
Makram Ayache / playwright + director
Amena Shehab / dramaturg
Laith Al-Kinani, Sukaina Ibraheem, Rayan Jamal + Yousef Kadoura / performers
Madeleine Monteleone / stage manager
Madison Robinson / assistant stage manager

FIND THEM ON
the internet

CowboysCowgirls

New York-based Pioneers Go East Collective presents a dance-theatre kinetic ride through the cowboy myth, inspired by artist-activist Agosto Machado’s stories of Stonewall and the early Gay Liberation movement.

THE ARTISTS
Gian Marco Lo Forte / writer + director
Daniel Diaz / dancer + storyteller
Agosto Machado / video interview

FIND THEM ON
facebook / the internet

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IN THE CABARET

پتھر کی زبان (patthar ki zabaan)

Two artists chart their connections to Pakistan, using video, object manipulation, and live sound to investigate relationships between land, body, and language.

THE ARTISTS
Erum Khan + Tijiki Morris / co-creators + performers
Camila Diaz-Varela / performer
Nicholas Murray / sound designer

Bubble Trans Pride

The deep bonds of an intergenerational trans friendship contend with love, racism, activism – oh – and parenthood.

THE ARTISTS
Hanlon McGregor / playwright, director
Mihaly Szabados / director, performer
Syrus Marcus Ware / co-writer, performer
Karla Rae James / performer
Irene McGregor / performer
Diane Flacks / playwriting mentor + dramaturg
Stephen St. Christian / makeup artist
Nicole Eun-Ju Bell / projection designer

FIND THEM ON
facebook

What That is Ours Will Remain Intact?

Is it possible to get better at loss? Three collaborators draw upon their own experiences to create a new way to grieve, finding opportunity for play in the great unknown.

THE ARTISTS
Simon Bracken, Philip Nozuka + Brendan McMurtry-Howlett / creators

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Twin Mask

WEDNESDAY – FRIDAY AT 7 PM / IN THE ANTECHAMBER

An immersive and interactive sonic experiment invites you to give in to your innate curiosity, as the Antechamber is transformed into a musical instrument animated by Twin Mask and played by you.

THE ARTISTS
Steven Conway / creator + performer

FIND THEM ON
bandcamp

Raven’s Vision

WEDNESDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CABARET

Celebrate the kick-off of Rhubarb Week 2 with club music collective Raven’s Vision, listed as one of the groups defining Toronto’s music scene by NOW Magazine.

This is a free event. Everyone is welcome, whether or not you’re attending the earlier Rhubarb programming.

Raven’s Vision is a Toronto-based collective and record label focused on highlighting the sounds of the queer underground.

Featuring: Myst Milano, Blip†or, Casey MQ, Max Mohenu, Victoria Long

The AMY Project’s Performance Creation program Final Show

THURSDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CABARET

A group of young trans women and trans femmes of colour share powerful stories in this culminating performance of the AMY Project’s Performance Creation Program.

THE ARTISTS

featuring Gabe Maharjan, Scarlett Jodha, Isis, Leon Tsai, X + Mars Alexander
Bilal Baig / director
Adri Noronha / producer

FIND THEM ON
facebook / twitter / instagram / the internet

Is This Art?

FRIDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CABARET

Toying with the idea of comedy as an often-overlooked art form, we’re bringing together an outstanding lineup of queer and BIPOC Canadian comics to experiment at Rhubarb.

THE ARTISTS
Natalie Liconti / curator
Kyle Brownrigg, Elvira Kurt, Brandon Ash-Mohammed, Hoodo Hersi, Ben Sosa-Wright , Kirsten Rasmussen + Tricia Black / performers

The Princess Show

FRIDAY – SATURDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CHAMBER

Follow the bearded sequinned wonder Princess Edward on her quest through a visually stunning fantasy world to save her beloved. A fully lip-synced, live-action-queer-anime-extravaganza.

THE ARTISTS
Aaron Collier / co-creator, writer, performer, sound + projection designer
Richie Wilcox / co-creator + performer
Deonie Hudson / co-creator, claymation artist, costume designer
Jay Whitehead / video performer
John DeStigter / video performer + video design
David Gabert / english narrator
Minori Inoue / japanese narrator + translator
Emily Pettet / stage crew
Matt Miller / illustrator
Michael Charles McNeil / videographer

FIND THEM ON
facebook / instagram / the internet

Fay & Fluffy’s Family Fun Cabaret

SATURDAY AT 2 PM  / IN THE CABARET

Your favourite drag storytellers Fay Slift and Fluffy Soufflé present a full-blown afternoon cabaret – including kids as audience members and performers. Everyone is welcome!

THE ARTISTS
Kaleb Robertson / Fluffy Soufflé
John Paul Kane / Fay Slift
+ special guests to be announced!

FIND THEM ON
facebook / instagram / the internet

Note: This is a separately ticketed performance – ticket options are available under the ticket listing for “The 40th Rhubarb Festival” for Saturday, February 23. Kids are free!

Feygele

SATURDAY AT 6 PM / IN THE CHAMBER

In this solo performance, Tobias Herzberg digs beneath the labels he’s been assigned – gay, Jewish, German, romantic, nymphomaniac, and uncircumcised – to create a militant hymn for the perverted and marginalized of this world.

Rhubarb and the red light district present a special presentation from the Maxim Gorki Theater’s Studio Я in Berlin, with the support of the Goethe Institut and with friendly support by Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk (ELES), Germany.

THE ARTISTS

Tobias Herzberg/ creator & performer
Markus Karkhof 
/ stage & costume design
Sasha Marianna Salzmann & Dustin Hofmann 
/ dramaturgy
Monica Marotta 
/ project manager
Felix Roadkill/ tour manager

*performed in German with English surtitles*

Note: This is a separately ticketed performance – ticket options are available under the ticket listing for “The 40th Rhubarb Festival” for Saturday, February 23.

FEBRUARY 13 – 23, 2019

Wednesday, February 13 // 8:00 PM
Thursday, February 14 // 8:00 PM*
Friday, February 15 // 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 16 // 8:00 PM (early special presentation at 5:30pm)

Wednesday, February 20 // 8:00 PM
Thursday, February 21 // 8:00 PM**
Friday, February 22 // 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 23 // 8:00 PM (early special presentations at 2pm and 6pm)

*English surtitling available for select shows + a special presentation performed in ASL (more info)

**Audio-described performance of In the Fire (more info)

SURTITLING AND ASL
Thursday, February 14

On Thursday, February 14, three of the evening’s Rhubarb shows will be presented with surtitles in English:

  • 8:00 PM – How was your day, honey?
  • 8:30 PM – The BiG SiSSY Show: The Message
  • 9:00 PM – Temple of the Divine Queer
  • The evening’s special presentation Deafies’ Unique Time is performed entirely in ASL. D/deaf and hard of hearing can book $5 tickets ahead of time using the code “ASL5” at checkout, or purchase pay-what-you-can tickets at the door.

 

AUDIO DESCRIPTION OF IN THE FIRE
Thursday, February 21

On Thursday, February 21, In the Fire will be presented with live audio-description by Kat Germain. Patrons requiring audio description can book $5 tickets using the code “AD5” online or through the box office at 416-975-8555.

Blind and low-vision patrons are welcome to stay for the entire evening of Rhubarb – however, audio-description is only offered for In the Fire.

Buy Tickets

TICKET PRICES

EVENING PASS $20
SATURDAY EARLY SHOWS $10
RUSH TICKETS PWYC

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

SATURDAY EARLY SHOWS
Tickets for How To Self-Suspend, Fay and Fluffy’s Family Fun Cabaret, and Feygele must be booked separately from (or in addition to) a Rhubarb evening pass. You can attend just the show for $10 or see the show and that evening’s Rhubarb programming for $25. Ticket options are available under the online listings for “The 40th Rhubarb Festival” or can be purchased by phone or in person at the box office.

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. On February 13 and 20, PWYC tickets will be available exclusively through our digital PWYC partner TodayTix – to get PWYC tickets on these days, download the TodayTix app for Android or iOs.

PWYC tickets are generally only available in-person at our box office, and we recommend getting here early for more popular shows as these tickets can sell fast. However, if getting down here in the middle of the day presents a barrier – accessible transportation, childcare, etc – simply call the box office at 416-975-8555 and we’ll hold a Pay What You Can ticket for you that you can purchase when you arrive to see the show.

Community Partners