The Rhubarb Festival
February 12 – 22, 2020

“The wildest theatre fest in town”

— Toronto Life

Curatorial Collective Vanden Boomen, Theresa Cutknife, Claudia Edwards, Victoria Mata

Canada’s longest-running new works festival 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.

Programming will be announced in January 2020

Image of Clayton Lee by Tanja-Tiziana

Deadline: Friday, September 13

We are currently seeking proposals for the 2020 Rhubarb Festival (Festival Dates: February 12 – 22, 2020). The Rhubarb Festival provides artists with space and support to create new works that are strange, pushing the edges, risky and challenging. Selected projects will be featured during the festival and will receive technical, production, promotional, and artistic support. In addition to an honorarium, Festival artists also receive an unlimited artist pass, allowing them to see work for free by local, national, and international artists in our programme.

All applications must be submitted through our online system using the link below. Please read and review the full call for submissions and application guidelines pdf before applying – click here to download the call for submissions + application guidelines.

General Programming
Rhubarb seeks proposals for new, not previously produced performance projects and experiments. Rhubarb is a space for imagination and for pushing boundaries: your own, your audiences’, and those of your artistic practice. We are looking for proposals by artists who want to explore and expand – projects that fight the normative, projects that ask big questions, and forms that ask and dream the impossible. Submissions are encouraged from both established and emerging creators. Projects in the General Programming category should run 25 minutes in length. Rhubarb encourages submissions from a wide variety of live artistic mediums with a focus on experimentation. These forms can include but are not limited to Theatre, Performance Art, Dance, Music, and Interdisciplinary or Hybrid forms.

Special Presentations
At Rhubarb, we pride ourselves in being open and malleable to new artistic practices and forms. Do you have a project that you feel doesn’t fit within our General Programming constraints? Does it need a specific space or time constraint that you don’t think is currently available to you at our Festival? The Special Presentations call is for work that doesn’t fit, work that wants to bust open the containers of the Festival and surprise us in new ways that you don’t think we’ve thought of before. Special Projects could be but are by no means limited to Late Night Cabaret Presentations, Site-Specific Work, Durational Work, Installation Projects, One-to-One Performance Projects, Multimedia Experiments, Panel Discussions, Community-Driven Arts Projects, and One Night Performance Projects.

Reading Fee
There is a $20 Reading Fee paid by credit card upon submission of application. Alternatively, the reading fee can be paid by cheque or money order made out to BUDDIES IN BAD TIMES THEATRE. Please bring/send payment to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street Toronto ON M4Y 1B4. If the fee is a barrier to applying, please write to by September 6, 2019.

If you have any questions about the Festival or your application, prefer alternate methods of submission (different languages, recorded video/audio, etc.) or need support to complete your application, please contact:

Clayton Lee // Festival Director


-Toronto Life

-Toronto Star


-Toronto Life

-My Gay Toronto

February 12 – 22, 2020

Wednesday, February 12 // 8:00 PM
Thursday, February 13 // 8:00 PM
Friday, February 14 // 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 15 // 8:00 PM

Wednesday, February 19 // 8:00 PM
Thursday, February 20 // 8:00 PM
Friday, February 21 // 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 22 // 8:00 PM

Every day of the festival, a block of Pay-What-You-Can rush tickets will go on sale at noon for that day’s performance, and you pick the price. If cost is a barrier, this is your chance to get an affordable ticket. If you are able to pay more, this is your chance to increase your support for the work on stage and ensure it stays affordable for those who need it. Pay What You Can tickets are available until 7:00pm on weekdays and 2:30pm on Sundays, or until they sell out – whichever comes first.

Rush 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 up to two Rush Tickets for you that you can purchase when you arrive to see the show.

For more information, including group rates and ticket policies, click here.

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.

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.

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 ticketed). 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.

Rhubarb is offering a decentralized approach to curatorial decision making with the introduction of a Curatorial Collective. The five curators – Vanden Boomen, Theresa Cutknife, Claudia Edwards, Victoria Mata and Festival Director Clayton Lee – will collectively work to not only shape and articulate a vision for the 2020 Rhubarb Festival but support the festival artists through the entire process.

This initiative has been made possible by Aluna Theatre, FADO Performance Art Centre, Native Earth Performing Arts, and Workman Arts, with each of these organizations selecting and financially compensating a member of the curatorial collective.

Launched to mark the festival’s 35th anniversary, The Rhubarb Archive is a (hopefully) comprehensive list of all the projects, performances, experiments, parties, and special events to ever grace the stage at Canada’s longest-running new works festival

Buy Tickets



Your Rhubarb ticket gets you into everything happening that day at the festival, including special presentations, exhibitions, and parties.