Fall Programming and Activities
As we move into the start of what would normally be our theatre season we’re rethinking how we do things, asking some big questions, and dreaming up a better Buddies. We want to share some of the activities – both artistic and organizational – and funding opportunities coming up for the fall, and introduce some of the artists we’ll be working with.
COVID-19, which closed our doors back in March, has had a huge impact on the entire theatre sector. While we’re unable to gather in person, we still have the ability and responsibility to employ queer artists and create meaningful opportunities for them to continue to practice their craft. To this end, we are expanding the Queer Emerging Artist Award to support 20 emerging artists this year, and are investing in our Residency artists, with more time (and space) allotted to both returning and new resident artists.
With reduced in-person programming this year, a main focus for the organization will be continuing discussions that we’ve been having as a staff and Board around anti-racism, reviewing policies, and engaging our broader communities in these conversations with the guidance of an external consultant.
Before her departure, outgoing Artistic Director Evalyn Parry helped to define the focus and priorities for this year. Daniel Carter, who has previously worked with Buddies as Community and Education Program curator, steps in as Interim Programming Director this season. He will be working alongside guest artists and Buddies staff to continue to deliver a range of programming:
“As a queer arts organization that has defined itself as a radical and experimental space, we are now asking: How do these qualities permeate our operations beyond making theatre? How do we allow what is happening outside the walls of our theatre to impact what we do? How can we become more adaptable as a company to meet the changing needs of our communities? While we look forward to bringing community members into these conversations, engaging in meaningful dialogue, and, hopefully, moving closer to answering some of these questions, we remain committed to building opportunities to support queer artists and create connections amongst queer community members.”
“Our principal focus will be an organizational review that examines equity at all levels of the company. To maintain our commitment to artists and our communities, we are eager to work with returning and new artistic collaborators who will re-imagine and lead programming that is based around building artist capacity, developing work, and engaging community” – Interim Programming Director Daniel Carter
BUILDING ARTIST CAPACITY
This fall, in the spirit of artist development, Buddies will disburse twenty Queer Emerging Artist Awards. These are no-strings-attached, $1000 prizes for live performance artists who are founding careers while engaging with queer communities. Each award includes an additional $500 towards professional development (such as courses or mentorship). Later this season, Buddies’ Emerging Creators Unit returns, led this year by actor, playwright, creator, and director Tawiah M’Carthy (Obaaberima, Black Boys), with applications opening in November.
EXPANDING OUR RESIDENCY PROGRAM
This year sees a more robust residency program, with more time for residency artists to access the space and resources. We’ve increased artist fees, and are focusing on more flexible models of creation. Returning artists and collectives include manidoons collective (Yolanda Bonnell and Cole Alvis), Pearle Harbour (Justin Miller), Heath V. Salazar and the We Other Sons Collective. New to the roster are Pencil Kit Productions with Raf Antonio’s White Muscle Daddy, and a new work in development by Martin Julien.
The intergenerational exchange series, In Conversation, continues this year, co-hosted by queer dyke community activist leZlie Lee Kam and multidisciplinary performance artist Ty Sloane. These facilitated online-discussions will be held monthly, and are open to queers of any age interested in intergenerational dialogue. Topics for the fall include allyship, change, and colonialism: and the series kicks off on October 19 with Art, Activism & Allyship
Continuing with pop-up, analogue performances initiated during last Pride, Buddies presents a solo dance piece by Michael Caldwell, Cruising, which will be performed throughout the Fall, to one audience member at a time.
As the organization focuses inwardly and evaluates its structure and future, Buddies’ Board of Directors is leading a multi-phase, community-engaged organizational review looking at diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism at all levels of the organization. This work builds upon the Board Inclusion Statement, a statement of values and guiding document for how the Board operates; ongoing internal discussions around organizational equity and policy; as well as the ongoing dialogue between Board and community members who have shared concerns about Buddies. Since the summer, the Board has been in conversation with various consultants in order to hire a facilitator to work with Buddies on this first part of the review, and will be sharing more details later this month.
Design by Lucinda Wallace