“Parry’s personal and political writing stands outside anyone’s shadow”
— EYE Weekly
Evalyn Parry was named Artistic Director of Buddies in 2015. An award-winning, queer feminist performance-maker and theatrical innovator, her work as a director, writer/performer, musician and collaborator is inspired by intersections of history, social justice and auto/biography. Parry’s deeply collaborative practice, combined with her impressive track record of independent producing, long history in the queer and arts community and her interest in socially/politically engaged performance, made her a natural fit for the leadership of this unique theatrical institution.
Before becoming artistic director at Buddies, Parry built a singular career as a creator, performer and producer of new work for the stage. She is a founding member of the acclaimed feminist collective Independent Aunties, with whom she has co-authored and performed six plays, including the recent Gertrude and Alice, Breakfast, and Clean Irene & Dirty Maxine. Parry’s critically acclaimed show SPIN was developed and first produced at Buddies in 2011; it has toured extensively around Canada and the USA, logging more than 300 performances around North America.
Parry is the recipient of numerous awards, including the KM Hunter Award for Theatre, the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, and the Ken McDougall Award for upcoming director. She has been acknowledged with multiple Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations for her work as director, writer, performer and composer, and most recently, a nomination for the Governor General’s Literary Award for her play Gertrude and Alice (with Anna Chatterton and Karin Randoja).
Parry has enjoyed a long history with Buddies, a home for much of her early theatrical work; she also served as director of Buddies’Young Creators Unit (now Emerging Creators Unit) for over a decade, during which time she lead the development over 40 new theatrical works by young queer artists including Waawaate Fobister, Jordan Tannahill, Flerida Pena, Shaista Latif, Tawiah M’Carthy, Mx Sly, and many more. The first play she directed for Buddies mainstage, Obaaberima by Tawiah M’Carthy, took the 2013 Dora for Outstanding Production and continues to tour nationally.
Since taking the reins at Buddies, Parry has helmed three significant mainstage projects: Gertrude and Alice, The Youth/Elders Project, and Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools (Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play). Through these singular works, in combination with her industry-leading programming and curation, she continues to build Buddies’ reputation as one of Canada’s leading contemporary theatre companies.
In addition to her theatrical productions, Parry has produced five albums of music and poetry; her work has been made into short films and included in numerous literary anthologies. She lives in Toronto with her wife and her dog.
Past Artistic Directors
Sky Gilbert // 1979-1997
Sarah Garton Stanley // 1997-1999
David Oiye // 1999-2009
Brendan Healy // 2009-2015
photo by Alejandro Santiago