“The magnitude of change that this pandemic brings with it, the ways that we will need to adapt to survive the change, and, the possibilities for re-making our already-broken and deeply unjust society for the better….all these things require—and deserve—deep, collaborative, creative, new thinking.”
— Artistic Director Evalyn Parry
Lately, planning anything more than a month or two ahead seems like a bit of a gamble. At the same time, our current reality is giving us an opportunity for reflection, re-thinking, and imagining new ways of working.
Since closing our doors to the public in March due to COVID-19, we’ve hosted nearly 50 livestreams with queer artists, had a landmark cabaret collaboration with CBC Arts on CBC Gem, reimagined our Queer Pride Festival to offer a series of in-person performances and installations across the city, and launched an ongoing queer pen pals project.
Reimagining a Season
Before we go dark for the summer, we want to share a brief update with you on our plans for the next while. Usually this would be the time when we announce our programming for next season. But this year we’re taking this unique moment to reimagine what a season can be — one that is responsive to the times, and considers how we can best shift to support our artists and broader communities.
Next year, we’ll be focusing on reflection, creative development, and transformation within our organization; we will be announcing more about these plans in the fall. At this time we want to let you know that our building will remain mostly closed to the public through to the end of 2020. This means there will not be any full-scale productions, or club nights until at least January 2021. Our beloved Tallulah’s Cabaret has new patio, and is open with entertainment on weekends. While we miss you and our beloved theatre, and look forward to the time when we can all gather together in person again, in the meantime we’re not rushing to get things “back to normal”: we want to come back better.
In the fall, Buddies will be undertaking a major, community-engaged organizational review. Examining systemic racism, anti-Blackness and exclusion, we will be looking at policies and procedures, programming, and succession planning, to address how we can do better, learn and lead as an equity-seeking queer theatre company.
While the building is closed to the public, our residency program artists will be given resources and access to physical and digital space to create and develop new queer work. Buddies’ community and educational programming will continue to offer workshops for queer theatre artists to build their practice, and our intergenerational dialogues series, In Conversation, will connect the questions we are looking at as an institution to our wider communities.
Our Next Steps
As for the summer, over the next two months we’ll be a little quieter, as we turn inwards to focus on ongoing staff discussions and planning, laying the groundwork for the next year of change, work, and visioning at Buddies. As well, a few of our analogue Queer Pride projects, including aPrideaPart, and cruising, have shifted timelines to take place over the next months.
We’ll be in touch mid-September as we roll out our plans for the Fall. Wishing you a safe and queer summer.