Call for Proposals: The Rhubarb Festival 2024

An illustration of a large pink oval shaped head with a spiked collar around its neck. Inside the head are drawings of many different shapes and figures, with long purple speech bubbles/flowers coming out of the eyes and mouth, repeated in various sizes across the image. In the centre large pink block text reads ‘RHUBARB’.

The 2024 Rhubarb Festival (February 7 – 18, 2024)

Call for Proposals


Call closes 11:59 pm EDT on Wednesday, November 15, 2023

We are currently seeking expressions of interest for the 2024 Rhubarb Festival, Canada’s longest running festival of new and experimental performance. The 2024 edition of Rhubarb will run February 7-18, 2024.  

The 2024 Rhubarb Festival will be curated by a curatorial collective including daniel jelani ellis [Obsidian Theatre], Leelee Oluwatyosi Eko Davis [TO Love-In], Ludmylla Reis [Buddies in Bad Times], and Jordan Campbell (STARLIGHT) [SummerWorks]. The team will be led by Rhubarb Artistic Producer Sue Balint.

Click here to apply.

With the departure of Clayton Lee for a fancy new job at FIERCE, this edition of Toronto’s longest-running festival of experimental performance will be curated by a collective representing Buddies and a network of partners. Rhubarb Artistic Producer Sue Balint will lead the process, with a team of curators from Buddies, Obsidian Theatre, SummerWorks, and the Toronto Dance Community Love-In. Together the team will determine the format and programming of the 2024 edition of Rhubarb as informed by this open call for proposals.

Building on Clayton’s time at Rhubarb, we continue to see Rhubarb as one of Toronto’s premiere venues for live art and experimental performance. We value Rhubarb as a Festival and experience in its own right, gathering an energy, density, and diversity of performance forms that invites Toronto’s gamest audiences to indulge their appetite for the unknown, to step out of the frigid misery of February, and into the heat and wildness of Rhubarb.  

We see Rhubarb as a place to nurture bold experiments, foster surprising collaborations, and iterate new ways of encountering performance. We’re here to work with you to grow your impulses. We love Rhubarb cause it’s one of the few platforms in the scene where we get to ask ourselves “is this audacious enough”?  We’re interested in the slipperiness we associate with queerness itself, rather than fixing ourselves into identitarian silos, it’s a place for sliding between/among/beyond categories and practices.

Selected artists will receive technical, production, promotional and artistic support. Where relevant, travel, per diem, and accommodation support will also be provided. As we continue to work to create more equitable and sustainable standards of pay across our sector, we will be working with a per artist funding model of at least $1,500. While not fixed in stone, it’s also important to note that we intend to prioritize applications from artists who create solo work and work as duos.

Who we hope will apply:

Artists working in solos, duos, or small collectives, with performance-based experiments in their latest iterations. We are keen to see work informed by dance, theatre, music, installation, happening and/or live art that spans the gaps or crouches in the shady spaces between genres. We’re looking for work that queers forms and audience relationships, and artists who are looking to create things that might not fit anywhere but within the wilds of Rhubarb.

How curation will work:

Artists will be selected from the open call, as well as by invitation from the Curatorial Collective.

Update as of Nov 8: The proposals have already started coming in, but we know some of you might be waiting for more curatorial criteria. The Collective feels that the level of specificity in this original call accurately represents where our curiosities are at as a team for now. For the proposals where we’re interested but need more info, we’ll be reaching out to artists individually.  

Expressions of Interest Guidelines 

Rolling Deadline, until 11:59 pm EDT on Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Click here to apply.

1. Artistic Practice (300 words max / 2 minutes audio or video)

We want to know about you and your practice. Please use the questions below to guide and organize your thoughts:

  • What are the disciplines/forms/lineages you are working within?
  • What contexts/ideas/curiosities does your work draw from?
  • What questions are you chewing on artistically?

2. Project Proposal (400 words max / 3 minutes audio or video)

Please tell us what you are thinking about making. We’re most interested in the impulse and process ideas behind it. It’s ok if you don’t know exactly what it will be yet. You could tell us about some of the constraints you want to set for yourself, the materials you want to use, the physical or textual vocabulary of it. What sort of experience do you want to create for an audience? What do you want people to be left feeling and thinking about?

3. Support Materials

We want a sense of your work. Please send links to archival photos, videos, or short texts/script samples that you feel are relevant to your work. If you are applying with a specific project, please provide links to that too. Please specify time stamps as needed. We will spend a maximum of 5 minutes going through your support materials.

4. Access Support

Please let us know what access supports would be helpful to present your project at Rhubarb, and/or in the producing process along the way. If you have access priorities for audiences, please share those as well. 

Members of the Curatorial Collective may contact you to further discuss your proposal.  


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

Sue Balint // Rhubarb Artistic Producer


About The Rhubarb Festival

Established in 1979, the Rhubarb Festival is produced by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and is Canada’s longest-running festival of new performance. For over three decades, Rhubarb has encouraged established artists to take new risks and emerging artists to explore the possibilities of performance in a supportive space. Over the course of its history, Rhubarb has had an immeasurable impact on the local and Canadian cultural landscape by acting as a seeding ground for new work. A great number of Rhubarb projects have gone on to be further developed and presented in Toronto, across Canada and internationally.

About Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre creates vital Canadian theatre by developing and presenting voices that question sexual and cultural norms. Built on the political and social principles of queer liberation, Buddies supports artists and works that reflect and advance these values. As the world’s longest-running and largest queer theatre, Buddies is uniquely positioned to develop, promote, and preserve stories and perspectives that are challenging and alternative. The theatre sits in the heart of downtown, adjacent to Toronto’s Gay Village.