The Rhubarb Festival 2023: Call for Expressions of Interest

Four black and white photos of Clayton Lee collaged over a pink background with a white border. The first, largest photo is Calyton upside down, shot from his shoulders up, on the left side of the image. There is a big, pink painted “x” in the background. His hands are in front of his face in large white gloves, the fingers of the gloves extending much further than his. He is wearing a black coat and large black hat with fur along the rim. He has dark eye makeup on. On the right lower corner, Clayton stands in three different poses in full body shots. He has big black parachute hands and large white platform shoes.

The 2023 Rhubarb Festival (Winter 2023, tentatively February 8 – 18, 2023)

Call for Expressions of Interest
Deadline: 11:59 pm EDT on Friday, September 9, 2022
Festival Director: Clayton Lee

Click here to apply.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest for the 2023 Rhubarb Festival, Canada’s longest running festival of new and experimental performance. 

The format of the ‘festival’, at its core, condenses time and experience, allowing for temporary communities to manifest. Over a short period of time, artists and audiences enter into a relationship with each other. Conversation is at the heart of this. 

As such, this year’s selection process, too, will be grounded in conversation. While the written application outlined below will provide us with context about your practice, we are considering it as merely an entry point to the whole process. We will do our best to meet with and be in conversation with as many applicants as possible. For this reason, we encourage you to apply earlier rather than later. Conversations with artists will be scheduled as applications are received. Selections will be made by Festival Director Clayton Lee.

We want to work directly with Festival artists to nurture and help grow their artistic impulses, therefore you do not need to apply with a fully formed idea or project. Instead, for the initial application, we want to focus on you and your practice. The subsequent conversation will be an opportunity to imagine what the project may be. 

Building off the last two festivals (2021’s Book as Festival, Festival as Book and 2022’s Calculus of an infinite rot, part 1), the 2023 Festival will be intentionally smaller in order to be responsive and flexible to our artists’ needs. Embedded in all of this is a continued manifestation of a Rhubarb that—in spite of its constraints of time and resources—is responsive and flexible to an artist’s needs; that balances the inherent legibility of a festival as product while indulging the illegible; and that resists the flattening of identity and the intersections within, ultimately embracing artists’ ability to exist in multitudes.

Selected artists will receive technical, production, promotional and artistic support; and where relevant, travel, per diem, and accommodation support will 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. Important to note (while not fixed in stone), we intend to prioritize applications from artists who create solo work and those that work in duos.

Expressions of Interest Guidelines 

Deadline: 11:59 pm EDT on Friday, September 9, 2022

Click here to apply.

1.    Artistic Practice (500 words max)

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

  • Describe your artistic practice. What forms and contexts are you interested in? What questions are you thinking about? 
  • What is the lineage of your practice? Who has done or has been doing similar things? 
  • What are you looking for or what do you need in your artistic practice? 
2.    Support Material

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

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

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.

For further information please contact:

Clayton Lee // Festival Director