Lilies; Or, The Revival of a Romantic Drama
May 4 - 26

A queer masterpiece, reimagined.

lemonTree creations + Buddies in Bad Times + Why Not Theatre

In 1912, two schoolboys fall in love performing a play about Saint Sebastian. Their passion is interrupted when one is unjustly sent to prison. Decades later, several inmates agree to stage this story of young love in search of their own redemption.

Prolific indie company lemonTree creations revives Michel Marc Bouchard’s masterpiece with Walter Borden leading a cast of predominantly Indigenous and Black artists to make visible the high incarceration rates of these communities. Centring Indigeneity and diverse worldviews, the creative team bring this romantic drama into the 21st century, unearthing love, lies, and colonialism.

photo of Walter Borden by Tanja-Tiziana

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Earn Buddies Rewards when you buy tickets to this show through our Buddies Rewards program.

Production photos by Jeremy Mimnagh
Scenic design by Jay Havens
Costume design by Joanna Yu
Lighting design by Michelle Ramsay

a lemonTree creations +Buddies in Bad Times Theatre + Why Not Theatre co-production


translation by LINDA GABORIAU
directed by COLE ALVIS
set + props design by JAY HAVENS
costume design by JOANNA YU
lighting design by MICHELLE RAMSAY
associate director NIKKI SHAFFEEULLAH
stage manager NEHA ROSS
apprentice stage manager EMIE SABANDAL
head of wardrobe ALLIE MARSHALL
production manager SUZIE BALOGH
music captain MARK CASSIUS
composition AQUA, DEANNA CHOI
Blackfoot language keeper BEVERLY HUNGRY WOLF
Anishinaabemowin language keepers ROGER FOBISTER SR + DON KAVANAUGH

MAY 4 – 26, 2019

Run Time: 2 hours, no intermission

Saturday, May 4 // 8:00 PM (preview)
Sunday, May 5 // 8:00 PM (preview)

Tuesday, May 7 // 8:00 PM (preview)
Wednesday, May 8 // 8:00 PM (preview)
Thursday, May 9 // 8:00 PM (opening night)
Friday, May 10 // 8:00 PM
Saturday, May 11 // 8:00 PM
Sunday, May 12 // 2:30 PM

Tuesday, May 14 // 8:00 PM
Wednesday, May 15 // 8:00 PM
Thursday, May 16 // 8:00 PM (followed by an Artist Talk)
Friday, May 17 // 8:00 PM
Saturday, May 18 // 8:00 PM (ASL Interpreted Performance)
Sunday, May 19 // 2:30 PM (Relaxed Performance)

Tuesday, May 21 // 8:00 PM
Wednesday, May 22 // 8:00 PM
Thursday, May 23 // 8:00 PM (followed by an Artist Talk)
Friday, May 24 // 8:00 PM
Saturday, May 25 // 8:00 PM
Sunday, May 26 // 2:30 PM

Ticket Prices

Previews  $20
Tu_W   $35
Th_F_Sa   $40
Su  $35
Previews  $20
Tu_W  $30
Th_F_Sa  $35
Su  $30

Pay What You Can

Buddies believes that everyone should be able to see our shows, which is why we’re expanding our Pay What You Can ticket program for our 40th Anniversary Season. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday a block of tickets will go on sale at noon for that day’s performance, and you pick the price. If cost is a barrier, this is your chance to get an affordable ticket. If you are able to pay more, this is your chance to increase your support for the work on stage and ensure it stays affordable for those who need it. Pay What You Can tickets are available until 7:00pm on weekdays and 2:30pm on Sundays, or until they sell out – whichever comes first.

Tickets are generally only available in-person at our box office, and we recommend getting here early for more popular shows as these tickets can sell fast. However, if getting down here in the middle of the day presents a barrier – accessible transportation, childcare, etc – simply call the box office at 416-975-8555 and we’ll hold a Pay What You Can ticket for you that you can purchase when you arrive to see the show.

For more information, including Group Rates and Rush Ticket policies, click here.

Our Artist Talks are a chance to dig deeper into the ideas that inform the shows in our 2018-19 Season with key members of the creative team.

Friday, May 10 – John Greyson (director of the film adaptation of Lilies) joins director Cole Alvis for a post-show conversation.

Thursday, May 16 – Associate Director Nikki Shaffeullah moderates a post-show talk with members of the cast and participants from the Confluence Art Collective.

Thursday, May 23 – Director Cole Alvis leads a post-show conversation with the cast.

Deaf-Interpreted Performance in ASL

Saturday, May 18 // 8:00 PM

Deaf Interpreters: Natasha Bacchus, Gaitrie Persaud + Jay Goray
ASL-English Support Team: Rogue Benjamin, Jo-Ann Martin + Tara Everett

d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons can access $10 tickets in advance using the code “ASL10” at checkout (click here to buy your tickets now). Pay-what-you-can tickets will also be available at the door.


Sunday, May 19 at 2:30 PM.
You can book $10 tickets in advance using the code “RP10” at checkout (click here to buy your tickets now). Pay-What-You-Can tickets will also be available at the door.

Relaxed Performances are designed to welcome audience members who will benefit from a more relaxed performance environment.

This performance model is specifically designed for folks on the Autism Spectrum or people who live with Tourettes, delayed learning, or cognitive disabilities. However, Relaxed Performances also provide an alternative option for people living specific traumas, people whose bodies can’t stay still for long periods of time, young children, and other folks who would enjoy a more relaxed theatre-going experience.

A Relaxed Performance removes common triggers such as strobe lights and startling stage effects and has a relaxed attitude towards audience members making sounds during the performance or exiting/re-entering the theatre, and introduces audience members to the show with a more comprehensive pre-show introduction to characters, story, and content.

Click here to view the visual story for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s venue.
Click here to view the visual story for Lilies; Or, The Revival of a Romantic Drama.

The Countess and Me

A special pre-show performance on May 16th at 6 PM.

Inspired by characters and relationships in Bouchard’s play, The Countess and Me explores themes of transformative justice, mental health, femme power, and the love we have for the elders in our lives. This devised performance weaves together work created by a diverse group of community members who have a range of lived experience with incarceration and the prison industrial complex, yet are connected by a shared commitment to prisoner justice and building a better world.

Featuring the artists and community of Confluence Arts Collective
Directed by Nikki Shaffeeullah
Assistant Directors Jamie Milay + Carvela Lee
Outreach and Community Liaison Amina Mohammed
Producers Jackie Omstead + Jamie Milay
Stage Manager Sasha Tate-Howarth
Associate Facilitator Maria Anatolios & Fiona Raye Clarke

A Confluence Arts Collective presentation, in partnership with PASAN, Elizabeth Fry Toronto, and lemonTree creations.
This work is made possible through the generous support of the Toronto Arts Council

Confluence Arts Collective is a group of multidisciplinary artists who have come together over a shared investment in dignity, humanity, and justice for people experiencing incarceration. Through artistic processes, Confluence Arts Collective strives to create moments of community convergence, self-determination and self-expression for criminalized people. We recognize that criminalized people are disproportionately those living in poverty, Indigenous, racialized, queer, transgender, women, and themselves victims of crime. We aim to open up humanizing spaces to explore and articulate who we all are outside of, and because of, criminal convictions, social marginalizations, and situations of incarceration. Current members and associate artists: Amina Mohammed, Ashley Riley, Carvela Lee, Fiona Raye Clarke, Jackie Omstead, Jamie Milay,  Lisa Bozikovic, Nikki Shaffeeullah, Sasha Tate-Howarth, and Sonja Rainey.

Presented by The AMY Project
in partnership with lemonTree creations
with support from Inspirit Foundation

This program presents an opportunity for 2QTBIPOC youth interested in the backstage side of performing arts to develop their skills; meet with mentors; work on a professional, politically-engaged project; and access an affirming creative space.  Following the themes of this production of Lilies, program participants will also explore how we as 2QTBIPOC artists can work in solidarity with prisoner justice initiatives and help imagine new models for justice and accountability in the world.

We are so pleased to host the 2019 Cohort of The AMY Project’s Design and Production Mentorship Program during the rehearsal and performance process of Lilies:

Beatriz Arevalo – Costume Design
Karis Jones-Pard – Set Design
Jamie Milay – Community Arts Facilitation
Senjuti Aurora Sarker – Lighting Design
Ty Sloane – Direction
Phoebe Wang – Sound Design

lemonTree creations is a Dora nominated equity seeking theatre company. We stage rarely told stories through a queer performance lens and support artists as they develop new work through our studio residencies in downtown Tkarón:to.

Artistic Producers Indrit Kasapi (Albanian-Canadian) and Cole Alvis (Métis) collaborate primarily with Artistic Associates Ryan G. Hinds, Jonathan Seinen, and playwright in residence Donna-Michelle St. Bernard. Grappling with colonialism is part of lemonTree’s arts practice and they invite you to engage with them about how to be good guests on Indigenous territories.


Why Not Theatre is an agile, international theatre company based in Toronto, Canada, rooted in the values of innovation, community, and collaboration. Our work is inventive, cross-cultural, and reflects our passion for the exploration of difference. We challenge the status quo, by examining what stories are being told, and who is telling them. More than just a theatre company, we develop creative strategies to build a healthier and stronger arts ecology. We MAKE and tour critically-acclaimed and award-winning new work, SHARE resources with other companies and artists to produce and tour their work, and PROVOKE change through new producing models and the presentation of work for new audiences. We are led by a core team of Founding Artistic Director Ravi Jain, Managing Director Owais Lightwala, and Executive Producer Kelly Read.


Buy Tickets

Community Partner


Whether you want to see just one show or keep coming back for more, Buddies has affordable ticket options that are right for you. Many shows have Rush Tickets during the week and Pay-What-You-Can shows every Sunday, and you can save even more when you sign up for Buddies Rewards.

Click here to learn more about all the ways to save at Buddies