Seeding Work
Fall 2021

Cultivating Artistic Curiosity

A new initiative this season, Seeding Work aims to provide space and resources for artists to experiment with burgeoning ideas and questions in their practice and to open up new pathways in a project’s development. Over the course of an intensive, short-form incubation period, this question-driven program encourages performance creators to bridge the abstract into clear steps forward. The name Seeding Work is a nod to Seed Plays, an artistic development program run by Buddies in the 1980s.

This fall, Buddies invites three artists to pursue their artistic curiosities. The projects – led respectively by Michael Caldwell, Kitoko, and Julie Phan 潘家雯 – grapple with notions of sanctuary and displacement, public persona, and familial ties while muddying the division between the digital and physical, the fictional and the autobiographical.

photo of Kitoko by Dylan Mitro, styling by Vanessa Magic, hair and makeup by Robert Weir

Michael Caldwell is a choreographer, performer, curator, director, producer, and arts advocate, based in Toronto, Canada. His choreography and performance-based works have been commissioned/presented throughout Canada at major festivals, in traditional venues and in site-responsive and community-engaged contexts. His performance-based work increasingly sits in site-responsive and community-engaged contexts, while subverting traditional modes of viewing. More recently, he is examining subtlety and minimalism, with an exploration of what is nanoscopic and miniscule in the duet form. Playing within cycles of construction and destruction, his work mines what is essential and foundational in movement, objects, sound, and light.

Instagram // Twitter

photo by Kristy Kennedy

Michael’s work delves into ideas of sanctuary and displacement through the development of various ‘avatars’ — highlighting the disappearance and co-opting of queer spaces. Unpacking his family history within the possibilities of cabaret, the process will invite various collaborators into the studio.

Kitoko is wearing a pink wig and a white dress. They are holding up the hem of their dress with their right hand. In the background is a blue curtain.

My name is Kitoko, and I am an emerging artist producer based out of Hamilton (my heart and home) and Toronto (where I live and work because of capitalism). As a multidisciplinary artist I create new work that incorporates live performance, poetry, media arts, and storytelling. It is rooted in social justice, anti-oppression and intersectionality with the intent to destabilize hierarchies of power and embrace fluidity of content, form, and process. Drawing from my lived experiences, my work celebrates liminal identities, multiplicity within us, and recognizes that sometimes things are just… MESSY.

Instagram (kitokomai; chaoticfruitful) // TikTok // Website

photo by Dylan Mitro

Messy: a Chaotic Black Femme Rage Musical is a musical, a play, a scavenger hunt, a concert, and a group therapy session playing with ideas of mental health, lineage, queerness, and public persona.  As the piece continues to develop, Kitoko is asking questions about form and content, playing with social media to interrogate the role of the audience and further blur the lines between fiction and reality, character and autobiography.

If Julie Phan (潘家雯) was a piece of art, she would be the sponmonkey ads for Quiznos subs. She is a Hoklo-Vietnamese playwright, actor and pole artist based in Toronto and Montreal, and is about to enter her final year as a playwriting student at the National Theatre School of Canada. She is best known for disappointing her father and her work with fu-GEN asian theatre company (double bill, fearless). 


photo by Tien Chang

Never Walk Alone is a solo piece combining Julie’s passions for writing and pole dancing. Exploring independence, isolation, burnout, and economics, the piece follows Honey, a Chinese-Vietnamese formerly-promising-child, as her own truth bumps up against the image that she crafts for her family’s sake.

Never Walk Alone has been supported by the Ontario Arts Council, Theatre Passe Muraille,  fu-GEN, Buddies and Tarragon Theatre.