The Rhubarb Festival
February 12 – 22, 2020

“The wildest theatre fest in town”

— Toronto Life

FESTIVAL DIRECTOR CLAYTON LEE
Curatorial Collective Van Lisa, Theresa Cutknife, Claudia Edwards, Victoria Mata

Canada’s longest-running new works festival transforms Buddies into a hotbed of experimentation, with artists exploring new possibilities in theatre, dance, music, and performance art. Rhubarb is the place to see the most adventurous ideas in performance and to catch your favourite artists venturing into uncharted territory.

Rhubarb is a space for artists and audiences to experiment together by trying new things and testing their boundaries. You always get to see more than one show (often 3 or 4) in one night, and no two nights of Rhubarb are ever alike. So come out and see what’s happening.

Photo by by Tanja-Tiziana

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GENERAL PROGRAMMING
Starting at 8pm*, there are shows happening in both spaces at Buddies (the Cabaret and the Chamber), so when you arrive at the theatre pick the show you want to see first, and 30 minutes later when it’s done you can either stay where you are or move to the other space for your next performance. There is a different set of shows each week – so keep coming back.

*9PM on Wednesday, February 12

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
These shows are special events that happen after the regular program for one night only. There are also installations in the building that you can see before the shows start, so be sure to show up early. Admission to Special Presentations is included in your Evening Pass.

THE EVENING PASS
This gets you into a whole night of Rhubarb and the 7-ish shows that happen at Buddies that day. And remember, Rhubarb starts at 8pm and shows are not individually ticketed. So that show you want to see at 9:30? If you just show up at 9 you will probably be out of luck and all the tickets were sold to people who came for the whole evening.

Week One // February 12-15

Week One schedule-at-a-glance

General Programming / Wed starting at 9PM, Thurs-Sat starting at 8 PM

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IN THE CABARET

Image for "The Parasite"

Eat Me

A womxn indulges in her endless taste for cake and capitalism. Come hungry: it’s gonna be nasty.

THE ARTISTS
Desirée Leverenz / the conceiver and the body

FIND THEM ON

the internet / instagram

The Parasite

Using mask, burlesque, fringe, pompoms, and more, two performers delve into what it means for their queer bodies to create, gestate, and nurture.

THE ARTISTS
Jay Northcott + Alisha Van Wieren / creators + performers

FIND THEM ON

instagram: Jay Northcott, Alisha Van Wieren

Scary Stories People of Colour Tell in the Dark

Through the lenses of drag and the Black, Latinx and Asian diasporas, this reimagining of a classic horror anthology asks how the things that scare us can bring us closer to our memories, our bodies, and each other.

THE ARTISTS
Patrick Salvani/Ms Nookie Galore, Kamika Peters/Ursula Babb Galore + Franny Galore / creators + performers
Saul Garcia Lopez, Kumari Giles, Khary Mathurin + Shirina Quereshi / collaborators

FIND THEM ON

instagram: Ms. Nookie Galore, Ursula Babb Galore, Franny Galore

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IN THE CHAMBER

Pouin

A story (like all stories) to help guide us through an irrational world and point us toward home, Pouin delves into the urban, the rural, and a sense of unbelonging.

THE ARTISTS
Smith Purdy / writer
Elwood Jimmy / director
Emma Smith / producer
Ashley Bomberry, Jamais Da Costa, jes sachse, Ty Sloane / performers

ritual [moment]um

A dancer and a musician combine forces to explore and unravel the legacies they’ve inherited – deciding what to hold onto, and when to let go in order to heal.

THE ARTISTS
Rajna Swaminathan / musician
Nyda Kwasowsky / dance artist

FIND THEM ON
the internet: Rajna Swaminathan, Nyda Kwasowsky
twitter / instagram / facebook

Solo presentations

A different artist takes over the Chamber each night of Week One.

Sometimes (Feb 12)

Uncouth, uncensored and, possibly undressed – Ursula Martinez gets personal, political, and philosophical in this soul-baring solo performance that blends spoken word, performance art, and stand-up comedy. 

Ursula Martinez / artist
twitter / instagram / facebook

a few movements (Feb 13)

Working its way back from middle age to a time of certainties, when summer nights carried the promise of an entire future, this piece deals in memories of space, city squares, cupboards, steep coastal roads, windows, rooms without walls.

Francesco Gagliardi / artist + creator

Panel Show (Feb 14)

Starring celebrities drawn from the audience, Panel Show will interrogate the important question of our time: Are you queer enough?

Moe Angelos / Artist

Are You Still Watching? (Feb 15)

After a lifetime of over-sharing herself online and in her art practice, Thirza Cuthand wonders whether she’s scaring away potential partners.

Thirza Cuthand / writer, director + performer
website / twitter / instagram / facebook

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Photo for "Practicing listening to the subterranean murmurs"

Lao Thai

WEDNESDAY 5:30 – 8:30PM / IN THE CHAMBER

This is how it begins. The Kong family transports their kitchen into the Chamber for a durational food-based performance. Audience members are welcome to come (and go) at any time during the performance, and are invited to cook, eat, and clean alongside the Kong family.

THE ARTISTS
Lits Kong, Tim Kong, Jailong Kong, Jadalynn Kong  + Hazira Khalek

FIND THEM ON
the internet / instagram

Practicing listening to the subterranean murmurs

THURSDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CHAMBER

It’s low rumbling unruly states and navigating control – what is done and doing to you, to us, to me, for us, for you, for me. A performance interrogating thresholds, intimacy, and spectacle, on micro and macro levels.

THE ARTISTS
Last Yearz Interesting Negro / concept, choreography, performance + text
Josh Anio Grigg / sound design

FIND THEM ON
instagram / facebook

Immortal Bodies

FRIDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CHAMBER

Contemporary ballroom performance meets the timeless stories and figures of Greek antiquity, brought to you by the House of Constantine and friends.

THE ARTISTS
JoJo Constantine / curator + performerFather Dutch Constantine (voice only), Founder Danger Constantine, Mother Kida Constantine, TD Constantine, Legacy Constantine, Tonne Pink Lady, Jimmy 007, Zakiya Constantine / performers

FIND THEM ON
the internet

Wiigwaasaatig

SATURDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CHAMBER

A confluence of words, sound, and memory — the poetry of Arielle Twist is paired with Ziibiwan’s tension-filled soundscapes.

THE ARTISTS
Arielle Twist
+ Ziibiwan / creators + performers

FIND THEM ON
the internet: Arielle Twist
twitter: Arielle Twist
instagram: Arielle Twist, Ziibiwan
bandcamp: Ziibiwan

photo credit: INCHOATE BUZZ (2019) by Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, a Wild Card for Sadler’s Wells. Featuring artist Last Yearz Interesting Negro. Photo by Anne Tetzlaff.

Week Two // February 19-22

Week Two schedule-at-a-glance

General Programming / Wed-Sat starting at 8 PM

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IN THE CABARET

Photo for "Toxic People"

Spiral Life

A young Deaf woman faces communication barriers, rejection, and her own mortality as she visits her mother in hospice. Performed in ASL with English interpretation. 

THE ARTISTS
Tamyka Bullen/ performer
Alex Bulmer / dramaturg + co-director
Chelsea Dab-Hilke / co-director 

FIND THEM ON
the internet

Trans Gemmes 2.0

Six trans women of colour are ready to fuck you up with their realness: it’s a girls’ night out gone wild complete with pillow fights, dancing, burger-eating and a nosy step-father.

THE ARTISTS
Gabe Maharjan, Leon Tsai, Mars Alexander, Nikki, Scarlett, X / performers + creators
Bilal Baig / director
The AMY Project / producer

FIND THEM ON
instagram: Gabe Maharjan, Leon Tsai, Mars Alexander

Toxic People

Jilted X takes the audience through an exorcism ritual to show us just how easy it is to rid ourselves of toxic energy and turn that frown upside down.

THE ARTISTS
Tiffany Paige + Esther Splett / creators + performers

FIND THEM ON
the internet / facebook / tumblr / soundcloud

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IN THE CHAMBER

Photo for "To All My Lovers"

To All My Past, Present, and Future Lovers… I’m Sorry

Nickeshia Garrick lays it all bare and offers up an apology for herself in this solo dance theatre piece.

THE ARTISTS
Nickeshia Garrick / choreographer, writer, director + performer
Kevin Ormsby / mentor

FIND THEM ON
twitter / instagram

mientras tanto // 缺口

Two queer women of colour grapple with the politics of their love and intimacy. A physical theatre piece set in and around their bed.

THE ARTISTS
Sofia Rodriguez + Liz Der / creators + performers

FIND THEM ON
instagram: Sofia Rodriguez, Liz Der

What’s Done Must Come

Music, movement, and poetry collide at a dinner party. Delving into the sacred, the profane, and the prophetic, Buddies resident artists We Other Sons collective explore what sex and shame mean for them as queer men of colour.

THE ARTISTS

Daniel Jelani Ellis / co-creator + director
Omar David Rivero / co-creator + sound designer
Daniel Antonio, Micha Edwards, David Lewis-Peart + Roel Torres / co-creators

FIND THEM ON
instagram / facebook

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Photo for "My Last American Dollar..."

Queer Church Cabaret

WEDNESDAY AT 10PM / IN THE CABARET

From poetry and experimental music to choreographed numbers, a group of artists collectively conjures a vision of a queer church.

THE ARTISTS
Boiband the Boyband (Monica Garrido, Lucia Linares Leon + Heath V. Salazar), Soft Honey, Tigerwing, Sofia Fly + Pickles Lavey

FIND THEM ON
the internet: Tigerwing
instagram: Boiband, Sofia Fly, Soft Honey, Tigerwing
soundcloud: Sofia Fly
bandcamp: Sofia Fly

FRIDA

THURSDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CHAMBER

Violeta Luna channels Frida Kahlo as a manifestation of the women who question and push beyond the status quo, inviting the audience to witness or take part.

THE ARTISTS
Violeta Luna / performer
David Molina / music
Roberto Varea / video

FIND THEM ON
the internet

Art Party

FRIDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CHAMBER

A queer-art-party-performance cabaret celebrating madness, sex, intimacy, and the grotesque through sound-art, dance, and performance.

THE ARTISTS
Jord Camp, Brock Hessel, Mich Cota, Steff Juniper, R. Flex, Kenton Smith + Yovska

FIND THEM ON
twitter:
instagram: Jord Camp, Brock Hessel, Steff Juniper, Kenton Smith
facebook: Steff Juniper, Kenton Smith
bandcamp: Steff Juniper, Kenton Smith

My Last American Dollar:
Round 1. Tricking and Flipping Coins: Making Dollars Hit,
Round 2. Black Angels in the Infield: Dripping Faggot Sweat,
Round 3. Whatchu Gonna Do: Marvelous like Marva

SATURDAY AT 10 PM / IN THE CHAMBER

Locker rooms, strip clubs, waiting rooms, church pews, field days. My Last American Dollar celebrates and ruminates on the forms in which black and brown people hold space for each other: to resist, to slow down, to delight, and to survive.

THE ARTIST
Keijaun Thomas / artist

FIND THEM ON
vimeo

Audience Handbook

In 2012, Cara Spooner created the first iteration of Audience Handbook. For this year’s festival, 30 artists from across the country have made their own.

THE ARTISTS
Cara Spooner / lead artist
Anonymous, Mikiki, Christina Battle, Freya Björg Olafson with Penny Olafson, Franco Boni, Erin Brubacher, Michael Caldwell, Naomi Campbell, Daniel Carter, Claudia Edwards, Jenn Goodwin, Mel Hague, Erika Hennebury, Rosina Kazi, Erum Khan, James Knott, Serena Lee, Clayton Lee, Victoria Mata, Evalyn Parry, Rui Pimenta, Kim Simon, Sajdeep Soomal, Adrien Whan + Patricia Wilson/ contributors

FIND THEM ON
the internet

Untitled Bathroom intervention

A text-based intervention in the Buddies bathroom.

THE ARTIST
Kenneth Koo / artist

FIND THEM ON
the internet

A Manifesto in Support of the Death of the Festival

A Manifesto in Support of the Death of the Festival is a manifesto in support of the death of the festival, appearing for the first time as a printed text, slapped on the house where Rhubarb lives.

THE ARTISTS
Shannon Cochrane / artist
Lisa Kiss / designer

FIND THEM ON
instagram

Rhubarb is offering a decentralized approach to curatorial decision making with the introduction of a Curatorial Collective. The five curators – Vanden Boomen, Theresa Cutknife, Claudia Edwards, Victoria Mata and Festival Director Clayton Lee – will collectively work to not only shape and articulate a vision for the 2020 Rhubarb Festival but support the festival artists through the entire process.

This initiative has been made possible by Aluna Theatre, FADO Performance Art Centre, Native Earth Performing Arts, and Workman Arts, with each of these organizations selecting and financially compensating a member of the curatorial collective.

Read the message from the curatorial collective here.

“TORONTO’S GO-TO EVENT FOR THOUGHT-PROVOKING, POLITICAL, ADVENTUROUS ENTERTAINMENT”
-Toronto Life

“ONE OF THE BEST EVENTS ON THE TORONTO THEATRE CALENDAR”
-Toronto Star

“A TORONTO THEATRE INSTITUTION”
-Xtra

“THE WILDEST THEATRE FEST IN TOWN”
-Toronto Life

“RHUBARB IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PREDICT, BUT EVEN MORE IMPOSSIBLE TO RESIST”
-My Gay Toronto

February 12 – 22, 2020

Wednesday, February 12 // Special presentation at 5:30PM, General programming 9:00 PM
Thursday, February 13 // 8:00 PM
Friday, February 14 // 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 15 // 8:00 PM

Wednesday, February 19 // 8:00 PM
Thursday, February 20 // 8:00 PM
Friday, February 21 // 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 22 // 8:00 PM

Every day of the festival, a block of Pay-What-You-Can rush 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.

Rush 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 up to two Rush Tickets for you that you can purchase when you arrive to see the show.

For more information, including group rates and ticket policies, click here.

Launched to mark the festival’s 35th anniversary, The Rhubarb Archive is a (hopefully) comprehensive list of all the projects, performances, experiments, parties, and special events to ever grace the stage at Canada’s longest-running new works festival

VISIT THE ARCHIVE
ASL interpretation will be provided at the box office on every evening of week two (Feb 19-22).
 
On Thursday, February 20, three additional shows will be made accessible to Deaf audiences through ASL interpretation:
8:00PM – Spiral Life (performed in ASL)
8:30PM – Mientras tanto // 缺口 
9:00PM – What’s Done Must Come
10:00PM – FRIDA
 
Deaf patrons can access $5 tickets to the festival using the code “ASL5”.

Rhubarb Featurette (pt. IV)

Rhubarb Featurette (pt. III)

A Message from the Curatorial Collective

Rhubarb Featurette (pt. II)

Rhubarb Featurette (pt. I)

Buy Tickets

TICKET PRICES

EVENING PASS $20
RUSH TICKETS PWYC

Your Rhubarb ticket gets you into everything happening that day at the festival, including special presentations and installations.