The Rhubarb Festival
Canada’s longest-running new works festival is a hotbed of experimentation, where artists explore new possibilities in theatre, dance, music, and performance art.
This year, Rhubarb proposes an alternative: the creation of a physical performative publication that attempts to capture the energy of Rhubarb and, perhaps, recreate the live performance experience itself.
Over 20 artists respond to the prompt to bring performances to the page, with some projects published in the festival publication itself, and other interventions performed on the book after printing. Contributions range from colouring pages to a fever-dream drag performance; from a meal to music inspired by the turning of a page; and from choreographic scores to unearthed histories, real or imagined.
The limited edition run of 888 books is available for pre-order now, with distribution beginning shortly before the festival’s opening night on February 10.
Hardcover: 164 pages
Item weight: 375 g
Dimensions: 5.045” x 7.93” x 0.6209”
Getting the book
The Rhubarb Festival is available for purchase on Shopify. Click the link at the top of this page to order your copy.
Shipping/delivery charges are $5 + HST for Ontario addresses, and $10 + HST for out-of-province and international orders.
Distribution of books will start shortly before The Rhubarb Festival begins on February 10. We recommend getting your order in early as availability is limited, and to account for potential delays in shipping.
A number of artists in this year’s Festival are offering physical and digital interventions onto the book. They exist in some or all of the editions and will appear by chance. Artists performing interventions are Red Hauser, Nicholas Herd, Louise Liliefeldt, [ field ], 楊光奇 · Njo Kong Kie, Ishan Davé, happy/accidents, and seeley quest.
Natasha “Courage” Bacchus
[ field ]
楊光奇 · Njo Kong Kie
Mari “Dev” Ramsawakh
Design and layout by
Erick M. Ramos
Cole Alvis (she/they) is a 2 Spirit Turtle Mountain Michif (Métis) artist based in Tkarón:to with Chippewa, Irish & English ancestors. She is a leader of lemonTree creations, manidoons collective, and AdHoc Assembly.
Natasha “Courage” Bacchus is Tkaronto-Guyanese, Former Deaflympian sprinter, Deaf IBPOC/QIBPOC activist, 2020 Black Lives matter monologues winner by Jade Bryan Film School and actress for The Black Drum and The Two Natashas.
Renato Baldin is an LGBTQ Brazilian activist and a specialist in communications for art & cultural projects based in Toronto. Always working in not-for-profit organizations providing creative solutions, he believes that his work can contribute to social transformation.
Sue Balint is a freelance performance producer and facilitator based in Tkaronto.
Seika Boye is a scholar, writer, educator and artist whose practices revolve around dance and movement. She is Assistant Professor at University of Toronto and works as movement dramaturg and consultant.
Ishan Davé is a performer and newly practicing visual artist. How to forage and why to forage are real questions he has! Ishan is an associate artist with the performance collective It Could Still Happen.
Aria Evans is a queer, award-winning interdisciplinary artist whose practice spans dance; creation, performance and film. Aria draws on their experiences with Afro-Indigenous + settler heritage to capture meaningful social and cultural themes through interactive art. With a large-scale vision, collaboration is the departure point to the work made under their company POLITICAL MOVEMENT. Advocating for inclusion and the representation of diversity, Aria uses their artistic practice to question the ways we can coexist together.
[ field ] is the name of a collaboration between Coman Poon and Brian Smith. Named in reference to an essay of the same name by John Berger, we are a collaborating duo comprised of an architect-installationist and an interdisciplinary artist and performance-maker mutually interested in the experience of intimacy as ‘interstitiality’ and ‘the invisible made visible’.
happy/accidents: Reigning from different parts of Canada, collaborators angelica schwartz and Stephanie Wong are dedicated to practices that bridge cultures and challenge traditional forms of storytelling. happy/accidents’ artistic creation strives to find optimism amidst existential dread.
Ashanti Harris is a British-Caribbean artist and researcher based in Glasgow, Scotland. Working with dance, performance, facilitation, film, installation and writing, Ashanti’s work disrupts historical narratives and reimagines them from a Caribbean diasporic perspective. As part of her creative practice, she is co-director of Project X – a company platforming dance and performance from the African and Caribbean diaspora in Scotland; and works collaboratively as part of the collective Glasgow Open Dance School (G.O.D.S) – facilitating experimental movement workshops and research groups.
Red Hauser is a technical and multi-medium artist who works primarily in theatre production and electronic arts, focusing on the usage and visualization of biological signals. Their original work has been featured as part of The Paprika Festival (2015), The Prague Quadrennial (2019), and they have a BFA with distinction in Performance Production from Ryerson University. They currently are an intern at the Ryerson School of Performance.
Nicholas Herd is a performer and painter who produces and stars in his own online talk show entitled Keeping it Real With Nick on the Disability Network. He is an avid advocate for persons with Down syndrome and has shared his opinions and personal stories at several events and conferences.
A picnic and ping pong enthusiast, 楊光奇 · Njo Kong Kie also enjoys composing for dance, opera and theatre. He last contributed to Rhubarb with two opera shorts – knotty together (with Anna Chatterton) and Shattered Glass (with Douglas Roger). His other music theatre works include Picnic in the Cemetery; Mr. Shi and His Lover (with Wong Teng Chi) and I swallowed a moon made of iron set to the poetry of Xu Lizhi.
lallafral is a non-binary transgender artist currently based in toronto. their multidisciplinary work includes upcycled wearables, paintings, prints, illustration, tattoos and performance. they live by the words ‘diy or die’.
Louise Liliefeldt: I am a Toronto based Performance Artist and painter. As a South African woman who immigrated to Canada at a young age, my work draws directly from this culture and my lived experiences in order to talk about issues related to the politics of identity as it intersects with gender and race. I am interested in the possibilities of the body in space and the effect of time in a space.
Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon is a Tkaronto-Guyanese, Deaf IBPOC/QIBPOC activist, passion of music,activism,empowering Deaf artists and ASL music, ASL coach, actress for The Two Natashas and founder of Phoenix the fire.
seeley quest is a trans disabled writer, performer, organizer, and environmentalist, in Montreal since 2017. Working primarily in literary and body-based composition, and curation, sie presented in the San Francisco Bay Area 2001-14, with the Sins Invalid project 2007-15, and has toured to Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and many U.S. cities. Hir playscript is in the new McFarland disability theatre anthology. Not on social media, find hir via email at https://questletters.substack.com.
Mari “Dev” Ramsawakh is a disabled and nonbinary multidisciplinary artist. They were the 2019 TVO Short Docs contest winner and they have produced two podcasts. They’ve also been published by CBC, Huffpost Canada and others.
Katie Swift is a theatre artist, cook, mother of two, stepmother of two and the one who does all the talking about Rockwell Pasta. Holger Schoorl is a composer, musician, chef, father of four and the one who makes all the pasta for Rockwell Pasta. They are married.
Ashleigh-Rae Thomas is a queer, Jamaican writer based in Toronto. Their honest and insightful takes on social justice, feminism, politics, and culture help continue to cultivate a community that celebrates Afro-Caribbeans of all walks of life.
Marshall Vielle is an Actor, Director, Podcaster, and Drag Performer from the Kainai Nation. He is especially interested in using theatre for community development, having been involved in various projects both locally and internationally aimed at using artistic practices to encourage social change. He works as an advocate for diversity in the performance sector, while also lending his creativity to several Queer and Youth initiatives.
Ravyn Wngz “The Black Widow of Burlesque” is a Tanzanian, Bermudian, Mohawk, 2Spirit, Queer Movement storyteller of Trans experience. She is a Transcendent Abolitionist, and Renaissance Artivist. Her work is rooted in Black liberation and Indigenous Resurgence.
The book purposely exists in a single print run of 888 copies. It is written primarily in English, with one contribution written in English and in illustrated ASL and another written partially in Chinese.
This book does not and will not exist in digital book form. We will, however, be creating an audiobook version of the book—the link to this will be e-mailed to everyone who receives a copy of The Rhubarb Festival book. For blind/low-vision audience members who would like a copy of the audiobook without the physical book, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book is sold through Shopify, and will be couriered or shipped to your address. If online purchases, a fixed mailing address, or cost are barriers to you obtaining a copy of the Festival book, please contact email@example.com.
“TORONTO’S GO-TO EVENT FOR THOUGHT-PROVOKING, POLITICAL, ADVENTUROUS ENTERTAINMENT”
“ONE OF THE BEST EVENTS ON THE TORONTO THEATRE CALENDAR”
“A TORONTO THEATRE INSTITUTION”
“THE WILDEST THEATRE FEST IN TOWN”
“RHUBARB IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PREDICT, BUT EVEN MORE IMPOSSIBLE TO RESIST”
-My Gay Toronto
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 festivalVISIT THE ARCHIVE
THE RHUBARB FESTIVAL $20
SHIPPING (Ontario) $5 + HST
SHIPPING (Out-of-province + international) $10 + HST
Your Rhubarb ticket includes a copy of the Festival book, as well an electronic copy of the audiobook and other surprises.