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TORONTO: March 18, 2014. Artistic Director Brendan Healy unveiled an ambitious lineup for the upcoming 2014/15 Season, which is packed with new Canadian works, bold re-imaginings of classic texts, new partnerships with some of Toronto’s most daring companies, and a national tour. The year is marked by a focus on the family and intergenerational relationships.
In announcing the season, Healy remarks: “We are thrilled to be welcoming some of the country’s leading theatre creators into the building next year. It is a season that takes a close look at how queer lives and experiences are reshaping our understanding and experience of families.”
The season begins with a heartwarming story about queer families from playwrightLois Fine. Freda and Jem’s Best of the Week is a story of family making and family breaking that turns a queer gaze on universal ideas of familial love and reveals the changing face of the modern family. Award-winning playwright and director Judith Thompson (Rare, Palace of the End, Enoch Arden) directs a cast that includes venerated comic actor Diane Flacks (Bear with Me, Take this Waltz) and Kathryn Haggis (Dyke City), with live music by Lorraine Segato of Parachute Club.
In the spring, Buddies welcomes Eda Holmes to direct celebrated writer Michel Marc Bouchard’s gripping psychological drama Tom at the Farm. Bouchard’s script follows a young man who becomes trapped in a savage game of sex and violence when he meets his dead lover’s family for the first time. This erotic thriller probes the darkest reaches of human desire and uncovers the place where loathing and longing intersect. The Buddies production stars Jeff Lilico(Parfumerie, Clybourne Park), Christine Horne (Andromache, Between the Sheets), and Gord Rand (Wide Awake Hearts, Goodness), with production design by Camellia Koo (Obaaberima and The Wanderers at Buddies). Bouchard is the author of over 20 acclaimed works that have been produced the world over, including the Dora and Chalmers Award winning Lillies. Tom at the Farm has been staged in the original French on stages in Canada and Europe and has been adapted for the screen by acclaimed Quebecois filmmaker Xavier Dolan. Buddies is thrilled to welcome him to our stage for the first time.
The season will see the return of The Rhubarb Festival for a 36th installment. The festival will be run by newly-appointed Festival Director, Mel Hague. Mel is an accomplished dramaturge who has worked with Factory Theatre, b current, The Paprika Festival, and is currently the Play Development Coordinator at Obsidian Theatre. Mel also joins Buddies as Company Dramaturge and will be overseeing the company’s rapidly expanding Artist Residency Program, which has developed such recent hits as Of a Monstrous Child, Obaaberima, and The Gay Heritage Project and the upcoming Freda and Jem’s Best of the Week.
Also returning in 2014/15 is Insatiable Sisters, Buddies’ iconic celebration of queer women and trans folks in performance (formerly Strange Sisters). Kim Crosby returns as the festival’s curator and will be joined by co-curator Gein Wong and space activator Jade Lee Hoy.
Rounding off the season, critically acclaimed theatre creator and songwriterEvalyn Parry (Breakfast, Clean Irene and Dirty Maxine) revives her 2011 smash hit SPIN for a special limited engagement. This loving tribute to the bicycle features a collection of original songs and stories about the history of the bicycle, advertising, and women’s liberation. Since premiering at Buddies in 2011, SPINhas toured to stages across North America and has been hailed as “brilliant” (Toronto Star) and “an ingenious mixture of songs, monologues, and modern technology” (Torontoist).
The company is also thrilled to announce that the Tawiah M’carthy’s Dora Award winning Obaaberima will tour in the upcoming season. The show will visit The Cultch in Vancouver (March 24 – April 4) and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa (March 3-14, 2015), where Tawiah will be a part of the NAC’s esteemed acting ensemble. The touring production reunites the original creative team of musicianKobena Aquaa-Harrison, director Evalyn Parry, and designers Camellia Kooand Michelle Ramsay. Obaaberima was originally developed through the company’s Young Creators Unit and later its Artist Residency Program. The show won three Dora Mavor Moore Awards in 2013, including Outstanding Production.
Buddies’ season will also feature productions from five guest companies that represent the vibrancy of Toronto’s theatre community. b current will bring its new play series afteRock Plays to Buddies in the fall, featuring works by Sebastien Heins, and Catherine Hernandez. Acclaimed physical theatre company Theatre Rusticle returns for a second year with The Stronger Variations, an adaptation of Strindberg’s 1889 classic ‘The Stronger’. Canada’s National Women’s Theatre Company, Nightwood Theatre, returns to Buddies with HER2, a riveting story of survival and strength from playwright Maja Ardal and featuring an impressive ensemble of performers that includes Diane D’Aquila, Nancy Palk, and Chick Reid. In an exciting partnership between two of Toronto’s most distinctive indie companies, Modern Times Stage Company and Aluna Theatre will presentBlood Wedding, a 20th Century masterpiece from Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. Finally, Asian-Canadian company fu-GEN Theatre teams up withTheatre Smash to present American playwright Julia Cho’s darkly funny family drama Durango, directed by Theatre Smash Artistic Director Ashlie Corcoran and starring fu-GEN Artistic Director David Yee.
2014/15 SEASON PROGRAMMING
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents the World Premiere of
FREDA AND JEM’S BEST OF THE WEEK
by Lois Fine
directed by Judith Thompson
starring Diane Flacks, Kathryn Haggis, Sadie Epstein-Fine & Stephen Joffee
live music by Lorraine Segato
September 13 – October 5
Freda and Jem are two women who fell in love, had kids, and built a family together. When they decide to split up, their family discovers that their love for each other doesn't have to end at divorce – but it will have to change. A heartwarming story about family making and family breaking.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre proudly welcomes a b current production
A series of new works
October 10 - 25
Toronto’s hottest theatre makers uncover the lived experiences of Toronto’s diverse cultural landscape. Featuring Brotherhood: A Hip Hopera by Sebastien Heins and The Femme Playlist by Catherine Hernandez.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents
co-curators Kim Crosby & Gein Wong
space activator Jade Lee Hoy
An evening of new performance works that celebrate the unrelenting strength and beauty of queer women and trans* folks.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Outspoke Productions present
created and performed by Evalyn Parry
directed by Ruth Madoc-Jones
musician Brad Hart
November 19 - 23
Inspired by the incredible true tale of the first woman to ride a bike around the world in 1895, this epic cycle of songs and stories explores the early connections between bicycles, advertising, and women’s liberation. Critically acclaimed author, singer, and songwriter Evalyn Parry returns to Buddies on the heels of a wildly successful cross-country tour with her loving tribute to the political and personal power of the bicycle.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre proudly welcomes a Theatre Rusticle production
THE STRONGER VARIATIONS
conceived and directed by Allyson McMackon
starring Liza Balkan, Andrya Duff, Chala Hunter, Viv Moore & Lucy Rupert
November 26 – December 7
On Christmas Eve, a wife and her husband’s mistress meet in a café. Award-winning physical theatre company Theatre Rusticle turns their distinctive eye on Strindberg’s The Stronger to examine betrayal, love, and feminine strength.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre proudly welcomes the World Premiere of aNightwood Theatre production
by Maja Ardal
directed by Kim Blackwell
starring Neema Bickersteth, Diane D’Aquila, Monica Dottor, Kyra Harper, Jane Luk, Nancy Palk, Ellora Patnaik, Chick Reid, Marcia Vacratsis & Bahareh Yaraghi
January 13 - February 1
Faced with an aggressive form of breast cancer, a group of women are recruited for a clinical drug trial. While the researcher measures its progress, the subjects of her experiment forge a unbreakable bond characterized not by medical statistics but by courage, wisdom, and humour. An epic story of survival from Canada’s national women’s theatre company.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents
THE 36TH RHUBARB FESTIVAL
festival director Mel Hague
associate director Cole Alvis
Throughout the month of February, artists transform Buddies into a hotbed of experimentation sharing stimulating ideas in contemporary theatre with adventure-loving audiences.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre proudly welcomes a Modern Times Stage Company and Aluna Theatre co-production
by Federico Garcia Lorca
directed by Soheil Parsa
MARCH 11 - 29
A family vendetta comes to a boil when a bride-to-be runs away with the son of the enemy. This 20th Century masterpiece is a powerful and poetic metaphor for the oppressive forces that corrupt our ability to love freely.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents
TOM AT THE FARM
by Michel Marc Bouchard
directed by Eda Holmes
starring Christine Horne, Jeff Lillico & Gord Rand
production design by Camellia Koo
April 11 – May 10
When Tom travels to the country for his lover’s funeral, he is seduced into a family’s savage game of desire, secrets, and fantasy. One of our country’s most distinct voices offers a haunting portrait of loss and longing in this gripping psychological thriller.
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre proudly welcomes the Canadian premiere of a
fu-GEN Theatre and Theatre Smash co-production
by Julia Cho
directed by Ashlie Corcoran
starring David Yee & Philip Nozuka
May 16 – 31
A family unravels during a cross-country road trip in this funny and poignant portrait of domestic embattlement from American playwright Julia Cho. With each passing mile, a father and his sons uncover long-held secrets, open old wounds, and grapple with the consequences of sacrificing everything for a dream.