For two weeks, over 100 local and international artists transform Buddies in Bad Times Theatre into a hotbed of creativity and experimentation, sharing new ideas in contemporary theatre, performance art, dance, and music with adventure-loving audiences.
One of the few critic-free environments available to local artists, Rhubarb is the place to see the most adventurous ideas that artists have to offer and to catch your favourite performers venture into uncharted territory. This year, look for familiar faces, new partnerships, and artists you may have never seen before.
2013 FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
• Sook-Yin Lee teams up with dance artist Benjamin Kamino for her first theatrical offering since the age of 14.
• The incomparable Nina Arsenault presents a new work based on her life-long fascination with Cleopatra.
• ‘Ladybear Extraordinaire’ and mainstay of Toronto’s queer night life, Fay Slift teams up with performing artists Trixie & Beever and Kaleb Robertson to present a high-drag reimagining of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
• The return of The One-To-One Performance Series. One of the highlights of last year’s festival, this program presents a collection of intimate experiences designed for a single performer and one audience member at a time.
• Playwright Nicolas Billon returns to Rhubarb with The Faroe Islands – the final instalment in the Fault Lines trilogy, which includes the multi-award winning plays Greenland and Iceland.
• Weekly late-night cabarets devoted to all things sexual, and curated by three of Toronto’s leading voices on sex – Now Magazine sex columnist Alex Tigchelaar, sexual health activist Mikiki, and community organizer and artist Kim Crosby.
THE MEETING PLACE OF ART AND ACTIVISM
As a hotbed of radical experimentation and one of the few critic-free performance environments in Toronto, Rhubarb has long been a politically charged arena. This year, many artists are tackling issues head on with bold projects that infuse their artistic practice with political actions, and respond to pressing issues of discrimination and oppression.
• Rhubarb is partnering with Videofag for the performance intervention Vigil(ance) that responds to both recent and ongoing instances of violence on the streets of Toronto. Jordan Tannahill and William Christopher Ellis take audiences to locations where they feel unsafe so that they can be occupied and reclaimed.
• Artists will take on sexual taboos, discrimination and injustices in a pair of raucous late-night cabarets happening every Thursday night. In Week One, Alex Tigchelaar gathers a group of female artists and activists – including Jess Dobkin, Christine Pountney, Keisha Scott, and Zoe Whittall – to take on the historical erasure of women from art and social justice movements. In Week Two, Kim Crosby and Mikiki team up for a radical celebration of sex, smut, spirituality, and pleasure in the face of slut shaming and sexual violence.
• Winnipeg’s Coral Maloney and Ian Mozdzen take on the queer fetishization of cowboy culture in the riotous protest/performance WEproteSTern
• Also look for a wide selection of works that reacts to experiences of political and personal discrimination, including a response to racism within the queer community from dance sensations ILL NANA DiverseCity Dance Company and an exploration of the effects of repression on art and the human body from Adam Paolozza.
RESPONDING TO A NEED FOR INTIMACY
In stark contrast to a world that is increasingly impersonal and interactions take place almost entirely on-line, artists this year are bringing courageously intimate works to the stage to help us all reconnect in a way that only live performance can.
• The popular One-To-One Performance Series returns for a second year with a collection of close encounters designed for a single artist and one audience member at a time. Breaking down barriers between audience and performer, these projects intimately engage with audiences through acts of hand holding (Bruce Barton’s All Good Things), healing rituals (Andrew Zealley’s Disco Hospital), surrender and trust (Cathy Gordon’s Moles Dancing), remembering the dead (Rachel Steinberg’s Eulogy), and more. All of the One-to-One performances will take place at The 519 Church Street Community Centre.
• Performance artist Vincent Chevalier takes on the way we all perform ourselves on-line with an indepth disclosure of his own personal history, performed in the style of a blog
• Dance artist Andrew Tay offers up a heart warming piece that reconnects us to each other through the spirituality of shared experience.
A NEW HOME FOR DANCE ARTISTS
Rhubarb is fast becoming the venue of choice for artists with radical new experimentations in dance, and this year boasts one of our biggest dance contingents in recent memory. This year, look for adventurous and daring new dance works from George Stamos, Andrew Tay, Davy Bisaro, Sasha Kleinplatz, Ill Nana DiverseCity Dance Company, Benjamin Kamino, Brandy Leary and Priscilla Guy.
QUEER ARTISTS ON STAGE
As always, Rhubarb is the go-to venue for exciting new work by queer artists. Queer names to watch at this year’s fest include Nina Arsenault, Jordan Tannahill, Mikiki, Roy Mitchell, Vag Halen, Vincent Chevalier, Nichola Ward, Nat & Joce Tremblay, Johnny Forever, William Christopher Ellis, George Stamos, Trixie & Beever, Brescia Bloodbeard, Andrew Zealley, Kaleb Robertson, Gein Wong, Andrew Tay, and the members of Buddies’ Young Creators Unit. 3/3
SHOWCASING THE BEST OF CANADA’S THEATRE SCENE
This year also hosts a stellar collection of Canada’s most acclaimed theatre artists and rising stars as they test the boundaries of their work. Look for new works by Adam Paolozza, Michael Rubenfeld, Leora Morris, Nicolas Billon and Ravi Jain, Coral Maloney and Ian Mozdzen, Brescia Bloodbeard, Jessica Moss, Bruce Barton, and more.
HOW IT WORKS
Rhubarb is not like other festivals. There are plenty of different ways to see performances, you rarely see only one show, you’re travelling from place to place, and you often end up seeing something you never expected. Here’s a handy cheat sheet to help you decide what you want to see, and explain how you go about seeing it – all of the headings refer to the colour-coded bars you see in the show descriptions
Week One & Week Two Programs. These 12 shows run for an entire week, Wednesday to Sunday evenings, in one of the two performance spaces at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. At any given point, there are shows happening in both spaces, 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. A $20 Evening Pass gets you in to the entire night of programming.
Special Presentations. These shows are special events that happen after the regular program for one or two nights only. Admission to Special Presentations is included in your Evening Pass.
Mobile Works. These are special performances designed for public spaces, and happen in various locations around the city. The location of each performance is included in its show listing above, and some of them either travel or take place outside so remember to bundle up. All Mobile Works presentations are free.
The One-To-One Performance Series. These are intimate performance designed for a single performer and one audience member at a time – they all take place offsite at The 519 Church Street Community Centre. When booking your ticket, think of it like making an appointment: you can call ahead to our box office to schedule your personal time with an artist, or you can drop in to The 519 and see what’s available (a certain number of tickets for every performance will be held for drop-ins). Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can.
Young Creators Unit. These are 30 minute solo performances from four emerging voices that have been mentored through our Queer youth Arts Program. Performances take place every Saturday and Sunday beginning at 6PM. Each weekend features two different artists and your ticket gets you in to both performances. Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can.
Finally, a special note. The Faroe Islands will also be taking place offsite at The 519. While not a One-To-One performance, it is staged in an intimate environment for 10-15 people per show. Tickets to this Special Presentation are Pay-What-You-Can.