Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: Queer Art Takes the Stage


Photo © Vanessa Fortin

Toronto’s leading destination for queer voices and stories for the stage

For 44 years and counting, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre has been a platform for queer artists and queer stories. Established in 1979 and located in downtown Toronto’s queer village, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is the world’s largest and longest-running queer theatre, a pillar of the community and of Canadian live performance.

Over its four decades of operation, Buddies has premiered over 1,000 new works, alongside two annual festivals—the Rhubarb Festival and Queer Pride Festival—and intergenerational community-focused programming. But beyond the stage, Buddies has also been a place for queer artists to nurture their creative endeavours.

The Emerging Creators Unit, an intensive, artist-driven, mentor-supported model for creatives, works with a small cohort of artists each year to develop their artistic practice and production skills. The program’s focus shifts from year to year, continuously broadening its horizons and exploring new mediums of performance and expression, thus expanding the range of talents among the theatre’s creatives.

The Buddies residency program, which builds longer-term relationships with artists, is one of the only programs in Canada solely devoted to creating and developing original queer works for the stage. Buddies works with writers, theatre collectives, directors, performance artists, and choreographers to create meaningful opportunities to explore new work and the creative process through a distinctly queer lens.

Using an artist-centred approach, this program provides the time, space, and resources needed to develop projects that will often be presented at Buddies and beyond. This year’s residency artists include Bilal Baig, Heath V. Salazar, Pencil Kit Productions, and Julie Phan.

buddies in bad times theatre
Photo © Vanessa Fortin

This fall marks Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s 44th season! As part of a presentation series in November, Buddies welcomes Montréal-based Mauritian-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist, educator, writer, and community-arts facilitator Kama La Mackerel, who is adapting their award-winning poetry collection, zom-fam, into an interdisciplinary solo stage performance.

“In Mauritian Kreol, zom-fam means ‘man-woman’ or ‘transgender,’” the show description reads. “This intimate solo brings to the stage Kama La Mackerel’s award-winning eponymous poetry collection. Through dance, storytelling, spoken word, and ritual, the piece weaves together ancestral voices, femme tongues, broken colonial languages, and a tender queer subjectivity, all of which grapple with the legacy of plantation servitude.”

Every season at Buddies creates vital Canadian theatre, sharing stories, perspectives, and voices that are challenging, alternative, and diverse. Performances that celebrate and preserve these stories are part of what makes theatre magical. Find showtimes and tickets at buddiesinbadtimes.com

Get your free copy of Global Heroes, jam-packed with positive news, straight in your inbox.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Established in 1979, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is Toronto’s leading destination for artistically rigorous alternative theatre and a world leader in developing queer voices and stories for the stage. 


Subscribe to our Newsletter and Access all issues of Global Heroes News straight in your inbox. 100% free, no purchase necessary, for life. Uplifting stories, highlighting the inspirational efforts of everyday people, celebrities, and organizations, who are diligently working together towards practical solutions to global problems.