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Annual Report

2015/16 Season

Artistic Director’s Message This queer institution has spent 38 years making theatre history. Our 2015/16 Season was another groundbreaking year for Buddies, this time inspired by local, national, and international queer histories and trailblazers. From the premieres of Gertrude and Alice and Body Politic, to the remount and national tour of The Gay Heritage Project, the season probed questions of queer ancestry and the evolution of queer liberation, asking us to think about where we have come from, who and what is remembered, and who we are now. This was a season of transition: my first in the seat of Artistic Director, programmed by out-going Artistic Director Brendan Healy, who directed the brilliant, provocative, and controversial season opener The 20th of November. We welcomed new leadership in our Youth Program, several brand new projects into our residency program, as well as new leadership and members on our Board of Directors. When the buildings next door to us were torn down – giving Buddies startling and unprecedented street visibility on Yonge Street – we promptly put up a bold new sign, announcing to the neighbourhood that we’re not going anywhere: Buddies is here to stay and we’re keeping queer culture alive right at the centre, in the beating heart of this city. I want to thank Buddies staff, the board, the volunteers, who have all welcomed me in my new role, and who continue to make this place such an important cultural destination: renowned not just in Canada, but around the world. And of course, it is our donors who make it possible for us to continue to create and deliver the very best in new, boundary-pushing queer theatre. I look forward to what is to come. We’ve got big plans.

Evalyn Parry Artistic Director

Chair’s Message As I reflect on the five years I’ve served on Buddies’ board of directors, I can see how all the positive steps forward – and one or two setbacks – have brought us to our current position of strength. The Harper and Ford years weren’t fun for anyone in the arts sector or the LGBT movement, so the new political landscape is of course welcome. But here at the home of queer theatre, we’ve become an ever more resilient family. And rather than protecting our own turf, as we see happening globally in these bizarre political times, we’ve thrown open our doors to become ever more welcoming to diverse voices and opinions. This opening up began under the auspices of former Artistic Director Brendan Healy and continues in very meaningful ways under Evalyn Parry, whom we welcomed after an intensive hiring process in the fall of 2016. I couldn’t be prouder to be the lesbian feminist Chair of an organization with a lesbian feminist Artistic Director. Evalyn and General Manager Shawn Daudlin delivered a 2015/16 season so packed with mind-blowing programming that they and all the staff moved in a blur for a solid ten months, slowing only to listen attentively to patrons, funders, donors, artists, and other stakeholders. Their knowledge of the Canadian theatre landscape will serve us well as we launch future seasons and prepare for major improvements to 12 Alexander Street. I think it’s fair to say that a Buddies renaissance is underway! Keeping up with a crack team of employees, the board of directors has also grown into our role as stewards of this invaluable cultural resource, putting in place so many of the structural and policy pieces such a bustling enterprise demands. On behalf of the board, I thank the artists, staff, and supporters whose impact reaches so far.

Mary Breen Chair, Board of Directors

Our Artistic Mission Buddies in Bad Times Theatre creates vital Canadian theatre by developing and presenting voices that question sexual and cultural norms. Built on the political and social principles of queer liberation, Buddies supports artists and works that reflect and advance these values. As the world’s longest-running and largest queer theatre, Buddies is uniquely positioned to develop, promote, and preserve stories and perspectives that are challenging and alternative. Buddies achieves artistic excellence through its mainstage season programming, artist-residency program, and youth-based initiatives. Buddies serves a broad segment of the population who share a passion for theatre that celebrates difference.

Our Values Buddies in Bad Times Theatre has identified three core values that serve as guiding pillars for all our activities and operations. DIFFERENCE: With our art, we simultaneously celebrate difference and question the mechanisms through which differences are constructed and maintained. With our space, we create an accessible and inclusive environment for everyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, economic position, race, creed, age, national origin, physical ability, or mental ability. With our daily interactions, we foster respect and dignity among all people. EXCELLENCE: We provide our audiences with unforgettable theatre experiences, and we give our artists and staff the resources they need to achieve the highest standards of excellence. COMMUNITY: We believe that the theatre plays a vital role in the educational, social, and economic health of a community. We strive to be a positive force by encouraging collaboration and constructive dialogue among the various groups and individuals who make up our community.

2015/16 in Numbers 30,160

people came through our doors


young people accessed our youth program


artists, designers, and technicians were employed at Buddies


people joined our customer loyalty program Buddies Rewards


nights of theatre happened on our stage


volunteers helped make everything we do possible


community groups accessed our space for performances, meetings, and fundraisers


of the writers and directors in our season were women


of the writers and directors in our season were artists of colour


new theatre works were performed on our stage


Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations for shows in our Mainstage Season

In the Press The 20th of November “The 20th of November is shocking, antagonizing but thrilling” -Toronto Star

“A compelling play… with a beautifully nuanced performance by Sina Gilani” -The Slotkin Letter

Gertrude and Alice “Parry and Chatterton make us thankful for the arrival of these two legendary women” -Toronto Star

“Incredibly compelling… a picture of a complicated but devoted couple that had tears streaming down my face” -My Entertainment Wolrd

Body Politic “One leaves the theatre feeling grateful that we have a production which itself now becomes part of our historical record of how we as gays and lesbians (literally) grew up” -Positive Lite

“All these moments, performed by a strong ensemble… illustrate the power of the city’s gay community rallying together for the first time and the strength gained from that solidarity” -Toronto Star

The Gay Heritage Project “A fun and thought-provoking magical history tour” -Review Vancouver

“A funny, high-speed, inventive quest for meaning” -Edmonton Journal

No Strings (Attached) “Very entertaining and creative… absolutely wonderful to watch” -Mooney on Theatre

photo of The 20th of November by Jeremy Mimnagh

A Year of Change As condo towers rise around us and as our neighbourhood enters an unprecedented transformation, Buddies saw many changes of its own in 2015/16. New faces and expanded programs kicked off an era of exciting growth and change that will continue into the years ahead.

The 20th ofAccessibility Expanded November Working with our co-producers lemonTree creations, we offered our first ASL-Interpreted and Audio-Described performances during the run of Body Politic. This is a significant step towards dismantling the barriers in our theatre and will continue to be an important part of future programming.

The 20th New Executive of November Leadership Our board president Derek Billsman reached the end of his term at our Annual General Meeting in November and we welcomed the new executive slate of Mary Breen (President), Elliot Smith (Treasurer), and Cathrin Winkelmann (Secretary). We also grew our board, welcoming new members Chris Ironside and Lionel Tona.

The 20th New Artistic of November Collaborators We welcomed a number of new artists into the fold this past year through our artist training and development programs. Playwrights Catherine Hernandez and Naomi Abiola joined the Buddies Residency Program, and Leelee Davis took the helm of our Queer Youth Arts Program following the departure of Chy Ryan Spain.

A New Artistic Director In June 2015, acclaimed theatre artist and long-time Buddies collaborator Evalyn Parry was named the new artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

“I am thrilled to take the reins of this ground breaking company which has played such a significant role in my own development as a queer artist.” For over a decade, Parry has been a regular fixture at Buddies as a performer, director, and playwright. Parry’s critically acclaimed show SPIN, which premiered at Buddies in 2011, recently returned to the Buddies stage following a multi-year tour to cities across North America.

She’s known to audiences around the continent for her award-winning, genre-defying work and complex, witty, and unorthodox approach to her subject matter. As the head of the company’s Young Creators Unit, she helped develop over 40 new theatrical works by young queer artists – most notably directing Mark Shyzer’s Fishbowl, and Tawiah M’Carthy’s Obaaberima (Dora Award for Outstanding Production).

“Buddies’ mandate and mission couldn’t be more closely aligned with my own values; I look forward to continuing to create boundary-pushing theatre on our stages with an even greater diversity of queer voices and perspectives.” photo by Alejandro Santiago

Queer Youth

photo of the 2016 Emerging Creators Unit by Alejandro Santiago

ArtsTheProgram Emerging Creators Unit Formerly known as the Young Creators Unit under the direction of Evalyn Parry, the 2016 program was the first delivered by our new program director Sunny Drake. Key changes were made to the program to allow for a greater diversity of artists and forms, increasing the age limit and allowing for different creative processes than the traditional writer-centered one-person show. Originally from Australia, Sunny has been making a big impact here in Toronto since arriving five years ago, most recently with a sold-out run of his show No Strings (Attached) as part of our 2015/16 Season. As always, members of the unit presented their work at The Rhubarb Festival in February to enthusiastic audiences.

Queer Emerging Artist Award Buddies’ prestigious Queer Emerging Artist Award was presented to Toronto playwright, performer, and community organizer Katie Sly. Katie’s work is multidisciplinary, asking questions about gender, beauty, art, kink, memory, trauma, sex, human connection, fear, and love in a way that is essentially queer and resonates with queer audiences on a deep and visceral level. We were so proud to present Katie with this award. Following their career closely since they joined our Queer Youth Arts Program several years ago, we have seen them become a formidable young artist and curator with a truly bright future ahead. The Buddies Queer Emerging Artist Award was established in 2014 thanks to a gift from the estate of John Alan Lee.

We were honoured to partner with photographer Paul Lampert for an exciting project throughout our 2015/16 Season. Paul spent the entire year with us as part of an ongoing effort to document Toronto theatre from behind the scenes. See the full collection of photos at

(clockwise from left) Alisa Palmer directs the cast of Body Politic; Anna Chatterton prepares for Gertrrude and Alice; Jonathan Seinen and Diane Flacks in the dressing room for Body politic; Evalyn Parry in dress rehearsal for Gertrude and Alice. All photos by Paul Lampert.

Buddies Residency Program Our 2015/16 Season saw exponential growth and success for our residency program and the artists it supports. For the first time ever, multiple residency shows hit our main stage, with Gertrude and Alice from The Independent Aunties, Body Politic from lemonTree Creations as well as the return of The Gay Heritage Project. We also showcased new work in progress from resident artists Sharron Matthews, Ryan G. Hinds, Saga Collectif, and The Red Light District. Due to overwhelming interest in this program, we posted our first-ever open call for submissions to join the program. This was a major step forward in this vital and growing initiative that introduced us to an incredible group of artists from all across our city. With the support of our Residency Program Sponsor BMO Financial Group, this program continues to deliver immeasurable value to our community of artists, our city, and to places across Canada. photo of Gertrude and Alice by Jeremy Mimnagh

Gay Heritage Project on Tour In January, the Dora-nominated and critically-acclaimed hit, The Gay Heritage Project, returned to Buddies for an extended engagement before embarking on a nationwide tour. Buddies was proud to bring back this audience favourite and share it with Canadian audiences on a tour that reached the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Victoria’s Belfry Theatre, and The Cultch in Vancouver. This is the second year in a row that a show from our residency program has gone on tour, helping cement Buddies as a leader in the national discussion on contemporary queer life.

“A funny, high-speed, inventive quest for meaning” -Edmonton Journal

“The trio are magnetic stage presences with excellent comic timing… The Gay Heritage Project is a must see” -The Vancouver Sun

photo of The Gay Heritage Project by Guntar Kravis

Show Patron Program Our community of donors grew in a major way in 2015/16 thanks to an inspiring gift from long-time friends Erin Shields and Gideon Arthurs, who wanted to show their support for our annual Rhubarb Festival. They wanted their gift to be a way of encouraging others to give as well, and from this desire our Show Patron Program was born. This new program is where leaders in our donor community make high-impact investments in the development and presentation of a specific show or project. In 2015/16, this program generated $32,000 in support for three projects in our season.

Our 2015/16 Show and Festival Patrons The 37th Rhubarb Festival Erin Shields and Gideon Arthurs

Gertrude and Alice The K. M. Hunter Charitable Foundation

Body Politic The Lawrence Family Foundation Charles Hill David Gibson David Rayside David Mole Dennis Findlay Ed Jackson Garth Norbraten + Greg Lichti Gerald Hannon Lawrence Bennett Ken Popert Rick Archbold

Financials Despite increased fundraising revenues and marked decrease in expenses, 2015/16 saw a deficit due to an unprecedented decline in bar revenues. Another significant factor is that the later dates of Toronto Pride 2016 pushed a highly lucrative weekend outside of this fiscal year. Thankfully, years of successful financial management have left the company with a healthy accumulated surplus that insulated our artistic programming from this temporary setback.

Revenues $1,430,008 Government Grants 38% Ticket Sales / Venue Rental 25% Bar Sales 20% Fundraising 17%

Expenses $1,522,780 Artistic Fees / Salaries 44% Production Costs 23%

Administration / Maintenance 11%

Bar Costs 10%

Marketing / Communications 10%

Development 2%

Our Donors

Thank you to all of the people who made a donation during our 2015/16 Season


Legacy Circle

Erin Shields + Gideon Arthurs Gerald Lunz + Rick Mercer Jim Lawrence + David Salak Russell Mathew + Scott Ferguson

Ed Cabell + Roy Forrester Jim Robertson + Jim Scott John Alan Lee Russell Mathew + Scott Ferguson

Benefactors Ayse Turak Bob Gallagher Craig Hanson David Demchuk Derek Billsman Ed Cabell + Roy Forrester Elliot Smith + Jonathan Steels J.P. Bickell Foundation James Tennyson John Stanley + Helmut Reichenbacher John W. Dow Karim Karsan + John Rider Ken Aucoin + Gerald Crowell

Ken Moffatt Lawrence Bennett Mandy McNeil + Bek McNeil Mark German Mark Peacock Martha McCain Michael Boyuk Monica Scholz The NigE Gough Shine On Foundation Paul Butler + Chris Black Scott Windsor Stephen McGregor + Tony De Franco William Hodge + Robert Wylie

Champions Brian Terry The Charlie + Lulu Franklin Fund at the Calgary Foundation Darren Gobert Ed Mirvish Family Foundation

Evalyn Parry Jack Wilkie + Rick Kong Paul Leonard Richard Bingham Sheila Lynn Cavanagh

Friends + Partners Adam Kirkham Adrian Mitchell Alex Rafuse + Uros Karadzic Ali Khadivi Alnoor Karmali + Doug Arcand Amy Cooper Anne Powell + Nan Carruthers Anonymous Barbara Fingerote Benjamin Kaasa Betty Carlyle Beverley Harris Bob White Brandon Moore Brian Sambourne Caroline Balderston-Parry Cathrin Winkelmann Celebrating Ed Cabell’s Birthday Charles Greiner Charles Pavia Cliff Dempster

Cole Alvis in Honour of RenĂŠ Highway Daniel David Moses Daniel Kinrys Daniela L. Marciano Dave Steinberg David Lint David Oiye Derek Newton Don Ainslie Don Love Eileen Nemzer Eve Goldberg + Ellen Long Frank DeFelice Gerry Asselstine Gilles Marchildon Gordon Floyd Harriet + Andrew Lyons Hersh Zeifman Ian Wilson Ingrid Hansen

Ingrid Randoja James Clark Jamie MacDonald Jason Oord Jayne Schneider Jeff Hammond Jeff Hayes Jim Robertson + Jim Scott John Austin + Chris Lorway John Hague Jon Kaplan In Memory of Jonathan Crombie Jonathan Heppner Jonathan Menna Joseph Mulder Julia Laird in Honour of David Condren Julie Christian Ken Popert Kenny Chan Kim Koyama Kristin Davis Laura Nanni Lawrence Campbell Lawrence Moore Lea Rossiter Lesley Nicholls Mandy McNeil + Bek McNeil Marc Michell Marcia Blumberg Marco Posadas Mardi Matthews

Mary Breen Matthew Jocelyn Michael H. Redhill Michel Beauvais Mitsuko Sada Naomi Campbell Neil Betteridge Paul Hartwick Paul Klein Paula Grgurich in Memory of Angelica Ruby Milo Pauline Pelletier Pearse Murray Peter Taylor Philip Boswell Raymond Helkio Richard McLellan Rui Pires Sean Guist Shannon Teskey Shira Hart Spencer Harrison Susanna Reid Sybil Wilkinson Tammi Jamison Thompson Nguyen Tom Keogh + Paul McClure Torry Lowenbach Tracey Hoyt in Memory of Jonathan Crombie Wes D. Pearce William Alexander Barclay

Monthly Donors Ayse Turak Barbara Fingerote Betty Carlyle Cathrin Winkelmann Charles Pavia Cole Alvis - in Honour of RenĂŠ Highway Daniela L. Marciano David Demchuk Derek Billsman Ed Cabell + Roy Forrester Elliot Smith + Jonathan Steels Gilles Marchildon Gordon Floyd Ingrid Randoja Jamie MacDonald Jayne Schneider Jim Robertson + Jim Scott Karim Karsan + John Rider Ken Aucoin + Gerald Crowell Kim Koyama

Laura Nanni Lawrence Moore Mandy McNeil + Bek McNeil Mary Breen Michel Beauvais Mitsuko Sada Paul Klein Paul Leonard Paula Grgurich - in Memory of Angelica Ruby Milo Peter Taylor Richard Bingham Richard McLellan Rui Pires Sheila Lynn Cavanagh Susanna Reid Thompson Nguyen Tom Keogh + Paul McClure Wes D. Pearce William Hodge + Robert Wylie

Donations are listed from the 2015/16 Fiscal Year (July 1 - June 30). We apologize for any errors or ommissions.

Corporate Sponsors

lead corporate sponsor

festival sponsor

queer media partner

Public Agencies an Ontario government agency un organisme du gouvernement de l’Ontario


media sponsor

The Company artistic director EVALYN PARRY general manager SHAWN DAUDLIN head of production CHARISSA WILCOX director of development & communications MARK AIKMAN company dramaturge + rhubarb festival director MEL HAGUE emerging creators unit director SUNNY DRAKE youth program coordinator LEELEE DAVIS playwrights in residence JENNA HARRIS* + TED WITZEL* technical director ADRIEN WHAN manager of fundraising ALYSHA HAUGEN public relations coordinator AIDAN MORISHITA-MIKI box office + foh manager BARRY HIGGINS asst. box office + foh manager KRISTA WHITE chamber technician SUZIE BALOGH cabaret technician STEPH RAPOSO finance manager CYNTHIA MURDY bar manager PATRICIA WILSON asst. bar manager GLENN DWYER box office representatives SADIE EPSTEIN-FINE, DANIEL BOWEN, MONICA GARRIDO, SHANE GRAMLICH, BROCK HESSEL, CARLOS LARON, FRANNY MCCABE-BENNETT, JOHN CJ MURPHY, DARCY STOOP, CURTIS TE BRINKE bar personnel CHARLIE BOUYS, CORSER DUPONT, MICHAEL MACKID

Board of Directors Buddies in Bad Times Theatre MARY BREEN (chair) ELLIOT SMITH (treasurer) CATHRIN WINKELMANN (secretary) CHRIS IRONSIDE, GORDON FLOYD, LIONEL TONA

The Alexander Street Theatre Project CATHY GORDON (chair) ELLIOT SMITH (treasurer) MARY BREEN (secretary) KRISTYN WONG-TAM *Jenna and Ted’s residencies are supported by the Ontraio Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

2015/16 Annual Report  

for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

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