Have you been CRAVING more indie, independent, and emerging theatre artists dedicated to creating experimental and powerful work? Us too. 

There’s no better way to make your theatre dreams come true than to head out to this year’s Rhubarb Festival. Hosted at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, this festival is designed to uplift and promote the stories of emerging queer artists with groundbreaking ideas, joyful events, and adventurous workshops. When you purchase a ticket, you get full access to all the performances and events of that day. How cool!

The Rhubarb Festival challenges conventional notions of art-making and art-watching, offering audiences an immersive experience of the most adventurous ideas in performance, told by some of the bravest artists in Toronto right now.  

Rhubarb is back for its 45th year, and plans to transform Buddies into a hotbed of experimentation, art, and creativity. Here’s our guide to which artists and performances you do NOT want to miss: 

Photo by Isabel Okoro

isi bhakhomenMami – February 8

Drawing inspiration from Victoria Santa Cruz’s spoken word poem, Me Gritaron Negra!, this solo performance delves into intergenerational curses between mothers and daughters.

Brigita Gedgaudas Be Vardų Be Kojų – February 8,10

Be Vardų, Be Kojų (Without Names, Without Legs) is an ongoing investigation of queer futures in the Lithuanian folk dance tradition. This iteration is realized as a performative, interactive projection. Translating human movement through live motion capture with glitched photograms made from 3D scanning dancers, this piece imagines and creates space for queerness in both folk dance tradition and Lithuanian culture.

Photo by Tyler J Sloane

Elizabeth Staples Chez Moi – February 9, 11

In this solo-performance love letter to the dyke bars of Toronto, Liz Staples pays homage to Chez Moi, a jazz-lounge-converted lesbian bar. Armed with a vocal loop pedal and synth beats, a young sapphic DJ hears echoes of lesbians through time, and celebrates the people who built the spaces she dances in.

Ashley T. Photo by Sly Play Studios

The Young In Craft Cabaret – February 9 

Hosted by xLq, this mosaic of theatre includes Ashley T’s Screaming For Care. Drawing on personal lived experience and historical research, this performance confronts the audience with the healthcare system’s neglect and abuse of Black women. Also featured is Athnony (Ani) Palermo’s She, Men, and The Giant Fucking Snake, a theatrical pop-rock song-cycle about gender identity and sexual assault in queer spaces. Other performing artists include Cloud, Valentine Leger, Sindi Pinari, and Evan Webb.

Lester Trips (Theatre) HONEY I’M HOME – February 16,17

What’s a Hard Working Full-time Careerperson to do when her entire job is done by AI, but her body still has to show up to work? To combat her raging boredom, Janine uploads her consciousness into her home, literally. Slow wifi soon leads to a horrifying discovery in this physical theatre body horror mystery.

Check out the full lineup and buy a ticket using their sliding scale pricing to ensure that the price of your ticket is the most accessible for you.