Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Toronto, Canada

Mission and Mandate

"Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is a professional Canadian theatre company dedicated to the development and presentation of queer theatre . . . Buddies in Bad Times strives to be the leading alternative, facility-based theatre in Toronto. We are committed to work that challenges the boundaries of theatrical and social convention. As a company, we celebrate difference and question assumptions."

Queer. adj.

1. referring to the LGBTQ community.

2. referring to anything outside of the norm.


Buddies was founded in 1979 by Sky Gilbert, Matt Walsh and Jerry Ciccoritti. Their first production was Gilbert's Angels in Underwear, and was staged in an old brewery. The company has achieved notoriety as a queer theatre, it was founded with the intent to put on stage productions of works of poetry. They describe themselves as "unapologetically political, fiercely pro-sexual, and fundamentally anti-establishment".

Buddies moved from location to location for a decade, and finally settled into a permanent space in 1991. They moved into their current location, which is larger and more versatile than the previous one, in 1994.

The original artistic director, Sky Gilbert, was devoted to pushing boundaries and causing upset. He staged provocative productions for the sake of provocation and was notorious for being a crossdresser. He stepped down in 1997 and was replaced by Sarah Garton Stanley, who was in turn replaced by David Oiye in 1999. Oiye focused mainly on supporting queer youth.

Brendan Healy, Buddies in Bad Times Artistic Director

In 2009, Brendan Healy took over and expanded the company's success exponentially. He introduced touring productions and led Buddies to heightened critical acclaim and an award for Best Small Theatre Company from Now Magazine.

What They Do

Buddies often puts on shows that are concerned with issues of gender, sexuality and individuality, as would be indicated by their mission statement. A lot of their work involves elements of gender-bending or cross-dressing. They describe their 2012-13 season as "a season that empowers the individual as an agent of social change".

The company is also heavily involved in the support of queer youth. Their Queer Youth Arts Program is devoted to developing the "artistic voices" of the next LGBTQ generation and creating a place for those voices to be heard.