Toronto Queer Theatre Festival | 2020

The 2020 Festival has been cancelled due to COVID-19, but we’d still like to acknowledge the incredible work of the artists that were accepted into this year’s festival.
Their work has been automatically accepted into the 2021 festival!

Life’s Too Short To Be Straight by Jo Güstin

Jo Güstin arrived in Canada a year ago, fulfilling a lifelong dream and joining her close cousin. But he passes away while she is still on the plane to Canada and she has to deal with grief, the cultural codes of a new country, the discovery of her asexuality, and the absence of countdown when you cross the street of life. After her intersectional antiracist standup comedy show “Je n’suis pas venue ici pour souffrir, OK ?”, Jo Güstin wrote the tragicomedy show Life Is Too Short To Be Straight, her very first show in English.

Bros / Les Boys by Art Babayants

Bros/Les boys/Ախպերներ an episodic play based on personal experiences of queer people, specifically immigrant gay men living in Canada. Bros/Les boys presents six realist scenes interspersed with short Grindr-themed interludes. The scenes represent seemingly disparate stories: stories of immigration, radical displacement, everyday inhospitality, extreme religiosity, casual racism and homophobia. One of the subplots involves an Armenian-Iranian gay couple moving to a Canadian fly-over province where they find the same levels of conservatism – even though very carefully concealed under a thick layer of cold politeness – that they faced in their countries of origin.

Sarah/Frank by Steven Elliot Jackson

“Sarah/Frank” is a compelling look into the life of Sarah Edmundson who, upon leaving her home in New Brunswick, adopted the identity of Frank Thompson, and began a life that culminated with their participation as a soldier in the American Civil War, and then saw them as the first woman to receive a soldier’s war pension. Not content with the life that was preordained for them by the gender of their birth, this incredible individual chose to exist in the world on their own terms with dignity in a time when gender roles were thought so clearly defined.

Lady Dolce by Victoria Carella

Lady Dolce is a grotesque-style burlesque performance that plays with the audience’s gaze of a queer, female-presenting body. ( I acknowledge that my body alone does not represent all queer female-presenting bodies, and I do not attempt to speak on behalf of anyone.) Lady Dolce is a burlesque performer who uses food, surprising costume reveals, comedic monologues, and song to address struggles with trauma, gender identity, sexuality, and mental illness.

An October Crisis by Norm Reynolds

“An October Crisis” is a queer love story rooted in childhood, against the political backdrop of The October Crisis in Montreal, 1970. Charles and Jean-Francois are childhood friends but a misunderstanding leads to their split. Can they reconcile twenty years later, or has each changed too much to make redemption possible? Sometimes you don’t know what love is except when it’s different from everything else.

Mr. Wonderful & I by Isaac Mulè

MAN has finally written a show!
After years of putting it off and being too scared, he has finally written a show about his dog Sheldon, aka, Mr. Wonderful. MAN begins by taking us on a journey about how Sheldon came into his life. However, half way through, we realize that Sheldon has been telling the story, the whole time. MAN suffers from BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), and never finished writing the show.
Once the script runs out, Sheldon is forced to step forward and reveal the truth to the audience. That he didn’t want this opportunity to be wasted, and decided to perform for MAN, so he could see how wonderful he is.
This is a show about mental health, how difficult it can be to navigate on a daily basis, and why it is important to talk about it. This story needs to be told because more people need to understand how complex and challenging it is to struggle with mental health, especially BPD. And it is important for the people with mental health to be able to share their story, to have a platform to use their voice and share their experience so as a society we can learn to be more understanding.

Back Breast Fly Free by Elijah Cox

Colin and Seth are swimmers at Stanford, and the NCAA championship is two months away. With little time left to qualify for the A Standard, Colin needs to step up his game. But when Seth gets a little to close for comfort, the two’s friendship, and Colin’s chances of qualifying, are put to the test. Written under the theme “taboo”, BACK BREAST FLY FREE explores masculinity, sexuality, sports, and how to embrace discomfort.

Gender? I Hardly Know Them by Elena Eli Belyea + Sydney Campbell

“Gender, I Hardly Know Them” is a smorgasbord of the political, surreal, raunchy and ridiculous, tackling complicated subjects with risk, rigor, and wit. Dad jokes, first dates and catcalls collide in this joyfully provocative show that will leave you breathless, whatever your pronouns.