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Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Toronto Presents The Gay Heritage Project November 17 to December 8 2013

From a media release:


The GHP Collective in association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre present the World Premiere of
by Damien Atkins, Paul Dunn & Andrew Kushnir

Three of our country’s most gifted creator/performers set out to answer one question: is there such a thing as gay heritage? In their search, they uncover a rich history not often shared and shine new light on contemporary gay culture. The result is a hilarious and moving homage to the people who came before us and the events that continue to shape our lives.

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre marks its 35th anniversary with a timely investigation into queer history.

Developed over the past three years in the company's Artist Residency Program and presented in workshop at The Rhubarb Festival in 2011, The Gay Heritage Project marks the partnership between three of Canada's premiere queer theatre makers and the country's largest queer theatre. The project is helmed by creator/performers Damien Atkins (recently onstage in Soulpepper's Angels in America), Paul Dunn (PIG at Buddies in Bad Times; Dangerous Liaisons, Peter Pan, Anthony and Cleopatra at Stratford), and Andrew Kushnir (creative director at Project: Humanity and writer in residence at Tarragon Theatre). The show is directed by Ashlie Corcoran (Artistic Director of The Thousand Islands Playhouse and director of A Boy Called Newfoundland for Theatre Smash) and features designs by Kimberly Purtell, Thomas Ryder Payne, and Cameron Davis.


After centuries of queer history being hidden in the closet and the loss of almost an entire generation to HIV/AIDS, The Gay Heritage Project is an important step in the excavation, preservation, and promotion of a community's cultural history.

Using their personal histories and individual cultural heritages as jumping off points, each of the three creators behind The Gay Heritage Project set out to discover their connections to queer people and events in the past. Working closely with historian J. Paul Halferty, they spent hours researching the ancient anecdotes, secret correspondences, and overlooked footnotes that currently comprise queer history. What they discovered was an array of heroes and stories that inspire, comfort, challenge, and empower.

Paul, Damien, and Andrew bring these people and stories to life on stage in rapid-fire succession using a highly physical, comedic, and fast-paced performance style. They offer us an eclectic mix of historical characters and reenactments that shed light on the forgotten champions and occurrences that created our community. In doing so, they educate us about our past and inspire us to further unearth an expansive but overlooked part of our history.

With The Gay Heritage Project, three powerhouse performers and writers come together for their first major collaboration. All three are well established on stages across the country, and have been key players in seminal works at Buddies.

It was Paul who originally planted the seed for The Gay Heritage Project. In researching a role he was playing in Hannah Moscovitch's East Of Berlin, Paul came into contact with the book The Men With the Pink Triangle by Heinz Heger – a horrific account of one man's ordeal as a gay prisoner in Hitler's concentration camps. Paul had a visceral reaction to the story and was overcome with a feeling of having an ancestor through a kind of queer lineage.

Paul began to articulate an impulse: "I suddenly wanted to reach out with one hand to those in the past and with the other to those in the present and make a connection so that those of us in the present could feel a part of something larger, so that we could feel the benefit of a heritage." Both Damien and Andrew were just as inspired by the prospect of searching for a collective queer heritage, and all three began working together as Artists in Residence at Buddies.

Buddies is thrilled to welcome these esteemed artists back to our stage for this important project. Each have played key roles in seminal works with the company. Damien's solo show Real Live Girl was one of the most successful projects the company has presented, Andrew premiered his first play Captain Princess at Buddies, and Paul Dunn played starring roles in shows as recently as this season's PIG and as far back as Robin Fulford's Steel Kiss and Gulag and Greg MacArthur's Snowman.

The GHP Collective in association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents

created and performed by Damien Atkins, Paul Dunn & Andrew Kushnir
directed by Ashlie Corcoran
Previews November 17, 19, 20 | Opening Night November 21 | Closes December 8
Runs Tues-Sat 8pm, Sat & Sun 2:30pm.
Tickets PWYC - $37
Box Office 416-975-8555 or
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street, Toronto ON


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