The Queer Pride 2020 Festival will extend beyond the walls of the Buddies in Bad Times theatre at 12 Alexander St. this year. Although there will be limited in-person events (with physical distancing measures in place), this year’s festival will mainly explore performance, art, music, and parties through livestream events.
“In response to the pandemic, which has altered so many realities in such a short time, we have pivoted our annual Queer Pride Festival from a celebration where our communities gather at Buddies to one that brings the Buddies spirit out into our communities,” festival artistic director Evalyn Parry and Metcalf Foundation artistic director intern Daniel Carter said in a statement. “The programming continues our proud tradition of provocative, genre-defying, and boundary-pushing performance, and the artists in this year’s festival have dreamed up new (as well as old-school) ways to forge connection across the distances between us, to celebrate our Queer Pride together this year like never before.”
Queer Pride is radical love and defiant self-expression. It is a time to celebrate everything that we are and can be, and reimagine the spaces we create for all of our communities to come together in safety.
— BuddiesTO (@buddiesTO) June 1, 2020
On June 24 at 9 p.m., Buddies teams up with CBC Arts to present Queer Pride Inside: A Buddies in Bad Times Cabaret — a live digital cabaret hosted by comic Elvira Kurt, with performances in drag, burlesque, storytelling, and music. The lineup includes performers such as Tawiah M’Carthy, Ivan Coyote, Stewart Legere and Les Femmes Fatales. The presentation will be available on the CBC Gem streaming service.
The month’s digital presentations will be capped off by Good Grief: Queer and Trans Reflections on the Edge of Survival, an emerging creators unit presentation in partnership with b current performing arts. The presentation will be digitally simulcast by Buddies and will include emerging queer voices such as Gabe Maharjan and Merlin Simard.
Offline celebrations will include mail-out projects (such as having colourful, hand-stencilled postcards sent to a loved one to celebrate Pride), pop-up performances outside Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (June 25) and even a Pride pen pal program.
In addition to Queer Pride going digital this year to help curb the spread of COVID-19, Pride Toronto will host a virtual pride parade online on June 28.
The decision was made after the city confirmed the cancellation of all mass participation events and permits for festivals, conferences, events and cultural programs, organized by the city or external groups to help slow the spread of COVID-19.