Brendan Healy had barely hit save on his Facebook note when speculation started to fly.
The back-patting and tear-stifling triggered by the announcement he’d be vacating his position almost immediately gave way to rampant social media chatter about who might replace him as the fifth artistic director in Buddies’ 36-year history. We won’t likely know until summer who’s stepping into those venerable shoes. But until then, we’ve assembled (in no particular order) a handful of folks who might be up for the job.
Calling Chevrier a veteran director is an understatement. Over her 30-year career, she’s staged plays for nearly every major company in the country. She ran Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company from 1995–2000 and held associate artist positions at Theatre New Brunswick, Canadian Stage and Munich’s BeMe Theatre. It’s been less than two years since she took the reins at the Montreal, feminist company Imago. But perhaps the allure of a larger stage and a bigger season could entice her to ditch her hometown and hit the 401 West?
Known equally for his critically-acclaimed theatrical works and transforming festivals like Cork Midsummer and Kilkenny Arts, the Irish director is a rising star at home and abroad. While he’s presented both conventional stage plays and quirky site-specific works in moving trains and quaint B&Bs, what sets him apart from other contenders is his extensive experience in opera. Currently an associate artist at Dublin’s Opera Theatre, he’s developing projects as part of the company’s international touring program. How could his musical sensibilities shape a company largely known for text-based works?
Though she’s barely four years out of theatre school, the Mississauga-born Hague has already built an impressive CV, working with Factory, fu-Gen, Obsidian and Shaw. Her first turn as Rhubarb’s festival director impressed both audiences and artists with her ability to create responsive, expansive programming on a shoestring budget after the festival lost its federal funding. Among potential candidates, Hague stands out as the only dramaturge in a sea of directors. How might the company develop under an artistic director who doesn’t direct?
The Victoria-native’s career exploded in 2008 with his Westboro Baptist-lampooning musical The Pastor Phelps Project. Though they never turned up, the Phelps family announced plans to picket. But the vague threat was enough: media pounced, tickets went like hotcakes and Newton became a minor celebrity. Since then, he’s built his reputation less around controversy and more through his solid artistry, with works like Of a Monstrous Child and the Canadian premiere of Edmund White’s Terre Haute. There’s a catch though: he’s supposed to enter the highly competitive joint York University/Canadian Stage MFA directing program this fall. Would he be willing to ditch school for a shot at running the world’s largest queer theatre company?
Among the community chatter, there’s probably no one more popular for the position than parry. Musician, theatre-maker and long-time youth program co-ordinator, she’s made a name as a director more quietly than some, most notably with the national touring production of Tawiah M’Carthy’s Obaaberima. Community-involved, environmentally-minded and all around awesome, there’s no telling what parry might achieve, given the time and space Buddies affords. But the demands of running the space would likely put a dent in her flourishing music career, particularly her hectic touring schedule. Would she be willing to give up life on the road to spend most of her time behind a desk?
If anyone’s tied with parry for community favourite, it’s Tannahill. The writer, director and co-proprietor of Videofag has that unique combination of talent and charm that makes him seem practically unstoppable. Governor General’s Award-winning, New York Times write-up-getting and internationally collaborating, he’s got the artistic bona fides that search committees dream of. But at the same time, he lacks the administrative experience of other candidates. Could he apply that same work ethic that’s garnered creative success to learning the intricacies of building management and human resources that the job needs?
Multitalented vagabond d’bi.young would bring unmatched international experience to the job. The Jamaican-Canadian theatre artist, dub-poet and educator has called more than a dozen countries home in the last decade. Fiercely political and community minded, she’s been instrumental in inspiring and shaping the paths of countless artists through her various workshops and youth projects. Bringing her to the helm would unquestionably put the company in dialogue with a completely different set of international artists and organizations. The only question is, would she be willing to stay in one place long enough to take the job?
Few Torontonians have heard of the Bulgarian provocateur. Famous for onstage blowjobs, auctioning off his own blood and paying audience members to sniff poppers while engaging in simulated sex, he’s unlike any other performance maker in the world right now. His extensive touring and production experience would bring much needed perspective to Canada’s antiquated systems of creation. The big issue would be whether he’d give up international stardom to run a company in little old Toronto. And if he did, would the city’s notoriously conservative audiences be ready for what he has to offer?
Want to apply for the gig yourself? The job posting is now up on the Buddies website.