Ryan G Hinds would like nothing more than to have each and every queer person in Toronto enter his special space. That is, he wants everyone to attend the four shows that he will perform as Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s cabaret artist in residence for the 2014/15 season.
Hinds recently discontinued his recurring show at The Flying Beaver to make time for his new role at Buddies. It was necessary, but he will remember his time on Parliament Street fondly. “Without having done a year and a half at the Pubaret, I don’t think I’d be as equipped as I am to do this residency,” he says.
Buddies’ artist residency program provides performers with what they need — from dramaturgical to administrative support — so that they can embark on more ambitious projects and really focus on their work.
For Hinds, this means that for the first time he will perform a solo cabaret show accompanied by not one, but three musicians: Mark Selby (musical direction and piano), Ross McIntyre (bass) and Julian Clarke (percussion). He will also have fewer guests, focusing instead on singing complex songs that require him to get into character. He’ll cover everything from musical theatre to classic rock to songs from the 1920s.
He hopes that he will form a close bond with each audience. “By the end of the residency, I want the audience to feel like they’re on intimate terms with me,” he says suggestively.
For the first three shows, Hinds will perform only material that he has never performed before. The final performance, for Pride 2015, will be a “best of” show. “The challenge will be finding a narrative arc for each evening so that it’s not just a collection of loosely related songs and stories,” he says.
The first show, called Starry Notions, will be equal parts Broadway, vaudeville, standup comedy and performance art. It will also feature bassoon quartet Das Fagott Mannschaft.
The residency is a coming-full-circle experience for Hinds. “My first Toronto theatre performance was at Buddies when I was 18,” he says. “And, actually, the title of the first show ties into the idea of me being 18 and singing onstage at Buddies for the first time and having ideas about the kind of performer I wanted to be someday. Sixteen years later, all of my starry notions have come true.”