Founded in 1979, The Rhubarb Festival here in Toronto has been paramount to the city’s art scene, and going on sale in January with performances from February 12-23, The Rhubarb Festival has been hailed as the “go to event for thought-provoking, political, adventurous entertainment”. Being in the city for only less than a year, I’ve been profoundly and pleasantly surprised at the inspired and creative theatre here in Toronto, namely in the LGBT community, none more striking so far than The Gay Heritage Project, an unreal performance that just finished its run and moved a lot of people in this city continuing an already great season for Buddies In Bad Times. Needless to say, I am very excited for my first Rhubarb year.
To put an unnecessary grey cloud over the matter, however, The Rhubarb Festival this year, a festival that creates a lot of buzz in the arts community, has been denied funding by The Department of Canadian Heritage, to the shock of all involved. Although this has happened once before, after being previously denied, Buddies, the oldest and largest running queer theatre in the world, was given clear instructions on the criteria missing so that they could quickly receive funding on a project that aims to preserve local heritage. This year, no explanation was given:
After almost two weeks of letter writing, blog posting, and a shout out to the community for their help, still no response has been given to Buddies In Bad Times, so the theatre itself has started a petition, “so that we can demonstrate the broad community of support behind our request”, and are now asking for your help to grab the attention of the Canadian government.
In just two minutes, and with a just a signature, you can help a very pivotal aspect of the arts scene here in Toronto by signing this petition, and making a strong statement to the newly appointed Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, the Honourable Shelly Glover, that without any significant changes, or shifts in policies or priorities this year, The Rhubarb Festival still meets the program’s objective:
“to engage citizens in their local communities through performing and visual arts, as well as through the expression, celebration, and preservation of local historical heritage.”
Also follow this link to buddiesinbadtimes.com to get updates on this issue and put in your two cents, and if you want to hear a disappointing answer by Glover herself, watch the video below: