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Evalyn Parry is an award- winning, queer feminist performance-maker and theatrical innovator whose work as a director, writer/performer, musician and collaborator is inspired by intersections of history, social justice and auto/biography.

She is the artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in  Toronto. Before taking on this role in 2015, Parry built a singular career as a creator, performer and producer of new work for the stage. Working across disciplines of theatre, music and literary performance, Parry’s deeply collaborative practice, combined with her impressive track record of independent producing, long history in the queer and arts community and her interest in socially/politically engaged performance, made her a natural fit for the leadership of this unique theatrical institution. Parry has enjoyed a long history with Buddies; as well as being a home for much of her early theatrical work, in addition she was director of their Young Creators Unit (now Emerging Creators Unit) for over a decade, during which time she lead the selection and development over 40 new theatrical works by young queer artists including Waawaate Fobister, Jordan Tannahill, Flerida Pena, Shaista Latif, Tawiah M’Carthy, Katie Sly, and many more.  

Since taking the reigns at Buddies in 2015, Parry has helmed three significant mainstage projects: Gertrude and Alice, The Youth/Elders Project and Kiinalik:These Sharp Tools.  Through these singular works, in combination with her industry-leading programming and curation, Buddies continues to be one of Canada’s leading contemporary theatre companies.

Parry is the recipient of numerous awards, including the KM Hunter Award for Theatre, the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, and the Ken McDougall Award for upcoming director; in addition, she has been acknowledged with multiple Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations for her work as director, writer, performer and composer, and most recently, a nomination for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards for her play Gertrude and Alice (with Anna Chatterton and Karin Randoja).  In 2018 her show Kiinalik:These Sharp Tools (co-created with Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Erin Brubacher, Elysha Poirier and Cris Derksen) took home the Dora Award for Outstanding New Play, as well as Sound Design/Composition; the first play she directed for Buddies mainstage in 2012, Obaaberima by Tawiah M’Carthy, took the Dora for Outstanding Production and went on to tour nationally.

Parry’s critically acclaimed show SPIN (about the feminist history of the bicycle) was developed and first produced at Buddies in 2011; it has toured extensively around Canada and the USA, logging more than 300 performances around North America, from the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse to the Lincoln Center in New York City and many places in between.   She is a founding member of the acclaimed feminist collective Independent Aunties, with whom she has co-authored and performed six plays, including the recent Gertrude and Alice, Breakfast, and their award-winning festival favourite Clean Irene & Dirty Maxine).

In addition to her theatrical productions, Parry has produced five albums of music and poetry; her work has been included in numerous anthologies and made into short films.  She lives in Toronto with her wife and her dog.

 

Praise for SPIN

“Part theatre, part musical gig, part spoken-word poetry and part documentary… whatever it is, it is brilliant.” Toronto Star

“Spectacular” NOW Magazine

“The depth Parry gives to the concept of the bicycle through her script is quite staggering.”  Torontoist 

“Annie Londonderry’s story becomes a portal into Parry’s own life and heart and that is what gives the show such resonance.”  Calgary Sun

SPIN is polished folk performance art…the lyrics are potently lean and the arrangements, including Parry and Hart’s harmonies, are sensuously textured” Georgia Straight, Vancouver

“Inspiring and illuminating, SPIN is worth a ride regardless of your cycling credentials.” CVV Magazine, Victoria

“A breath of fresh air.”  The Globe & Mail

“Part spoken word performance, part rock concert, part political manifesto…completely awesome.” Mooney on Theatre, Toronto

 

In print

“equally funny and dangerous… this is a songwriter who takes us into uncharted waters” CBC Radio

“…Parry breathes new life into the folk tradition with her politics, passion and poetry” Penguin Eggs, Canada’s Folk, Roots and World Music Magazine

“Parry redefines political folk music…keeps you in rapt attention” Halifax Daily News

“Parry weaves a profound lyrical tapestry through each song…tackles socio-political issues with humour and intelligence” Nanaimo News, BC

“She cleverly dances the line between bottled rage…and sweet hilarity” Xtra Magazine, Toronto

“Politically informed folk-pop poetry with a wicked sense of humour” NOW Magazine

“…inventive instrumentation and imaginative arrangements enhance the theatrical spark of Parry’s verbal wit, as she builds a complex series of vignettes occupied not just by her own thoughts and preoccupations but also by lively characters, apparently the remnants of real-life encounters, acting out their own perplexing parts. Adventurous stuff.” Greg Quill, The Toronto Star

“Parry, gifted with a sharp pen, goes into the attack with wit and refined humour…without using fist- clenching slogans, because she’s always saying it with the right innuendo. Strong lyrics…she just tells it like it is” MazzMusicias, Belgium

“…Parry’s personal and political writing stands outside anyone’s shadow” EYE Magazine

“Parry is a wordsmith in the true sense of the word and the melody is the tapestry to which she stitches her craft: beautifully done.” Victory Review, Washington

“Just when we think we’ve heard all there is to hear on love or the human condition, Parry comes along to prove that original thought lives, that we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of examining both the ills of the world and its joys. Strong words? Perhaps. But no stronger than the spoken phrases Parry delivers, than the lyrics she writes.” Between the Lines, Michigan

“Blessed with a clear, nimble voice, Parry imbues her work with sharp imagery, a flair for storytelling and humorous social commentary” The Ottawa Citizen

“It’s Parry’s unique way of examining the collective emotions of the world with such a charmingly dry wit that makes her stand out, and makes her bitterness so pleasing to the palate and easy to digest.” Between the Lines, Michigan

“Evalyn captures the human experience with relevance, intensity and wit.” Beth Ferguson Award

“Parry’s theatrical approach to song writing and her clear vocals are a joy to listen to. The only warning needed here is: this music is infectious!” CBC Radio

 

Presskit for SPIN

Download Evalyn’s SPIN EPK (electronic press kit) including stage plot, tech riders, photos, study guides and posters.

 

Download photos

Click on an image to open and/or download the high-resolution version (download link bottom left corner of image or right-click and Save As).