tabbed child pages

Evalyn Parry is the artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in  Toronto. She is an award-winning, interdisciplinary performance creator: a theatre director, writer and performer, a songwriter and collaborator whose work is inspired by intersections of social justice, history and auto/biography.

She has released five critically-acclaimed CDs of original music, written/created/directed numerous theatrical productions, and toured extensively around the continent.  Her show SPIN – about the feminist history of the bicycle – has taken her all over North America, with more than 200 performances from the Lincoln Center in New York to Inuvik, NWT.   Other recent theatre project include playing Gertrude Stein in the Buddies/Independent Aunties co-production, Gertrude and Alice (co-written by Evalyn and Anna Chatterton with Karin Randoja, forthcoming publication by Playwrights Canada Press 2018); directing and devising The Youth/Elder Project (upcoming at Buddies, May 2017), and directing the multi-Dora Award Winning Obaaberima by Tawiah M’Carthy (Buddies / National Arts Centre / The Cultch 2012/15).   Her upcoming production These Sharp Tools, created and performed by Parry and Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, will complete her trilogy of work about the Arctic (which includes To Live in the Age of Melting: Northwest Passage, and The Idea of North 2.0).    Fierce, funny, thoughtful and provocative, Parry takes her unique perspective on the world and transforms it into performance that spans genres, genders and generations.

More Theatre…

Evalyn is a founding member of The Independent Aunties (with Anna Chatterton and Karin Randoja), with whom she has authored and performed six plays, including the Dora-nominated Breakfast (Buddies in Bad Times 2010, Theatre Centre 2008) and the multiple-award-winning fringe favourite Clean Irene & Dirty Maxine.

Before becoming artistic director at Buddies, Evalyn was the director of youth programming at Buddies for ten years, helping to develop the work of more than 40 emerging LGBTQ2S artists.   Several shows created through this program went on to critical success around the country, including  Obaaberima by Tawiah M’carthy (Buddies in Bad Times), winner of the 2013 Dora Mavor Award for Outstanding Production, Shaista Latif’s Graceful Rebellions (National Arts Centre’s Ontario Scene, SummerWorks Emerging Artist Award, 2014), and Fishbowl by Mark Shyzer.  She directed Fringe Festival hits Oh God – The Drums by Brad HartThe Emergency Monologues by Morgan Jones Phillips.  She was the 2013 recipient of the 2013 KM Hunter Award for Theatre, the 2009 Ken MacDougall Award for Upcoming Director, and has been nominated for several Dora Awards, including Outstanding Director and Outstanding Ensemble.

More Music…

Steeped in the folk tradition but born to innovate, Parry’s genre-blurring work is inspired by intersections of history, auto/biography and contemporary social activism.  Her witty, personal and highly original musical creations –  ranging in theme from 19th century cycling heroines, to 21st century sailors; from “feminine protection” to bottled water, to the quest for the Northwest Passage – have been widely produced, broadcast, commissioned and anthologized, and she has released four critically acclaimed CDs. Accompanying herself on guitar, water bottle, shruti box and loop pedals, Parry shoots from the hip and aims for the heart.

Evalyn grew up running around at folk festivals, folk music running in her veins: her father David a member ofToronto iconic 1970’s folk ensemble The Friends of Fiddlers Green, and her mother Caroline a children’s music performer, author and folklorist. No surprise then, that Evalyn and her brother Richard (a member of Montreal’s Arcade Fire) have both emerged as innovative artists in their own right. Evalyn’s material stands on the foundation of the traditional music she was brought up singing, but takes it in original and unexpected directions.

She has been the recipient of the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, The Beth Ferguson Songwriter Award (Ottawa Folk Festival) and nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for SPIN.  She has toured extensively and been featured music festivals and concert series, university and colleges campuses, and political, environmental, LGBTQ, feminist and activist events.  Performance highlights include: The Vancouver Folk Festival;  Hillside Festival, Guelph, Ontario; Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts; Word on the Street, Toronto; Lincoln Center Out of Doors Roots of American Music Festival, New York; Calgary International Spoken Word Festival; Home County Folk Festival, London, Ontario; Ottawa Folk Festival; Toronto Pride; Harbourfront Centre,Toronto, and many more.

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



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

Programme bios

Short (50 words)

“Equally funny and dangerous” CBC Radio. “Parry breathes new life into the folk tradition with her politics, passion and poetry.” Penguin Eggs. Evalyn Parry is a multi-award-winning theatre artist, songwriter and spoken word poet.  Steeped in the folk tradition but born to innovate, her witty, genre-blurring performances use music and storytelling to explore many relevant contemporary and historic themes. Known for her multi-media show SPIN (starring The Bicycle as Muse, Musical Instrument, and Agent of Social Change), Parry has performed both solo and with band (and/or bicycle!) across the continent, released four critically acclaimed CDs over the last decade, and her work has been widely broadcast, commissioned and anthologized.

Longer (150 words)

“Equally funny and dangerous” CBC Radio. Evalyn Parry is a critically-acclaimed spoken-word artist, songwriter and theatrical creator. From 19th century cycling heroines to 21st century sailors; from “feminine protection” to bottled water to the quest for the Northwest Passage, Evalyn’s outspoken creations hold out a powerful vision of social and personal change, while her irreverent wit holds nothing sacred. Accompanying herself on guitar, water bottle, shruti box and loop pedals, Parry shoots from the hip and aims for the heart. Her critically acclaimed show SPIN (starring The Bicycle as Muse, Musical Instrument, and Agent of Social Change) was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2011 and has toured all over North America. Fierce, funny and poignant, her highly original work has been been widely broadcast and anthologized, and over the last decade she has appeared at storytelling, poetry, music and theatre festivals across North America. She has released four CDs on the Borealis Records label.

And even more info…

Recent performance highlights as a solo artist include the Vancouver Folk Festival, Banff Centre, Yukon International Storytelling Festival, Hillside Festival, Blue Skies Festival, Atlin Festival, Calgary International Spokenword Festival, Lincoln Centre Out of Doors Roots of American Music Festival in New York City, and many more. Her spoken-word commentaries have been featured on CBC radio and television; her spoken-word videos featured on BRAVO; her CDs have won her  critical acclaim and charted on national campus and community radio.

Evalyn Parry’s SPIN premiered at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto in 2011. Since then, it has been presented by: The Cultch (Vancouver), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), Northern Arts and Culture Centre (Yellowknife and NWT tour), Yukon Arts Centre (Whitehorse) Uno Festival (Victoria, BC), Imperial Theatre (St. John, NB), Fredericton Playhouse (NB), Wingate University (North Carolina), Sound Symposium (St. John’s, NL), Queer Acts Festival (Halifax, NS), The Grand Theatre, (Kingston, ON), Oakville Centre for Performing Arts, Brock University Centre for the Arts (St. Catharines, ON), The Capitol Theatre (North Bay, ON),  St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage (ON) and many more.

When not on tour with her own work, Evalyn lives in Toronto.  In Sept 2015, she became the Artistic Director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, the world’s largest and longest running queer theatre company. Recent directing credits include Obaaberima by Tawiah M’carthy at Buddies in Bad Times, winner of the 2013 Dora Mavor Award for Best Production (she was also nominated for Best Director), and Graceful Rebellions by Shaista Latif (The National Arts Centre’s Ontario Scene).  Evalyn has been the recipient of the 2013 KM Hunter Award for Theatre, the 2009 Ken MacDougall Award for Upcoming Director,  and she is a founding member of the Independent Aunties, with whom she has co-authored (with Anna Chatterton) and performed five plays including the Dora-nominated Breakfast (Buddies in Bad Times 2010, Theatre Centre 2008) and the multiple-award-winning fringe favorite Clean Irene & Dirty Maxine. The Aunties’ new play Gertrude and Alice will be produced at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in March 2016.   She is also in development with her project To Live in the Age of Melting (inspired by her travels in the Canadian Arctic), which will have a workshop presentation at Theatre Passe Muraille in December 2015; her new short film  To Live in the Age of Melting: Northwest Passage (created Evalyn and Elysha Poirier) will premiere at the Planet In Focus Festival in October 2015. 

Visit her online at


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).