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From 2015 to 2020, Evalyn was honoured to serve as the artistic director for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, the world’s largest and longest running queer theatre company.
During her tenure, Buddies programming reached beyond the walls of building to include more community-engaged projects, collaborative partnerships with other equity-seeking companies, and the company’s first international tour. She led a significant building revitalization campaign which included the creation of Buddies new gender-inclusive bathrooms.
With The Youth/Elders Project, queer youth programming was expanded to include inter-generational community, beginning with a year-long, community-engaged project culminating in a mainstage production co-directed by Parry with Vanessa Dunn and Leelee Davis. The annual 2-Spirit Cabaret was established in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts. Parry’s acclaimed collaborative project Kiinalik:These Sharp Tools (created by Parry, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Erin Brubacher, Elysha Poirier with Cris Dersksen) became the first Buddies production to tour nationally and internationally, including presentations at the Edinburgh International Festival, Cervantino Festival Mexico, Luminato. Other significant mainstage productions during this era included Gertrude and Alice (Independent Aunties), Black Boys (Saga Collectif), lemontree’s reimaging of Michel Marc Buchard’s Lilies, Lulu v.7 (red light district), Acha Bacha by Bilal Baig (with Theatre Passe Muraille) and a remount of the multi-award winning Obaaberima by Tawiah McCarthy during Buddies 40th anniversary season. In March 2020, Parry was directing the premiere production of Jenna Harris’ Mine which was days away from opening when COVID-19 shut down the theatre. When Parry stepped down in September 2020, she recommended Buddies use the transition time to restructure, and consider new leadership models for the organization’s future.
Previous to her new appointment as artistic director, Evalyn enjoyed a long history with Buddies, serving as director of the Buddies Young Creators Unit (now the Emerging Creators Unit), where between 2007 and 2015 she mentored young queer artists through the process of creating a one-person show, presented annually at the Rhubarb Festival. From 2005 to 2011, Evalyn also created and ran the PrideCab program, and started QueerCab, a monthly youth open mic. She is proud to have helped bring to the stage more than 40 new works by young queer artists, many of whom have gone on to become significant artists in the Canadian theatre landscape.
Founded in 1979, Buddies has been the resident company at 12 Alexander St since 1996; this city-owned facility is located in the heart of the gay village in T’kronto / Toronto in Treaty 13, the ancestral lands of many Indigenous nations including the Haudansaunee, Anishnabe, Wendat and Cree. Evalyn was the 5th artistic director at Buddies; following Brendan Healy (2009-2015), David Oiye (1999-2009), Sarah Garton Stanley (1997-1999), and founding artistic director Sky Gilbert (1979-1997).