Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in dialogue with Beacons, Icons & Dykons: a reflection on how to design a non-judgmental, inclusive, Queer space.

While doing some research on queer perspectives on Curatorial Practice, I have read several articles about Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto, Canada.


Ferranti, F. (2017). Buddies in Bad times theatre [Screenshot]. Available from: http://buddiesinbadtimes.com/blog/a-queer-art-canon-kaleb-robertson-and-buddies-in-bad-times-theatre/ [Accessed: Thursday 23 November]

‘Buddies of mine in bad times
and later on
once in a while by the sea
think of a fellow who with a smile
sings a mournful melody
somewhere at night beside the sea
and passes round the hat
to buy something to drink, something to eat
buddies of mine in bad times
I wish you well’ (Bentley, available from: http://buddiesinbadtimes.com/about/)

Taking the inspiration from Bolton-born American writer Eric Bentley’s creative adaptation of Jacques Prevert’s poem Le Concert N’a Pas Ete Reussi, this institution started in the late 70s from the collaboration between York University friends Sky Gilbert, Matt Walsh and Jerry Ciccoritti.

At the very outset of its history, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre was a space for creative poetry, embracing a more Queer aesthetic under the pivotal influence of Gilbert during the 80’s.


Hawe, D. (n.d.) Sky Gilbert [Screenshot]. Available from: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/sky-gilbert/ [Accessed 23 November 2017]


Ferranti, F. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: Our values [Screenshot]. Available from: http://buddiesinbadtimes.com/about/ [Accessed 23 November 2017].

The company’s manifesto is centered on values of difference, excellence and community with the ultimate goal of fostering a collaboration between creative people and giving a voice to various queer individuals.

These principles resonate with my vision of a queer shift in Curatorial Practice and remind me of the Bristol-based curatorial project Beacons, Icons and Dykons, launched by the eclectic performer and queer compere Tom Marshmann.

White, P. S. (2017)  Beacons, Icons and Dykons. [Online Video] Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyJFUDVQzAI [Accessed 23 November 2017].

On September 7th I attended one of the Beacons, Icons and Dykons‘s takeover at the Cube cinema, inspired by the Sci-fi musical The Apple, directed by Menahem Golan in 1980.

Performers such as  Lucy McCormick  and Liz Clarke were encouraged to create performances on the main themes of the movie, blurring the boundaries between reality and dream, gender and society.

Here’s an excerpt of the event:

White, P. S. (2017) Beacons, Icons & Dykons presents the Apple [Online Video]Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_SolAvxgmc [Accessed 23 November 2017].

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