The 1800s

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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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Sky Gilbert

Gay and Feminist theatre establishes a strong presence in Canada.

Théâtre Expérimental des Femmes/TEF is founded by a feminist collective that includes Pol Pelletier, one of the cofounders of the Théâtre Expérimental de Montréal (1975). Performing in her own work, La lumière blanche, Pelletier. She was also one of the author/actors in the seminal feminist work: La nef des sorcières (translated as Clash of Symbols) at Le Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (1976). A series of six women's monologues, confronting an audience it openly treats as sexist, misogynist, and elitist, this causes a sensation at its creation due to its bluntness about the most personal aspect of women's experience, and its unconventional nudity. However, it is also praised for the poetic quality of its language and its simplicity of staging in presenting the lives of six almost-stereotypical women, of different ages and from different social strata.

At much the same time the openly gay playwright, actor and director Sky Gilbert founds Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto. As the company's artistic director, he will broaden its mandate to include stylistically experimental plays, as well as work with specifically queer themes. Though his work with Buddies in Bad Times (as well as with the feminist Nightwood Theatre), Gilbert has been instrumental in redefining Gay/Queer theatre, and in effect has also become playwright-in-residence for his own company, frequently acting in his own plays, which he also directs. These include Suzie Goo: Private Secretary (1991) which won of the Dora Mavor Moore Award, Play Murder (1993), Strange Little Monsters (1995), Jim Dandy and Ten Ruminations on an Elegy (both 1996), as well as plays produced at other theatres, such as Schubert Lied (Factory Theatre, 1998), The Birth of Casper G. Schmidt (One Yellow Rabbit – the Calgary transgressive, alternative theatre company – 2000).

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