I had a chance to ask Darren Stewart-Jones, Artistic Director of Gay Play Day, a few questions about the show. Check out his answers below the cut.
Could you speak a bit about Gay Play Day, specifically what is it all about?
We are a festival of theatre for LGBTQ playwrights and their allies. There are so many different voices in the queer community and I felt that Toronto didn’t have enough venues for queer work to be produced. Buddies In Bad Times can only do so much work in any given year. Gay Play Day produces shorter works by novice, emerging and established playwrights. I’m thrilled that we are celebrating our fifth anniversary this year.
Can you talk a bit about the performances themselves, and what the audience can expect to see?
It’s a mixed bag, really. Comedy, romance, drama. Anything you would normally see on stage but with a queer bent. Relationships between two women or two men are a running theme this year. Imagine navigating a relationship but with the added family and/or societal pressures that come with being a member of the LGBTQ community.
With only two days on stage, it must be tough to cull the list of performances? Can you talk about how the shows/performers are chosen?
I try to involve as many plays as possible in the festival. Time limits sometimes disqualify a play, even if it’s a great script. This year, our evening performances are comprised of 6 short plays, running from 10 to 25 minutes each. We also have a solo show matinee, which features three one-person scripts. Hopefully, as we continue to grow, we will be able to produce almost every script we receive or perhaps run a lottery along the lines of most Fringe Festivals.
In your wildest dreams, where would you like to see Gay Play Day in the future?
In New York! Ha! That was a joke. I am so happy with our progress. Perhaps some funding would help us grow and expand into a two-week long festival rather than just two days. It’s been wonderful to see plays that began at Gay Play Day move on to other festivals in expanded formats. I love seeing other people create and grow within their art form.
Finally, anything you’d like to add about the show, the company, or the performers?
I just believe that queer stories need to continue to be told. I usually mention discrimination and inequality for LGBTQ individuals across the globe. It hit closer to home this year. This year’s festival is dedicated to the victims of the massacre in Orlando. In essence, we are speaking for them and continuing to tell their stories.
Photo of Kira Meyers-Guiden provided by the company