The Buzz Festival – Theatre Passe Muraille

By Adam Collier

Theatre Passe Muraille runs a show of works-in-development that it calls the Buzz Festival. “Rather than theatre developing in isolation” an opening note in the program reads, “artists are given the opportunity to incorporate audience feedback into the development of their work.”

Maybe because of this – though I’m not sure it’s a requirement – the creator of each work is also one of its performers or director (or both).

On the night I went (Tuesday) four works went up on the stage. Each was about twenty-minutes long. They ranged vastly in style and material.

In the last work of the night for example, there’s a vignette where a man is dancing with a double bass; contrast that to a five-minute scene from the first work of the night, an argument over the separatist politics in Quebec.

The works were intuitively arranged. The first two were realistic with occasional theatrical flourishes (like direct address). The latter two were far more theatrical. One was a puppet show, the other a musical adaptation of a Russian novella (“The Double” by Fyodor Dostoevsky).

I’d strongly recommend this festival to both people that go to a lot of shows, and those that don’t.

The Buzz Festival is something special I think. It’s playful and witty and subverts any pretenses by admitting, right-off-the-bat in the program, that it’s still work that isn’t perfect.


– The Buzz Festival runs from Tuesday, April 27th to Friday, April 30th at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Street; a few blocks west of Spadina and one block to the north of Queen)

– The show begins at 7:30 each night, and it runs for about two hours (including an intermission)

– Tickets are available at the door