Buzz 23.24

In-Development at Theatre Passe Muraille

photos of all Buzz artists in a blue tinted black and white image on a red background

From top l to bottom r: Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, Heath V Salazar, Lu Linares, Leslie Ting, Monica Garrido, Selecta Sarah, Tanvi Vyas, Dario Dvon, Sky-Ravinn, Vivian Chong, Ken Harrower, Taija Shoneé-Chong, Courage Bacchus, Christopher-Elizabeth, Tsholo Khalema, Jenn Forgie

The Buzz In-Development Series focuses on creating an artistic process that places the art and artist at the centre. We do this in various ways including: workshops, dramaturgy, public presentations as well as in ways which cannot yet be anticipated or defined. At TPM, we aspire to empower the artist throughout their development in methodologies that work for them.  

The 23.24 season also sees the expansion of Passe Muraille’s Buzz in-development program with the our emerging Black creators unit, VUKA, facilitated by Tsholo Khalema. VUKA (which means rise or wake in Zulu) will support four theatremakers as they expand their solo shows into 45 minute pieces.

All works in the Buzz In-Development Series are being considered for future development and potential production at TPM. Buzz Artists are given access to one of our venues, dramaturgical support and in-kind services or funds as part of their development. TPM offers further commitment to artists-in-residence with more comprehensive monetary and administrative support and with longer timelines towards a production!

Boyband the Boyband

(Left to Right) Monica Garrido, Tricia Hagoriles, Lu Linares, and Heath V. Salazar

Monica Garrido Huerta (she/her) is a Mexican born and recently Canadian Queer Artist.
Her short films premiered at the InsideOut LGBT Film Festival. Her solo show “The Cunning Linguist”, was created at Emerging Creator Unit at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre and won the 2016 Queer Acts Audience Award. It was adapted as an Audio Show for Aluna Theatre’s Studio Series and is currently in development. Monica has appeared in commercials, music videos and TV in shows such as Baroness Von Sketch Show and The Horror of Dolores Roach. She’s part of the ensemble of the Canadian Comedy Award winning show Sketch Comedy Extravaganza Eleganza. Monica is the 2018 recipient of the Queer Emerging Artist Award at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Her stage work includes: “Private Eyes” (lemonTree Creations), “Youth/Elder project” (Buddies in Bad Times), The Second City’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays (Second City Toronto). She is one third of the Latinx Drag King boyband “Boyband the Boyband”. She is also a Taurus and wishes you the best.

Tricia Hagoriles is a multiple award winning, Toronto-based writer and director. In 2015, they received the RBC Emerging Canadian Artist Award at the Inside Out Toronto LGBTQ Film Festival for her first short, Beat. Their shorts include the 2020 Polaris Prize Commissioned Huwag Mataranta and Lola’s Wake, which garnered Tricia the WIFT-T Film Award at the 2020 Reel Asian Film Festival.
Tricia’s stage work includes co-producing and acting as the Creative Director for Colour Me Dragg, a live showcase that featured queer performers of colour; Boyband the Boyband, Bypass, and the award-winning 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival show, Tita Jokes.

In 2019 Tricia became a Director’s Lab resident at the Canadian Film Centre and received the Inside Out + OUTtv Outspoken Documentary Fund for their upcoming film: The Archivist.

Most recently, Tricia will be co-directing Raf Antonio’s White Muscle Daddy, set for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s 2023-2024 Program.

Lu Linares is a Peruvian-Canadian artist and curator whose work is deeply influenced by their experiences as a queer and trans immigrant, navigating a rich tapestry of identities and cultures. They co-created “”Boyband the Boyband,”” a Drag King concert play that delves into the intricacies of Latine identity.

As a projection artist, Lu has contributed to projects with Pencil Kit Productions (including “”White Muscle Daddy”” and “”I Like The Smell of Gasoline””), collaborated with director Tricia Hagoriles for The Noise Witch’s upcoming visual album, and presented their first solo exhibition, “”Reflections.”” This multimedia installation examines the connection between trans individuals and their bodies.

Currently, they’re concentrating on their role as a film curator, with a focus on amplifying queer and trans voices in the film industry. They’ve worked with festivals like the Urbanworld Film Festival, Toronto Queer Film Festival, aluCine Latin Film and Media Arts Festival, the Festival of Human Rights x Arts, imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, and Inside Out LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

Heath V. Salazar (they/them) is a Dora Award-winning multidisciplinary Latinx performer and writer based in Toronto. Named a ‘prolific trans artist’ by CBC Arts, Heath has developed their career in theatre and film with a focus on projects that center intersectional forms of queer and trans representation. One of their biggest honours to date has been their nomination for LGBTQ Person of the Year from the 2019 Inspire Awards. Through their writing, Heath has completed residencies with The Banff Centre for the Arts, Aluna Theatre, and is currently an Artist in Residence at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. You can catch them on screen in their role as Arrow on Season 2 of the award-winning CBC and HBO Max original series Sort Of. Most recently, Heath returned from Winnipeg where they originated the role of Dom in Prairie Theatre Exchange’s world premiere of Volare by Elio Zarrillo.

A Latinx drag Boyband experience.

Blue image of Jenn Forgie on a red background with a blue border

Seven Pieces by Jenn Forgie

TPM Artist-in-Residence

Jenn is of Métis, French and Scottish ancestry, a professional actor, writer and self-image coach for women and actors.  Her personal journey with fractured identity and the power of embodied connection to Self has fueled her passion to create her first play, Seven Pieces; a story of hope, healing and belonging. Jenn currently sits on the Toronto Arts Council Theatre Projects grant assessment panel and would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of TPM for inviting Jenn in as a BUZZ development artist and 2022-2023 Artist In Residence as well as the incredible mentorship of both Marjorie Chan and Jani Lauzon. 

Seven Pieces is an interdisciplinary theatrical story exploring the fragmented relationship between Kate, who is a Métis woman, and her Body, as a result of childhood abuse. Through movement, vocals, breath, text and an elephant body, Kate’s Body drives this story’s themes of displacement from ones body as their “first land”, and the layers of loss of connection and belonging to identity. Who are we when we are  stolen from our own selves? And how do we find our way Home without a map to get us there? This is a story of hope as Kate and Body discover what ‘home’ is for them, through conflict, healing and eventual connection to our deepest roots in the blood and bones of our earthly and ancestral bodies.

Supported by the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Toronto.

Instagram @jennforgie | Facebook @jennforgie |  Twitter @JennForgie

Blue image of Samson on red background with a blue border

No Third Death - Samson Bonkeabantu Brown

Samson Bonkeabantu Brown is a South African, Portuguese, and Garifuna Toronto-based Sangoma, Inyanga & Hoodoo who works as an ancestral anthropologist and playwright. His primary focus is on spiritual healing, ancestral veneration and anthropology, trans advocacy and the arts. He has been tasked by his Ancestors to shed light on how ancestral veneration can assist with healing the self and living in one’s purpose. A multidisciplinary artist, imbongi, author of two published plays (11:11 – A Monodrama in 7D, and 11:11) respectively, Samson’s presence in the arts educates the general public on both the trans experience and trans issues. He is currently working on part 3 to the 11:11 Trilogy, entitled “No Third Death”.

No Third Death by Samson Bonkeabantu Brown is a monodramatic final instalment of Samson’s 11:11 Trilogy – “As long as you tell our story, we shall never die”

Charlie has a fair complexion and short two-block cut hair. He wears an emboidered black jacket and holding a saw, with cool metal rings on his fingers

De-escalation technique from a former hot dog vendor by Charlie Petch

Charlie Petch (they/them, he/him) is a disabled/queer/transmasculine multidisciplinary artist who resides in Tkaronto/Toronto. A poet, playwright, librettist, musician, lighting designer, and host, Petch was the 2017 Poet of Honour for the speakNORTH national festival, winner of the Golden Beret lifetime achievement in spoken word with The League of Canadian Poets (2020), and founder of Hot Damn it’s a Queer Slam. Petch is a touring performer, as well as a mentor and workshop facilitator. Their debut poetry collection, Why I Was Late (Brick Books), won the 2022 ReLit Award, and was named “Best of 2021” by The Walrus. Their film with Opera QTO, Medusa’s Children, premièred 2022. They have been featured on the CBC’s Q, are the current Writer In Residence for Berton House (2023), were long-listed for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2021, and will be debuting their solo show “No one’s special at the hot dog cart” in 2024 at Theatre Passe Muraille.

Everything I needed to know about working as a first responder, I learned as a teenage hot dog vendor in downtown Toronto. Whether it was being a 911 operator, a hospital bed allocator or an emergency room clerk, I would rely on the de-escalation techniques gained by my time as a street worker. Using music, projection, and poetry, audiences will be guided through these often harrowing work stories. Part show, part de-escalation workshop, come ready to have a deeper appreciation for street communities, and your own potential to manage reaction. | Instagram/Twitter|@sawpoet

As I Must Live It by Luke Reece

In a failed attempt to escape Presto Luke left his hometown of Mississauga under the guise of becoming a Toronto-based artist. He strives to share authentic and engaging stories with audiences through his work as an award-winning producer, playwright, poet and educator. Luke is the Associate Artistic Director at Soulpepper Theatre, one of Canada’s leading non-profit theatre companies. Through Luke’s work as an artistic leader within the national arts community, he advocates for engaging and nuanced storytelling that challenges Canadian audiences. In 2021 Luke was included in York University’s inaugural Top 30 Changemakers Under 30 list. 

Luke is one of Toronto’s most decorated slam poets, becoming the Toronto Poetry Slam (TPS) Grand Champion in 2017, winning the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word as the captain of the TPS team and then again in 2018 as the team coach. In 2018 he placed 2nd in Canada individually which earned him a spot representing the country at the 2019 World Cup of Poetry Slam in Paris France where he placed 4th. He continues to give back to the Toronto Spoken Word scene as a board member for the Toronto Poetry Project. In the spring of 2020 Luke was  featured performing for former Toronto Raptor and NBA Champion Serge Ibaka on his Instagram Talent Show. His body of work also includes a radio play, animated short, and a praised short film featured on CBC titled ‘Notice’.

As I Must Live It by Luke Reece is a poetic presentation that plays with audiences and shares honest stories about growing up bi-racial in Mississauga with a mentally ill and absent father.

What Brings You In by Leslie Ting

Leslie Ting is an artist who combines her practice as a classical musician with creative work in theatre, interactive art, and experience stemming from her former career as a practicing optometrist. Her definitive work, Speculation, garnered her multiple award nominations, including the Pauline McGibbon Award for Emerging Theatre Director (2021).

Creative accessibility is a through-line of Leslie’s artistic practice. Often developing projects in dialogue and collaboration with Blind and Low Vision artists and audiences, she invites all of her collaborators to integrate the de-centring of vision into the core of a project and reflect on our relationship with vision and listening.

Recent collaborations have included Diane Borsato’s Your Temper, My Weather at the National Arts Centre SPHERE Festival, the inaugural season of improvisation web-series, Understory, contributing to experimental publication Caddisfly Project (NYC) and creating a video étude for Race Cards (in Two Acts), a co-production by Prime Mover Theatre Company and Selina Thompson LTD (UK)

Based on interview research, and personal experiences with talk therapy, hypnotherapy, dreamwork, sandplay, somatics, and reiki, this experimental, music-driven work-in-progress is an exploration of where and when our truest selves emerge through a series of sound pieces.

Currently in development as an online, interactive, binaural deep listening experience, this project aims to create playful connection and intimacy with audience members at home and/or in-venue in a digital space.

Flin Flon Cowboy by Ken Harrower

Ken Harrower is a multidisciplinary artist who works with paint, story, song, and the stage.

As an actor Ken has appeared in a number of films, music videos, and professional theatre productions. He was nominated for multiple Dora Mavor Moore awards for his performance in Ahuri Theatre’s What Dream It Was, which was subsequently remounted to further acclaim. He is slated to appear in the international tour of the full-length show, Access Me, produced by the Boy’s In Chair Collective.

His output as a songwriter and recording artist began in 2016 when he collaborated with Johnny Spence and Lisa Bozikovic. That project was featured in a documentary which aired nationally on CBC Radio’s The Doc Project. He has subsequently co-written a musical based on his life, The Flin Flon Cowboy, which will premiere 2024.

An original theatre/music hybrid inspired by the life of its main actor Ken Harrower, Flin Flon Cowboy is a playful and poetic tale that explores the intersections between disability, mental illness, Christianity and queer identity, tracing Ken’s life from his origins in Flin Flon, through his adventures in the foster care system up to his present-day life in Toronto.

Vivian in blue on a red background with a blue border

Blind Dates by Vivian Chong

Fall workshop supported by Diaspora Dialogues, dramaturged by Marjorie Chan

 Vivian Chong is an award winning playright, author, comic artist, singer song writer, dancer, potter and athlete. Her graphic novel DANCING AFTER TEN was the winner of the US library journal award and was short listed for Toronto book award in 2020.  Her one woman show The Sunglasses Monologue was on tour from Toronto to Canmore. Her performance in Dancing with the Universe was nominated for the Dora theatre award for best performer of the year in 2022. In addition in 2021 Vivian was recognized  by Achilles Canada as the most inspirational female athlete and was also the recipient of the Ontario volunteer service of the year award.  Paticipants with vision loss all across Canada have been benefiting from Vivian’s weekly accessible yoga classes on the digital platform. She is a leader of inclusion of wellness in the community.

Blind Dates is a new solo show written by Vivian Chong, detailing her experience dating as a Blind woman. We follow Vivian’s journey as she shares stories of past relationships she’s been in and dates she’s been on – from restaurants to kayaking, from meeting at yoga studios to work agencies. Ultimately, she comes to the conclusion that she doesn’t need anyone else but herself to have fun and to be a confident woman.

Workshop supported by Toronto Arts Council

Taija in blue on a red background with a blue border

Miss Fortune 2023 - Taija Shoneé-Chong

Workshop supported by Diaspora Dialogues, dramaturged by Kanika Ambrose

Taija Shonée Chung is a Jamaican-Chinese multi-disciplinary artist, based in Toronto. A passionate actor, mover and creator, she’s enthusiastic about work that explores our perception of others and ourselves in this ever-changing world — who we are when we are at our most vulnerable, when we are trying to make a buck or when we think we are alone. Her theatre credits include: The First Stone (dir. Yvette Nolan), The Humans (dir. Chris Stanton) and The Green Bird (dir. Adam Palozza). She looks forward to amplifying her voice as an artist, both on stage and screen.

Miss Fortune 2023 is a work-in-process that explores what society deems to be a ‘perfect victim’ of abuse through the lens of a pageant. Miss Fortune 2023 explores how women compete to be taken seriously by the world at large while grappling with the many hoops of both reckoning with their abuse and subsequent trauma, and how what they did or didn’t do in those situations determines how the world holds space for them. Is there a ‘correct’ way to live in an abusive situation? No. Does society still put that onus on victims of abuse? Yes. And that’s what is at the heart of Miss Fortune 2023.

Tsholo Khalema in blue on a red background with a blue border.

VUKA, led by Tsholo Khalema

The 23.24 season also sees the expansion of VUKA. VUKA (which means rise or wake in Zulu) will support four emerging Black creators in their expansion of their solo works developed in the 22.23 season, from 15 minute snippets into 45 minute solo shows with public performances.

Tsholo Khalema is a South African Actor and Director of Theatre and Film. As a lifelong student of the arts; Tsholo is also a new playwright and is currently writing his first play! Tsholo is a Man of trans experience, and Arts Eductor centering his teachings on diversifying storylines in media. Storylines which are reflective, of the world we live in today! An exciting journey is unfolding for Tsholo Khalema, you can follow along by heading over to his website

Vuka a devised theatre development program. For Black creatives, from various arts disciplines. Curated and led by Tsholo Khalema as part of TPM’s Buzz series.

Four artists will embark on an exciting journey, specially formulated with Black Mental wellness at its forefront and using various techniques, such as improv, movement and much more. To nurture and rise, to new depths in performance! As they will be creating a 10-15 min solos, to be performed at the Vuka Showcase

23.24 VUKA participants

Sebastian is a half back half white human and their 21. Starting from the top of the page we are met with a half turquoise half pink, split down the middle, Afro. Deep Brown blocked out contour follow on the forehead as we move down the face. Spiked eyebrows with a notch near the tail are arched, on up one down. His eyes are a soft almond shape, with blue glitter on top of the left eye, and pink glitter on top of the right. Next is her mustache which smooth blue and pink ribbon, balanced either he deep Brown contour on the cheeks. Over all stern playful energy on their facial expression.
I am an African Canadian woman of Jamaican descent in her early 20s with short tapered curly hair that stops at my ears. I am wearing a black asymmetrical spaghetti strapped shirt with gold hoop earrings smizing at the camera.
I am Tkaronto-Guyanese Black Female Deaf Queer, late 40ish with dyed red hair short hair standing velvet beige tank dress show my arm on background black.
I am a Black man of Caribbean descent in my early 30s with short black curly hair about 4 inches long. I am wearing a burgundy Velvet shirt. I am looking up to the sky and holding a single red rose.

Sebastian Urmom not only uses all the pronouns that your mama gave they/she/him last night, but is from the borough where all of the cuties come from… Scarborough! Self produced accomplishments include Heat in My Clutch (2022) and Seb’s PLAYPEN (2023.) Sebastian first started doing drag September 2022  and they hope to use drag to reclaim and foster a healthy/safe relationship with masculinity, and amplify that for others. If you want to find Sebastian follow them @sebforthemoms. Now sit back relax and grab a flask as they charmingly sleep their way into your hearts and Quench your thirst for Cute!

Selecta Sarah (she/her) is a creative from Brampton Ontario. From a young age, she was passionate about performing and connecting with people and immersing them in art. She began creatively writing for Christ and then for therapeutic reasons. As her writing developed, her poetry became monologic; using the time to deeply reflect on universal ideologies through the characters she creates. As a recent graduate from Brock University, Sarah uses her major in Speech Sciences and minor in Dramatic Arts to look at language from a semiotic viewpoint on stage. As she develops as a performer, she hopes to train other actors and people who want to use their voices to connect with others. Along with performing, she is a music curator and podcaster. Selecta loves music and its power to move and resonate with people. She volunteers as a board member at Waveland, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for BIPOC RnB artists in Toronto. She hopes by taking up space in her creative disciplines, she will inspire others to do the same and unapologetically share their voice. 

I am Natasha “Courage” Bacchus. I’m a former 3 times Deaf Olympian Sprinter. I began working as an actress in 2019 – and since then I’ve performed in: ‘The Black Drum’, ‘The Two Natasha’s’, ‘21 Black Futures’, and season four of ‘The Corner’ on Netflix. I have participated as an art collaborator with numerous theater and film productions in Canada. I had multiple positions including an interdisciplinary visual artist, art accessibility consultant, and activist for IBPOC Deaf art community in terms of expanding IBPOC Deaf artists representation

Dario Dvon is an RnB/Soul artist from Barbados residing in Toronto Canada. With his smooth melodies, sweet poetic words and dynamic range, Dario gives his music a unique and heartwarming atmosphere. At the age of eight, Dario had a deep love for music and decided to make a career out of his passion. He is also most inspired by Sweet Soca, RnB, and Soca music.

As an award-winning vocalist and seasoned performer, Dario’s love for the stage grew from performing weekly shows at Sandals Barbados Resort & Spa. Through hard work and dedication, he would later win the title of the Best Male Vocalist in the Sandals Chain. In addition, he also placed 2nd place in the ‘Who’s Next” star search in Barbados, a finalist in the “Baje to the World Talent” Competition and most recently 1st place in Open Mike Talent Competition in Toronto.

Dario has the drive to show no matter how diverse your background may be, your dreams are valid. This drive led him to perform in A Very Merry Motown production featured around Canada. He released his 1st Single Roses late last year and with be releasing more music/visuals in the next couple of months. Dario is ready to set ablaze his music career with a voice that colours the silence.

Tanvi Vyas is a writer, stage and production manager. Currently based out of Toronto, her South-Asian heritage informs her identity and appreciation for all expressions of art. A recent graduate of the Toronto Metropolitan University, she continues to explore the various forms of live performance and challenge and dismantle systems of oppression by supporting thoughtful and inclusive art/spaces.

Past credits include: Assistant Stage Manager for Otîhêw, directed by Lisa Nasson (2023), Production Stage Manager for the Carnival of the Arts (2023), Stage Manager for Cacao a Venezuelan Lament, directed by Victoria Mata (2022) and Production Manager for The Division, directed by Andrew Kushnir (2022).

Christopher-Elizabeth is a Queer Afro-Indigenous interdisciplinary artist. They have a passion for live, reactive and experimental performance and design. The most important thing to them when crafting a story, is to remind audiences that inside them is a childlike playfulness and wonder that can never be outgrown. Select credits include: Sound and Lighting Designer for Insert Clown Here (Parlous/Pickles); House Technician for No Save Points (Outside the March/Starvox); Sound Designer for Maanomaa, My Brother (Canadian Stage/Bluebird); Artistic Director and Composer for VELVETHEAD (Pickles); and Researcher for Nightswimming’s Pure Research Program.

Since 1968, Theatre Passe Muraille has created over 700 new Canadian plays. Supporting works in development is at the heart of our operations.

Make sure to follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletters to stay updated on our work! Sometimes we share snippets of the Buzz progress and open workshops for the public to witness the process. In all our newsletters we also include community updates with job opportunities, call for artists and much more.

Photo credits: Nancy Kenny | Daniel Chichagov Photography

Brand and Concept Design by: Louis Duarte