queer af collective
Founded in 2017, Queer AF Collective was established out of the bond that developed between the 2016-2017 cohort of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Emerging Creators Unit. Members Bilal Baig, Teiya Kasahara, François Macdonald and Sofía Rodríguez became colleagues and later friends while supporting each other through their development of a new work and similar experiences creating, writing and performing in a solo show of their own which was then presented at the 39th annual Rhubarb Festival. They decided if they could make art on their own, why not try to make something together.
Founding members Baig, Kasahara, Macdonald and Rodríguez all have a vested interest in exploring intersectional dynamics between queer/trans people of different cultural, racial, linguistic, and gendered backgrounds. Our own diverse identities and bodies as queer/trans artists have heavily informed this interest: Bilal is a queer/genderqueer muslim, Teiya is a mixed-raced butch gender NB dyke, François is a white francophone cis gay man, and Sofía is a queer hispanic woman. We have all experienced discrimination and rejection in multiple forms - some of us more than others - which leads us to question, what does it take for queer people to be truly intimate with one another?
Queerness as an identity, and the many forms it takes, is very important to us in our work, because it is a reflection of ourselves as well as our extremely diverse queer communities here in Toronto. As much as we draw from our own personal experiences, we are equally committed to representing the vast diversity of those around us. Our first creative project as a collective, currently entitled Undecided, was born at the beginning of 2018 when we undertook a twenty-hour creation workshop supported by a Recommender Grant for Theatre Creators from the Ontario Arts Council. The result of this workshop was a 45-minute script, which we were subsequently invited to read publicly during the Queer Pride Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Following this reading, Queer AF was asked to be a company-in-residence at Buddies for the 2018/19 season, which we happily accepted.
We have completed two week-long creation residencies, and plan for three more this season, followed by a public presentation and community consultation this summer. To stay in the loop with Queer AF, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. #QAFCollective #queerTheaTO
Undecided is generously sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators.