Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard's THE FIRST STONE to Have World Premiere at of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Through poetry and song, this world-premiere production follows one family's effort to reunite, measuring the cost of holding on, and of letting go.

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard's THE FIRST STONE to Have World Premiere at of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Opening its 44th season, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre will present an epic production of a new play by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, The First Stone. Featuring a 15-person ensemble, this New Harlem Productions and Great Canadian Theatre Company production has its world premiere in downtown Toronto at Buddies, before an April presentation in Ottawa. This ambitious new project has been supported through the NAC's National Creation Fund.

The themes of justice, interdependence, and reconciliation of this new play reverberate with both a Canadian and global context, while focusing in on one family's struggle to reunite after the children are captured into an army. The First Stone draws on interviews with Acholi families torn apart by child abductions and the decades-long civil conflict in Uganda and marries text, movement, and song to tell a universal story that tackles ideas of generational violence, forgiveness, and what it really means to come home. Since its first draft as part of Obsidian Theatre's Playwrights Unit, and a first presentation in 2018, the piece has continued to evolve. Throughout its development, a connection between the art and the artists' communities has been at the heart of the process, with different approaches to violence, harm, and justice being explored through a series of Community Justice Forums engaging speakers, panelists, and participants from arts communities and beyond. These ideas feed back into the work onstage as well as the conversations built around it.

"This is a village-built play, held together by care and solidarity, crafted in community with invested allies." says playwright Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, "The question of who gets to go home is one that impacts us all-echoing from the ranks of minor combatants to the bunks of residential schools, the broken foster care system and contemporary youth incarceration facilities. This play aims to hear from the children."

The First Stone is written by Dora-award winning and Governor General Literary Award-nominated playwright Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (Cake, Sound of the Beast), and makes up part of her 54ology series of performance works responding to historical and current contexts of different African countries. Led by director Yvette Nolan (The Unplugging, Reasonable Doubt), the creative team for the production includes choreographers Indrit Kasapi and Pulga Muchochoma and a design team featuring Maddie Bautista, Michelle Ramsay, Jackie Chau, Jeff Chief, and Cameron Davis. The ensemble cast features performers both new and familiar to Buddies audiences, including Tsholo Khalema, Dorothy Atabong, daniel jelani ellis, Makambe S. Simamba, Courage Bacchus, Uche Ama, and Michael Lamont-Lytle alongside a chorus of performers who embody various community members in this expansive story.


Black Out Night - Wednesday, October 12, 7:30PM: Black Out Nights are designed to create a safer space for Black community members to come together and engage with works by Black artists. The performance on October 12 is exclusively for Black audiences. Advance tickets can be booked online, with PWYC tickets available at the door.

Reduced Capacity Performances - October 4 + 13: The capacity of the house will be reduced to 50% of its usual total for the performances on Tuesday, October 4, and Thursday, October 13. This smaller-capacity performance is scheduled with immuno-compromised audience members in mind, as well as those who do not yet feel comfortable in a full theatre. Masking and COVID screening continues to be mandatory for audience members at all performances.

More details on accessibility at performances of The First Stone will be added to the website soon.

Performance Details:

written by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
directed by Yvette Nolan
choreography by Indrit Kasapi + Pulga Muchochoma
lighting design by Michelle Ramsay
sound design by Maddie Bautista
set design by Jackie Chau
projection design by Cameron Davis
costume design by Jeff Chief

featuring Uche Ama, Dorothy Atabong, Courage Bacchus Taija Shonée Chung, Tavaree Daniel-Simms, daniel jelani ellis, Tsholo Khalema, Michael-Lamont Lytle, Megan Legesse, Gloria Mampuya, Willow Martin, Kendelle Parks, Makambe K Simamba, Nawa Nicole Simon, and Paul Smith.

Performance information:

Previews: Oct 2, 4 + 5
Opening Night: Oct 6
Closing Performance: Oct 16
Runs: Weds-Sat 7:30pm, Sun 2pm
Tickets: Sliding scale ($10 / $25 / $40 / $70)®id=32&

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Established in 1979, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is Toronto's leading destination for artistically rigorous, alternative theatre and a world leader in developing queer voices and stories for the stage. Over the course of its history, it has evolved into the largest facility-based queer theatre company in the world and has made an unparalleled contribution to the recognition and acceptance of queer lives in Canada.

New Harlem Productions

New Harlem Productions is a project-based arts organization that prioritizes marginalized narratives. It is concerned with its impact on people, places and things; projects are undertaken with consideration for sustainability, solidarity, professional development, equitable resource distribution, social implications and front-line experiences.

Great Canadian Theatre Company

Great Canadian Theatre Company is Ottawa's largest professional, independent theatre with the mandate to foster, produce and promote excellent theatre that provokes examination of Canadian life and our place in the world. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Sarah Kitz and Managing Director Hugh Neilson, GCTC offers a wide range of artistic programming: 6 main stage plays every year; a variety of theatre-for-young-audiences; artist workshops; and even the occasional pop-up restaurant with nationally renowned chefs.

Regional Awards

More Hot Stories For You

Harbourfront Centre Launches 2022-23 Torque Season With Hofesh Shechter Company's DOUBLE MURDERHarbourfront Centre Launches 2022-23 Torque Season With Hofesh Shechter Company's DOUBLE MURDER
September 23, 2022

Harbourfront Centre opens its international contemporary dance series, Torque, with the Ontario premiere of Hofesh Shechter Company's hypnotic and high-energy double bill Double Murder, on stage October 27–29, 2022 at 7:30pm at Fleck Dance Theatre.

Winnipeg Welcomes France's Guitar Master Pierre BensusanWinnipeg Welcomes France's Guitar Master Pierre Bensusan
September 23, 2022

After releasing 'Azwan', an album about our oneness and interconnectivity in the midst of a unifying global crisis, world renowned French-Algerian acoustic guitar master, vocalist and composer, Pierre Bensusan, returns to the USA and Canada, completing the second leg of his 2022 North American Tour.

Young People's Theatre Reveals Historic Renovations At Unveiling CeremonyYoung People's Theatre Reveals Historic Renovations At Unveiling Ceremony
September 23, 2022

​​​​​​​Young People's Theatre (YPT) launched the next era in the company's 57-year history with the unveiling of its $13.5 million Room for Imagination expansion project. More than 10 years in the making, this ambitious project includes both renovations at its renowned Heritage venue, as well as a brand new facility across the street at 161 Frederick Street – YPT 161 Studios.

FOREVER FEST Presented By Percy Ellis Developments Announces Full ProgrammingFOREVER FEST Presented By Percy Ellis Developments Announces Full Programming
September 22, 2022

Forever Fest presented by Percy Ellis Developments has just announced its full programming schedule for the entire weekend of September 30, 2022 to October 2, 2022 with additional artist Sakako added to Friday and artists Pony, Juliana Jones, and Holly Clausius added to Saturday's lineup.

Rendezvous With Madness Announces Full Programming Line-up For 2022Rendezvous With Madness Announces Full Programming Line-up For 2022
September 22, 2022

With the importance of mental health awareness at the forefront of myriad conversations and the world continues to experience the impacts of the pandemic, Workman Arts is announcing the full line-up for their 30th-anniversary edition of the Rendezvous With Madness Festival – the largest and longest-running arts festival in the world dedicated to the intersection of mental health and artistic expression.