The First Stone at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

The First Stone, Daniel Jelani Ellis and Makambe Simamba. Photo by Dylan Mitro

Where: Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street
When: October 6-16, 2022 (Previews October 2, 4, 5). October 12 performance is Black Night Out (exclusively for Black audiences).
Cost: Sliding scale ($10/$25/$40/$70) and can be purchased at

Details: Opening its 44th season, Buddies presents 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.

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.

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, 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.

More Info: @buddiesTO @buddiesto