Summer Tour 2017: The Life Henri

Award Winning Solo Project About the Famous Painter Henri Rousseau Hits Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton.13987345_10153679667341022_2078748950_o

The Life Henri has now won two Outstanding Awards, for New Play and for Production (Now Magazine) and collected Four Star reviews from Toronto, Saskatoon and Edmonton and was one of UMFM Radio’s Favourites at The Winnipeg Fringe. The play combines the life of painter Henri Rousseau with a retelling of Stephen King’s Carrie. “It doesn’t sound like it will work, but thanks to Bailey’s knack for storytelling you hang on his every word”. (Saskatoon Star Phoenix)

You’ll laugh, cringe and maybe even cry when you see The Life Henri.


Award Winning Artist Takes on Henri Rousseau at Edmonton Fringe


Adam Bailey, who introduced himself to Edmonton last Summer with the Award Winning Adam Bailey is On Fire, returns with the world premier of his new play Henri. Which takes on the life of infamous untrained artist Henri Rousseau, blending it with a classic horror story and sprinkling it with Adam’s whimsical humour and unique observations.

“Adam Bailey has cleverly taken a lesser-known tale and turned it into a tight show with passion, wit, and challenging ideals”. – The Charlebois Post on The Assassination of Robert Ford: Dirty Little Coward (Winner: Best of Fringe Toronto 2014)

“Bailey is a quick-witted and flexible storyteller…Inventive and Honest” – The VUE on Adam Bailey is On Fire (Winner: Patron’s Pick Toronto 2016)

Tickets for Henri are on sale NOW at 

Adam Bailey is On Fire at The Toronto Fringe

4-5-stars  Edmonton Sun4-starsThe VUE, Edmonton



It’s the heartfelt and hilarious true story of the gay son of an Evangelical Minister.

We’ve taken on Winnipeg and Edmonton, and now we’re coming home with the show that’s “flies by like a church service on speed” (CBC), and has been called “inventive and honest” (The VUE).

Tickets on Sale!

show times

June 29th at 8:45 PM
July 1st at 5:00 PM
July 2nd at 1:45 PM
July 4th at 10:45 PM
July 5th at 2:45 PM
July 7th at 8:00 PM
July 9th at 11:00 PM

Show length: 60min.


4 Stars for Adam Bailey is on Fire!

From Vue Weekly (For Tickets Click Here)

We’ve all heard the story of the gay Christian who comes of age in the big city, but Adam Bailey’s tale feels like a high-speed rip through suburbia, turning from hilarious to heartfelt to hopeful at breakneck speeds. Bailey is a quick-witted and flexible storyteller, working to connect with his audience. He sucks you right into what was happening with this personable, conspiratorial stage presence, keeping you in on the jokes and heartache, the constant struggle for identity when you’re spilt between two very different worlds. Everywhere that it could have been cloying or cliché, this production was inventive and honest. — Sarah Culkin


Adam Bailey is on Fire at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Adam Bailey is on Fire at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Interview With J on July 29, 2015 for

Describe your show in five words.

Fag Takes on Hell: Wins? Featured Image -- 224

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

It’s a surprisingly funny coming of age story that focuses on the effects of a strict religious upbringing in a person who is gay, based on my own experience as a minister’s son in an evangelical church. I felt in the modern climate of gay rights vs religious rights it was important to tell a story that reminds people that these sectors often overlap, within families and individuals, and explore the results this can lead to.

Your show ‘promises not to pull any punches or be sentimental’ – why was that important to you in creating Adam Bailey is on Fire?

Coming to terms with religion and trying to find a place in gay culture is a huge issue for many LGBT people, and I don’t think the PG version of being gay that we see weekly on Modern Family is helpful to everybody (although that show is hilarious). I researched a lot of other people’s experience while working on dramatizing my own in order to decide the best way of approaching the subject. In the end I’m a firm believer that “Daylight makes the best disinfectant”. So the show deals with some of the grittier elements of gay-culture as well as the church, we see the distance this struggle creates within families, we get to peek inside bathhouses and sex-parties as well as bible-studies and mission work. There’s a connection between a repressive upbringing and some of the high risk behavior seen in the gay-community, if you look at the statistics gays with religious upbringings are much more likely to get involved with drugs and higher risk sex than those with supportive backgrounds. Its time we took a look at that.

Adam Bailey is on Fire was developed with the assistance of Factory Theatre. How did the company contribute to the development process?

I want my work to delight and provoke thought, and I always want humour to be present. But even with the best intentions autobiographical one-person shows based on potentially heavy subject matter can be risky; audience members do not want to pay to watch your therapy session. Regardless of money, audience give you their time and your responsibility is to them. Having high-level professionals help with the show was important to me to ensure the best quality product considering the nature of what I wanted to create and Factory Theatre did not disappoint. I got to work directly with Artistic Director Nina Lee-Aquino, who had several different actors perform my one-person show for me, a rare treat in the world of one-person shows. This allowed me to separate the play form my life and see it from an audience perspective. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity, it took my writing to the next level and I am confident that audiences are getting a great experience because of this.

You’ve been a performer in Toronto’s cabaret scene and host of stand up and burlesque shows as well as playing characters in various shows, but this is an autobiographical piece. How is preparation for an autobiographical show different than for cabaret?

Cabaret work teaches you how to keep things moving, the audience needs to be constantly entertained. The lessons in pacing I learned in cabarets are very evident in this show, which the CBC called “lively” while the story “flies by like a church service on speed”. This show is a real work-out by comparison to some of the cabarets I’ve done simple because its just me up there, but the confidence and whimsy that I have learned in years of doing cabaret are certainly both in the show. There’s a really fun game-show sequence in the piece that is clearly influence by my work in sketch, and I think that people will be nicely surprised by how active this one-man show is.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

Bring Kleenex just in case. Yes, it’s funny but I’ve also touched some heart strings.

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?

Nigel Shawn Williams who’s a national treasure works at the Factory and was able to see me do a reading of the show and he loved it, which had me on Cloud 9. My director Matt White is the General Manager at Necessary Angel, and so has worked closely with Canada’s top solo artist Daniel MacIvor. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to an Edmonton connection as it will be my first time in your city but everything I’ve seen that’s toured out of Edmonton has been great and I know that you have a vibrant theatre community that I’m eager to connect with during my stay. Happy Fringeing everybody!

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23. Get your tickets at starting August 4.

Adam Bailey is on Fire plays at The Yardbird Suite (11 Tommy Banks Way) August 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23


Our CastThe Assassination of Robert Ford: Dirty Little Coward was a critically acclaimed show at this year’s Toronto Fringe, garnering a spot on several must see lists as well as a 4 Star review from the Torontoist and the title Best of Fringe which it shares with 8 shows. Each Best of Fringe Show enjoys an extension of its run at the prestigious Toronto Centre for The Arts, giving fans an extra chance to see shows that they might have missed at the Fringe Festival.

We’ve added three more performances!

July 17, 2014 9:00 pm
July 22, 2014 7:00 pm
July 27, 2014 3:00 pm

Tickets Are Available Here.

Newborn Theatre Calls it: “Mesmerizing and Gripping”

Mooney on Theatre Says: “It’s terrific!” and “A Must See”

Now Magazine Says: “Strong performances, and wink-and-nod references to a certain present-day mayor, keep the storytelling intriguing.”

The Charlebois Post Calls it: “A tight show with passion, wit, and challenging ideals.”

Check out Our Full Reviews Here.


Saskatoon Star Phoenix Gives The Life Henri 4 Stars!


On paper, The Life Henri is little more than an art history lecture. In reality, The Life Henri is an incredibly entertaining, inventive and hilarious art history lecture. If only all art professors had that much energy.

With little more than a laptop and projector, Adam Bailey tells the story of French painter Henri Rousseau, capably weaving in stories of his own upbringing and scenes from Stephen King’s Carrie. It doesn’t sound like it will work, but thanks to Bailey’s knack for storytelling you hang on his every word.

Rousseau is now considered a master, but was ridiculed by critics and the art community in his own time. He was also hopelessly unaware he was the butt of everyone’s jokes. Through his performance, it’s clear Bailey cares deeply about the man and he wants the audience to as well, regularly referring to the painter as “our Henri.” Bailey shares Rousseau’s life in a way that is so tender but so honest, it’s easy to connect to the painter.

Bailey’s not telling his own story, and yet he is. The Life Henri showcases parallels between the French art world and Canada Fringe Theatre circuit. He’s also telling the story of creative people the world over in ways that make you consider the value of art and doing what makes you happy.

If passionate and polished storytelling is your thing, The Life Henri is a tale worth hearing.

-Stephanie McKay


Nichole Hunnersen

Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing Adam Bailey is On Fire on the first night of Toronto Fringe Festival 2016.

Adam Bailey, the title character, is the gay son of an evangelical Christian minister. The show is about his life experiences framed by these often discordant circumstances.

This one-man show cleverly toggled between reflective monologuesand re-enactments of significant conversations and events in Adam’s life. He also included hilarious audience participation bits, as in the beginning, when the sizeable crowd got a good laugh out of his re-telling of communion at his dad’s church. To partake of the communal wine, the audience (congregation) all drank out of the same red party-sized disposable cup that you find at the dollar store when you are throwing a house party. Needless to say, the audience stopped drinking the wine (which was actually grape juice) after the first row had had a sip.

From early questions about whether homosexuality was a sin (according to the church), to his college experiences, first dates -including an uproarious tale of a surprise visit to a bathhouse – and beyond, Mr. Bailey used lots of humour to illustrate the strange mixture of a traditional religious upbringing and non-traditional lifestyle that he has had to navigate.

Who knew that a dyke was a woman who wears comfortable shoes (according to a very young Adam)? Or that trying to convince others that homosexuality is NOT a sin (according to the Bible) is called “The World’s Worst Game Show?” Every time you explain a point – for example, King James translated the word homosexual wrong, so what he REALLY meant was something completely different, so therefore the earliest English translation of the Bible in existence (the Old King James Version) is actually NOT saying homosexuality is a sin? The very loud and annoying buzzer sounds because you have given the WRONG answer. Again. No explanation can change people’s deep-rooted religious beliefs, says Adam. And that’s why it’s the Worst Game Show Ever. Oh, and prizes include Excommunication and the ever-popular Burning in Hell.

I don’t want to give away the audience participation element at the very end, but let me just say that it made the show completely unforgettable (as if it wasn’t memorable enough already).

In short, it’s a coming-of-age story for the modern world with tons of heart and humour. As I overheard a fellow audience member say afterwards, “I cried a little and I laughed a lot.”


  • Adam Bailey is On Fire plays at the St. Vladimir Institute. (620 Spadina Ave)
  • Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance, and can be boughtonline, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warnings: Mature Language, Sexual Content.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible.


  • Wednesday June 29th, 08:45 pm
  • Friday July 1st, 05:00 pm
  • Saturday July 2nd, 01:45 pm
  • Monday July 4th, 10:45 pm
  • Tuesday July 5th, 02:45 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 08:00 pm
  • Saturday July 9th, 11:00 pm

Review Fringe 2015: Adam Bailey is on Fire 4.5/5



Adam Bailey is on Fire

Growing up knowing you’re gay can bring about many emotions and pressures and anxieties of being able to come out to those who love you. Now imagine trying to do it as the son of an Evangelical priest and hearing sermons every Sunday about the evils of homosexuality.

Adam Bailey shares his personal journey of his incredibly difficult experience, and he does it in a way that had his audience laughing — but also entrenched to the emotional side of his story.

You can immediately tell that he’s the son of a preacher. He starts out his performance sharing what his church’s communion was like. He shared a loaf of bread and Welch’s grape juice and at one point in his performance he played a game called “Lets Challenge the Devout.”

While at times he took the comedic approach to get his message across, there’s the darker side of a young man who struggles with the ability to come out to his family. It pushes him further and further away. His trips home, become few and far between.

When he arrives at university, he feels like this will be the perfect opportunity to explore his sexuality. But, he quickly realizes that the dating scene in the homosexual world will take a lot to get used to.

After experiening love and heartbreak early on, he struggles with the lifestyle. He at one point gets just as comfortable in a bath house as he did in his local church communion, experimenting with cocaine, “poppers” and “rebound sex”.

It wasn’t until he came home for the funeral for his grandfather that he comes to the realization that he needs to come to grips with his life. He needs to find comfort in his sexuality, and reconcile with his family.

Bailey does a great job portraying the friction and the struggles his family endured, and you finally see him at peace when he comes home with his fiancee ready to “come out” to his family — and he realizes that his family will still accept him.

This play is a great example how people’s views are changing for the better when it comes to LGBT community, but there are struggles that have come with it, and it was great to have Bailey share his experience with us.