First Day Back

Written and Performed by Rob Salerno. Directed by Steven Gallagher.

Rob Salerno in First Day Back. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

NOMINATED FOR TWO DORA MAVOR MOORE AWARDS – Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Performance (Theatre for Young Audiences Division)

“Richly thoughtful… Salerno presents each character with emotional truth.”
– Now Magazine

“From the moment I sat down, I felt like I was back in high school… It’s a thought-provoking yet entertaining piece of theatre.”
– Gay Theatre Toronto

“A poignant, non-preachy, surprisingly funny work… It felt just like high school.”
– Xtra

In FIRST DAY BACK, you enter a school the day after a gay ninth grader, Ollie, killed himself following years of bullying. There’s an eerie hush in the halls as Ollie’s friends and tormenters gather to figure out who’s responsible. As you take your seats in the art room, be prepared to have your prejudices about school, homophobia, bullies, and teenagers shaken to their core.


About the Performer and Director:

FDB - Rob Square2Rob Salerno is a Toronto-born writer and performer who’s been labeled a “theatrical rabble rouser” by The Globe and Mail. His preoccupations as a writer include social justice and probing issues that polite people wouldn’t touch, such as gaybashing, sexual ethics, HIV/AIDS, and cancer. His five original plays, Balls, Fucking Stephen Harper, Big in Germany, RAW and First Day Back have toured to more than thirty festivals around the world, winning rave reviews, awards, and audience praise.

Steven Gallagher is a playwright, actor, and director from Toronto, Canada. Steven’s most recent directorial work was the sold-out Next Stage Festival hit Myth of the Ostrich. Steven’s plays include Craplicker (2010 Toronto Fringe – Best of Fringe); Memorial (Trafalgar 24 Play Creation Festival Jury Prize, Next Stage Festival in 2013, Queer Arts Festival, readings at Half Moon Theatre in New York); and Stealing Sam (2013 Toronto Fringe Festival – Best of Fringe, Patron’s Pick, and NOW Magazine Outstanding Play, Production, Actor and Director; 2014 United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC – Best Drama). As an actor, he was most recently seen as Fagin in Oliver! at King’s Wharf Theatre, and Albin in La Cage aux Folles at Neptune Theatre (Merritt Award Nominee). Two seasons in The Dream in High Park as Quince in a Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the original cast Top Gun! The Musical! at the 2002 Toronto Fringe. Steven is the recipient of a 2013 Harold Award.

Production History

First Day Back was developed with the support of a Theatre Creators’ Reserve grant from the Ontario Arts Council on the recommendation of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. It was first workshopped at the 2012 Victoria and Vancouver Fringe Festivals, and at the 2014 One More Night Festival at The Box Toronto. In 2015, Ten Foot Pole Theatre was invited to present the show at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival before the show made its official debut at Toronto’s Storefront Theatre in June 2015. It later appeared at the Ontario Street Theatre in Port Hope, Ontario.

Touring and Production Rights

First Day Back is available for booking as a full production. Rights to the script may also be purchased for new productions. Please contact to inquire about bookings and rights.

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