Episode available within Canada only.

As far as Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser knows, there aren’t many black LGBTQ conductors like him in Canada. The child of a working-class Caribbean mother, he was raised in Calgary and, for many years, struggled with his sexuality. “I have often felt ‘other’ in my life,” he says.

Growing up, Bartholomew-Poyser was drawn to classical music and often turned to it for solace. As an adult, he finally found his voice as a conductor. He believes that the beauty of music can heal and unite all of us beyond differences in race, sexuality, socioeconomic status and gender identity.

Bartholomew-Poyser wants to use his musical power for good. In Disruptor Conductor we see him on a mission to break down institutional walls and bring live orchestral music to young people, the LGBTQ community, people on the autism spectrum and prison populations — anyone who might not have had access to it or who may have felt unwelcome in traditional spaces. 

“We’re trying to bring music to everybody. Oftentimes, when you heard these instruments, sometimes you had to go to a concert hall to hear it. We’re trying to bring it out of the concert hall and just take it to wherever people are,” says Bartholomew-Poyser.

Along with RuPaul’s Drag Race star Thorgy Thor, Bartholomew-Poyser creates the first orchestral drag queen show in Canada. It’s a way to express two parts of himself at once, bringing Old World orchestra and his recently discovered LGBTQ community together in a harmonic union.



Credits (Click to expand)

written & directed by

Sharon Lewis

executive producer

Byron Kent Wong

Director of photography

Justin Lovell

edited by

Kejd Kuqo


Byron Kent Wong

music arranged and conducted by

Daniel Bartholomew - Poyser

associate producers

Jordan Holt
Tim Bourgette

additional editing

Max Attwood
Jordan Crute
Byron Wong

story editor

Charlotte Odele

camera operators

Justin Lovell
Max Attwood
Michael Hofman
Kejd Kuqo
Reza Dahya

sound recordists

Tom McGowan
Jordan Holt

production coordinator

Domenique Arnold
Elise Bailey

post coordinators

Matthew Hedlin
Michelle Laidman

assistant editors

Michael Cunningham
Meaghan Gable


post-production houses

Frame Discreet

post-production supervisor

Kejd Kuqo

Post-production producer: redlab

Doug Melville


Jason Zukowski

online editor

Kejd Kuqo

Archives digitization

Frame Discreet
Flume Archiving

dialogue editor and sound design
Roger Sader

Re-recording mixer
Jon Lawless

stock & archival materials
Gloria  Bartholomew


Richard Wilks
Kate Henderson
Michael Hilliard

Noreen Hamid

accounting services
Dania Kannan

Consolidated insurance Brokers Limited

Olga Mychajluk
Symphony Nova Scotia
San Francisco Orchestra
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Kitchener- Waterloo Symphony
Correctional Service of Canada
Waterloo Collegiate Institute
Centennial High School
Wilfred Laurier University
D. Mark Jang The Bartholomew Family
The Poyser Family
MaryKirk Pollard
Rebecca Cohn Auditorium
Grand Valley Institute for Women
Roy Thompson Hall
San Francisco War Memorial
Ed and Donna Kent
Halifax Pride
Alison Duke

special thanks to
All musicians and performers

for the CBC

General Manager, Programming
Sally Catto

Executive Director, Unscripted Content
Jennifer Dettman

Senior Director, Documentary
Sandra Kleinfield

Director of Production, Unscripted Content
Alexandra Lane

Executive in Charge of Production
Charlotte Engel
produced with the participation of
the Canadian Media Fund

Produced in association with
Canadian Federation of Musicians

Produced in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation