Dust off the monocle for some higher-brow theatrical entertainment in the late winter and spring. Most of Calgary’s established houses are midway into their 2011-12 schedules; with the incredible diversity of live stage performances, you’ll easily find an experience that speaks to your interests.
What began as a high school drama teacher’s extra-curricular passion in the 1940s has evolved into one of Canada’s most respected, longest-running professional theatre companies. Dr. Betty Mitchell’s legacy continues through the FUEL program, Theatre Calgary’s artist development agenda. Each season, stage classics like A Christmas Carol and To Kill a Mockingbird are done to a Broadway standard. Upcoming: Shirley Valentine, Feb. 28 – Mar. 18; Cats, Apr. 10 – May 13
“Calgary’s culturehouse for contemporary live arts,” Theatre Junction attracts audiences that want to be challenged, informed and sometimes shocked by a staged performance. The Grand Theatre houses the company and recently celebrated its centennial; watching a “new-school” performance in such a historic setting gives attendees a very direct sense of how deep live theatre’s veins run in Stampede City. Upcoming: Lucy Lost Her Heart, Mar. 14 – 17; (L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres) Performs Tom Waits, Mar. 30 – Apr. 1
Founded in 1972 as a children’s theatre company, Alberta Theatre Projects has become a true torchbearer for original Canadian stage productions. With over 37 years in the stage business, ATP has hosted more than 200 world premieres, 70 per cent of them Canadian. The company’s involvement with the Enbridge playRITES festival has helped produce more than 100 plays, often from first-time writers, and given plenty of stage stars their first big break. Upcoming: Mary’s Wedding, Mar. 27 – Apr. 14; Playing With Fire: The Theo Fleury Story, May 1 – 19
Specializing in one-act productions, Lunchbox is a laidback environment where audiences can catch a quick comedy, musical or revue while enjoying a pastrami on rye or yogurt cup. The unique theatre house’s location, in the base of the Calgary Tower, makes it easy for Downtown desk jockeys to get back to the paper push before anyone is the wiser. Upcoming: Fascinating Ladies, Mar. 5 – 24; The Whimsy State, Apr. 2 – 21
Vertigo Mystery Theatre
The only theatre in Canada with a full-season focus on the mystery genre, Vertigo has been making audiences guess “Whodunit?” for more than 30 years. The mystery theatre’s Y Stage lets a younger audience get in on the sleuthing and has been praised by critics for providing young-adult plays that grown-ups can also enjoy. Upcoming: Rope, Mar. 17 – Apr. 15; Sweeney Todd, May 5 – Jun. 3
Image courtesy of lcars.