Sneak Peek: Calgary Fringe Festival

Uncensored, Anything Goes Theatre Takes Over Inglewood

By Amy Jo Espetveidt, Calgary Culture
July 29, 2015

It’s the most magical time of the year!

Nope, not Christmas—it has nothing on the Calgary Fringe Festival. Where else can you spend nine days totally immersed in the anything goes theatre?

With 27 different shows playing at five mainstage venues and four venue boutiques, Inglewood is the place to be for any theatre fan.

“[For 2015] we have nine local [shows] and everybody else is coming from across the globe,” says Festival Director and Producer Michele Gallant. “The furthest flung one is from Melbourne, Australia and that’s 2hoot’s production of Pretending Things Are A Cock.”

For those unfamiliar, the Fringe allows the artists to perform whatever topic or genre speaks to them the most, in any manner of their choosing. Anyone can participate and all of the acts are selected by lottery draws.

“It’s a non-curated theatre festival. It’s uncensored which means anything goes. It could be anything from kid-friendly shows to adults only,” says Michele.

But don’t let that uncensored tag scare you. In the fringe world it just means the shows can be about anything. It’s a great way to experiment and step out of your theatrical comfort zone.

“I always encourage patrons to take a chance and go see a show they would not normally choose for themselves,” says Michele. “Think of it like a potluck supper: whatever you’re looking for, we have it!

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Sneak Peek: Calgary International Blues Festival

Family-Friendly Fest Brings the Blues to all

By Amy Jo Espetveidt
July 22, 2015

The blues aren't typically seen as a young person's genre but the Calgary Blues Music Association has worked hard to change that perception. The blues should be for everybody and that is exactly what they’ll be showcasing at the 11th Annual Calgary International Blues Festival.

The weeklong festival celebrates the best in blues culminating with four days and nights at Shaw Millennium Park (1220 9th Ave. SW).

The entire lineup is all about spreading the love of the genre, explains festival producer Cindy McLeod.

“I’m really proud of what we do and I think we have one of the best volunteer teams in the city,” says Cindy. “They really provide a warm, welcoming and hospitable environment and they’re incredible to watch in action. Everybody walks away going 'Wow, that was such a great experience.' Everybody from the top down—musicians, sponsors, little kids, volunteers. Everybody.”

And part of the Bluesfest experience is about introducing the art form to a broader audience, including youth.

“We love and respect the clubs which are the backbone of the scene, but kids can’t go in there. So we took the music out of the bars and put it in a family friendly environment,” explains Cindy.

Now, after 11 years, that success is obvious. There are more and more young people involved not only at the festival, but in the city’s blues scene as a whole—a personal point of pride for Cindy.

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Invest YYC Spotlight: Peep—A Puppet Play About the Flood

Green Fools Theatre lost its venue and thousands of dollars of materials and art in the 2013 flood. Devastating to so many, they responded to the great physical and emotional toll the best way they knew how—through their art.

Peep is a mask, puppet and music show about a mouse who loses her home and is separated from her brother by a sudden flood. As she tries to find her way back to her brother she comes across other animals who are dealing with the aftermath of the flood.

The play has themes of community environmentalism, teamwork and courage. The project is currently in the design phase with construction, sound design and rehearsal to be completed before the play premieres in September 2015.

Learn more and donate is an exciting new crowdfunding website designed to assist local artists and non-profit arts, culture and heritage organizations by creating a space where their strongest, most inspiring work can be supported by people like you. Make a meaningful gift of time or money to support creativity in Calgary!

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