6 Can’t-Miss Experiences at High Performance Rodeo 2020

High Performance Rodeo runs in Calgary January 8-26 — and you can win a pair of tickets!

High Performance Rodeo (lovingly called HP Rodeo by fans of the festival) is Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts, and has been a staple of the Calgary arts scene for 34 years. The festival brings internationally-acclaimed performances, touring shows and experimental work from local artists to Calgarians over three weeks every January.

With more than 115 theatre, dance, music, film, and cabaret experiences at varying price points, there really is something for everyone.

The whole schedule is available at HPRodeo.ca, but here are a few of our top picks for 2020:

For people who have ever felt like they didn’t quite fit in:

Belong (Co-Presented with Wordfest, January 9-11) Belonging is not always a zero-sum game. It can require compromise. Be conditional. Even contradictory. Belong is a riveting exploration of what it means to belong. A unique staged reading by our hometown Olympic hero, Mark Tewskbury, inspirational leader and world-renowned social justice activist.

For the person who’s a ‘friend of the pod’:

CBC’s The Secret Life of Canada

LIVE Podcast recording. Co-Presented with the Calgary Public Library as part of its Podcast Live! Series, January 10

The hit irreverent CBC podcast – The Secret Life of Canada come to the HPRodeo for one night only to open up the secret life files of our beloved (and secretive) home town. Learn more about the terrible, hilarious, dirty, and wonderful history of Canada with some random pop culture references from the early 00’s thrown in. Join hosts Falen Johnson, Leah-Simone Bowen and special guests in this history podcast about the country you know and the stories you don’t.

For people who want to know the kids are alright

Revolution or Slumber

The first High School production in the High Performance Rodeo, featuring students of Western Canada High School, January 14-18

In this beautiful and enthusiastically theatrical piece by the radical young theatre artists of Western Canada High School, you will see the undeniable root of hope seed a forest at a slumber party. Whale lovers, punks, and reluctant saints are the anatomy of the revolution. Sounds intense, we know. But they are serious. They mean it. Every. Single. Word.

For people who like to eavesdrop on first dates at restaurants (who doesn’t?)

Queer Blind Date

Spontaneous Theatre, January 21-26

There’s nothing like the thrill of a first date… anything can happen! In this reimagined version of Rebecca Northan’s smash-hit play, the saucy Mimi, and the handsome Mathieu, take turns finding love with a different person each night – plucked right from the audience.Following its international success at the renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this fast and funny fusion of improv, theatre, and clown takes a long-requested journey into queer romance to welcome an ever-expanding community of romantic heroes that will have you falling in love again and again.Developed in association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto, with Artistic Director, Evalyn Parry, Queer Blind Date is open to same sex, trans, and gender-queer pairings each night.

For the cutting edge zeitgeist

How to Fail as a Popstar

Vivek Shraya, January 22-25

Polaris Music Prize nominee, visual artist, filmmaker and superstar of the runaway bestsellers, She of the Mountains and I’m Afraid of Men, Vivek Shraya is “cultural rocketfuel” (Vanity Fair). Illuminating, raw, honest and hopeful, this debut theatrical work, chronicles Vivek’s journey to ‘not quite’ pop music superstardom. A reflection on the power of pop culture, dreams, disappointments, and self-determination, this astonishing performance is a triumph in finding one’s authentic self.

For people who liked falling asleep to Jon Stewart

It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fucked)

The Rude Pundit, New Nork, NY; January 8-12

“A child of Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and Hunter S. Thompson.” – NYTimes. From the business talents of Stormy Daniels to ranting anti-abortion protesters in the Deep South to Trump himself at one of his tacky golf resorts, It’s the End of the World… is a personal and political journey into the clogged heart of the USA, into how we got so fucked and whether we can get un-fucked. Funny and angry, profane and perverse, Rodeo favourite Lee Papa (known as “The Rude Pundit”) goes to war with the present so we can try to have a future.

Want to attend HP Rodeo 2020? Enter to win a pair of tickets to a show* by commenting below with your first or favourite arts experience. Contest closes and winner will be notified January 6, 2020.

*Tickets are not eligible for 10-Minute-Play-Festival


Emma Stevens

One Comment

  1. my first theater experience was in toronto many many MANY years ago – saw something at the Ed Mirvish Theater…..from then I was hooked! Enjoy all forms of live theater and performance since!

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