Calgary's 29th Annual High Performance Rodeo Line Up Announced

November 18, 2014
by High Performance Rodeo

Today, Festival Curator Michael Green and Managing Director Ann Connors, announced the line-up for the 29th annual High Performance Rodeo, Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts. The popular festival runs January 7 to February 1, 2015 at thirteen venues throughout Calgary. The Rodeo features an extraordinary collection of the boldest and brightest artists in the realms of theatre, dance, comedy and multimedia. Tickets for the festival go on sale at 10am today online at, by calling 403-294-9494, or in-person at the EPCOR Centre Box Office.
On the centenary of the First World War, the award-winning hometown One Yellow Rabbit ensemble teams up with guest artist, Canadian theatre heavyweight Peter Hinton – for the premiere of What the Thunder Said. This performance triptych examines the turbulent first quarter of the twentieth century. Beginning with the glowing promise and prosperity symbolized by the Palace of Electricity at the 1900 Paris World's Fair, it moves through the grinding destruction of WWI and finally to The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot's iconic investigation of the war’s desolate aftermath.
Theatre Calgary and the High Performance Festival join together to open the festival with Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen by Vancouver’s Firehall Arts Centre. Cohen’s powerful and inspirational music is the heartbeat of Chelsea Hotel. A talented cast of six play seventeen instruments and sing Cohen’s songs in a production as smooth as the ballads they’re performing. This eclectic cabaret with extraordinary new arrangements is a tribute to the remarkable poet. It not only captures the imagination of Cohen fans, it introduces a whole new generation to his music.
Brooklyn’s Young Jean Lee follows her discomfort like a compass. Bracing irony encounters the long tradition of heart-on-sleeve American truth-telling with hilarious and provocative results. In her latest experiment, UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW, six charismatic stars of New York's downtown theatre, dance, cabaret, and burlesque scenes come together to perform an irreverently exhilarating, nearly-wordless celebration of a fluid and limitless sense of identity. Theatre Junction GRAND and the Festival are proud to co-present this internationally acclaimed theatre artist’s much talked about piece.
The High Performance Rodeo is thrilled to welcome 2014 Polaris Music Prize winner, Tanya Tagaq to this year’s festival. Her intense, evocative vocalizations, based on Inuit throat singing traditions, help reclaim the controversial 1922 film Nanook of the North. Tagaq, along with percussionist Jean Martin and violinist Jesse Zubot perform a live accompaniment to the film’s silent images of life in an early 20th-century Inuit community in Northern Quebec. Tagaq employs exquisite improvisations with traditional roots, a style she has perfected over a decade of performances on major stages worldwide.
The Rodeo partners up once again with Alberta Theatre Projects to co-present Mump & Smoot in “Anything” with Knooma. Canada's hilarious – and notorious - Clowns of Horror are back with their first new show in four years. In their twisted netherworld, Mump and Smoot are confronted by a myriad of nightmarish obstacles that present themselves at every turn. This inseparable duo hails from planet Ummo, speak a strangely understandable language - Ummonian - and worship a powerful god... Ummo.
Join The Walrus once again at the festival with Concordia University Presents The Walrus Talks Vice. Eighty stimulating minutes of chat features eight of Canada's liveliest minds as they regale the audience with their own take on the tantalizing topic of vice. The line-up includes Bidiniband musician and author, Dave Bidini;’s Noel Biderman; CBC Wiretap host Jonathan Goldstein; Author of Drink, Ann Dowsett Johnston; Concordia University’s Vivian Namaste; Concordia University’s Jim Pfaus; Globe and Mail’s Elizabeth
Renzetti; and Journalist Shelley Youngblut.
Lunchbox Theatre and the Rodeo welcome Ontario’s A Firebrand Theatre Production’s Beneath Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story, the incredible true story of Maurice Ruddick – “the singing miner”. The African-Canadian saved the lives of six miners trapped one mile underground by keeping their spirits up through song and prayer for nine days, despite having a broken leg himself. This one-man show, written and performed by Beau Dixon, recalls the events during the historic Springhill mine disaster of 1958, the effect it had on the rural Canadian
community and the racial tension that grew from it.
Canadian journalist and writer Alanna Mitchell brings her powerful and deeply personal solo performance of Sea Sick to the festival. This show is adapted from her best-selling book, Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, which won the prestigious U.S.-based Grantham Prize for excellence in environmental journalism. Charismatic, passionate and articulate, the award-winning Mitchell discovers the secrets of the ocean, faces the demons of the deep and finds hope.
Master storyteller Alan Williams captivating autobiographical one-man show The Girl With Two Voices, is about a middle-aged actor who returns to Britain after 15 years living in Canada. This show is about coming back to where everything is familiar, but everything has changed. Williams, who has had a long and illustrious career in theatre and television in England and Canada, captures the Zeitgeist of modern society through the lens of common life experiences. 

Public Recordings Artistic Director Ame Henderson, along with her collaborators, clear the way for a new territory in dance with what we are saying. This daring movement piece creates a spontaneous, choral conversation with the audience by developing a language that expresses how things are and how we want them to be different. As performers and audience navigate the alluring potential of failure, they reveal a vulnerable, funny and courageous humanity that allows the radical possibility of a leaderless togetherness.
Inspired by his legendary image and outrageous endurance, The Keith Richards One Woman Show is a Jack Daniels toast to getting by just as you are. Performed by Suitcase In Point’s Deanna Jones, this ‘trip’ through Keith’s life from boyhood to drug-bust (Toronto 1977) includes run-ins with Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, Gram Parsons and a giant tongue. Jones portrays Mona, who loves The Stones, and is obsessed with Keith Richards. A live rock score, played by Kevin Richardson, invokes the world of the Stones and, in particular, the raw sounds of Keith.
As part of its 2015 world tour The Sofa Experience comes from Denmark to the High Performance Rodeo. A 62.1-metre-long urban sofa will collect stories from the people it encounters along the way. Designed by landscape architects Schønherr and produced by urban producer Flexys, the sofa is a rethinking of urban furniture. It’s built of wedges that can be combined in a myriad of ways, creating a piece of furniture, a sculpture or a landscape element – or all these things at once. The Sofa Experience will change locations throughout the downtown core during the festival.
The High Performance Rodeo’s festival favourites are back. Downstage returns with the wildly popular 10-Minute Play Festival, ProArts again offers a varied selection of free noon-hour performances select Wednesdays of the festival, and the +15 Musical Ride gallops back through the downtown office towers at during the lunch rush.
Back this year to fill the air with music during the Festival is the Calgary Carillion Celebration. The Calgary Tower Carillon is the city's largest musical instrument. For the past three years the Rodeo, collaborating with Calgary Tower and the Calgary Downtown Association, has commissioned composers and musicians to create music to be played on the tower’s carillon. This year local favourite, vocalist, keyboardist and shimmering composer Kenna Burima, will help change the way Calgary sounds every lunch hour during the month of January.
Last festival, Polaris Prize nominee Tona Ohama premiered the first original music ever composed for the Calgary Tower Carillon. This year the Calgary composer unveils Multiambient Urban Trees Soundscape, the first music ever composed specifically for The Trees sculpture on the west end of Stephen Avenue Mall.
Wine Stage celebrates its 16th year as Calgary’s premier wine and food event with a dramatic twist. Gasoline Alley at Heritage Park is the host venue for this sophisticated and sexy fundraiser for One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre. Guests can savour the world’s finest wines from the city’s best wine merchants, expertly paired with the succulent culinary creations from an assortment of Calgary’s finest dining establishments.
Tickets are on sale today at 10am, and can be purchased online at, by calling 403-294-9494, or at the EPCOR Centre Box Office.
Now in its 29th year, the High Performance Rodeo is an annual festival featuring theatre, dance, comedy, music and multimedia presentations. Curated by Artistic Director Michael Green and produced by Ann Connors and the One Yellow Rabbit team, it is dedicated to entertaining as wide an audience as imaginable, while remaining fertile ground for the progressive and wild. The High Performance Rodeo is the largest festival of its kind in Western Canada.
Media Contact
Todd Hawkwood, Festival Publicist
P 403-264-3224 press 3, ext.8

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