Wagonstage Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary

Date: Jun 24, 2021

Deadline: Sep 5, 2021 - 10:30 am

Each year, for half a century, the University of Calgary has engaged young artists in work integrated learning through Wagonstage, a touring theatre ensemble. Emerging artists from the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) write, design, direct, and present these popular summer performances at various locations throughout the city.

To celebrate this year’s special 50th anniversary milestone, Wagonstage will present two plays created by 11 UCalgary drama students, and deliver arts programming on outdoor stages and parks, providing socially distant and COVID-19 safe performances to Calgary audiences over the course of eight weeks. Wagonstage also plans to expand this year’s program to provide outdoor, distanced performances at assisted living facilities, recognizing that seniors and the diversely abled have been particularly restricted from accessing both the arts and their community.

“Over the years I have produced, directed, written for, and acted in Wagonstage,” says Clem Martini, award-winning playwright and Drama professor in the SCPA, at the University of Calgary. “I was initially cast in that travelling theatre ensemble in the second year of my undergraduate studies. For me, Wagonstage was a wonderful, wonderful introduction to the power and potential of the theatre. Performed outside under an open sky, just as the first actors must have performed, you were completely at the mercy of the elements – the wind, the sun, the rain – and that developed in the cast  a resilience and an ability to improvise when necessary. The audience consisted of children; young, impatient, and seated directly in front of you. You had to work hard to entertain them -  and that made you understand the critical importance of maintaining a connection with them. I learned so much, and loved every second, of that long summer run.”

Wagonstage is also thrilled to announce the starting of its crowdfunding campaign to help establish the endowment fund. Scheduled to launch on the opening day, $50 for 50 years campaign aims to raise $25,000 in total from June 2021 – July 2022. For more information, visit the UCrowdfund page at https://ucalgary.ca/giving/ways-give/ucrowdfund.
Wagonstage is one of the few options for family-friendly theatre in Calgary, particularly since the onset of the pandemic, the performing arts sector has come to a necessary stand-still as the industry pivots to find ways of giving digital and socially distant performances. During the summer of 2020, Wagonstage shifted its outdoor performances to accommodate bubbled and distanced families in its audiences. While safety necessitated smaller audience sizes, Wagonstage was able to increase access to Calgary families by partnering with new organizations. Families were able to safely gather and enjoy a much-needed reprieve from the isolation everyone has experienced.

This year, Wagonstage is excited to have Springboard Performance and One Health at UCalgary on board as partners.

You can find the troupe performing at the Sunnyside containR (1020 - 2 Ave NW) every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. from June 27 to September 5. Please note that performances are weather permitting — check SCPA's Facebook page for any cancellations at containR.

Please note that registration for this event is required. For more information, please visit https://scpa.ucalgary.ca/wagonstage.

All performances will be in full compliance with the public health restrictions implemented by the Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary. The University of Calgary is taking a cautionary approach for the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. Each decision that we make is based on factual information, advice and guidance from our health and emergency experts on campus, and through our consultations with the various agencies.