Beakerhead bounces back bigger than ever, September 14 to 18, 2016 | Photo: Neil Zeller


Calgary’s own smash up of art, science and engineering set to ignite

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Price Free - $200
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Alright ladies and gents, it’s time once again for that spectacle that is Beakerhead—Calgary’s own smash up of art, science and engineering.

Running September 14 to 18, 2016, the five day affair features mechanical sculptures, classrooms of creators, interactive street art, theatre innovations and so much more. Basically, if you happen upon something that seems strange and unusual this week, there’s a good chance that Beakerhead is behind it.

With more than 60 distinct events (many of which are free), there’s something for everyone to explore. So what’s on our must-see list? Here are our picks for Beakerhead 2016:

The Memory Illusion

September 14, 2016, 7:00 – 8:15pm
John Dutton Theatre, Calgary Public Library (616 Macleod Tr. SE)
$17 – $20

When Wordfest and Beakerhead get together, you know it’s going to be good. Join Dr. Julia Shaw for this presentation, on-stage interview, Q&A, and book signing. The Memory Illusion demonstrates the absolute centrality of memory to our existence, and explores the many astonishing ways it can go awry.


September 14, 2016, 7:00 – 10:00pm
The Compound (840 26th Ave. SE)
$115, 18+

A bit of mystery has surrounded this event, which certainly piques our interest. Six celebrated Calgary chefs gather to create a live experience inside a warehouse turned skate lab. The full list of participating chefs has just been released and both food and drinks are included. Yum.

Spectral Illuminations

September 14, 2016, 8:00 – 10:00pm
Lougheed House (707 13th Ave. SW)

Join EMMEDIA as local media artists illuminate the historic Lougheed House. Using projection mapping, a form of site-specific projections that alter the appearance of the surface they are on, they will animate the walls, windows, furniture and ceilings, while interpreting the history of the house.

Chain Reactions

September 14 – 18, 2016
Multiple locations

Something we always look forward to, Chain Reactions brings together a bunch of Beakerhead’s exhibits and offerings. It basically makes inner city Calgary a giant, albeit weird, art gallery. Last year we jumped on our bike and hit up as many as we could in one day. This year features Tentacles, Highly Social Science, Saturnian, BASS Ship, Scaffold Art, Cloud 17 and more. Plus, remember those bunnies? Well Amanda Parer’s inflatable art is back and this time, they’ve multiplied (as rabbits do).

All the Beakerhead Chain Reactions are free, open at 10:00am and can be found throughout the core | Image: Courtesy of Beakerhead

All the Beakerhead Chain Reactions are free, open at 10:00am and can be found at locations througout the inner city | Image: Courtesy of Beakerhead


September 14 – 18, 2016
Aveda Institute Calgary (225 8th Ave. SW)

Not to be confused with Torched, Touch is a unique, blindfolded sensory adventure that mixes storytelling with the best of the Aveda salon experience. Third in Ghost River Theatre’s Six Senses Performance Series, tickets are limited but a few still remain at publishing.

Puppet Pop-Up Studio (Beakerhead Edition): Mechanical Toy Puppets

September 17, 2016, 1:00 – 3:00pm
Education Centre, Fort Calgary (750 9th Ave. SE)
$10 – $35

Combine puppet creation with low-tech mechanics and an outer space theme to make your very own jumping jack toy. This workshop gives you a chance to create a signature space puppet and then perform Space Oddity as homage to Chris Hadfield and the late David Bowie.


September 17, 2016, 7:00 – 11:00pm
Bridgeland (between Centre Ave. & McPherson Rd. and 7th Ave, & 9th St. NE)

Did you know that one of Calgary’s biggest street parties is all about science? Sound odd? Not if you’ve been to Beakernight. This year Bridgeland is Beakernight’s home base and there will be  interactive works and performances, live music, the Beakerbar, and the international public premiere of Calgary’s own Blazin’ Lily Gals’ fire-breathing botany. Dress as wild and wacky or simple and true as you want. All are welcome at Beakernight.

Want to plan your Beakernight? Start with this handy map | Image: Courtesy of Beakerhead

Want to plan your Beakernight? Start with this handy map | Image: Courtesy of Beakerhead

Beakerhead runs September 14 to 18, 2016 throughout Calgary. Head to for the latest details and full schedule.