Booked in, Booked off, Booked up
Catch Booked in, Booked off, Booked up at Fair’s Fair Books | Photo: Courtesy of Calgary Fringe Festival

Calgary Fringe Festival

With an expanded footprint, get ready for weird, wild, and wacky theatre

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Price $10 - $15
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Unexpected, uncensored, and unashamed, the Calgary Fringe Festival kicks off this weekend and with it comes a whole lineup of great performances.

This year’s festival is playing host to local, national, and international theatre artist companies including fringe circuit favourites, local talent, and new faces. And it’s busting out of Inglewood with a number of new venues including Youth Singers of Calgary’s Performing Arts Youth Centre, INKubator Theatre in Eau Claire, and Banff’s Rundle Memorial United Church.

“They come from all over,” says Festival Director and Producer Michele Gallant, in a statement. “From our own city all the way to the land down under! Some of the artists are seasoned performance professionals. Some are brand new novices who’ve always wanted to be on stage.”

All the acts are selected by lottery draw, or a first come, first serve system, meaning there’s a bit of everything on offer. From physical theatre to sketch comedy, improv to drama, storytelling to puppetry, monologues to musicals, kids’ theatre to poetry, you name it and you can find it.

“This selection process levels the playing field. Everyone has just as equal a chance of getting in. We don’t segregate or discriminate,” continues Gallant. “This is anything goes theatre. There’s something for everyone!”

New offerings for 2017 include Calgary Fringe’s version of a beer garden, the Fringe Weekend Beatnik Clubhouse, as well as the return of favourites, the Best of Venue Series and the Late Night Club.

So what shows are on our not-to-be-missed list? Here are our picks for the 2017 Calgary Fringe Festival:

Booked in, Booked off, Booked up

August 4 – 12, 2017
Fair’s Fair Books (907 9th Ave. SE)

With no seats and no stage, here’s your chance to step into the scenes and interact with the characters. Join chiMOchiMO Immersive Theatre and follow a path through the bookstacks, entering different worlds as you go.

’33(a kabarett)

August 4 – 12, 2017
Lantern Church Fellowship Hall (1401 10th Ave. SE)

A cabaret of ghosts, Bremner Duthie plays the vanquished impresario of a ruined cabaret who takes the stage to honour lost friends. From New Orleans, this show has been described as a stunning theatrical accomplishment.

The Tighty Whities Present … Macbeth!

August 5 – 12, 2017
Festival Hall (1215 10th Ave. SE)

Something wicked this way comes and Olive, Pistachio, and their best friend Smee are at it again in this new adventure. Join Calgary’s own heartwarming clowns on an epic journey to the dark and mysterious in a retelling of one of Shakespeare’s most revered works.

The Tighty Whities

The Tighty Whities | Photo: Courtesy of Calgary Fringe Festival


August 5 – 12, 2017
Artpoint Gallery (1139 11th St. SE)

For Pinocchio, becoming a real boy was just the beginning. Written by Canadian playwright Michael MacLean and starring Neil James, the iconic character continues his story and discovers what being human is really like—full of death, pain, and porn.

Polonius and His Children

August 5 – 12, 2017
Alexandra Centre Society (922 9th Ave. SE)

Having premiered in 2015 at Sage Theatre’s Ignite! Festival for Emerging Artists, we’re certainly curious to see how Blue Elephant Theatre’s dark comedy has evolved. With wit and poignancy, this play examines the ties that bind and just how much one is willing to forgive.

Another great way to check out the fringe is to make a day of it and just drift from show to show. You never know what you’re going to see and it’s a fantastic way to get outside your comfort zone. If you need help, just swing by the On the Spot information booth located at the City of Calgary parking lot on the corner of 9th Ave. and 12th St. SE. The volunteers are always quick with recommendations, directions, and more.

And don’t forget to get your fringe button before your first show! Think of it as your fringe membership. Each button costs $5, assists with covering festival costs, and allows the artists to keep 100% of their ticket revenue.

The Calgary Fringe Festival runs August 4 to 12, 2017. Head here for the full schedule.