Arts Club's Onegin at the High Performance Rodeo
Don’t miss Onegin, at the 2018 High Performance Rodeo | Photo: David Cooper

High Performance Rodeo

Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts heats up January

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Price Free - $120
Buy Tickets

A new year can only mean one thing—the High Performance Rodeo is back and ready to take you on one wild ride.

With a diverse and provocative lineup, there’s something for everyone on the schedule of Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts. Produced by One Yellow Rabbit and presented in co-operation with many of Calgary’s major arts organizations including Theatre Junction, Vertigo Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, and Lunchbox Theatre, this festival is always a cultural highlight. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to resist the urge to hibernate.

So, what are we most looking forward to seeing? Here are our not-to-be-missed picks of the 2018 Rodeo:

Hot Brown Honey

January 3 – 6, 2018
Theatre Junction GRAND (608 1st St. SW)
$30 – $40

Recipients of the 2016 UK’s Total Theatre Award for Innovation, Australia’s Helpmann Award for Best Cabaret Performer, and Green Room Awards for Best Production and Best Design, Hot Brown Honey has hit the stage across the globe. A mix of theatrical masterpiece and social activism, this posse of phenomenal women smash stereotypes in an unapologetic celebration of our similarities and differences. It’s the perfect way to kick off the Rodeo.


January 5 – 13, 2018
Max Bell Theatre, Arts Commons (240 9th Ave. SE)
$30 – $50

Based on the poem by Pushkin and the opera by Tchaikovsky, this passionate retelling of a Russian classic is innovative and in-your-face. Musical theatre at its best, this production was a runaway hit in Vancouver last season and is undeniably charming.

10-Minute Play Festival

January 6, 2018
Martha Cohen Theatre, Arts Commons (215 8th Ave. SE)
$25 – $35

A Rodeo favourite, see six of Calgary’s most audacious indie theatre companies take on the dare to create an original 10-minute play in 24 hours—inspired only by a prop and a line of dialogue.

Make Love Not Art

January 9 – 12, 2018
Engineered Air Theatre, Arts Commons (234 9th Ave. SE)
$15 – $35

From Calgary’s own Inside Out Theatre, Make Love Not Art tells the story of a renowned visual artist who is known for daring nude portraits that display her unique and tiny body for all to see. But when she asks her gallery curator and self-professed biggest fan out on a date, the characters are forced to confront voyeurism, self-exploitation, and the struggle to be seen. The entire run is made up of relaxed performances, designed to welcome audiences who may benefit from a more relaxed environment, but is suggested for 18+.

Moon, Moon, No Moon

January 9 – 27, 2018
Big Secret Theatre, Arts Commons (225 8th Ave. SE)
$15 – $40

One Yellow Rabbit’s new musical cabaret, don’t miss this meditation on the moon’s significance to humans. Select performances feature special guests including Bruce McCulloch of Kids In The Hall, blues legend Tim Williams, and chanteuse Onalea Gilbertson.

ProArts@Noon Series

January 10, 17 & 24, 2018, 12:10pm
Cathedral Church of the Redeemer (604 1st St. SE)

Lunch hour has never been so good! For three Wednesdays in January, grab your food and head to Cathedral Church of the Redeemer to enjoy performances from The Oberon Guitar Trio, Jossy Gallegos & Tim Williams, and Frank Rackow & Middle East Meets Klezmer Project.


January 17 – 19, 2018
Calgary Municipal Building (800 Macleod Tr. SE)

A stunning pop-up tent city of stories to explore, this living installation exists in continual transformation. Made up of a cluster of tents, Trophy lights up downtown Calgary allowing you to encounter a person who tells the true story of a moment in their life when everything changed.

True Crime

January 23 – 27, 2018
The Studio at Vertigo Theatre (161, 115 9th Ave. SE)

Created by Torquil Campbell and Chris Abraham in collaboration with Julian Brown, True Crime asks if an intricate con differs that much from a successful work of art? When an iconic musician and provocateur tries the life of a real-life conman on for size, the result is a mind-twisting encounter with an artist obsessed with how we all fake it.

One Yellow Rabbit’s 32nd Annual High Performance Rodeo runs January 3 to 28, 2018. Head to for a full list of events, tickets, and to download a digital festival guide.

On a budget? There are always good deals to be found at the Rodeo and this year is no exception. With the return of $15 Wednesdays, you can scoop up the best seats in the house to some of the hottest shows for just $15. There are even free and pay-what-you-can events for you to check out.