Backlit performers on stage
Performers on stage at last year’s IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists | Photo: Kathy Lam

IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists

Hyperspace Edition heads online for at-a-distance festival

Amy Jo Espetveidt

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With fresh faces and an entirely distanced format, the 15th annual IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists returns with a stellar lineup of 14 original productions across four series of performing arts.

The festival’s Hyperspace Edition is presented via a festival-at-a-distance model. We may all be spatially distanced, but like entangled particles, there is no severing our social and artistic connections. After all, there are worlds to explore and adventures to encounter together through art.

“Every year, the IGNITE! Festival launches forward the careers of artists in Calgary. Many of the currently working artists in our city have roots in IGNITE—some way or another!” says Jason Mehmel, Artistic Director of Sage Theatre and Curator of IGNITE’s Theatre Series, in a statement. “I’m grateful to contribute to this legacy of artistic growth and excited to see new works from the festival artists!”

Audiences have the opportunity to experience new and engaging work from some of Alberta’s most promising emerging artists from the comfort of their own home. Most of the festival is streamed online with a few unique projects offering alternative experiences for the more adventurous.

“While it’s not without its challenges,” says Festival Producer Savanna Harvey, in a statement, “the new festival-at-a-distance model allows us to engage with emerging artists and audiences from all over the world. The program this year is full of Albertan stories with the occasional national collaboration—something that would be super exciting to pursue into future years too.”

Be sure to tune in as the festival’s challenging Provocation Series is curated by Swallow-a-Bicycle’s Artistic Director Mark Hopkins, while the moving Dance Series is curated by Untold Physical Theatre’s Samantha Ketsa supported by Springboard Performance alongside the gut-busting Improv Series curated by The Kinkonauts’ Nicole Zylstra.

This year also marks the pilot project of IGNITE’s Emerging Arts Journalism Program with Layla Dart as the inaugural participant. And, as part of IGNITE’s Visual Arts Series, you can see emerging artist Shannon Barry’s work featured across all of Sage Theatre and IGNITE’s platforms.

IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists runs June 10 to 13, 2020 on Twitch. Tickets are pay-what-you-can and full festival details can be found at