Discovering Live Theatre

By Mack D. Male

When I was in high school, my idea of theatre consisted of going to see the latest Hollywood release at one of Edmonton's many movie theatres. It wasn't until I was in University that I was introduced by a friend to live theatre. At the time, I wondered why my friend was so keen to have me go. Surely you had to be in New York or London to experience great live theatre? Not so, I soon discovered.

Probably the first show I ever saw was at the 2004 Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. My friend took me to see Adorable by local playwright David Belke, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The annual festival is always in the news, but I hadn't really paid much attention until that show. Now, I look forward to the Fringe. It's one of my favourite festivals of the year, with lots of food, entertainment, and of course, wonderful theatre.

One of the great things about live theatre in Edmonton is that it doesn’t have to be expensive. I made use of the student rates for as long as I could, and then regularly took advantage of pay-what-you-can shows after I was done school. This year, my friend and I finally became Teatro la Quindicina subscribers. The company has been operating in Edmonton since 1982 out of the Varscona Theatre.

Teatro is just one of many local theatre companies. Others include Catalyst Theatre, Shadow Theatre, the Theatre Network, Northern Light Theatre, and Fringe Theatre Adventures. There are also some companies showcasing up and coming theatre professionals, such as the University of Alberta Studio Theatre and MacEwan’s Theatre Arts. Edmonton is home to a number of fantastic live performance venues, including the Walterdale Playhouse, The Roxy Theatre, Timms Centre for the Arts, the TransAlta Arts Barns, and the Third Space.

Another great thing about live theatre in Edmonton is the variety. I’ve seen comedies like The Salon of the Talking Turk, improv such as Die-Nasty, variety shows like Oh Susannah and Hey Ladies!, musicals such as Nevermore: The Imaginary Life & Mystrious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, and even a marionette show called Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy. There's something for everyone.

Live theatre in Edmonton? You can do that here, and it's awesome. I'm glad I had a friend who was keen to introduce me to the local scene, but don't let that hold you back. Get out and experience what Edmonton has to offer!

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