Resident Companies

Arts Commons is the home of Calgary's most innovative artistic companies and partners, and is proud to present and promote creative collaboration within our city.

Our resident companies and partners are far more than individual players on our creative stage; they’re family members under the same roof. We work together to bring the magic and inspiration of the arts to our city, our province, our country and the world.


Alberta Theatre Projects is a Calgary-based, not-for-profit, professional theatre company that celebrates the art of live theatre. From its home in The Martha Cohen Theatre at Arts Commons, the company produces world-calibre shows with a focus on idea-driven new works, plays by Canadian playwrights, and contemporary theatre from around the world. It is also a national leader in new play development and dramaturgy.

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This season, Arts Commons Presents brings you a lineup of fantastic artists and speakers from around the globe and close to home.

Get your subscription today to secure the best available seats at the best price! And if you’re new and looking for a taste of what we do, curate your own season with our Design Your Own (DYO) series - a great way for you to mix performances from our various series into a custom package while enjoying some of the benefits of subscribing.

Check out Arts Commons Presents this year – you won’t be disappointed!

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Downstage is a Calgary-based company dedicated to producing Canadian theatre that creates meaningful conversation around social issues. Our work provokes vibrant dialogue between Calgarians both informally and through our nightly post-show discussions. With a focus on new work created by local artists, we offer artistic experiences that are entertaining, inventive, thought-provoking and highly relevant to your everyday life.

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The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra offers a rich repertoire that is broad in scope. From classical giants to rock and roll hits and family favorites, the CPO offers over 65 concerts per Season designed to fit all musical tastes.

Since 1955, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has been a cornerstone of the city’s multi-faceted arts community. One of North America’s finest and most versatile ensembles, the CPO offers an average of five distinctive performances each month ranging in style from classical giants to family favourites and rock 'n' roll hits. The CPO is firmly established as an inventive and visionary partner in bringing exceptional productions to the stage, and serves as resident Orchestra for both Alberta Ballet and Calgary Opera.

Critically acclaimed music director Roberto Minczuk has swiftly established himself as one of the most important emerging talents of his generation, elevating the quality of the CPO to new creative heights and attracting internationally renowned guest artists. Each Season offers new listening experiences as numerous Juno, Grammy and Oscar winning musicians, conductors and composers make guest appearances with the CPO’s 65 world-class musicians. Guest artists have included Colin James, Ben Heppner, Marvin Hamlisch, Chantal Kreviazuk, Ian Tyson, The Canadian Tenors, Natalie MacMaster, and many more.

The Orchestra’s North American tour, which included performances at Carnegie Hall, won rave reviews. The CPO undertook its award-winning European tour in 2000 to great acclaim, becoming the first Western Canadian Orchestra to tour Europe.

Since 1985, the CPO’s permanent home has been the acoustically acclaimed Jack Singer Concert Hall in Arts Commons

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Once a punk rebel upstart troupe of ‘creatives’ – actors, writers, poets, jugglers, musicians and a dancer – on the cusp of a cultural renaissance that was Calgary.

Over 35 years OYR has shape-shifted into a cultural treasure that transcends the narrow geographical boundaries of city and nation.

More tenacious. More fearless than even in 1982 when we got this party started – One Yellow Rabbit is in the house. And we’re here to stay.

Actually, we’re taking over. We’re propagating – like the bunnies we are.

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MISSION

Theatre Calgary is a national stage that stimulates, provokes and delights with ambitious programming created to ignite local, national and international engagement.

HISTORY

Theatre Calgary traces its origins to the 1960s grassroots movement for local professional theatre. The company formed from the city’s two most prominent amateur theatre groups: Workshop 14 and the Musicians’ and Actors’ Club. Workshop 14 had been founded in 1944 by students of local theatre pioneer Betty Mitchell and took its name from Mitchell’s drama classroom at Western Canada High School. The Musicians’ and Actors’ Club (fondly known as MAC) began as a social club in 1963, with meetings held the basement bar of the derelict Isis movie house on 1st St SW, but members soon took to staging short plays and musical revues in the upstairs hall. Under the leadership of Kenneth Dyba, the two groups merged in 1966 as MAC 14. Then, on July 1st, 1968, MAC 14 became Theatre Calgary, the city’s first fully professional theatre company. Christopher Newton, who would later lead the Shaw Festival for more than two decades, was appointed Theatre Calgary’s first artistic director.

The new company performed in the Betty Mitchell Theatre at the Allied Arts Centre, a converted tractor showroom at 9th Ave and 8th St SW that later became known as the QR Centre. In its first two decades, Theatre Calgary presented a mix of classic and new plays, including premieres by Canadian writers such as John Murrell, W.O. Mitchell, and Sharon Pollock. In 1985, Theatre Calgary became the resident company of the Max Bell Theatre in the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts (now Arts Commons). In this striking performance space, both grand and intimate, the company dedicated itself to large-scale productions of classics, contemporary plays, and musicals.

Theatre Calgary has engaged in national and international collaborations with companies such as Soulpepper, the Shaw Festival, the National Arts Centre, and American Conservatory Theater. At the same time, Theatre Calgary’s FUSE Enbridge New Play Development Program has led directly to the world premieres of several new Canadian works on the Max Bell stage. The company has also deepened its commitment to Calgary’s theatre community, presenting an annual co-production in One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo and producing Shakespeare by the Bow, Calgary’s outdoor summer theatre festival starring emerging artists. As Theatre Calgary approaches its 50th anniversary, we aim to set a national standard for ambitious programming, passionate community engagement, and extraordinary productions.

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Partners

Arts Commons is committed to providing Calgarians with innovative and inspiring arts experiences through collaborations with the city’s arts community. Collaboration allows us to create efficiencies and in turn, better serve and impact our community in positive ways. Arts Commons is proud to partner with the below arts organizations.


The Honens International Piano Competition takes place every three years and is considered one of the world’s most prestigious events of its kind. Honens prepares its Laureates for the rigours and realities of professional careers in music and creates opportunities for growth and exposure. The annual Honens Festival is one of Canada’s premier classical music events, intended to share Mrs. Honens’ love of world renowned music with Albertans every year.

Esther Honens created a legacy of musical excellence to be enjoyed for generations. In 1991, knowing she was near the end of her life, Mrs. Honens gave $5 million to endow an international piano competition in her hometown of Calgary, Canada. Her generosity, vision, and love of music continue to touch the lives of Calgarians, Canadians, musicians, and music-lovers around the world. Honens Legacy Partners follow in Esther Honens’ footsteps by securing Honens’ future. They support achievements in realizing Esther Honens’ vision, including wide reaching programming through the annual Festival and enriching community outreach projects.

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