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Q+A: Backstage at the High Performance Rodeo with Kelly Reay

Kelly Reay is currently the festival producer for One Yellow Rabbit, but a decades-long career has seen him travel across many of Calgary’s renowned stages. (Photo courtesy of the High Performance Rodeo.)


Like so many performing artists before him, Kelly Reay, festival producer for One Yellow Rabbit, was obsessed with storytelling from a young age. He dreamt of following his passion right to Hollywood’s doorstep, and first began working in Calgary’s theatre scene in hopes that the experience would make a perfect stepping stone to the silver screen. But an unexpected lesson learned early on later made it impossible for him to leave the stage behind.

“There is a richness and a uniqueness in this medium that you can’t achieve in any other, in film or TV,” he says. “Theatre is very much a communal experience—you’re there with this group of strangers, collecting shared experiences, and that rawness is ultimately one of the big things that drew me to theatre and made me stay. That idea of how visceral seeing a live performance is, and sharing that specific performance, on that night, with whosoever is in the audience.” (more…)

High Performance Rodeo: 6 Shows You Have to See


Onegin will play at the Max Bell Theatre in Calgary from Jan 5-7 and 9-13. (Photo by David Cooper.)

Looking to get out and experience the best of what Calgary’s other rodeo has to offer? Check out these high-impact performances at the High Performance Rodeo, which stampedes into town January 3-28. (more…)

Weekend Roundup, March 18th to 20th

Friday: Sarah McLachlan sings

Friday, March 18
The sweet melodies of Sarah McLachlan (along with band members Butterfly Boucher and Melissa McClelland) echo through Massey Hall as she stops in Toronto on her Sarah and Friends tour. Sing along to classic favourites and listen in on new hits from her gold-certified new album Laws of Illusion.

Satiate a hunger for fine contemporary art today: talented Toronto-based artist Anitra Hamilton displays her most recent mixed-media works in an exhibition at Georgia Scherman Projects.

The Direct Energy Centre is now in full blossom, as Canada Blooms has taken over its enormous exhibition space. The stunning show features six acres of fragrant flowers, including those displayed in Canada’s largest floral competition, as well as the Juno Rocks Gardens dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Juno music awards.

Saturday: See Onegin brought to life (photo by Bruce Zinger)

Saturday, March 19
See the written word translated into dance as the National Ballet of Canada stages an adaptation of Pushkin’s Onegin. Choreographed by John Cranko, the performance offers a compelling combination of physical movement and literary inspiration at the Four Seasons Centre.

The Lost Fingers, an acoustic trio from Quebec City, strums out swing-jazz versions of pop hits from the 80’s at Glenn Gould Studio. Expect to hear intriguing renditions of classics by the likes of Michael Jackson and AC/DC, along with French-language hits of the band’s own creation.

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, and now it’s your final chance to see the Irish comedy Good Mourning Mrs. Brown at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The droll performance follows Mrs. Brown and her sons as they plan a funeral for Granddad Brown in an oddball effort to show him how much he is loved.

Sunday: Jane Coop tickles the ivories

Sunday, March 20
Enjoy an afternoon of classical pianoworks by an internationally renowned chamber musician, as University of Toronto alumna, scholar and pianist Jane Coop returns to the city to deliver an exquisite recital of works by Beethoven and Scriabin.

At Papermill Theatre, local troupe Theatre Archipelago presents I Marcus Garvey, a play honouring the Jamaican journalist and entrepreneur who inspired Garveyism, a global movement of African Redemption. This production uses music and other media to detail Garvey’s life and his journey of activism in Jamaica, England, the United States and Canada.

Wind down the weekend at International Centre, home to the Toronto Wine and Cheese Show. A plethora of pairings and tastings with wine, beer, cheese and other fare are available. Or, check out the vendor booths and see ongoing demos by Food Network chef Chuck Hughes in the Bosch Sip & Savour Kitchen.

Hot Date: Duo of Dances

Sonia Rodriguez in Don Quixote (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

MARCH 9 TO 13, 17 TO 20 The National Ballet of Canada brings to life two classic stories with full-length interpretations of Cervantes and Pushkin. The company’s first effort, Don Quixote, adds lusty and lavish choreography to the tale of a Spanish outcast’s pursuit of a fair maiden. The following week, John Cranko’s long-hailed adaptation of Onegin offers a gorgeous examination of passion, honour and regret. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $21.50 to $201; call 416-345-9595 or visit here for showtimes and tickets.