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August 01, 2017

Calgary comes alive

Enjoy Calgary’s lively live entertainment scene

Shelley Boettcher

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Sure, it’s August. It’s beautiful outside, and you’re enjoying the summer sun.

But if you want to have as much fun in the fall as you’re having now, you may want to start making a few plans. Mark a few dates on the calendar, and buy tickets to some of these upcoming amazing events. From live music to theatre, here is a short list of some of the amazing events you’ll find in Calgary this year.

Alberta Theatre Projects

The Last Wife tells the story of Katherine Parr, who used her charms to stay alive while married to King Henry the Eighth. (He was rather famous for getting rid of his first five wives.) The play will be on stage September 12 to 30.

Then, To the Light will be on stage October 17 to November 4. It tells the tale of a turn-of-the-century artist who struggles to figure out her identity after the First World War.

Got kids? Charlotte’s Web — the play adaptation of the novel about the friendship between Charlotte, a spider and a pig named Wilbur — is on stage November 21 to December 31. Bring tissues and expect tears. Such a wonderful story.


One of the city’s most original festivals, Beakerhead describes itself as “a smash up of art, science and engineering.” This year’s festival takes place around the city from September 13 to 17 and there is, literally, something for everyone. Best, many events are free.

Calgary International Film Festival

The 18th annual festival will take place September 20 to October 1. As of press time, the fall lineup hasn’t been confirmed, but it’ll be a good one. This year’s event features more than 200 features, shorts and documentaries from across Canada and around the world. Early-bird tickets are on sale until August 25.

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

Start with the screening of the Academy Award-winning film, La La Land on September 21; the score will be performed live by the CPO. Then there’s Disney in Concert: The Little Mermaid, October 6 and 7. But that’s not all: there’s Kronos Quartet (October 13-14), Fred Penner (October 22), Corb Lund (November 2) and much, much more.

Glenbow Museum

Don’t miss the incredible photo exhibition, North of Ordinary: The Arctic Photos of Geraldine and Douglas Moodie, on now through August 27 at the Glenbow. From 1903 to 1909, the Moodies lived in what is now Nunavut and took photos of the landscape and the people they met while Douglas worked with the North-West Mounted Police. The show is both beautiful and haunting, a record of times long past.

And there are new shows, too. Higher States: Lawren Harris and His American Contemporaries will be on view October 7, 2017 to January 7, 2018. A member of the renowned Group of Seven, the late landscape painter is still considered to be one of Canada’s finest artists. The show will also include works from Georgia O’Keefe and other American artists.

Then there’s the Black Gold Tapestry by Sandra Sawatzky. The hand-embroidered tapestry took nine years to make and tells the 5,000-year-old history of oil and its impact on civilization around the world. It’ll be on view starting October 7.

Jubilations Dinner Theatre

Catch Greased 2 from Septmber 1 to October 29 at Jubilations this fall, followed by Downton Abbey Road, November 3 to February4. Dinner and a play — what’s not to love?

National Music Centre

If you’ve never been to one of the Studio Bell After Hours parties at NMC, it’s time. These adult-only parties were a hit earlier this spring, so NMC staff have decided to continue them. Show up for edibles, drinks, DJs, dancing and live band karaoke. Upcoming dates include September 22, October 27 and November 24.

Also this fall, special new exhibitions featuring Canadian singer-songwriters Sarah MacLachlan and k.d. lang will also be launched. And the popular ATB Storytellers series, which features stories and music of Alberta, will return this autumn.

Spruce Meadows

This internationally renowned equestrian facility showcases  the world’s best show jumpers, who come from as far away as the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, the U.S. and England.

Many of the best will compete at the Spruce Meadows Masters, September 6 to 10. Best, rush seats are only five bucks, and children (12 and under) and seniors get in free. Plan time at the wine bar for appetizers and a glass or two.

Stage West Theatre Restaurant Calgary

Get ready to laugh with I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, on stage at Stage West September 8 to November 12. “If this show were a blind date, you’d feel relieved, grateful and pleasantly surprised,” said a reviewer at Newsday. Plus: food, lots of it.

Ironwood Stage & Grill

It’s one of Calgary’s best venues for live music. The 140-plus seat restaurant and lounge hosts live music every night of the year. It’s located at 1229-9th Avenue S.E., near downtown in the Inglewood district of Calgary, and there’s plenty of public parking nearby.

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