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Ignite! Festival burning the coals on Calgary stage

Annual theatre fest shows of experimental, emerging talent

#JustGirlyThings explores the experience of a young woman navigating the digital age – with dance.

Courtesy Citrus Photography

#JustGirlyThings explores the experience of a young woman navigating the digital age – with dance.

Once again, the organizers behind the Ignite! Festival are lighting a fire under Calgary’s theatre scene.

The annual showcase of emerging artists features some of the most experimental features you’ll see all year – through combining theatre styles, changing up locations or tackling tough subject matter.

Organizer Charles Netto ran Metro through a few highlights.

Body So Fluorescent

Stunning revelations abound as two friends retrace their steps to find the cause of an explosive fight the night before.

“It’s asking some tough questions in a really theatrical, fun way, about blackness, otherness, relational oppression, but through the lens of two friends after a crazy night at the club,” Netto explained.

A Millennial’s Guide to Dating

Using stylized theatre conventions like mask, or the old 1950s educational video format, performers tell comical, modern dating stories.


Double billed with A Milliennial’s Guide, this show looks at the experience of a young woman navigating the digital age. The story is told through a dance theatre collaboration.


This show is actually held in a boardroom, and is limited to 10 audience members and one actor.

“They’re going to get really close and personal,” Netto said.

Functional explores the reality of those who need support but never ask for it.

And that’s just the shows.

There are also outdoor, site-specific art shows, an emerging animators showcase and a special Ignite! Club, which will feature poetry, theatre, performance art, video and more.

“It’s really a chance for emerging artists to meet their peers and have fun,” Netto said. “There’s an exciting buzz of artists on the cusp of stepping into the professional community.

“It’s one of the only festivals in Canada to provide the resources that it does to emerging artists. I think it’s a stepping stone for folks who have some training, have some ideas, but don’t yet have the experience in a professional setting.”

Ignite! takes place June 6 to 10. For more information, visit

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