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Courtesy High Performance Rodeo

High Performance Rodeo brings wild and eclectic art and theatre to Calgary

By Gurman Sahota, January 10 2016 —

Produced by One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre, the High Performance Rodeo will return for another season of eclectic performances at various locations across the city from Jan. 5 – Feb. 2.

Created specifically with Calgary audiences in mind, HPR is an international festival of performing arts designed to engage with the community and bring fresh pieces to new audiences.

Artistic producer Ann Connors says that although the festival is annual, it takes years to collect the submissions from national and international artists.

“It’s a curated festival, which means that we see the work that we’re presenting or that we’re inviting in so that means for me it’s a lot of travel,” she says. “We connect with other presenters, they’ll tour and we’ll bring work in.”

Performances including The Chop’s 5-Minute Therapy and Chase Padgett’s 6 Guitars highlight the festival.

Connors says she relies on works to be compelling in order to bring them to the festival. With that in mind, she works towards finding performances that the audience will respond to.

“There’s trends of different kinds of work that’s happening that would be exciting to see and different ways of doing things that would be of importance for the Calgary audience to see,” Connors says.

Connors says there is a trend in works dealing with audience participation this year.

“There’s a lot of participatory work that the audience is engaged in, in a different way. There’s a lot of really authentic work,” Connors says. “Artists who are telling their own story, real people telling real stories.”

Every Brilliant Thing is a one-man show from the UK in which audience members participate as characters in the show.

Although the weak economy is not ideal for an arts based festival, Connors says there is more site-specific pop-up work that focuses on the idea of utilizing non-traditional spaces to make the works more accessible to audiences.

“There’s an audience that’s growing that wants to be more engaged with the work in a different way. It’s definitely changing and evolving,” Connors says. “A new, younger audience is emerging and they certainly want to see work sometimes participatory but speaks [to them].”

“There’s a group from Australia called Black Arm Band with their album Dirt Song at the Jack Singer Concert Hall,” Connors says. “[There are] 12 travelling musicians and they perform in 11 different indigenous languages in an album that speaks through our relationship to the land — it’s very beautiful [and] haunting.”

Connors says what keeps High Performance Rodeo fresh is the abundance of local and international works that are present.

“There’s no shortage of work,” Connors says. “What artists are saying and how they’re saying it is getting stronger and stronger and stronger.”

The High Performance Rodeo runs from Jan. 5 – Feb. 2 at various locations. Ticket prices vary by location.

For more information, visit hprodeo.ca

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