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Lunchbox Theatre announces 2019–20 Season

By Troy Hasselman, May 31 2019

Lunchbox Theatre, one of Calgary’s longest-running theatre companies, has announced the lineup for its upcoming 2019–20 season. The season was compiled by Lunchbox’s outgoing artistic producer Samantha MacDonald and will include world premières, co-productions with collaborators and one-act stories.

“Lunchbox Theatre is the only surviving lunchtime theatre in North America, possibly the world. We are just about to go into our 45th season,” says MacDonald. “The premise of the company is that we do mainly theatre at lunchtime, 55-minute little bites of theatrical experience. We also do two evening shows every week on Thursday and Friday.”

Aside from acting as a platform for both local and non-local plays, Lunchbox also works heavily with the development of new works.

“We do a lot of new play development,” says MacDonald. “We have a program called the Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work. Every season we tend to generate one to three world premières that happen on our stage.”

MacDonald promises this season will be an interesting one for the company, combining exciting, new collaborative pieces with works that Lunchbox premièred in past years, such as the remembrance-themed In Flanders Fields and Neil Fleming’s Last Christmas, which will be brought back for this season.

Illustration courtesy of Lunchbox Theatre

“Because it’s our 45th [season], we’ve done a bit of looking back to look forward. Two of this season’s plays, we premièred about 10 years ago,” says MacDonald. “Both came through Stage One and are now having new productions.”

Lunchbox will also première two brand-new plays in collaboration with the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society, as part of the society’s artist-in-residence program.

“We also have a world première of a show with the working title Old Man: The Napi Project. The focus for that will be Napi, or the Trickster character in different traditions, so this is the first year of what we hope will be a three-year partnership on that,” MacDonald says. “The other one is not premièring on our stage. We are partnering with Making Treaty 7 and Justin Many Fingers on a piece called 509, a dance theatre piece mainly in the Blackfoot language. That will happen in October at the GRAND Theatre, where Making Treaty 7 is now a resident company.”

Illustration courtesy of Lunchbox Theatre

Lunchbox will as well present two productions from out-of-town artists, hailing from Toronto and Portland, Oregon.

“One is Good Morning Viet Mom, which comes from Toronto and is a Cahoots Theatre production we are co-presenting with One Yellow Rabbit as part of the High Performance Rodeo,” MacDonald says. “The second show we are bringing in is by Chase Padgett who was here a number of years ago doing Six Guitars. He’s coming back to do a show called National Hurricane. Chase is from Portland, Oregon originally but has moved all over the world.”

Illustration courtesy of Lunchbox Theatre

MacDonald hopes that this season will promote togetherness and the role that art plays within the community.

“What we really wanted to do was to craft a season for the company — not just in terms of programming, but in all elements of the organization — that is really about acknowledging that we are all in this together,” MacDonald says. “We do this work together, we strive to survive together as an arts industry. We are doing it with, for and about our audiences and for our volunteers and our arts and theatre community.”

MacDonald hopes this upcoming season will be a launching point for Lunchbox Theatre as a more inclusive organization that reinforces the idea of community and how it can be created through art.

“This season is very much launching the vision of what we would like to be as an organization, who we are in a very real sense already, but who we are moving towards even more in a larger way,” MacDonald says. “It is about being a more inclusive organization and bringing stories to this stage that are for everyone, there is a broad spectrum of diverse voices and experiences and stories, through Stage One and our RBC Emerging Director project and through our regular programming we are looking to continue on this journey of doing theatre together.”

For more information about the upcoming Lunchbox Theatre season, including schedules and tickets for shows, visit their website.

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