Two people looking into each other's eyes

2023 High Performance Rodeo

One Yellow Rabbit

One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo to make full return with 37th annual festival, January 16 – February 5, 2023

After three years apart from full festival audiences, the team at One Yellow Rabbit, led by Artistic Director Blake Brooker, is preparing to unleash 150+ artists for the 37th annual High Performance Rodeo, Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts, January 16 to February 5, 2023.

This year’s festival will present artists from here at home and from around the world – as far as Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and further from the United Kingdom, Spain, and the USA – and includes many adored Rodeo favourites including Ronnie Burkett, Karen Hines, and Alejandro Escovedo. From massive orchestras riffing on Radiohead to terrifying and titillating immersive performances for audiences of five; from mothers and sons building video game worlds to master choreographers mixing contemporary dance with cinematography, this HPRodeo will bring audiences together for three wild weeks of connection and discovery. 

After delays due to the pandemic, last year’s January festival had to be cancelled just days before opening; a handful of productions were produced in a one-time-only spring edition. On returning for the first full in-person festival in three years, Producer, Oliver Armstrong says: “We’re coming in hot! A ‘return to normal’ doesn’t mean much to the Rabbits, who were never ‘normal’ to begin with. We’re sticking with the unconventional, the boundary-breaking, and creating the wildest festival environment we can. For 37 years, the High Performance Rodeo has been where you’d go to see the fierce and unmissable stuff you can’t see anywhere else. We’re back full-on and full-out, using what we’ve learned to deliver a safe (and still bold) three weeks of the coolest artists and their work. We’re ready for you, our audience, to come back and come together, and we hope you come ready!”  

The 2023 High Performance Rodeo – January 16 - February 5, 2023 – will feature 26 productions over three weeks in 12 venues across Calgary’s downtown.


For the first time, the festival is kicking off with its signature centrepiece, the riotous and crowd-pleasing 10–Minute Play Festival. 

“Our festival takes audiences all over the downtown to explore spectacular venues from expansive concert halls to intimate (in this year’s case, extremely intimate, in groups of five) theatrical experiences, but we wanted a reunion. So, it made the most sense to kick off this festival completely together, with some nonsense,” said Armstrong. 

10–Minute Play Festival (One Yellow Rabbit, Various Artists, January 16) 
A perennial favourite sure to sell out as always. But then again, that’s what happens when Calgary’s rowdiest theatre artists create 10-minute plays in just 24 hours inspired by only a prop and a line of dialogue! Come join in this celebration of compact creation and the opening of the HPRodeo with our biggest bang yet. Curated by the one and only Mark Bellamy (hang onto your hats…)!

Room 333 (One Yellow Rabbit’s Denise Clarke, Calgary, Canada – January 18-21, Big Secret Theatre)
A moving and humorous investigation of loss and the beauty of life by legendary artist and Order of Canada recipient, Denise Clarke, exploring deeply personal themes. Performed in Calgary for the first time since its premiere in Järna, Sweden in 2019. Room 333 features the “Raw physicality” (Lori Montgomery, The YYScene) of Denise Clarke as she brings a signature mosaic of text, movement and a light touch to the storytelling. Land End's Beth Root Sandvoss accompanies performing Kaija Saariaho's exquisite “Sept Papillons”. Sandvoss breathes into the music of the Finnish composer, whose body of work has travelled the world to international acclaim. 

MINE (Theatre Replacement, Vancouver, Canada – Martha Cohen Theatre, January 19-22)
What do Beowulf, Bambi and The Terminator have in common? They all feature in MINE, an experimental production from Vancouver's Theatre Replacement. The show is created by Maiko Yamamoto, her teenage son Hokuto MacDuff and collaborators, and explores mother and son relationships through Minecraft™!

Using the wildly popular, best-selling video game of all time, gamers and performers from 12 to 50 years old enact parent-child narratives from pop culture and personal experiences, live on stage. Follow the journey from Grendel toBeowulf, through the woods to Bambi, to a mother-son prophecy filled with time travel and cyborgs featuring “Sarah Connor” and her son in The Terminator. Inspired by the real-life relationship between Theatre Replacement’s Artistic Director, Maiko Yamamoto, and her 12-year-old son's obsession with Minecraft™, MINE opens us up to expansive and strange new territories in this production for adults and kids age 10+   

Old/New/Borrowed/Blue (DJD, Calgary, Canada – DJD Dance Centre, January 19-23, 2022)
Co-Produced by One Yellow Rabbit and DJD
Dance. Movement. More. 
DJD is about to take over your evening with this all new original work. Featuring works from the DJD repertoire, new works by Sarisa F. de Toledo and Sabrina Naz Comanescu, and a borrowed piece by contemporary dance artist Marie France Forcier. 

Re:Construct (Donkey Dog Theatre, Edmonton, Canada – Royal Canadian Legion #1, January 20-22)
"Here's another attempt at a love letter to my younger self...". 
A trans man and his idealized cis self invite onlookers to a very brave thing on the best day, the most perfect day ever. They have made you a meditation – no, a paint night – actually, no, a rumble – anything to finally get it right this time. Re:Construct is a poetic, surprising, and irreverent interrogation of perfect masculinity.                                          


After (8ROJO, Calgary, Canada – The Studio, The GRAND, January 24 - February 4)
Co-Presented by One Yellow Rabbit and The GRAND
After is a dark visual performance by award-winning ensemble 8ROJO. Horacio Quiroga, considered by many the Edgar Allan Poe of Latin America, is one of the most celebrated horror writers of our time. Based on true events, Afternarrates through images and objects, the last days of Quiroga’s wife, Ana Maria Cires. This enthralling and captivating creation, performed for only 5 audience members per performance, explores her confrontation with macabre narratives and sinister visions, which unfolded just like the terrifying stories that were written by her side.          

Pochsy IV (Karen Hines, Keep Frozen Productions, Calgary, Canada – Big Secret Theatre, January 25-28)
A stunning testament to the power of art to unite all humanity. Or so says “Pochsy”.
“Pochsy” works at Mercury Packers. Where she packs mercury. This is a dark comedy. Not for children. It’s like a concert inside a mind inside a body sailing the River of Contemporary Consciousness. “Pochsy” offers herself up as a kind of salve for your 3:33 a.m. worries and dreams, from neo-banking to the future of humankind. This show follows the acclaimed trilogy of Pochsy Plays, which have travelled the globe. IV is brought to you by the plays' creators and collaborators, who’ve also brought you adult horror clowns Mump & Smoot and Crawlspace. You do not have to have seen the previous Pochsy shows to see this one, just as you can watch one Looney Tunes cartoon without missing the beat – same body, separate cells.              

THIS IS HOW WE DIE (Christopher Brett Bailey, United Kingdom – Vertigo Studio, January 24-25
Like to binge-watch Netflix? You're about to binge on theatre. The Sleepwalk Collective and Christopher Brett Bailey are about to descend upon Calgary and take over the High Performance Rodeo with not one production, not two productions, but THREE productions at the festival. This is the first instalment of the Sleepwalk Collective/ Christopher Brett Bailey's triptych productions (which are designed to stand alone and compliment each other - a triptych, not a trilogy).

THIS IS HOW WE DIE is the critically acclaimed debut solo show from Christopher Brett Bailey - virtuosic and visceral spoken word performance. A motor-mouthed collage of spoken word and storytelling. Tales of paranoia, young love and ultra-violence. From the desk of Christopher Brett Bailey comes a spiralling odyssey of pitch-black humour and nightmarish prose.                         

With echoes of Lenny Bruce, William Burroughs, beat poetry and B-movies, THIS IS HOW WE DIE is a prime slice of surrealist trash, an Americana death trip and a dizzying exorcism for a world convinced it is dying...                                  

Amusements (Sleepwalk Collective, Madrid, Spain – Vertigo Studio, January 26)
Like some backroom carnival ride / lo-fi sci-fi pleasure machine. Amusements is an intensely sensorial one-woman headphone-theatre spectacular that asks what exactly we might want from our entertainment, and what it might want from us. With the audience plugged wirelessly into its beating heart, the performance is a hypnotic dance towards the limits of pleasure, which grapples sleepily with the dizzying highs and terrifying boredoms of the early 21st century. This is the second instalment of the Sleepwalk Collective/Christopher Brett Bailey performance triptych.                        

PSYCHODRAMA (Christopher Brett Bailey, Sleepwalk Collective, United Kingdom & Spain – Vertigo Studio, January 27-28)
Racing across the savage inner-landscape of the human mind, two unlikely (anti)heroes pursue a nightmare vision of freedom through spiralling episodes of intense sensuality and phantasmagoric violence. PSYCHODRAMA is a gooey, drippy dream of a show, a pop-cultural exorcism, a runaway train riding a burnt synapse through the centre of your skull. A celebration of the corrosive power of storytelling that asks who are all those voices inside your head? And how did they get there? And if you could silence those voices, would you? This is the third instalment of the Christopher Brett Bailey Sleepwalk Collective's triptych productions at the High Performance Rodeo.

An Evening with Alejandro Escovedo, Live (Alejandro Escovedo, Texas – The GRAND, January 27)
Rock 'n' Roll legend Alejandro Escovedo is coming to Calgary for one night only. A celebrated singer and songwriter, Alejandro Escovedo has as eclectic a background and body of work as any rock artist of his generation. Escovedo has already played an important role in punk (with the Nuns), roots rock (the True Believers), and alt-country (Rank & File) before he launched a solo career that's seen him work with everyone from Tony Visconti, John Cale, to Bruce Springsteen. Beginning with 1992's Gravity, Escovedo's music has been consistently literate, ambitious, and eclectic. Crossing borders, jumping barriers, taking risks, betting it all: that’s the path Alejandro Escovedo has been taking in his lifelong search for the heart of rock and roll. This epic live performance is about that journey. Ranging from classic rock to bursts of 70’s punk, the evening will find Escovedo baring his soul on stage leading his trio as he delves further into his lifelong musical journey across his most sonically diverse work yet.

Brahms vs. Radiohead (Conducted by Steven Hackman, Los Angeles, USA – Jack Singer Concert Hall, January 28)
Presented in partnership with One Yellow Rabbit, Calgary Philharmonic
Returning to Calgary by popular demand following a sold-out performance in 2019, don’t miss conductor Steve Hackman’s epic symphonic synthesis of Radiohead’s iconic OK Computer and Johannes Brahms’ tremendous “Symphony No. 1”, in concert. Featuring the full Calgary Philharmonic orchestra and three solo vocalists, this fusion offers a re-imagined experience of each work through the lens of the other — and explores the explosive tension they have in common.

While She Sleeps (Kenna Burima, Calgary, Canada – Engineered Air Theatre, January 28)
Transport yourself to a 19th century New York City piano bar and join Calgarian composer Kenna Burima for the world premiere concert of her all-new song collection, While She Sleeps. Be one of the first to hear this brand new song-cycle, initially released in songbook form only. You'll have to see it to hear it. Experience a melodic concert composed of emotional and theatrical songs with immersive original projections that will bring you deeper into the storytelling and sensory experience. As light reverberates with every stroke of her grand piano, Kenna takes the audience on a musical journey, transforming and illuminating the otherwise dark stage with slow moving imagery.

A Hybrid World, Artist Talk by Steve Hackman (Steven Hackman, Los Angeles, USA – Calgary Public Central Library, January 29)
This is a limited and intimate opportunity to hear directly from Steve about how he uses his breadth of skills as a composer, arranger, conductor, DJ, songwriter and musician to redefine the genre of classical music. Steve will share stories from his career, musical education and the development of his artistic process. As a daring voice leading the charge among a new generation of classical musicians, this special event will put a spotlight on this emerging hybrid world of musical expression and experimentation. This event will appeal to enthusiasts of classical and pop music alike, as well as amateur and professional musicians, and those who are passionate about learning more regarding producing and arranging contemporary genres.


Raising Stanley/Life with Tulia (One Yellow Rabbit, Inside Out Theatre, Lunchbox Theatre, Calgary, Canada – Vertigo Studio, February 1-5)
A multidisciplinary storytelling show about living and working with guide dogs. Blind storyteller and disability rights activist Kim Kilpatrick tells charming, insightful and surprising stories about Tulia and her other canine companions alongside acclaimed visual artist Karen Bailey’s beautiful paintings of Stanley, a guide dog puppy she raised. This collaboration documents the journey from puppy to working guide dog for the blind, incorporating storytelling, painting, video, audio description and music.

Lessons in Temperament (An Outside the March Experience, Written and Performed by James Smith, Directed and Developed by Mitchell Cushman, Toronto, Canada – Royal Canadian Legion #1, February 1-3)
Co-Presented by One Yellow Rabbit and Honens
It is impossible to perfectly tune a piano – something that musician and theatre-maker James Smith knows all too well. A few years ago, James taught himself how to tune pianos as an additional source of income between gigs. Through pursuing this work, he discovered something even more valuable – the perfect metaphor through which to process the mental complexities of his family. Lessons in Temperament is the story of four neurodiverse brothers, told through a theatrical escape into the art and science of piano tuning. Between James and his brothers, they have had life-long journeys with OCD, autism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Throughout the piece, James shares the story of his family while getting the piano in front of him beautifully and imperfectly in tune. Catch this award-winning play’s return to the stage, hot on the heels of its recent feature film adaptation.

Wring the Roses (Madonnanera, Toronto, Canada – Big Secret Theatre, February 1-4)
What happens when a bachelorette party collides with a boy's night out, and goes fatally wrong? “Rosanna”, “Rosalicia”, and “Rosemary” are taking their engaged friend “Stephanie” on one last night to end all nights before she gets married. When they meet four hometown boys on the party trail in a foreign country, it seems like just the right recipe for some pre-marital fun, but fate has other plans. As the night wanes, the “Roses” are tempted to give in to their own interests, while “Stephanie” feels increasing pressure to release pent-up energy.

EPHEMERAL ARTIFACTS: TRAVIS KNIGHTS (Brampton, Canada – DJD Dance Centre, February 2-3)
Co-Presented with One Yellow Rabbit, DJD
Ephemeral Artifacts is a repertoire production of ĀNANDAM, originally created in 2017, existing in multiple variations with diverse casts of artists. At its heart, it examines the dancing body as a container of embodied knowledge; a site of transmission over time. Confronting the colloquial notions that dance is inherently ephemeral, this contemporary dance performance examines the processes that give it tangibility; time, practice, attention. Featuring tap artist Travis Knights, exploring the connection of Jazz and tap carried through divine black bodies.

Little Willy (Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes, Toronto, Canada – Martha Cohen Theatre, February 2-4)
Ronnie Burkett and his Daisy Theatre are back at the High Performance Rodeo with a brand-new production based on Romeo and Juliet. And trust us, you’ve never seen star-crossed lovers like this before. You will not want to miss this exclusive and limited run. The Daisy Theatre gang is back with their irreverent hijinks as they take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in Little Willy. Burlesque star “Dolly Wiggler” starts the show with an Elizabethan strip tease in this riotously funny improvised mash-up of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays. All the leading ladies of the Daisy ensemble battle for the role of “Juliet”, including faded diva “Esme Massengill” in a boozy interpretation of the lovesick ingénue. Beloved audience favourites “Schnitzel” and “Mrs. Edna Rural” are back in supporting roles and adding to the fun and mayhem. “The Bard” himself joins The Daisy Theatre cast for a twisted retelling of this timeless tale. For audiences 16 years and older.

ÉCHO (Édouard Lock, Montreal, Canada – The GRAND, February 3-4)
Co-Presented by One Yellow Rabbit and Springboard
ÉCHO, is a new work of cinematography and live performance, created and directed by world-renowned choreographer and visionary, Édouard Lock. This evening of film, dance and conversation will leave you mesmerised and delighted.

This multidisciplinary experience features a film by Édouard Lock; cinematic compositions of shadows and light as a backdrop to choreographed movement by the renowned Rachel Buriassi, set to original music. Rachele Buriassi, Principal dancer of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, dances (on screen, and then on stage), the rhythm and cadence of her movements flowing through the choreography as James O’Callaghan’s score resonates with both dissonance and harmony. Édouard Lock directs and choreographs. This captivating evening concludes with an intimate conversation between artists as Denise Clarke joins Édouard Lock on stage for a special feature conversation on the arts.



ProArts @ Noon
Join us each Wednesday at noon for a free concert series, produced by our friends at the ProArts Society, in the historic Cathedral Church of the Redeemer. 

January 18, John Vooys & Guest 
Solo musician and Calgary composer, John writes both instrumental and lyrical songs, seeking to bring a pop sensibility to classical music, and a classical sensibility to pop and folk tunes. 

January 25, Duo Solista
Olga Kotova (violin) and Dmitry Nesterov (piano) have played together since they were 17 and named themselves Duo Solista to reflect their dedication to being both solo artists and life partners. 

February 1, Beth Root Sandvoss & Susanne Ruberg-Gordon

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the cathedral as this renowned cellist and pianist perform contemporary and classical works. As a special festival treat, One Yellow Rabbit ensemble member Denise Clarke will join Beth and Susanne to present a movement work to the music of Arco Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel to complete this concert.

Curious Yellow Cabaret Series 

*Pay-what-you-can late night showcases of emerging artists

“The curious yellow cabarets are this year’s raw and risky offering. For many, this is what makes the rodeo a rodeo. Unpredictable, original and important, the next generation of festival performers are here to make you an offer - one which you can take or leave, but never overlook.” - Oliver Armstrong, Producer.

Welcome to the Cypher (Tribe Artist Society – Big Secret Theatre, January 20, 9:30 PM) 

Emerging rappers and DJs from Tribe’s crew will showcase their brand of Hip Hop philosophy in this one-night-only party. Tribe Artist Society is an Indigenous-led Hip Hop Arts organization showcasing the talent and good medicine of Hip Hop Culture in our city.                                        

beautifulyoungartists (Big Secret Theatre, January 21, 9:30 PM)
After a sold out first performance from the all-new ensemble of beautifulyoungartists, they're back! For one night only, join these talented artists as they return to the Big Secret Theatre to showcase bold new works. Curated by Denise Clarke, these beautifulyoungartists will captivate with poetry, music, movement and more in an all-out entertaining cabaret evening.

Turning the Key (Curated by Christopher Duthie – Engineered Air Theatre, January 28, 9:30 PM) 

Top up, foot on the pedal, keys in ignition, how fast can a grand piano go? Join Guest Curator Christopher Duthie, for a raucous soirée of theatre, music, dance and comedy by an eclectic mix of piano flipping Calgary artists to find out. Featuring Sunglaciers, Zaria Rajha & Mario Wahed, Conrad Belau, Cowtown Collection and Christopher Duthie with Caleigh Crow. 


HPRodeo Flex Passes and all individual tickets are on sale now. Purchase them online at; by calling 403-294-9494; or at the Arts Commons Box Office.