“The Rodeo will always remain a fiercely independent voice of individualism. And I love that.”
–  Michael Green, High Performance Rodeo Founder


What Is The High Performance Rodeo?


With 8970 minutes of pure entertainment from 116 experiences and performances of 25 shows in 18 venues in 2019 alone, there are hundreds of reasons to visit the High Performance Rodeo.


"I love the energy of festivals; the thrill of chasing a must-see performance, the joy in catching a show that is completely unexpected; trading tips in the line-ups, and swapping stories with friends. "
– Laurel Green, Festival Producer 

For three wild weeks in January, One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo, Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts, is where the action is. It’s a chance to watch touring performances from across Canada, acclaimed international shows, and new and experimental work from artists here in Calgary. The programming is bold, cutting-edge, funny, frank, and full of heart. There’s theatre, dance, music, film, free lunchtime concerts, late-night cabarets, and so much more. Shows in the basement of the Calgary Tower, at the Royal Canadian Legion, in the +15’s, a wrestling ring, an elevator, in City Hall, Eau Claire Market, the Glenbow, Central Library, Big Secret Theatre, Lunchbox, DJD, and the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

The High Performance Rodeo takes over downtown Calgary in all shapes, sizes, and sounds – defying description and tantalizing the tastes of arts and culture lovers. Audiences brave the January cold or revel in the chinook heat-wave, comb over the festival guide, and come out to play. The High Performance Rodeo is about championing creativity, building community, celebrating diverse voices, and promoting self-expression in all forms.  For 33 years, the festival has been a launching pad for local artists and a spotlight onto the world’s stage. It’s a unique experience that only happens here.

 The programming is multi-faceted in its diversity; renowned for being rich with progressive, wild and powerfully inventive performances.  Mesmerizing contemporary dance to thought-provoking performances designed to challenge the worldviews held by the audience, international theatre hits, emerging artists and productions, immersive sensory journies, modern Indigenous art and theatre, music and more, transform the cultural landscape of Calgary and leave lasting impressions that extend beyond the city borders. 


The High PerformanceRodeo is a one-of-a-kind celebration of arts and culture from around the world and right here at home.




In 1987, Michael Green launched the first “One Yellow Rabbit Secret Elevator Experimental Performance Festival,” after hours in a downtown Calgary office building. Intrepid audience members called a number for directions, met at a mystery location, were ushered into a darkened elevator and transported to a make-shift venue that was, by day, the office of One Yellow Rabbit’s General Manager. That first year, artists tried out new writing, played compositions on toy pianos, climbed out windows and partied on the rooftops. 


Over the next three decades, the High PerformanceRodeo grew, establishing itself as a small but important forum for innovation and experimentation, placing Calgary artists at the fore, alongside a growing roster of acts from Canada, the US, and beyond. The festival grew an atmosphere of collaboration and experimentation; OYR taught not only Calgary theatre practitioners but theatre audiences to be open to the novel and to choose the unexpected. This international avant-garde festival in the middle of the prairies knocked down barriers both creative and geographic. The choice to build this festival here in this city is one that Avenue Magazine later profiled as one of the 20 Decisions That Shaped Calgary. 


The High PerformanceRodeo, Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts, is an annual festival that animates the city in January with an array of live performances from around the world. Featuring theatre, music, dance, and multidisciplinary art, the High PerformanceRodeo is a showcase of the best in contemporary performance. The festival is produced by One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre and presented in co-operation with many of Calgary’s major arts organizations. 



Support what you love.  Support the High Performance Rodeo.

Why Support Us?


With the wide range of performances, we present each season, One Yellow Rabbit and the High Performance Rodeo harness the bold, adventurous spirit of our Calgary community to enrich the city we live in.  You can give a dose of pride, goodwill, enjoyment and social well-being to the citizens of Calgary with your gift to One Yellow Rabbit.

 Every donation makes a difference.  The generosity of our supporters plays a crucial role in making sure that the High Performance Rodeo continues to be the longest running festival of its kind in Canada, a valuable opportunity for international work, and a vital platform for Canadian and Calgarian arts and culture.

The High Performance Rodeo and our year-round dedicated team of professionals who support artists from across the world would not be possible if it wasn’t for the enthusiasm of the people of Calgary, combined with the long-standing support of our audiences, sponsors, supporters and the community. The High Performance Rodeo strives to provide the support that exceeds participant and public expectations and we ask you to join us in supporting this challenge.

The High Performance Rodeo has nurtured and hosted incredible talents such as Woopie Goldberg, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Torquil Campbell, Laurie Anderson, Scott Thompson and Shane Koyczan.  We have partnered with Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, Alberta Ballet, The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Vertigo Theatre, Lunchbox Theatre and many other local arts producers. We need your support to ensure that Calgary continues to host a spectacular, fun-filled, international performing arts festival each January, bringing warmth and joy to the coldest month of the year.  Where your money goes:

  • $50 would help provide an affordable ticket to a Calgarian on a limited budget.
  • $100 would help towards ASL Sign Language interpretation for an HPRodeo show.
  • $250 would help ensure that our more non-traditional performance venues are accessible to those with mobility challenges.


One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre is a registered charity, B/N 127095826RR0001.


For more information, please contact us at 403-294-9494 or click here to leave comments or feedback.


The High Performance Rodeo's producing company, One Yellow Rabbit, is a registered charity. We gladly accept monetary or in-kind donations to help make the Rodeo a success. To make a donation, visit our CanadaHelps website or contact John Dunn at jdunn@oyr.org or 403-264-3224.

Click here to learn about our current donors, whose support makes the High Performance Rodeo possible.