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


The High Performance Rodeo 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 Performance Rodeo 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 Performance Rodeo, 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 Performance Rodeo is a showcase of the best in contemporary performance. Produced by One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre and presented in co-operation with many of Calgary’s major arts organizations. 



What Is The High Performance Rodeo?


With 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. 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."

– Laurel Green, Festival Producer 


Every January, One Yellow Rabbit invigorates and transforms Calgary with the month-long High Performance Rodeo festival; a bold cultural celebration based on daring ideas, wild art, and provocative performances.  As a leading cultural institution, the High Performance Rodeo has evolved to be Calgary's International Festival of the Arts and Canada's longest-running performing arts festival of its kind.  

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 journey, modern Indigenous art and theatre, music, and more transform the cultural landscape of Calgary and leave lasting impressions that extend beyond the city borders. 


Support what you love.  Support the High Performance Rodeo.

Why Support Us?


With the wide range of projects we undertake each season, One Yellow Rabbit and the High Performance Rodeo harnesses the bold, adventurous spirit of our Calgary community to enrich the place we live. Give a dose of social well-being, pride, and goodwill to our city with your gift to One Yellow Rabbit.

Every donation you give makes a difference. The generosity of our supporters plays a vital role in making sure the High Performance Rodeo continues to be the longest running festival of its kind, the most valuable platform for international work, and the most significant international platform for local and national Canadian and Calgarian work in the world.

Beyond the festival stages, the High Performance Rodeo is active year-round to:

  • provide support, advice and encouragement to all the amazing artists, producers and venues who create the HPRodeo each year.
  • assist the audiences who come by helping to navigate what’s on offer with comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date information and ticketing.
  • promote this wonderful and unique festival to the rest of the world.

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 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 talent from Philip Glass to Brian Eno, Scott Thompson to Torquil Campbell. We need your support to ensure Calgary continues to host the greatest festival each January, and so we can continue to support new creative talent across the whole spectrum of the arts.

Where your money goes:

  • $30 could help towards one to one advice for a first-time HPRodeo performer.
  • $50 could help towards ASL Sign Language interpretation for an HPRodeo event
  • $100 could help towards the facilities to help people with accessible needs with adequate facilities.


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