*Banner photo of a post-show conversation by Falanafoto

We're a professional theatre company in Calgary known for offering a unique experience to our audiences.

 

OUR MANDATE IS TO PRODUCE CANADIAN THEATRE THAT CREATES MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION AROUND SOCIAL ISSUES.

OUR WORK IS ...

INVENTIVE –  Whether it's a comic-book musical that explores artistic responsibility, a wacky physical comedy about ocean health, or a drama about consumer debt performed on a parked city bus, our unique mixture of challenging subject matter and artistic skill leads to pieces that are loved by audiences and critics alike. 

RELEVANT – We program and develop plays that delve into the full complexity of an issue. Expect work that is thought-provoking and emotionally engaging, along with a chance to connect with other Calgarians from different walks of life through our nightly post-show discussions.

ACCESSIBLE – We're always working on new ways to crack the theatre doors open for a wide range of Calgarians, whether that's touring shows to community halls around the province, doing a free run of a play that's live-streamed online, or offering tickets at no cost through our Pay-It-Forward program. 

LOCAL – Since 2009, in addition to great existing scripts by Canadian writers, we've produced seven World Premieres by Albertan creators, most of which were in development with us for at least two years. All of these new scripts were nominated for Betty Mitchell Awards for Outstanding New Play and many have gone on to future productions, publication and touring!

 

ELLEN CLOSE
Artistic Director

Ellen is an actor, playwright and producer who has worked with Downstage in various roles since 2007. Her performance credits include Pride and Prejudice (Theatre Calgary & National Arts Centre), Blood: A Scientific Romance (Sage Theatre) and Unity (1918) (ATP). As a member of the Downstage Creation Ensemble, she shares a Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play for In the Wake as well as nominations for Good Fences (ATP’s playRites) and Bus(t). For Downstage, she has also performed in Bone CageArm’s Length Embrace and My Family and Other Endangered Species, an adaptation of Carla Gunn’s novel Amphibian that Ellen co-wrote with Braden Griffiths (Best Play, Calgary Critics Awards; Nominee, Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama.)

 

DANIELLE WHYTE
Managing Director

Danielle is an independent filmmaker and producer. She has worked on more than 40 film and television productions, including CBC’s television series Heartland and has earned several Rosie nominations (AMPIA) including Best Production Design for City of Noise (MindMosis Productions), Best Short for Bad Dad (Awkward Silencio Films) and Best Student Production for Human Resources (SAIT Productions). She is an executive producer at Belle of the Brawl Entertainment and a perennial judge and advisory board member for the Ten Scary Minutes Online Film Festival. Danielle is a graduate of the Cinema, Television, Stage and Radio program at SAIT Polytechnic and holds an MBA from the Haskayne School of Business.

JESSIE PAYNTER
Production Manager

Jessie is a technical director, lighting designer, and video designer who works in both theatre and dance. Recently she has done lighting designs for Ride (Lunchbox Theatre), Exploder (Ghost River Theatre with Western Canada High), Robin Hood (Red Deer College), as well as the National Music Centre. She was the Technical Director of the 2017 Ignite Festival (Sage Theatre), and is the Technical Coordinator for the Calgary International Film Festival. She has worked in a design and/or technical capacity for companies such as the National Arts Centre (Ottawa, ON), Project X Theatre (Kamloops, BC), Imago Theatre (Montreal, QC), Rising Tide Theatre (Trinity, NFL) and Western Canada Theatre (Kamloops, BC). Jessie is a graduate of the production program at the National Theatre School of Canada.

 

Our Board of Directors

Our volunteer Board uses their diverse professional backgrounds to provide oversight and strategic guidance.

Interested in applying to join us? Download our Board Application Form or email ellen at downstage.ca for more info. 

BRENDA LANG
President

Lecturer, Bissett School of Business, Mount Royal University

MATTHEW BLOCK
Director

Crown Prosecutor

SILVIA KOSO
Director

Capacity Builder, United Way of Calgary and Area

HEATHER CAMPBELL, P.ENG
Vice-President

Procurement Development Manager, Renewables Development
Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)
 

MARYAM DASHTI
Director

Business Advisor, Shell Canada

MIGUEL MORI
Director

Freelance Percussionist; Student, Haskayne MBA

 

MAUREEN SHEPPARD
Secretary

Owner, Cobb's Corn Maze & Family Fun Park and ScreamFest

KATE EASTON
Director

B.Sc Chemical Engineering specializing in Energy, Technology, Environment, Oil Sands, Strategy 

ASHLEY TOWNS
Director

Manager, Canadian Corporate Tax, KPMG LLP

 

JOEL DOUGLAS, CA, CFA
Treasurer

Controller, Cona Resources Ltd.

SALIMAH KASSAM
Director

Manager, United Way Calgary and Area

The Downstage Performance Society was created in 2004 by Founding Artistic Director Simon Mallett. Take a look at our production history below for a taste of our past work.

2016-17
* Crime Does Not Pay by David Rhymer & Kris Demeanor
(World Premiere, with Forte Musical Theatre & the support of Hit & Myth Productions)

2015-16
* Benefit by Matthew MacKenzie (World Premiere)                          
* My Family and Other Endangered Species by Ellen Close & Braden Griffiths,
adapted from the novel Amphibian by Carla Gunn (as part of Vertigo Theatre's Y Stage Series)

2014-15
* rihannaboi95 by Jordan Tannahill                                                
* Good Fences by the Downstage Creation Ensemble (Community Tour)

2013-14
* A Bomb in the Heart by Wajdi Mouawad, translated by Linda Gaboriau
* My Family and Other Endangered Species by Ellen Close & Braden Griffiths,
adapted from the novel Amphibian by Carla Gunn (World Premiere)

2012-13
* Uprising 2012 (part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival)
* Bashir Lazhar by Evelyne de la Chenelière, translated by Morwyn Brebner
* Sequence by Arun Lakra (World Premiere)

2011-12
* In a World Created by a Drunken God by Drew Hayden Taylor
* Good Fences by the Downstage Creation Ensemble (World Premiere)
* Sia by Matthew MacKenzie

2010-11
* Goodness by Michael Redhill
* Uprising 2010
* And So It Goes by George F. Walker
 

2009-10
* Enoch Arden in the Hope Shelter by Judith Thompson
* Uprising 2009
* Bone Cage by Catherine Banks
* In the Wake by the Downstage Creation Ensemble (World Premiere)

2008-09
* Palace of the End by Judith Thompson
* The Piper by Colleen Murphy
* Bus(t) by the Downstage Creation Ensemble (World Premiere)

2007-08
* Arm's-Length Embrace by Downstage (World Premiere)
* The Dishwashers by Morris Panych
* Habitat by Judith Thompson

2006-07
* Heaven by George F. Walker
* This is for You, Anna by The Anna Project
* Man Out of Joint by Sharon Pollock (World Premiere)

2005-06
* A Line in the Sand by G. Verdecchia & M. Youssef
* Prometheus Bound adapted by George Ryga
* pppeeeaaaccceee by Darren O'Donnell

2004-05
* Dog from the Machine by Downstage (The Culture of Fear, Rights & FreedumbsRogue Wheat & Smoking Broccoli)
* Pulling the Wool by Simon Mallett