*Banner photos of Motel by Tim Nguyen, Citrus Photography.

As a Resident Company of Arts Commons, Downstage takes an active role in curating the Motel Theatre as an affordable venue for a range of smaller companies and emerging artists. The Motel Theatre is an intimate, 50-seat venue that hosts some Downstage shows as well as performances from a range of ad-hoc groups and independent companies throughout the season. Tickets are handled independently by each group.


September 12 - 22, 2019 - The Lost Hours, 8ROJO


Find The Theatre


Motel Theatre is in Arts Commons in downtown Calgary, opposite Olympic Plaza at 225 8 Avenue SE.

Enter from Stephen Avenue (8th Ave) through the Main Entrance doors, closest to City Hall. Go up the main flight of stairs and turn right or take the elevator to the second floor. You'll see Motel across the hall from One Yellow Rabbit's Big Secret Theatre.

Arts Commons is easily accessible by transit, with the C-Train line only a block north. If you're heading eastbound, you can get off at either Centre Street or City Hall Station. If you're heading westbound, get off at City Hall Station. If you're coming by bus, visit the Calgary Transit Trip Planner and enter Arts Commons in the "Going to" field to figure out the best way to get here. 

Underground parking is available at Arts Commons at 829 Macleod Trail SE. However, the parkade can fill up quickly when there are many shows running throughout the building, so we recommend clicking here for more tips about where to park in the area.


Motel is a flexible 50-seat black-box performance venue in Arts Commons in downtown Calgary best suited to emerging and experimental performing arts companies and collectives. Motel can also be booked for dance, visual arts, staged readings, and rehearsals or send us a pitch of what you would like to do!

Rentals for the 2019-2020 Season:

To keep rental costs accessible to a variety of groups, technical staff are only included for the first and last day of your rental. Additional time with technical staff may be booked by special request. A walk through must be set up with the Production Manager to review equipment and space protocols. We advise that all of your designers, your stage manager and technical director be present during this walk through so that you're familiar with how to safely use the equipment. You can check out our technical inventory here and see a ground plan here

The weekly rate for Motel Theatre for the 2019-20 season is $1030 for the first week, and $790 for additional weeks in the same booking. This includes a 25% weekly subsidy from Downstage, reducing the cost from the weekly fee set by Arts Commons. 

Other costs to use the space:

  • A $100 damage deposit, written as a separate post-dated cheque, which is refunded if the venue is restored to its original condition at the end of your rental.

  • Capital Replacement Fund (CRF): A surcharge on every paid ticket that goes towards maintaining Arts Commons venues. Varies from $1.00-$3.00 per ticket depending on ticket price.

  • Box Office Charges: You have the option of either selling your tickets through the Arts Commons Box Office (in which case their ticketing charges apply) or selling your own tickets at the door only. If you're selling your own tickets at the door, you can take reservations by phone or email but you can't sell advance tickets through any other third party service (It is not permitted to use EventBrite, BrownPaper Tickets or other community box offices).

You're also required to carry public liability insurance for two million dollars for the period of the rental. This usually costs between $200-$300 and is often good for a full year of your activities. We can provide some basic advice about what's worked for our other renters if you need.  

To secure your rental dates, you'll need to sign an agreement and pay a non-refundable deposit of $790 plus your $100 damage deposit. The remainder of your rental fees will be due one month before the first day of your rental. 

Rental weeks run from Monday to Sunday. Please note that this is new for the 2019-2020 season. Because the space is in such high demand for weekly rentals, we can't usually accommodate shorter rental periods. 

Available weeks for 2019-2020:

Sept 30 - Oct 6

Oct 7 - Oct 13

Oct 14 - Oct 20

Dec 9 - Dec 15

Dec 30 - Jan 5

Mar 2 - Mar 8

Apr 6 - Apr 12

Apr 13 - Apr 19

May 4 - May 10

June 1 - June 7

June 8 - June 14

July 13 - July 19

July 20 - July 26

July 27 - Aug 2

Aug 3 - Aug 9

Aug 10 - Aug 16

Aug 17 - Aug 23

Aug 24 - Aug 30

Don’t see your ideal dates? Ask us! More weeks to be released soon.

If this sounds like a good venue for your project, please send an email to Production Manager Jessie Paynter (jessie at downstage.ca) with a one page proposal including:

  • a short description of the work to be presented,

  • the artists involved (if known),

  • your ideal dates (please provide 3 options)

  • why Motel is your venue of choice.

Please save your proposal as a PDF. You can also send Jessie any questions at the email above or give us at call at 403.294.7459.