*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.


April 4 - 13, 2019 - A Doll’s House: Wild Rose, DIY Theatre

May 1 - 5, 2019 - Come Home, by JC Charlton, Urban Stories Theatre

June 4 - 8, 019 - Kohkum & Me, a Folk Musical, by Zack RunningCoyote, The Rest of Us Theatre


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.

To keep rental costs accessible to a variety of groups, there are no technical staff included in your rental. 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 2018-19 season is $730 plus applicable ticket fees. This includes a 25% weekly subsidy from Downstage, reducing the cost from the $980 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 (such as 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 your first week of rental fees plus the damage deposit (so usually $830). If you have a multi-week rental, the rest of your rental fees will be due one month before the first day of your rental. 

Rental weeks run from Sunday to Saturday. Because the space is in such high demand for weekly rentals, we can't usually accommodate shorter rental periods. 

Available weeks as of April 12, 2019:

April 14 - 20, 2019

April 21 - 27, 2019

May 12 - 18, 2019

May 19 - 25, 2019

May 26 - June 1, 2019

June 9 - 15, 2019

June 16 - 22, 2019

June 23 - 29, 2019

June 30 - July 6, 2019

July 21 - 27, 2019

July 28 - Aug 3, 2019

Aug 4 - 10, 2019

Aug 11 - 17, 2019

Aug 18 - 24, 2019

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) and why Motel is your venue of choice. Please save your proposal as a PDF. You can also send her any questions at that email or give us at call at 403.294.7459.