*Banner photo by Tim Nguyen, Citrus Photography

These Downstage creations are already touring or ready to hit the road: Crime Does Not Pay, My Family and Other Endangered Species, Good Fences and In the Wake. For more information about bringing one of our shows to your community, contact Artistic Director Ellen Close at ellen at downstage.ca. 

CRIME DOES NOT PAY
By David Rhymer & Kris Demeanor

You can now download the live album FOR oNLY $10!

Recognized internationally for work that is incisive, heartwrenching and darkly funny, Calgarians David Rhymer and Kris Demeanor have spun a true story into a brand-new musical that will plant gorgeous songs and explosive ideas in your head.

Bob arrives in the big city in the late 1940s with a sketchbook full of comics about how the little guy always gets pushed into the dirt by corporations and politicians, but publishers say there’s no money in bleeding hearts. When Bob falls for Violet, a lounge singer with an abusive ex-husband, inspiration strikes! He gets his big break after sexing up his stories with ‘babes and blood’ - dark depictions of true crimes where the criminals are the heroes, in a hot new title called "Crime Does Not Pay".

The comics become an overnight sensation but inspire a backlash from children’s advocate Eleanor Flood, who claims their racy content is spurring horrible copycat crimes. Turns out that the trappings of success, the threat of censorship and Bob’s possessive love of Violet make for one dangerous cocktail...

 

PAST PERFORMANCES

March 2-11, 2017
Downstage & Forte Musical Theatre - World Premiere
with the generous support of Hit & Myth Productions
Engineered Air Theatre, Calgary

AWARDS

  • Outstanding Projection Design, 2017 Betty Mitchell Award for Amelia Scott with illustrations by Tyler Jenkins
  • Outstanding Set Design, 2017 Betty Mitchell Award for Anton de Groot with Alison Yanota
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Comedy or Musical, 2017 Betty Mitchell Award for Jamie Konchak
  • An additional six 2017 Betty Mitchell Award nominations: Outstanding Costume Design (Deitra Kalyn), Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical (Devin MacKinnon), Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Composition, Outstanding Musical Direction, and Outstanding Production of a Musical

PRESS

".. [director] Mallett does an exceptional job finding the right balance between the multimedia razzle dazzle and his powerhouse, multitalented cast." - Stephen Hunt, Globe and Mail


"A stunning premiere... I firmly believe Crime Does Not Pay will have a life after Calgary and it certainly deserves one. It sings volumes about how much talent there is in our backyard. 
 - Louis Hobson, Calgary Sun


MY FAMILY & OTHER ENDANGERED SPECIES 
by Ellen Close & Braden Griffiths
Adapted from the novel Amphibian by Carla Gunn 

Nine-year-old Phineas William Walsh has an encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. What he doesn't understand, though, is why his parents can't live together - after all, when other mate-for-life animals have a fight, it's not like one of them just packs his bags and leaves the country. To make things to-infinity worse, Phin is worried sick about what humans are doing to the planet, and his mother is worried sick about him. So, when a White's tree frog ends up in an aquarium in his fourth-grade classroom, it's the last straw, and he stages an elaborate rescue. 

My Family and Other Endangered Species is a funny, imaginative and moving new play that engages young adults and adults alike with a fast-paced story about environmental anxiety that features a number of inventive puppets. 



PAST PERFORMANCES
January 28 - February 7, 2016
Part of Vertigo's Y Stage Theatre Series
Vertigo Studio, Calgary

April 23 - May 3, 2014
Downstage - World Premiere
Big Secret Theatre, Calgary

AWARDS

  • Best Production of a Play, 2014 Calgary Critics Award
  • Best New Script, 2014 Calgary Critics Nomination
  • Best Actor in a Play, Braden Griffiths, 2014 Calgary Critics Nomination
  • Outstanding New Play, 2014 Betty Mitchell Nomination
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Drama, Braden Griffiths, 2014 Betty Mitchell Nomination

PRESS
"This is one of those magical plays that is just as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids [...] Splendid adaptation and wonderful acting aside, this is a phenomenal production [...] Top to bottom, this is a must." - Jessica Goldman, CBC Eyeopener

"5 STARS - One of the beauties of this show is its unapologetic theatricality [...] it should prove as enthralling and entertaining for tweens and teens as it will prove enlightening [...] I'm as convinced My Family will captivate the imaginations and intellects of adults as I am that it will travel beyond this production and this city." - Louis Hobson, Calgary Sun

"4 STARS - A drama that super infinity (that’s a Phineasism) ought to be seen by every Calgarian — adults for sure, and theatre-loving teens and tweens will no doubt be able to relate to Phin’s extreme alienation." - Stephen Hunt, Calgary Herald


GOOD FENCES
by the Downstage Creation Ensemble

Ethan Cole, Ellen Close, Col Cseke, anton de groot, NICOLA ELSON, Braden Griffiths & Simon Mallett

Good Fences is an incisive and entertaining play that explores the relationship between agriculture and oil & gas in Alberta. The show premiered at the Enbridge playRites Festival of New Canadian Plays in 2012 and received three Betty Mitchell Award nominations, including one for Outstanding New Play. Now a highly portable version of the show tours to suburban and rural theatres and community halls. 

In the show, Devon, a VP for a small oil and gas company in Calgary, has bought land in a ranching community as a weekend getaway for his family. Soon after his arrival, a major energy company reveals their plans to put a sour gas pipeline through the area. 

Devon quickly learns about the locals' tension-filled relationship with resource development, discovering that there's much more at stake than his own little piece of paradise.
 


PERFORMANCES

March 19-28, 2015
Community Tour in Calgary (Unitarian Church, Arbour Lake & Parkland), University of Lethbridge and Red Deer College
 

August 28-31, 2013
Pilot Community Tour in Calgary (downtown, Bowness) and Longview, Alberta 


February 14 - March 4, 2012
Alberta Theatre Projects' Enbridge playRites
Festival of New Canadian Plays
Big Secret Theatre, Calgary

AWARDS

  • Outstanding New Play, 2012 Betty Mitchell Nomination
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Drama, Braden Griffiths, 2012 Betty Mitchell Nomination
  • Outstanding Set Design, Anton de Groot, 2012 Betty Mitchell Nomination


PRESS

Read Stephen Hunt's review in the Calgary Herald about our "lively, re-tooled and re-invigorated" touring production here.

"Good Fences is a must-see show for anyone connected with either farming or the oil and gas industry - which is to say, everyone in Alberta.”
Avenue Magazine Review 

"This play is a great way to peer into this relationship, sometimes contemptuous, always controversial, that has far-reaching effects on everyone who calls this province home." - Getdown.ca Review 

"A genuine Alberta story...insightful and compelling"
- Louis Hobson, Calgary Sun

Click here to read an article about Good Fences and other oil & gas-related plays from the Globe and Mail.
 


IN THE WAKE
by the Downstage Creation Ensemble

Ethan Cole, Ellen Close, Col Cseke, anton de groot, NICOLA ELSON, Braden Griffiths & Simon Mallett

An oxygen-deprived dead zone is devastating the marine life off Canada’s west coast, and fisherman Jack Travail is feeling the impact. Frustrated by ineffectual union reps and stymied by government inaction, Jack is desperate for a way to restore his livelihood. Enter Charlotte Wallace, a scientist whose unconventional research has the potential to bring life back to the ocean. When her discovery goes public, she finds herself enmeshed in Jack’s struggle and the pair must decide if radical problems demand radical action. 

In the Wake is a darkly-comic and highly-physical exploration of complex dilemmas surrounding geo-engineering, oceanic health and eco-terrorism and takes place entirely atop a 6' X 3' illuminated platform.



PERFORMANCES
May 22-24, 2014
Calgary International Children’s Festival
Big Secret Theatre, Calgary

July 30 - August 3, 2012
Festival Players of Prince Edward County
Bloomfield, Ontario

June 15-17, 2012
Magnetic North Theatre Festival
EPCOR CENTRE’s Motel Theatre, Calgary

January 24, 2011
Special Presentation with David Keith
University of Calgary

January 14, 15 & 16, 2011
One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo
Lunchbox Theatre, Calgary

April 8-17, 2010
Downstage World Premiere
EPCOR CENTRE’s Motel Theatre, Calgary

AWARDS

  • Outstanding New Play, 2010 Betty Mitchell Award
  • Outstanding Production of a Play, 2010 Betty Mitchell Nomination
  • Outstanding Direction, Simon Mallett, 2010 Betty Mitchell Nomination
  • Outstanding Sound Design or Composition, Ethan Cole, 2010 Betty Mitchell Nomination
  • FFWD Weekly Readers’ Choice Award, 2010 Nomination
  • Best Revival, 2012 Calgary Critics Nomination


PRESS

“A very complicated and complex story that is told with breathtaking simplicity, unexpected humour and outrageously creative choreography…” - Jessica Goldman, Applause Meter 

"...a thoughtful, innovative and challenging piece of creative work” - Getdown.ca 

"4 STARS - ...even stronger than the tide of environmental justice that In the Wake evokes is the fact that it feels positively, contemporarily Canadian” Stephen Hunt, Calgary Herald 

"4 STARS - ...a little show with a big conscience and an even bigger heart." - Louis Hobson, Calgary Sun