Magnetic North Theatre: A Springboard for Canadian Talent
For Calgary’s schmoozy and sociable, the summer event scene can be overwhelming. Calgary culture has been kind enough to inventory the city’s summer festivals, but this long list only aggravates my chronic FOMO. Where will be the unusual delights? Which events would make for the best dates? And how to choose between comedy, “arts,” and Ukrainian (perogy!) festivals? Ack!
Deep breath. We’re going to take this one event at a time, Calgary. And focus on the present – starting with the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, which is on now until June 23.
I spoke to Brenda Leadlay, the festival’s Artistic Director, to figure out what makes that festival different than the squillion other theatre events in this city. Most descriptions of the MNTF seem to focus on the traveling nature of the fest (it moves around the country, like Canada’s magnetic north), which, I suppose, is kinda neat. But touring festivals are not new to me.
However, what I learned from Brenda was that the festival has the special purpose of launching Canadian theatre out to other parts of Canada and North America. Essentially, what the MGTF does is select promising Canadian theatre talent and showcase it to “presenters” from all over the world. (Presenters, for those of us not hip to theatre lingo, are people bring theatre productions from elsewhere to their home venue.)
“We’ve selected work we consider to be the best, the most inventive, and cultural diverse,” says Brenda.
“And we’ve spoken to presenters as far away as Korea, Chile, the UK, and the Netherlands.”
So not only is the MNTF around to entertain us Calgarians, but by attending we can support a Canadian theatre “springboard” of sorts. And if you do choose a Magnetic North show over other summer Calgary events, you now have a bit of context, and of course, some new theatre lingo to impress your date.