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Sage Theatre Presents IGNITE FESTIVAL: HYPERSPACE EDITIONThe festival for fresh faces forges their way through the at-a-distance and digital foliage. Celebrating its 15th year, the IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists, presented by Sage Theatre, is adapting its format in response to the COVID19 pandemic.

In previous years, the multidisciplinary performing arts festival took place over four days at the Pumphouse Theatres. But from June 10th -13th, audiences will have the opportunity experience the new and engaging work from some of Alberta's most promising emerging artists from the comfort of their own home. Most of the festival will be streamed online, with a few unique projects offering alternative experiences for the more adventurous.

"Every year, the IGNITE! Festival launches forward the careers of artists in Calgary. Many of the currently working artists in our city have roots in IGNITE! - some way or another!" says Jason Mehmel, Artistic Director of Sage Theatre and Curator of IGNITE's Theatre Series. "I'm grateful to contribute to this legacy of artistic growth and excited to see new works from the festival artists!"

This year's festival boasts an impressive line-up of 14 original productions across four series of performing arts. The challenging Provocation Series is curated by Swallow-a-Bicycle's Artistic Director Mark Hopkins, the moving Dance Series is curated by Untold Physical Theatre's Samantha Ketsa supported by Springboard Performance, and the gut-busting Improv Series has been curated by The Kinkonauts' Nicole Zylstra.


As part of IGNITE's Visual Arts Series, emerging artist Shannon Barry will have her work featured across all of Sage Theatre/IGNITE's platforms. And new this year, the IGNITE! Team is pleased to welcome Layla Dart as the inaugural participant in a pilot project of IGNITE's Emerging Arts Journalism Program. "While it's not without its challenges," says Festival Producer, Savanna Harvey, "the new festival-at-a-distance model allows us to engage with emerging artists and audiences from all over the world.

The program this year is full of Albertan Stories with the occasional national collaboration - something that would be super exciting to pursue into future years too." The IGNITE! festival is taking advantage of the many performance avenues that a festival-at-a-distance model can explore. Stuart McDougall's Elegant Animal is a show delivered to the audience members' door as a care package. Bryan Sandberg's Good People takes the viewer on a search for the truth in podcasts, videos, and blog posts across multiple online platforms. Maryn Bjorndahl's Bypass explores the unnoticed commonalities between strangers in a dance film.

This year's festival is by donation, and a full listing of instructions and show schedules will be available soon at

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From This Author Vicki Trask