Get down and festive, at an Edmonton festival this week

003_Playback, Found Festival 2022. Photo supplied.

By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

It’s a festive week in Edmonton live entertainment. The moment, both historically and seasonally, is at hand for you to venture forth and join in. It’s a choose-your-festival week; sample widely: the Found Festival, the New Mythic Works Series, Freewill Shakespeare Festival, the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival.

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*Found Fest returns Thursday with its weird and wonderful array of “experiences.” You can find Found, the 11th annual edition of the festival of unexpected encounters between artists and their audiences, in Old Strathcona through Sunday, with one excursion to Fort Edmonton Park. Check out the zestfully varied lineup in this 12thnight PREVIEW.

*The Thousand Faces Festival, devoted to exploring the mythic, roots of storytelling across cultures, is premiering a new series Friday and Saturday at the Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre. 

The first annual New Mythic Works Series introduces five original short plays by a quintet of hot up-and-comers in this theatre town, selected by Amanda Samuelson and Marina Mair-Sanchez. As billed, all are “inspired by international myths, legends, and folklore.”

Liam Monaghan’s Changeling is a modern take on a medieval Irish myth, through the eyes of a precocious nine-year-old exploring queer identity. In Iphigenia,  Liam Salmon takes on Greek tragedy via a doomed member of the most famously dysfunctional family ever, the House of Atreus. Kijo Gatama (currently performing with the Freewill Shakespeare Festival) bases her Mango of the Dead on an ancient Senegalese folk tale. And Sisyphus, Happy, Calla Wright’s contribution, re-casts the main character as Beff Jezos, as “the billionaire sole survivor of the apocalypse.”  Samantha Fraughton’s Homeric Hymn of Demeter, Kind Of, “re-imaginers the plight of Greek harvest goddess Demeter in a contemporary setting. A lawyer is enlisted to help retrieve Demeter’s kidnapped daughter Persephone.  

Tickets: tixonthesquare.ca. 

Nadien Chu as Titania and Ruth Alexander as Nicky Bottom, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Freewill Shakespeare Festival. Photo by Eric Kozakiewicz,

•The Bard continues his double-act al fresco camp-out in the park. The Freewill Shakespeare Festival’s alternating productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the playwright-in-residence’s most popular play, and Measure For Measure, more rarely produced, are on the Heritage Amphitheatre stage through July 10.  Tickets: at the gate or freewillshakespeare.com.

•The annual Grindstone Comedy Festival, back Wednesday through Sunday, is a festive swirl of  stand-up, sketch and improv comedy. And, hey, the creators of Jason Kenney’s Hot Boy Summer, satirists by temperament, return with another musical (Thunder)CATS. And this time these born insurrectionists will take on Broadway’s eternal feline musical and mash it up with … well, the plot does involve the planet Thundera and “a throbbing mystical sword.”  Tickets and full schedule: grindstonecomedyfest.com. 

•Edmonton International Street Performers Festival is back Friday in Churchill Square, this year in conjunction with The Works. It’s a veritable repository of madcap ideas pursued vigorously into the street — and onto the tops of ladders and in hula hoops. Those in perpetual mourning about the end of the endless hockey season can find in the lineup, a continuation or a catharsis:. You could call The Hockey Circus Show a wild exploration of the bond between man, puck, skate, stick. Or not. And there is, apparently, juggling. Check out the shows and the schedule at edmontonstreetfest.com.

The Realistic Joneses, Walterdale Theatre. Photo supplied.

Another is Will Eno’s intriguing The Realistic Joneses, opening Wednesday, and running  is a curiously escalating  collision between two couples, both named Jones. John Anderson’s production runs through July 16. Tickets: walterdaletheatre.square.site.

A third is the elaborately titled The Immaculate Perfection of F**king and Bleeding in the Gender Neutral Bathroom of an Upper-Middle Class High School, which introduces a new theatre indie, BodyCube arts collective. It runs tonight through July 9 at the Studio Theatre in the ATB Financial Arts Barns. Tickets: fringetheatre.ca. 

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