Old Strathcona, Downtown and Alberta Ave
by Annette Loiselle, Artistic Director
As Edmonton’s only theatre and multidisciplinary arts festival featuring women, we are excited to announce that SkirtsAfire is expanding this year with more venues, new experimental shows and artistic growth. We will be in Old Strathcona with our MainStage play The Blue Hour by Michele Vance Hehir (a must-see), Downtown with music and cabaret at Station on Jasper and The Nook Cafe, and we are back on Alberta Avenue, the community where we started, with brand new shows in drumming, dance and so much more. There’s a lot going on at SkirtsAfire over our 10-day festival, so here is a simplified overview – venue by venue, community by community.
After many years building our own theatre space in the Alberta Avenue Community League, we are thrilled to be premiering our MainStage play at the Westbury Theatre in the ATB Financial Arts Barns. This is a HUGE step forward for SkirtsAfire, making our festival another major player amongst so many other theatres and festivals in the city.
The Blue Hour by Michele Vance Hehir is a timely, funny, complicated and ultimately heartbreaking story that takes place in the fictional small town of Roseglen, Alberta, circa 1947/48. The story centers around a young boy fighting for his own survival, that of his overworked single mother and of his older sister who’s aching to escape her confined world. The Blue Hour explores the desire for love, its betrayal and the enduring realization that hope matters.
Join us for “Her Night Out” on February 29 (Leap Year!), sponsored by Alberta Mamas. Use the code “abmamasbogo” to buy one, get one free. Along with the show, the night will include special lobby entertainment, food, silent auction and an exciting raffle. Can’t make it to “Her Night Out?” Use code “albertamamas15” to get 15% off any other performance of The Blue Hour.
The Nook Café
On the morning of Leap Year 2020, enjoy your Saturday coffee and brunch at the Nook Café where you can catch a unique and captivating show with a singer-songwriter, a spoken word duo, and Flamenco music and dance to fill you from head to toe.
Station on Jasper
We are thrilled to be at this brilliant music venue where you can enjoy great drinks, food and company while taking in some amazing acts. All of our bigger music and cabaret events will take place here, starting with the A-Line Variety Show which will open the festival on February 27. Entertainment includes Lebanese dance, poetry, singer-songwriters, drumming, burlesque, clown, flamenco, and an all-girl jazz band – to name just a few.
Station on Jasper is also a fantastic location for brunch and for International Women’s Day Weekend, we’re taking over! Be sure to save the date for our International Women’s Day Brunch, a human trafficking awareness event on March 8, presented by Hillberg and Berk, Yeg Boss Babes and SkirtsAfire. This event will include brunch, drinks, entertainment and special keynote speaker – Amber Niemeier from YWCA. Tickets are available now RIGHT HERE. Be sure to reserve your spot before they’re gone!
On Saturday night, March 7, we’ll have an amazing night of music including headliner – Derina Harvey Band. Fearless front-woman Derina Harvey leads this Celtic rock group, who are winners of the People’s Choice Award at the 2018 Edmonton Music Awards. The group offers a fresh take on traditional folk songs as well as an increasing amount of original material. The band has a rocky, rhythmic undertow; layered with guitars, fiddle, and topped by Derina’s powerful voice. dHb has been likened to a rockier version of Canada’s Great Big Sea, if fronted by Adele, and has earned a reputation as a high-energy live show.
Get there early to enjoy opening act – Jemma and the Good Thing – and then stick around after dHb to dance ’til you drop with DJ Kena Leon!
A community very close to our hearts, this was the original hub for all our festival events. As we expand and our venues broaden, we are happy that we get to still bring our interdisciplinary and experimental programming to Alberta Avenue. And be sure to grab some delicious food while you catch our singer-songwriters at the Carrot Community Coffee House and Otto Food and Drink.
The Art Installation at the Nina is a big experiment in itself. We have a new curator this year, Stephanie Florence, who brings performance art into her own visual art practice and the installation is being built around the theme of Suspension & Complicated. Suspension is the name of a play that audiences will experience as part of this installation, written by Hayley Moorhouse and part of the Alberta Queer Calendar Project, a partnership with Cardiac Theatre.
We’ll have our usual events in the gallery: Yoga in the Art, Literary Readings, our Opening Ceremonies and Words Unzipped: an interdisciplinary spoken word event, but dance is such a powerful medium and for SkirtsAfire 2020 we’re introducing a couple of incredible, new dance shows as well – Shaktiflow and She Moves.
And finally, in the Nina, we’ll have a staged reading of an all-female version of Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare brought to us by Tiger’s Hearts Collective. You’ll experience some of the best sword fighting brought to you live by a company of fierce women.
St Faith’s Church
This year’s Songs in the Sanctuary brings award winning singer-songwriter Maddie Storvold featured with Edmonton’s finest choirs sharing her honeyed, impassioned voice to touch a fragile part of the human spirit. Make sure you stay afterwards for an alt country folk concert with her full band Maddie Storvold and the Moonlighters.
A new show in the sanctuary of the church is The Beat of her Drum. It will feature a fusion of drumming and dance from 3 very diverse groups – West African and Latin, Indigenous, and Korean.
If you want to make the most our of our jam-packed 10 day festival, make sure you get a Festival Pass! For only $38 this pass gets you into The Blue Hour at the Westbury in Old Strathcona, an evening show of your choice at Station on Jasper, and an unlimited pass to our By Donation events, which includes all the shows on Alberta Ave and at The Nook. Attend 3 or more By Donation events and submit your pass to be entered to win a prize! Get more info here: https://skirtsafire.com/festival-passes/
Look for our full festival schedule online at www.skirtsafire.com to start making your itinerary now. Gather your tribe of women or go on a special date with your partner and escape your day to day this February and March!
Looking for a discount code? Check out this post!
This post was created in partnership with SkirtsAfire Festival. As always, all opinions stated are our own.