In November and December, Calgary’s arts scene is full of heartwarming Christmas stories, soaring holiday music and touching dance numbers. Here are seven theatre, music and dance productions that will get you in the holiday spirit this year.
When: November 26 to December 22
Lunchbox Theatre has brought back its production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play this holiday season. While you may be familiar with the original 1946 film, this production is done as a live radio broadcast in the 1940s. Set on Christmas Eve, the story follows a suicidal man named George Bailey and the guardian angel sent to help him look back on the impact of his life. Catch a performance during your lunch break (at noon) from Monday to Saturday, or a 6 p.m. evening performance on Thursdays and Fridays.
160, 115 9 Ave. S.E., lunchboxtheatre.com
When: November 29 to December 23
Attending a production of A Christmas Carol might just be one of the biggest holiday traditions around. This year, Theatre Calgary will once again stage the classic Christmas story in the Arts Commons’ Max Bell Theatre. For those who aren’t familiar with the tale by Charles Dickens, the story focuses on a grumpy old man named Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet to come on Christmas Eve. Check it out if only to see local actor Stephen Hair’s take on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, which he’s been playing for 25 years.
205 8 Ave. S.E., 403-294-7447, theatrecalgary.com
When: November 30 to December 1
This is one holiday production where you can get away with wearing your favourite Christmas sweater — in fact, there will even be a prize for whoever wears the best festive sweater. Don’t miss the chance to hear Cowtown Opera’s company of opera singers take on some holiday songs.
cSpace King Edward, Studio Theatre, 1721 29 Ave. S.W., cowtownoperacompany.com
When: December 5 to 8
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is spreading Christmas cheer throughout the month. To hear some of your favourite holiday songs, catch one of the A Traditional Christmas shows at Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge on December 5, the Foothills Centennial Centre on December 6 or the Grace Presbyterian Church from December 7 to 8. Other holiday-time performances by the CPO include A Nat King Cole Christmas, ‘Tis the Season: Kids’ Holiday Special, Home for the Holidays with Johnny Reid and Rune’s Classical Christmas.
Locations vary, calgaryphil.com
When: December 14 to 16 and 20 to 24
Back for its 10th year, Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker is another holiday classic, telling the story of a young girl named Clara whose wooden nutcracker magically comes to life on Christmas Eve. Watch as 120+ cast members perform choreography by Alberta Ballet’s Edmund Stripe and take in the ballet’s classic score by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Keep an eye out for special touches added to the show in honour of the anniversary year.
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 1415 14 Ave. N.W., albertaballet.com
When: December 15
During Sounds of the Season, MRU Conservatory ensembles come together for a night of holiday and classical music. You can expect to hear the Calgary Youth Orchestra and three Mount Royal choirs (Kantorei, Artio and Zhi-Yin), as well as the Heebee-jeebees, a local acappella group. The show runs at 7:30 p.m.
Mount Royal University, Bella Concert Hall, 4825 Mount Royal Gate S.W., mtroyal.ca
When: December 23
Frank Sinatra and Christmas tunes might just be the perfect musical combination. You can hear both at the Calgary Jazz Orchestra’s Perfectly Frank Christmas performance this year, which will run at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. the day before Christmas Eve.
3818 14A St. S.W., calgaryjazzorchestra.com
[This story was updated on November 16, 2018]