The Play the Fool Festival is an artist-driven, non-profit theatre festival that presents clown theatre and physical comedy performances. We provide an opportunity for local Edmonton/Amiskwaciwâskahikan, Canadian and international artists to perform their original work in a professional festival environment, and showcase a diverse range of styles to audiences.
The festival brings together seasoned and emerging local clown-theatre and physical theatre artists for four days of performances that embrace risk, exploration, and play. We welcome both established and emerging theatre artists, and artists with diverse gender identities and cultural backgrounds.
We aim to promote and widen the understanding of the breadth of clown-based theatre as a genre, offer local artists the opportunity to practice their craft, and give local audiences the chance to see high-caliber national and international live-performances.
Our festival gathers in historic Old Strathcona at the ATB Financial Arts Barns, in Amiskwaciwâskahikan, known colonially as Edmonton, Alberta. This land is the traditional territory of many Indigenous People, the First Nations of Treaty 6, and the Metis of Region 4. This land has thousands of years of history, storytelling, and oral traditions. In the spirit of the treaty and its oral agreements we are all meant to share this land and are all treaty people. Cultural and artistic practices of Indigenous Peoples must remain in the control of their communities.
We recognize that there are many inequities in our current systems, especially for those in our community who are Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour. We want the festival to be a space that is mindful and welcoming of the histories and experiences of artists and audiences alike. Clowning as an artform has existed across many cultures and times, as an outlet for creativity, play, social commentary, and storytelling. We strive to create a space that encourages artists to tell their stories, and that challenges us to think, feel, and laugh.