The Play the Fool Festival is Edmonton’s artist-driven, non-profit theatre festival that presents clown theatre and physical comedy performances. We provide an opportunity for local, national and international artists to perform their original work in a professional festival environment, and showcase a diverse range of styles to audiences.
Held in historic Old Strathcona at the ATB Financial Arts Barns, the festival brings together seasoned and emerging local, national, and international clown 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 Edmonton audiences the chance to see high-caliber national and international performances.
Our in-person festival gathers in Amiskwaciwâskahikan, known colonially as Edmonton, on Treaty 6 lands, traditional territory of many Indigenous Peoples, including Cree, Saulteaux, Blackfoot, Dene, and Nakota; it is also Métis territory. We are all treaty people, all affected by the colonization of these lands, and with many of us still benefiting at the expense of others. We recognize that as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, the river flows, this land will have a sacred connection to Indigenous peoples.
We recognize that racism is embedded in our current systems and in the history of our country. We know that racial violence continues to be a lived experience for those in our community who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. Play the Fool Festival commits to seeking ways to amplify BIPoC artists and their voices.