"A playwright lives in an occupied country. He's the enemy. And if you can't live like that, you
don't stay. It's tough. He's got to be able to take a whack, and he's got to swallow bicycles and
- Arthur Miller, 1915-2005
Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre enriches the lives of artistic thrill-seekers by creating and presenting professional, innovative site-specific theatre experiences that push boundaries in unconventional spaces. Founded in 2006 by Mark Hopkins and Charles Netto, Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre is now recognized as Calgary’s leading purveyor of fearless site-specific professional theatre. We challenge audiences to have new conversations amongst themselves and their surroundings.
As one of Alberta’s only companies dedicated to site-specific theatre, we are dedicated to fostering the development of emerging artists and encouraging the exploration of this art form. Our professional development initiative, the Swallow-a-Workshop Series, offers training in administrative (grant-writing, marketing) and creative (mask, puppetry, Viewpoints) skills. The series will increasingly feature found space practitioners from Vancouver, Toronto and farther afield. Our Co-Artistic Directors also offer site-specific performance workshops across Alberta.
Some of Swallow-a-Bicycle’s site-specific work has included Wanderlust, which featured visual
and performing artists in an abandoned gas station in the heart of downtown Calgary; the i-ROBOT Theatre series, which has presented episodes in a fish market, a historic home and a reclaimed paint warehouse; Freak Show: Tall Tales & Terrible Truths which took place in a theatre tent complete with a yelling-and-selling ticket barker on the Edmonton Fringe grounds; and Eavesdrop: The Coffee Shop Show, an audio play that has toured to coffee shops in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge.
As a company, Swallow-a-Bicycle has always been able to create and maintain strong community partners. Past partnerships include One Yellow Rabbit's High Performance Rodeo, the Calgary Board of Education, the Calgary Tower, the Glenbow Museum, Swizzlesticks Salon and Spa, Beakerhead and Sage Theatre's Ignite! Festival of Emerging Artists.