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Undercurrents 2017: “Theatre Below the Mainstream”

Undercurrents 2017: “Theatre Below the Mainstream”

With seven productions, including two world premieres, the 2017 Undercurrents theatre festival kicks off Wednesday February 8 at Arts Court in downtown Ottawa.

Running until Saturday, February 18, Undercurrents is the winter festival of the Ottawa Fringe, who have been presenting it since 2011.

Undercurrents 2017: “Theatre Below the Mainstream” 1
Elephant Girls (photo credit Andrew Alexander)

Undercurrents showcases contemporary theatre, from both local and visiting artists and performers, with two performances a night during the week, and multiple performances on the weekend.

As well as plays, Undercurrents also features free events:

  • panel discussions on the local industry on the Friday nights of the festival
  • New Play Tuesday, which features staged readings of works-in-progress, followed by discussions
  • Talkbacks, where one performance of each show on the schedule is followed by a talkback and discussion of the show

You can find details on the panel schedule page.

The festival itself features an encore production of Margo MacDonald’s The Elephant Girls, as well as world premieres, such as Norah Patton’s Burnt (with dramaturgy by Emily Perlman) and Theatre 4.669’s Un-Countrified. Other productions include Tomorrow’s Child, an adaptation of a Ray Bradbury short story, and Brotherhood: The Hip Hipora, which looks a little bit like this:

Speaking with festival director Pat Gauthier, he told me how Undercurrents grew out of the need to fill a niche in local theatre. “The festival was originally created at the Great Canadian Theatre Company [GCTC] to give the community access to the resources and space there. And also, the festival acts as a mid-stage because at the time you had the Fringe and the GCTC and you didn’t really have anything in between.”

Hence the tagline: Theatre Below The Mainstream. Undercurrents gives performers and artists the opportunity to showcase their talents, and audiences the chance to see shows before everyone else.


Theatre Below the Mainstream

February 8-18, 2017

Arts Court

2 Daly Street, Ottawa

Tickets and passes

Full Schedule


Brendan McNally is a regular contributor to