EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, Calgary

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EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, Calgary

The EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts is a multi-venue arts centre in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada, located in the Olympic Plaza Cultural District.


The oldest part of the city block that houses the EPCOR CENTRE is the Burns Building, named after noted Calgarian Pat Burns. Construction began in April 1912 and was completed at a cost of $350,000. In the late 1970s, the demolition of the Burns Building became a possibility, because it was on land needed for the construction of the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts. Demolition proposals were defeated by the Calgary City Council by one vote, and, along with the Calgary Public Building (built in 1930/31 at a cost of almost $2 million), the building was incorporated into the plan for the Arts Centre. In 1979, the Public Building was bought by the City of Calgary for $3.8 million and its upper floors are still occupied by City of Calgary offices.

The newly-created Centre was officially opened on 14 September 1985 by the then Premier of Alberta Peter Lougheed. After a donation by EPCOR, an Edmonton, Alberta-based utilities company, the name was changed to the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts on 1 May 2001.

Occupying a full city block, EPCOR CENTRE is a six level complex measuring over 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) . It is one of the three largest arts centres in Canada. In addition to a variety of performance spaces, EPCOR CENTRE also houses rehearsal halls, theatre workshops, offices, meeting rooms, a café, radio station, salon spa and gift store, with art works from community groups and galleries displayed throughout.

Amenities offered

Almost 400,000 people attend 1800-plus performances and events each year at the EPCOR CENTRE. Such events include live theatre, dance, spoken word and readings, children's events, experimental theatre, art exhibits, public forums, weddings, training sessions, meetings, arts education activities, sporting events and competition, award ceremonies and concerts ranging from symphonic music to jazz, folk, blues, world and rock.

Performance and other facilities
  • Jack Singer Concert Hall, with 1,800 seats, is the largest venue in the building. It is said to be a synthesis of some of the world's finest concert halls (the Musikverein, Vienna, the Symphony Hall, Boston, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam). Suspended above the stage is a 185,000-pound laminated spruce-wood acoustical canopy, which can be raised or lowered to tune the hall according to the specific needs of each performer. Named for Jack Singer, the Concert Hall is the permanent home of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, which employs 65 full-time musicians, and the 6,040-pipe Carthy Organ.
  • Max Bell Theatre is home to Theatre Calgary.
  • Martha Cohen Theatre is home to Alberta Theatre Projects (ATP).
  • Big Secret Theatre is home to One Yellow Rabbit.
  • Engineered Air Theatre is used for documentary films, plays, weddings, receptions, and galas. Can seat up to 185 theatre-style.
  • Motel is a black box, multi-purpose venue used for plays, experimental theatre and performance art.
Activities and performances

EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts presents music programming, arts education (personal and professional development) and movies. Programs include the BD&P World Music Series, Carma Acoustic Blues Series, Movies That Matter and Arts Learning Projects (Theatre School, One Days Arts School and Evening Arts Studios).

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via Annotator
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference and added a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com