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Rosebud receives award, nominations, generosity

Rosebud receives award, nominations, generosity

By Laureen F. Guenther

Rosebud Theatre’s A Christmas Story recently received a Critter Award and two nominations. The Critters, the industry nickname for the Calgary Theatre Critics, also gave two nominations to Zach Running Coyote, a 2019 Rosebud School of the Arts graduate, for Best Original Play and Best Leading Performance.

Brian Ball, A Christmas Story’s designer, received the Critter Award for Best Design. Paul Muir, the play’s director, was nominated for Best Direction of a Play. A Christmas Story was also nominated for Best Production of a Play.

“It’s certainly another feather in Rosebud Theatre’s cap,” said Paul Muir. “It’s just another affirmation that the work that has been done in Rosebud is certainly on par with anything that people might see in Calgary or at any other larger centre.”

“That (set) was really unique, especially in terms of typical Rosebud sets,” Muir said, describing the set of A Christmas Story. “(Brian) is a great designer. It’s so great that he was willing to come out from Vancouver to do a show with us. … He really served the story with that design.”

The set had included multiple rooms on two storeys, plus a furnace room which produced smoke and fire.

Zach Running Coyote’s nominations were for Best Original Play and Best Leading Performance, for his play Snowblind, which he performed at Lunchbox Theatre in Calgary.

“How great for Zach (Running Coyote),” added Muir, who is also Rosebud School of the Arts’ Education Director. “Snowblind … He wrote it. He acted in it. It really was just a beautiful story. … Rosebud School of the Arts, all of us, are super proud of him and his work.”

The fact the Critter Awards persevered with nominations and awards despite the COVID crisis, Muir said, is an affirmation of the theatre industry itself.

“Even in the midst of COVID, just to say, ‘Hey, theatre in southern Alberta is not dead.’”

Rosebud Theatre’s 2020 season stopped before it began, with COVID restrictions cancelling their spring show and two summer shows, creating a significant loss in revenue. Salary rollbacks and lay-offs occurred.

Then, for Giving Tuesday on May 5, Rosebud received a matching donor of $10 000. Subsequent donations totaled over $30 000, plus the matching $10 000.

May 28, they kicked-off the Rosebud Lives summer fundraising campaign with the online launch of the 20-minute film, Rosebud, Alberta: A Documentary, by Eric Pauls. Two donors had joined to offer a matching incentive of $50 000, and a third donor offered $10 000 more.

Within three weeks, Rosebud Lives had exceeded that match too, bringing in over $122,000.

“It is such a blessing. We’re over the moon,” Muir said. “We’re completely humbled and grateful for the generosity of, not only our foundation donors, our matching donors, but all the other people who have stepped up and stepped in and supported us through this time.”

“Because of people’s belief in what happens in Rosebud, we’ve been able to match these two amounts. … It sends a message to all of us to say Rosebud is meant to live. Rosebud’s not meant to wither up and die in the midst of this pandemic. … There’s enough belief and intent and support for Rosebud to truly live.”

Muir said another matching donor has come forward, so they’ll soon announce Phase 2 of Rosebud Lives.

Meanwhile, Rosebud is providing as much fun and fellowship as is safe and possible this summer. Rosebud Chamber Music Festival is giving outdoor performances in July. Some gift shops are open. Rosebud Theatre is exploring the possibility of outdoor performances.

Rosebud School of the Arts is offering a summer Drama Educators’ Workshop. The school is set to open the fall term as usual, with a total staff and student body less than Alberta’s permitted 50-person cohort.

Rosebud Theatre’s fall and Christmas shows haven’t been cancelled, Muir said, and they are “in discussion”.

“We’re for sure hoping to roll something out, whether it’s something that is already scheduled for the fall or maybe something else, as soon,” Muir said.

Despite the challenges of this time, Muir is hopeful.

“How can we not be optimistic with the kind of support and affirmation we’ve been receiving?” he asked.

The COVID experience for Rosebud, he said, is like the biblical story of Moses and the Israelites being led through the wilderness, when God provided manna every morning.

“It has meant difficult things and we’re not out of the woods,” he said. “But… as long as we keep receiving that kind of affirmation, we’re going to keep taking the next step.”

To learn more about Rosebud School of the Arts and Rosebud Theatre, see and


To watch Rosebud, Alberta: The Documentary or to make a donation, go to



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