What's Goin On


SHADOW OF TRUTH: Shadow Puppet Workshop

October 14 - 16, 2016, Old Trout Studio, Calgary





Friends: Our goal for this season was to raise the little teensy tiny amount of $12,000. So far, some wonderful people have contributed $2,000.

Through our volunteer board and a generous supporter we have the ability to match your donation up to another $5,000! Yup - we can double your money!
So we're respectfully asking for your help to raise $5,000. You raise it. We match it. And voila - $10,000 for the eternal art of puppetry. Can it be done?  Yes it can!

UPDATE: As of September 30, Trout Friends have contributed $3,100.

We've matched it for a total (so far) of $6,200!

We're almost there friends. Just $1,900 to go from friends, which we will match to reach our goal.

Be a Trout! It's easy! Simply click Canada Helps. It's a completely safe way to donate with your credit card. We will NOT, under any circumstances whatsoever, share your private information.

In fact, we're not above a bit of bribe (like offering tickets to our show) for those of you who like that kind of thing.

Click here for more details.




Alice in "Underland"

Friends! Wondrus news! We’ve been commissioned by a festival in France* to create a show inspired by Alice in Wonderland. This is an enormous opportunity; in so very many ways we were absolutely born for it, and it's high time we take our turn on the Fearsome Carrollian Merry-Go-Round. But it’s also terror-ifically intimidating to grapple with such a classic (and also try to grapple with it a way that’s different from 150 years of other people doing their own trying-to-do-it-different-from-everybody-else adaptations). So we’ve been trying to come up with a good idea for how to do Alice in Wonderland Trout-style, before we tell people we're doing it, in case we never actually do figure out a way to do it that we think will be good.  
* Les Nuits de Fourvière in Lyon, if you'd like us to be more specific

Yes, we hear you say; "How hard can it be to figure out how you're going to do Alice in Wonderland? Lewis Carroll did the hard part already, you bumblegoons!" But coming up with a good idea – or even a so-so idea – is not easy, friends. Well, in a strange way, it IS easy: Suddenly it appears in your brain, where once there was nothing, and it does so without any warning or apparent preparation on your part. It’s the waiting for the idea that’s so brutalizing. You never know when it might come, or if it ever will. You might wait forever and never have the idea you need. You might be found centuries later, a forgotten and desiccated husk, clutching a dried out pen and a blank piece of paper. It’s enough to give you nightmares, if you have been unwise enough to choose to make puppet shows for a living. 
But we are delighted to report, friends, that the clouds parted and we have an idea. Yes! And we think it might just be a good one, even.
Will we tell you what the idea is? Well, no. Because it would spoil it. You’ll just have to see it. When it opens in Calgary in March. Or if you live in Spain, or Denmark, or France, you could come see it next summer. That’s a long way away though, so we’ll be sure to send you a reminder when it’s a little closer on the horizon. 


Old Trout Lion Tamers!

We're working on the script for our NEXT project, aiming for premiere after the Alice show mentioned above: THE LAMENTABLE DECLINE OF GUNTHER GRUMM, the WORLD’S GREATEST LION TAMER. 

Now that we write it out, you’re right, it does seem like maybe the title is a little long.  So we're still working out the kinks, sure. Point being: it will be a mind-melting fusion of traditional arch-enemies CIRCUS & PUPPETRY, forced into an uneasy partnership not unlike the one between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon. Which art-form is the crazy one?  Which is the one that just wants this one last mission to go smoothly before he retires?  

You decide, when we get it onstage in 2018.


The Old Trout Designing Things Division

We're currently designing the puppets and sets and costumes for the upcoming Vancouver Opera production of Hansel & Gretel.

They say that every fairy tale is fundamentally a story about either our fear of being devoured or our fear of being abandoned – Hansel & Gretel’s got ‘em both.  It’s an unspeakable cannibal tale, straight out of the darkest reaches of the Black Forest, except with opera singers.

Coming to Vancouver audiences November 24th.  


Film Division

We’re hard at work on a heap of secretive film projects, as well – writing treatments, chatting up producers, deviously plotting. 

At this stage we’ve got a bunch of pots on various burners – truth be told those pots are stacked up like a Bumstead Sandwich – but we can’t tell you anything about them because we just can’t be sure that you’re not a morally-bereft Hollywood type who’s going to steal our AMAZING IDEAS.  Which is CRAZILY PARANOID of us but also makes us sound like we’ve got some serious IP* up our sleeves, right?**

* That’s “intellectual property” for folks in the know.  Like us.
** So if you’re a morally-bereft Hollywood type give us a call.  We’ve got what you’re looking for.



Canadian Academy of Mask and Puppetry (CAMP)

Old Trout Pete has been busy this year building the foundations for a whole new generation of puppet artists. Building on the success of the Banff Puppet Intensive, there are ever more workshops being conducted in the Calgary area. And new this year will be a series of evening and weekend classes for folks like you who might have an inadvisable inclination towards the strange and beautiful world of puppets.

Coming soon is a website dedicated to "CAMP" that will tell all. We'll send you a link, soon


And coming soon ... the 8th International Festival of Animated Objects: March 2017, Calgary.

Mark your calendars. The 8th edition of the International Festival of Animated Objects is shaping up for March 2017 in Calgary. Plenty of good times to be had by all. If all goes according to plan, that's where the world will see the premiere of the as-yet untitled Alice project (maybe Queen Alice? Or just Alice? Wonderland? Not sure).. And much more. We'll tell you more about later.




Curious about what we do?

If you live in Calgary, Alberta or nearby or heck - even if you're just passing through - drop by our studio - Fort Trout - anytime for a visit.

Please call ahead to ensure that someone is actually there: 403-508-4929

Find us here: #106, 4632 1 Street S.E. - Calgary, Alberta, Canada



Special thanks to all the folks listed below for their on-going support::


To see and learn more about our story, and how you can help, visit our Calgary Foundation Community Knowledge Centre page:



The Canadian Academy of Mask and Puppetry, in association with the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, will host nationally renowned shadow artist Tamara Unroe from Regina, Saskatchewan for this two and half day workshop at the Old Trout Studio in Calgary..

Shadow puppetry is a primal way to tell stories – it has been around since the time we were leaping about the cave fire trying to account the grave misfortunes of Gog getting trampled by some shaggy beast – and yet it resonates in the most subtle and artful ways.

This is an opportunity to learn through the basics and into more complex possibilities of the form.Pull yourself back from the digital age and immerse yourself in the simple act of telling stories through the negative space. Explore fundamentals and innovations in the art of shadow puppetry.

An excellent workshop for visual artists, theatre artists, librarians, teachers or anyone interested in expanding their repertoire of storytelling techniques.

SPACE IS LIMITED – book early by clicking here!



Thank you to the following "Trouts" for their support of our 2016 Fundraising Campaign so far ...

Rainbow Trouts ($500+)

Grant Burns

Terry and Andrea Killackey

Johanne Daoust

James Palmer

Lara King


Bull Trouts ($250 - $499)

Greg Francis

James Gottsleig


Speckled Trouts ($100 - $249)

Jennifer Robbins

Dale Lee Kwong

Sylvia Ziemann

Adriana Van Der Heijden

Leanne Duke

Christina Hatton

Sandra Engstrom

Daniel Grassick

Tanya Gold




Someday very soon there will be a style... that will come to be known as ‘Old Trout-like’ – it’s just too good not to be imitated.”

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