On June 17-18, experience the vast cultures Edmonton is home to with The Thousand Faces Festival.

The festival, which offers art, dance, song, and theatre, is currently celebrating its fifth year. Every year, Mark Henderson, artistic director, carefully plans the itinerary. “Year to year I think to myself, what would be fun for audiences to immerse themselves into,” said Henderson. “It’s a multicultural, multidisciplinary festival. We want performances from all cultures in all disciplines.”

He added, “I like to think of it as the kind of entertainment that a king would have had in ancient times: dancers, jugglers, actors, musicians, poets, you name it.” With a constant crowd of people coming and going, a new environment is constantly being formed.

New to the festival this year will be two different excerpts: one is from the pages of the Zulu Epic and will be read by Tololwa Mollel, a Tanzanian storyteller. The second is a Chinese excerpt from The Monkey King, told in Cantonese while actors perform the story.

Another new performance will be a take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Silliest Piece of Shakespeare Ever Written is for anyone who enjoys watching theatre without the seriousness and literary background knowledge.

“Shakespeare deliberately wrote the worst play he possibly could and he put it inside one of his best plays to show how much fun a really, really bad play could be,” laughed Henderson. “I like to think of it like truck drivers who have never danced before are going to perform Swan Lake at the wedding of William and Kate.”

The festival is split into two different time slots for children and adults. The afternoon portion referred to as the Mythic Family Jewels is aimed towards children while the Mythic String of Pearls is more for adult entertainment. With that said, Henderson said it is an all-ages show, safe and fun for the whole family. “When it comes down to it, it is a really cool afternoon for the kids.”

Although the festival is free for all to enjoy, a monetary donation is suggested upon arrival. For the Edmontonians who have not experienced the community and arts of The Thousand Faces Festival, Henderson boasts of a good time to be had. “You’re going to see beautiful expressions in different forms of the best stories that the world’s cultures have to offer, and that’s never going to be boring.”


June 17 -18
1:00 – 4:00 pm and 7:00 – 10:30 pm
Alberta Avenue Hall
9210 – 118 Avenue
Admission: Free and or monetary donations accepted
All ages welcome!