What's Goin On


Currently emerging from the damp loam like a little baby blossom is our brand new show, a co-production with the Czapno Ensemble: This Little Piggie, a Dustbowl Musical.

Set to premiere at the Calgary Folk Festival this summer, there will be a sneak peak April 18 - 19 at the Folk Festival Hall here in Calgary – an eclectic gang of folk musicians, including David Rhymer, Kris Demeanor, Little Miss Higgins, Bob Keelaghan, Bessie Wapp, and our own Old Trout Pete Balkwill, have mustered together with Ghost River’s Eric Rose to create a song cycle about the violence of nature, combined with a dirty tent, an antique pump organ, and puppets.

Tickets are available for April 18 or April 19, or by calling 403-233-0904.



We recently sprouted another new show in co-production with Puente Theatre out in Victoria, based on the odd little book by the same name by Old Trout Judd Palmer – which was shortlisted for the Governor-General’s Award for Children’s Literature a couple years ago.

A love story between a man and his umbrella, a theatrical storm machine, and an insidious crow – with music by Bučan Bučan, Victoria’s 9-member Balkan Brass Marching Band, performed by Judd and Mercedes Bátiz-Benét. Next chance to see it will be in France this June.




We’re fluttering off to France this summer to play at the Nuits de Fourvières Festival in Lyon. Old Trout puppets are now braving the cruel Canadian Spring by rail, soon to face the wave’s lash aboard some salt-rusted freighter across the Atlantic Ocean: We’re going to beleaguer French people with three shows and also set up a display of our more ancient work at the Puppetry Museum there. The dates:



We came up with the name at the Viet Nam Restaurant on 12th Avenue so many years ago that it’s hard to remember exactly what we were thinking. It has something to do with a revered and ancient fish that lives in a swimming hole down at the Palmer Ranch, and a term of endearment in Newfoundland; we recently discovered that it means ‘grumpy old lady’ in England, which is kind of confusing, probably, to our English audiences. Nevertheless, it provides an irresistible opportunity for fish-related poetry like this:



Our volunteer leadership is in good fins for another year with the re-election of Mr. Duval Lang as Board Chair at our Annual General Meeting on February 20, 2014. Duve is one of Calgary’s most beloved and prominent artistic talents, supporters and leaders. His bio would crash your hard drive. Suffice to say his experience in the trenches as an actor, and as a founder of Quest Theatre, are a great fit to help guide our motley crew into the future. He first got hooked by the Old Trouts by appearing in our production of Don Juan, and since then he has served as a volunteer Director and in recent years as our Board Chair. We’re glad to have him. Really glad.

Want to know more about us? We send out an e-newsletter called Trout Spout on an irregular basis. Join us and we will add you to the list


Contribute to the Trouts

The Trouts are ever thankful for the support and adulation of our patrons. If you'd like to join our vision and contribute to our ramblin' puppetting world, please donate or join our TroutPals list

Thank you to the following Individual "Trouts" for their support in 2012-13

Rainbow Trouts ($500+)

Grant Burns

Johanne Daoust

Greg Francis


Bull Trouts ($200 - $499)

Nick Di Gaetano

Doug McKeag


Speckled Trouts ($50 - $199)

Sarah Adams

Peter Balkwill

James Davidge

Wilma Di Gaetano

Leanne Duke

Jason Howse

Andrea Shalanski


Brook Trouts (up to $49)

Steven Kenderes

Thank you to the following Corporate "Trouts" for their support in 2012-13

$15,000+ Business for the Arts “ArtsVest” Program

$10,000 - Probeauco Inc

$5,000 - Coupland-Kraemer (CKAID)

$500 - Calgary Animated Objects Society (CAOS)


Curious about what we do?

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

Please call ahead to ensure that someone is actually there: 403-287-8847
Find us here: #102, 4632 1 Street S.E. - Calgary, Alberta, Canada





Trunk Puppet:

Sift the soil with your fingers just a little, and there lurking beneath the surface is a shriveled nut, long forgotten by some squirrel in some summer gone by; it is preparing to grow into a great nut tree (by which we mean another new show) – a show we’re calling Trunk Puppet. Why? Well, because the puppets will come out of a trunk.

We don’t know a whole lot more than that right now, except that it’ll be a show for kids and families involving puppets in some way, and it’ll first be seen, in part, at the:


Dolly Wiggler Cabaret!

Where our friends at

are having their Annual Cabaret at the Old Trout Workshop in Calgary on May 30.

Expect an onslaught of puppet marvels. And then a party. Visit www.animatedobjects.ca for details



New England Puppet Intensive:

You may not know that Old Trout Pete was once a signalman in the US Navy. Enemies of Democracy the world over know him as a fearsome enemy, but to his friends he is as gentle as a mummy bunny rabbit, and so you need not fear to join him at the New England Puppet Intensive August 2 to 18, 2014. Picture





Created by Pete and Nan Balkwill, and Old Trout Dave Lane, artists are invited to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art for a 15-day intensive in the world of puppetry.

Contact Pete at pete@theoldtrouts.org if you’re interested.



The Old Trout Film Division:

Well, we did it! We just completed our TV Christmas special: From Naughty to Nice, a co-production with the National Film Board of Canada. It tells the story of Santa as a kid, back when he was a greedy, obstinate little monster, with an army of elves making toys just for him. Watch for it this Christmas.


Special thanks to:


The Old Trout Puppet Workshop would like to acknowledge and heartily thank the Rozsa Foundation for their valued support of The Trouts as well as their ongoing contribution to Calgary's greater non-profit arts community.



Trout Sponsors