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Hidden Away in a Tiny Town of 85 is an Iconic Dinner & Theatre Experience

Picture this: An hour and ten minutes north-east of Calgary, nestled in the Badlands region of Alberta, you come across a little prairie hamlet with a population of only 85 people. Hidden away in the picturesque river valley is Rosebud.

While you might be wondering why such a tiny place is worth mentioning, let alone visiting, you best think again. To give you an idea of how small this place is, the lone 4-way stop is known as the “vortex.” Folks in town often get caught up chatting with friends and neighbours, and time just seems to escape.

Rosebud is a quaint little town, indeed, but it also happens to be a thriving arts village. It’s home to many artists and creatives, and at the center of all the action is the iconic Rosebud Theatre & School of the Arts


Enjoying Chef Mo’s unparalleled buffet and taking in a show at the Rosebud Opera House is a must for visitors. People travel far and wide to be swept away by the power of story and enjoy the charm and hospitality of this tiny hamlet. Not only do audience members come to Rosebud to experience the theatre, but professional actors are also drawn from across the country to take part in the exceptional productions. 

A unique tidbit about the town is that many Rosebud homes also have an extra suite or two that are used as actor or student housing, or as BnBs for theatre-goers. How cool is that? Rosebud is a hub for the arts and a home for creativity so, let’s talk about Rosebud Theatre & School of the Arts! 

The Rosebud Experience 

Many people are surprised to discover that Rosebud has three different stages. The main stage is the Rosebud Opera House, brimming with nostalgic charm and boasting 232 seats. The building’s first life was as a granary, then it became a community hall, and finally some old church pews were dragged in and performances began on the homegrown stage. A major renovation was done in the 90’s to make it the comfortable, well-equipped theatre it is today. The Rosebud Studio Stage is a smaller “black box” venue with 85 seats that houses student performances and classes during the school year, and Rosebud Theatre’s more intimate shows in the summer. Finally, the Festival Stage sits adjacent to the Opera House and provides the gorgeous outdoor venue for the upcoming Open-Air Summer Concert series and several other local festivals.


Rosebud Theatre offers both matinee and evening shows, and season ticket holders and supporters of the theatre return again and again to partake not only in the mouth-watering buffet and the fantastic performances, but also in Rosebud’s authentic hospitality. This is what has become known as The Rosebud Experience!

The History 

The organization got its start as Rosebud Camp of the Arts in 1973, which then evolved into an arts high school. Rosebud Theatre was born a decade later in 1983 as a way to raise much-needed funds for the school. In 1988 Rosebud School of the Arts (RSA) became a post-secondary theatre training institution with a reputation for their practical, mentorship style of education that produces world-class theatre graduates. If you’re doing the math, theatre performances have been going strong for 40 years and this year they’re celebrating 50 years of Art in the Valley!


The Performers 

While Rosebud may be really (really, really) small, this is not your typical small-town theatre experience. This is a full-on professional theatre company where shows are cast with professional, paid actors – perhaps not what you’d expect in the middle of rural Alberta. Actors and technicians come from across Alberta and the country to set up camp in Rosebud for the duration of their shows. Rosebud is the perfect example of high-quality arts existing outside of metropolitan cities. You can expect to see professional performances that are entertaining, honest, and engaging anytime you visit.

Here’s a little local’s tip for you: many loyal attendees of Rosebud Theatre LOVE local actor, Nathan Schmidt. He is starring in the fall show, Magic Lies: An Evening with W.O. Mitchell, so be sure to catch that one and see what all the hype is about.

The Buffet 

It just keeps getting better. The theatre-going experience is further elevated by a scrumptious buffet, offered as part of both the matinee and evening performances. Chef Mo’s menu offers something for everyone. Is there anything better than warm hospitality and home cooking served buffet-style? Don’t forget to partake in one of the show-themed cocktails or mocktails or stop by the new coffee bar.

The School 

Rosebud School of the Arts is unique in many ways, for instance there isn’t actually a dedicated school building. Students attend classes all over town - in the two theatres, in the Mercantile building, even in the local church. Classes range from acting to music to movement to tech theatre, and students take part in the fundamentals of theatre operations while also having the opportunity to learn onstage alongside their instructors and other professionals. RSA grads have a great reputation in the professional theatre community for their talent, training, and work ethic.

Upcoming Performances

We’ve covered the setting, now let’s get to the shows! Rosebud Theatre has just opened their summer show, the beloved family musical, The Sound of Music! It runs from June 2 to September 2 and the performance is sure to be as unforgettable as the iconic songs. The Sound of Music needs no introduction, and we know Rosebud Theatre’s rendition will live up to the name! Starting in July, The Syringa Tree will be playing on the Studio Stage. This is a more intimate performance set in 1960’s South Africa, capturing just how significant Rosebud’s range really is. And to top it off, every Saturday in August, you can come to Rosebud and enjoy the Open-Air Summer Concerts series featuring local Alberta musicians John Wort Hannam, Maria Dunn and Lewis & Royal. Be sure to check out the schedule online and scoop up your tickets fast!

Add Rosebud to your summer bucket list! This is the perfect plan for your next weekend getaway, date night, road trip, or culture crawl in Alberta. Now is the time to discover this hidden gem and check out Rosebud Theatre & School of the Arts!

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