Update: The Old Trout Puppet Workshop is hosting a fundraiser in support of the Green Fools.
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The Green Fools saved their light and sound equipment, their puppets and stilts, but lost their theatre to the Calgary Flood. Not only was much of the company’s gear underwater, but the flood came with a double whammy: instant eviction.
The company had been operating out of the old church space on Erlton Road, across Macleod Trail from the Stampede grounds, for five years, much of which was spent with eviction hanging over their heads — the space was designated for redevelopment when they moved in — but they’d always managed to eek out a little longer tenure than originally planned.
During that time, it became not only a home base for the busy puppet company, but also as a go-to rehearsal space for many of the city’s leading independent theatre companies, who benefited from the Green Fools’ dirt cheap (as little as $10/hr.) rehearsal rates.
The combination of instant eviction and flood wipeout was economically and emotionally devastating for the puppet company. Bareham estimated that he had lost $20,000 worth of equipment and tools to the floodwater, along with sketchbooks that contain two decades worth of puppet design, including the company’s most recent show, Elephant Song. The flood has also disrupted a bunch of booked gigs, such as Canada Day celebrations and the Eddies — for the company — Bareham estimated them to be over $10,000.
Being evicted would also cost the company the opportunity to run a Stampede parking lot, a potent fundraiser for the company that raises as much as $12,000 a year.
While it’s a traumatizing moment for the company, the Green Fools, which spawned the Old Trouts and the Animated Objects Festival, have survived on a shoestring since 1991.
Co-Artistic Director, Jennie Esdale, has already started to look forward. “All those years still live on,” she says. “We can go on from here. We didn’t lose our spirit or our support. Just our digs.”