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What’s Online (Edmonton): Nextfest 2021

Brave Girl – Lunchbox Theatre
Photo Credits

What’s Online (Edmonton): Nextfest 2021

The Nextfest Arts Company returns for the second iteration of their online festival, ushering in 11 days of new art created by the next generation of artists. Art has never been more within reach, as the 26th annual Nextfest Emerging Arts Festival is online, free, and can be watched from the comfort of your living room.

You read that right! Edmonton’s emerging arts festival is returning to Twitch as this band of artistic up-and-comers extend their reach even further than ever before. Nextfest features new innovations in music, theatre, dance, poetry, visual art, film, design, comedy, drag, and multimedia performances that will all be available to watch at from June 3rd – 13th.

Bringing together more than 400+ artists across a wide range of artistic disciplines each year with over 90 events for audiences to enjoy, Nextfest is doubling down on their commitment to supporting Canadian artists through difficult times. The perseverance of these artists shines brightly as they rise to the challenge: Creating new works in a new digital world.

“The choice to go online again in 2021 was a difficult but necessary choice. Nextfest’s foundations are built on ground-breaking and innovative art, so no matter the platform, we will continue to grow, connect, and create,” says Festival Director Ellen Chorley. “Are you ready for a virtual creative explosion of art from all disciplines? The best Edmonton festival on this side of summer returns: Nextfest is going live!”

Nextfest is in the business of supporting, and rewarding creative risk. From full-scale theatre productions and curated gallery exhibitions, to dance works from across the country and the festival’s infamous Nite Club series, to the festival’s fresh professional development Workshop Series, Nextfest promises something surprising and new. For more information visit our website at

Theatre Network live at the Roxy presents
the 26th annual Nextfest Emerging Arts Festival
June 3rd – 13th, 2021
400+ Physically Distantanced Artists | 90+ Works | 11 days | Online All Events are FREE
For more information about the upcoming festival visit @NextfestArtsCo | #nxtfst

So, what IS next for Nextfest?

  • After a record-breaking 160 artists adopted in 2020, Theatre Network and Nextfest are
    teaming up to break this record in 2021. With no ticket sales this year, the Adopt-an-Artist
    program has become integral for replacing ticket sales and creating more opportunities for artists;
  • The Nextfest Mural Project returns to reveal a new mural! Nextfest is collaborating with local
    artist Haylee Fortin to create something wonderfully vivid on the Backstage Theatre’s shop doors (10330 84 Ave NW). Thanks to this collaboration with Fringe Theatre and the Old Strathcona Business Association, this will be Nextfest’s sixth mural contribution to the Edmonton community.
  • Music at Nextfest 2021 rocks. Emerging local legends Stem Champ (June 6th), D’orjay The Singing Shaman (June 11th), Jesse Jams and the Flams (June 13th), and Experience Points (throughout the festival) hit the digital stage.
  • Support BIPOC artists at Nextfest. Three new feature Showcases from incredible BIPOC artists hit the Nextfest scene. Looking for some newness in the isolation slump? How about Burlesque showcase sâpikanew from iskotêw iskwêwak, comedy showcase PASS THE PODUM: A BIPOC Comedy Sketch Showcase from Fear the Festival, and storytelling journey La Sangre Llama from Remix the Ritual? Catch them all on NextfestTV.
  • Visual Art at Nextfest is back with local artist Rebecca Pickard at the wheel. This year’s socially distanced galleries allow us to safely view art beyond the digital realm. This year’s lineup features nine artists and a very diverse collection of works ranging from ceramics, paintings, installation art, and 3D printed conceptual art. Mask up and visit the outdoor Lowlands Project Space, Army and Navy department store windows, and the Next Act Pub gallery walls for a bit of Nextfest all throughout the city.
  • Nextfest Virtual Nite Clubs bring the dancefloor to the web. Pepper’d & Co’s Pepper’d Variety Show, Party Queens’ The Land of Odd and, Hot Girl Accounting’s Pride Nite: HOT MUSTARD brings new energy to the artistic celebration and queer community revival.
  • Nextfest brings open captioning to performances to promote learning and improve inclusion. Our closed captioning program is led by community activist and artist Connor Yuzwenko-Martin, Nextfest’s Deaf & HOH consultant and creator of The Invisible Practice. Catch Connor’s continuation of his work with The Invisible Practice: Grief on the Hands at this year’s festival;
  • Art is on the go (and on-demand)! A brand new piece from Dawn Productions, Would You Wander is a podcast-theatre piece that combines storytelling, knowledge-sharing, and natural discovery into an adventure that you can actually walk through. Listen to multiple different storytellers talk you through their favourite spots in Edmonton. Whether you’re looking for discovery or a story, you’ve come to the right place: exactly where you are;
  • Get excited! The Digital Nextfest Workshop Series is back for its second year. After the success of our online workshops in 2020, we have curated a brand new batch to help emerging artists build skills, refine practices, and engage in critical discussions about the business of art. The best part? Our online Workshop Series is free and open to everyone (yes, even those not participating in Nextfest!).
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