3 must-see arts events for your weekend

Uplifting theatre, immersive art and daredevil dancing are on tap in Ottawa this weekend.

Godspell, daredevil dancers and a big get for a little gallery top the list this weekend

The cast of Godspell keeps things topical with headlines from local media interspersed throughout the show. ( Patrick Hamer)

Uplifting theatre, immersive art and daredevil dancing are on tap in Ottawa this weekend.


Questions about the place of faith and religion in contemporary society are central to Ottawa's 9th Hour Theatre Company. Now the troupe is reviving 70s musical Godspell​, complete with contemporary elements and a more northern setting — the streets of Ottawa instead of a New York City playground.

With a playlist of gospel, rock and pop music, as well as showstopping Broadway belters from Grammy-Award winner Stephen Schwartz, Godspell retells the biblical story of Jesus and his followers.

The Ottawa cast is made up of local actors with a broad range of religious beliefs and backgrounds, and the show includes performances in English, French, Hebrew and sign language. 

Where: Centrepointe Theatre, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Dr.

When: The production runs until March 17. Curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. Matinees beginning at 2:30 p.m. will be presented on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and the following Sunday.

Cost: Tickets run from $25 to $65 and can be purchased here.

Big get for little gallery

When Central Art Garage, the tiny gallery located in a former auto repair shop in Ottawa's Chinatown neighbourhood, started planning a show with Mi'kmaw artist Ursula Johnson 10 months ago, it was already apparent she was headed for big things. Then in October, Johnson's career received a huge international boost when she was named winner of the prestigious Sobey Art Award.
Artist Ursula Johnson as her alto ego 'Heidi,' who hawks fake Indigenous souvenirs on the Indian Truckhouse of High Art Shopping Channel. (Leah Snyder)

"There were a lot of questions at that time. Is she still going to do this show in this small gallery in Ottawa?" recalled Danny Hussey, co-owner of Central Art Garage.

The show would go on. Johnson has designed a site-specific installation called THE INDIAN TRUCKHOUSE OF HIGH ART, transforming the gallery into a tacky souvenir shop stocked with mass-produced knick-knacks and trinkets peddled as authentic Indigenous crafts. It's a humorous yet pointed observation about cultural appropriation.

"I'm sure she had lots of offers from bigger galleries, but turned them all down to do this." Hussey said.
Danny Hussey stands in front of display of mass-produced dreamcatchers at Central Art Garage. (Sandra Abma/CBC News)

Where: Central Art Garage, 66B LeBreton St. N. (rear garage).

When: Show runs to April 30.

Cost: Free.

Dancing on the edge

Imagine dancing on a spinning platform that moves up, down and sideways. That's the challenge for dancers with Compagnie Yoann Bourgeois, a troupe from France composed of circus performers and contemporary dancers.

While the platform spins faster and faster, the dancers explore relationships in a world that's literally shifting.

"Sometimes it can be quite dangerous," said dancer Marie Vaudin. "We have to be careful for ourselves, we have to be careful for the group, we need to be so aware of the platform."

Where: Babs Asper Theatre, National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin St.

When: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Tickets start at $42, but same-day seats are available to those ages 13-29 for $15. Tickets can be purchased here.