“Why do you live in the middle of nowhere?..." "Regina... Why?” These are questions I receive regularly while on the road playing music or travelling. As a result, I've developed answers that I've put a lot of thought into over the years. Yes, residents are kind, friendly, resourceful, and interesting. Sure, I’ve always found robust Prairie skies and wide-open spaces to be liberating. But there was something deeper and more profound that helped me explain why I grew to love my hometown as much as I do today.
One of the biggest reasons why I love living in Regina is because of an unexpected arts scene that boasts significant depth. The number of amazing artists is even more impressive when you consider that Regina only has ~200,000 residents. I grew up playing “local” shows with the likes of Juno nominated singer-songwriters Andy Shauf and Megan Nash. I performed high school improv alongside world-class actors like Emmy-winner, Tatiana Maslany. I went to see homegrown and world-renown artists such as Wilf Perrault, Joe Fafard, David Thauberger, and Jeannie Mah at the Mackenzie Art Gallery for school trips.
The frequent and consistent exposure to world-class art helped me to shape the core of my being. They helped me understand how to express myself. They provided healthy outlets to survive our brutal winters and fed my soul and brain with top quality art.
This article won't do the arts scene justice, but here are some of my tips on how to enjoy the great art that our community has to offer.
The improv scene in Regina can be traced back to the emergence of the Canadian Improv Games. Regina is the host of the Provincial improv competition every year, and the high energy high school improv scene has been inspiring local improvisers for decades. This talented community has spawned past-influential troupes such as the “General Fools” (Tatiana Maslany, Amy Matysio, Jayden Pfeifer) and “Combat Improv” (Daniel Maslany, Lucy Hill), as well as more recent groups such as “Hitchhikers Improv Company”, who are still active today.
Hitchhikers Improv performs at their studio (2415 11th Avenue) every Friday, and their performances are always a guaranteed good time. Go watch the next wave of amazing improvisers that Regina has to offer!
I’ll never forget being filled with a special sense of wonder when my parents took me to see “The Hobbit” at the Globe Theatre ~20 years ago. The costumes were dazzling, the fabric dragon captivated my attention, and the “theatre in the round” format provided a unique theatre experience that few Canadian venues can offer. Engaging productions at The Globe Theatre (http://globetheatrelive.com, 1801 Scarth St) have been inspiring patrons of all ages in Regina for over fifty years.
Outside of the Globe Theatre, the Regina Little Theatre (http://www.reginalittletheatre.com/), University of Regina Department of Theatre, and TheatreFest (presented by Theatre Saskatchewan) all help to ensure that Regina’s live theatre scene has no shortage of engaging productions to keep Regina entertained.
As a local musician and songwriter, I might be biased, but the music scene in Regina is unique and deep. There have been important waves of great live music for years, starting with bands such as Colin James, The Waltons, and The Extroverts that continues today.
The current wave of world calibre music has emerged out of a DIY punk/hardcore/metal scene in the mid-2000s that saw artists such as Juno-nominated Andy Shauf playing in punk bands in gymnasiums and all-ages venues. Those young punks have now grown into amazing songwriters, and play in bands that are in high demand across global music markets.
On any given night, you might be able to watch amazing homegrown acts playing at a local venues such as Andy Shauf, Andino Suns, Megan Nash, Surf Dads, Marissa Burwell, The Dead South, Blake Berglund, Belle Plaine, Bears in Hazenmore, Black Thunder, Samurai Champs, Def 3, and so many more.
On the topic of great venues, Regina has THE BEST collection of smaller venues for a mid-sized city in Canada. If you can, take in a show at The Exchange (2431 8th Ave), Revival Music Room (2224 Dewdney Ave), Casino Regina Show Lounge (1880 Saskatchewan Dr), The Artesian (2627 13th Ave), The Capitol (1843 Hamilton St), The Mercury (2936 13th Ave), or The German Club (1727 St John St).
Regina's stand-up comedy scene is always a good time. There is a mix of seasoned veterans who have built up the comedy community and many up-and-coming fresh faces who have discovered a supportive and active scene to thrive in. They will make you laugh.
There are monthly “Pass The Hat” comedy shows at The Exchange, The Fat Badger (1852 Scarth St) has a show on the first Monday of the month, and The Cathedral Social Hall (2062 Albert St) just announced a new show every third Thursday of the month.
Regina is blessed with many thought-provoking and immersive galleries to explore. The University of Regina has been an incubator for world-class artists to populate these galleries, and many others throughout the world. Important globally renowned artists such as Joe Fafard, David Thauberger, Wilf Perrault, David Cicansky, Jeannie Mah, and Zachari Logan have all used Regina as a home base for their inspiration.
You can explore what's exciting in the Regina arts scene at great galleries such as the Mackenzie Art Gallery (3475 Albert St), Neutral Ground Artist-Run Centre (1835 Scarth St), Slate Gallery (3424 13th Ave), Assiniboine Gallery (2266 Smith St), or the Dunlop Art Gallery (2311 12 Ave).
Holy smokes. I'm exhausted. This is only scraping the surface of all of the amazing arts and culture and entertainment that exists in Regina. Go out and explore, feed your soul, and enjoy all of the amazing art that one of the most robust mid-sized Canadian arts scenes has to offer!
Thanks for visiting Regina and we'll see you next time!