The Town of Rosebud: Cultural Gem on the Canadian Prairies

Rosebud Alberta

Rosebud looks a typical Alberta town: with a grain elevator, and a cat!
Rosebud looks a typical Alberta town: with a grain elevator, and a cat! | Source

Consider Rosebud For Your Alberta Trip

Are you planning a trip in the Alberta area, and looking for more things to do? Why not consider the rare gem of Rosebud, a small town off the beaten track, but definitely worth discovering!

Smack In the middle of Southern Alberta farmland, where the usual conversation centres around combines, the weather, and the latest hockey news, sits a culture mecca of art, drama and talent: the little town of Rosebud, Alberta.

Rosebud is a small hamlet that looks similar to other small towns in Western Canada, with its big grain elevator and plethora of pickup trucks.

The railway tracks run through town, beside the Wheat Pool terminal, and dogs and kids roam the streets with impunity. But Rosebud, Alberta is far from your typical Alberta prairie town. Here you will find culture, plays, music and entertainment.

Good Times At Rosebud

A shot of the Dinner Theatre building, once the general store of the town.
A shot of the Dinner Theatre building, once the general store of the town. | Source

Rosebud School of the Arts

When Rosebud start to become the cultural mecca it is today? Well, the whole process started almost thirty years ago. In 1973, a young music and art teacher named Laverne Erickson, had a dream to start an summer outreach for urban young people who had never experienced country life. He chose a small, beautiful valley called, Rosebud, Alberta, for his venture.

In the next few years, the ministry grew into a weekend retreat for teens, and by 1977, an actual high school where students could come and learn about the arts and country living in a small, safe setting called the Rosebud School of the Arts.

In 1983, the students decided to launch a play called "Commedia Del' Arte," based on the medieval plays of the same name. The plays were hilarious and spontaneous. They served dinner, too.That night served as the first Rosebud Dinnner Theatre.The combination of a fun show and delicious home-cooked food, put on by the students, turned out to be very popular.

The high school ran until 1987. In 1986, the school added what was then called the Fine Arts Guild, where students, past high school ages, could study the arts intensively. In 1988, the Alberta government granted the school the right to be an official institution of higher learning. Students from all over Canada come to study acting, directing, play-writing, technical theatre, music, and the visual arts.

This professional school runs alongside and very deeply intertwined with the Rosebud Dinner Theatre.

Beauty of Rosebud

Click thumbnail to view full-size
In the Rosebud Valley: a river bend. Beautiful picture of Rosebud, from the hills above. A sign on the hill from the high school days. Such a peaceful place! It looks so typically rural but it's also a cultural mecca.
In the Rosebud Valley: a river bend.
In the Rosebud Valley: a river bend. | Source
Beautiful picture of Rosebud, from the hills above.
Beautiful picture of Rosebud, from the hills above. | Source
A sign on the hill from the high school days.
A sign on the hill from the high school days. | Source
Such a peaceful place!
Such a peaceful place! | Source
It looks so typically rural but it's also a cultural mecca.
It looks so typically rural but it's also a cultural mecca. | Source

Rosebud Dinner Theatre

The Rosebud Dinner Theatre, started that fateful night in 1977, is a world-class entertainment venue that runs in close conjunction with the Rosebud School of the Arts. Students pay for their tuition by helping out in the kitchen and other facilities. Older students act and sing in the plays and are mentored by the more experienced actors and producers.

Patrons arrive nightly, to be entertained and nourished. Before the show, guests enjoy an extravagant buffet dinner, with three courses, several entrees and a selection of desserts. While eating their delicious meal, local musicians and students serenade them with lively, personal performances. An hour or so after dinner, guests move over to the Opera House, just down the block, and are seated in this 200-person theatre with perfect acoustics. The facility feels so small that no one feels but a whisper away from the actors.

Recent Rosebud productions have included "Jake and the Kid," a play based on the book by W.O. Mitchell, "Fiddler on the Roof," and "Oliver!" The productions are often original, and most always include a musical component. At the time this article is being written, the stage is showing "The Gift of the Magi," and the next production is a rendition of the "The Little Prince.

Booking starts a few weeks in advance for the shows, planned a year in advance. Tickets can be purchased for dinner theatre, which includes serenades by local talent and a full course meal, or for the theatre production alone. Many come from the city of Calgary nearby, and accommodation is available at the Rosebud Country Inn. Over 40,00 guests are served every year by the Rosebud Theatre.

Rosebud Recently Nominated for "CultureVille"

Where Is Rosebud?

show route and directions
A markerCalgary, Alberta -
Calgary, AB, Canada
[get directions]

Calgary is the nearest major city to Rosebud.

B markerRosebud Alberta -
Rosebud, AB T0J, Canada
[get directions]

This small town is a gem of creativity and arts.

C markerDrumheller, Alberta -
Drumheller, AB, Canada
[get directions]

Rosebud is only a half hour drive from Drumheller, a big tourist draw in Alberta that boasts a dinosaur museum.

D markerGreat Falls, Montana -
Great Falls, Mt, USA
[get directions]

For Americans who might think Canada is so far away, it's really not. Rosebud is approximately 7 hours away from Great Falls, Montana.

Rehearsals From One Of the Recent Shows, "Jake and the Kid"

Author's Note

Rosebud, Alberta is dear to my heart, personally. This small valley is where I received the first two years of my high school education: a small arts school where we studied drama, choir and groups of 3 or 10 students formed classes taught by teachers in blue jeans. Teachers who barely earned a living wage.

Those two years, 1984-1986, I acted in several plays, toured with the choir, and explored a love of creativity and beauty. In the summer of 1986, my grade eleven year, I acted with the older actors who were studying at the art guild, for a paying audience. The experience was life-changing as I watched real actors and actresses, and performed alongside of them.

I have since moved away from the area but have managed to make it back a few times. The last time I went, I was thrilled to take my two nieces, to experience the magic of Rosebud. These two young girls from a new generation loved it the place anew. I left the school in 1986, but Rosebud will always be in my heart.

I Miss You, My Rosebud

Rosebud, my Rosebud, I dream of you sometimes,
The valley of whimsy, the haven of rhymes.

Rosebud, I love you, even from far away,
I dream of your passion: your love of the play.

You're a place of pretend, a refuge from cold,
Actors and singers come to you to unfold.

A tribe called creative lives in your hills,
Away from the traffic, the hassle and pills.

Rosebud, you give the world a show every night,
With music and laughter, a blessed delight.

I miss you, my Rosebud, you are in my dreams,

Your power, o'er me, is endless, it seems.

More by this Author


Comments Are Welcome! 19 comments

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

This sounds like a beautiful place to have fond memories of. It;s good that you get to go back occasionally, and you even got to take your nieces. How fun!


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada Author

HSbound, thank you so much! Rosebud is a pretty cool place and I am so glad that I could pass it along to the next generation. Take care!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

Really interesting hub. It just goes to show that creativity reaches out across all places and all people. You don't have to be in the heart of a big city or town to find people whose lives are shaped by creativity and have the vision,time and commitment to reach other people in amazing, life-changing ways.


"Quill Again" 5 years ago

Hi prairieprincess... Love Rosebud... I have seasons tickets each year... some of the finest drama I have ever seen. The new additions they have done are incredible. We support the school on an ongoing basis.

Blessings and Hugs


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada Author

Jools, you are so right! Creativity can blossom anywhere that there is a heart for it, which is really encouraging, I think. We don't have to be limited by not having perfect facilities or supplies. I believe creativity is a gift from God. Thanks for the great comment! Take care.


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada Author

Quill, that is wonderful! It sounds like you guys are huge fans! It's nice to meet another person who's as crazy about Rosebud as I am. I still love it, and want to go whenever I can, when I'm back in Alberta.

Thanks for the lovely comment and take care!


Beth100 profile image

Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

Ha! I was just in Rosebud this past August! Time stands still but the artists are as wonderful as they always have been! A definite must see for those who love art, country and adventure.

Great piece PrairiePrincess! :)


Beth100 profile image

Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

(And I hyperlinked you in my hub to this one. It's a natural link to each other's hubs. :) )


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada Author

Beth, it truly is a small world! I think I read in your Alberta article that you are from Alberta. Wow! Isn't Rosebud amazing? There are still some of the people there from when I was there over twenty years ago, and they're still doing their thing. Thanks so much for including this in your hub, too, and for your kind words.

They do go so well, together. Thanks for stopping by, and take care.

From a fellow Albertan, at heart. :)


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

What a beautiful poem and tribute to a place dear to your heart.


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada Author

Green Lotus, thank you so much for reading, and for your kind words. Take care!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

What a precious place! An awesome idea come to fruition! I loved learning about Rosebud. Thank you for this journey. Perhaps one day I will finally visit Alberta. If I do, Rosebud will be on my itinerary.


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada Author

James, it is truly is a magical little place that indeed was an idea now come to fruition. Thank you so much for your great comment and hopefully, you can make it for a show someday. Take care!


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

What great photos! And this is so interesting! Thank you for sharing; I'm learning about places I never dreamed of on this site. Voted up and interesting.


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada Author

Marcy, I know, these pictures are amazing, aren't they? I was so grateful that the photographers allowed me to use their photos. Rosebud is such a gem of a place. And I know, Hubpages is such a plethora of learning, isn't it? Thank you so much!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada

Some friends from here go down every year to take part in the Passion Play. Rosebud is quite the cultural hotbed :D


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada Author

RedElf, again we see how small our world truly is. That's so neat that they come all the way down to Rosebud for the play. I have friends that are involved in that play and I managed to see it three years ago. Thanks for stopping by!


SanneL profile image

SanneL 4 years ago from Sweden

Sounds like a wonderful place! I don't think I will ever have the chance to visit this place. However, I'm so glad that through this virtual tour, I had a chance to get to know it just a little bit. I learn so many new things here on HP!

Your poem was sheer delight to read. You're very talented! Well done!


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada Author

Sannel, thank you so much! It is a really amazing place. And I know what you mean about Hubpages -- it really is such a place of learning.

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