Our Story

Bartley and Margaret Bard and Betty Gibb were looking for a way to present live theatre during the lunch hour to downtown shoppers and workers, so in 1975 they founded Lunchbox Theatre. Located in Calgary’s downtown core, it is now recognized as one of the most successful and longest running noon hour theatre companies in the world!  

Lunchbox Theatre delivers a fun and unique experience to its audience – upbeat performances in an intimate and comfortable atmosphere. Patrons are encouraged to eat their lunch while they enjoy the show. This friendly approach makes Lunchbox Theatre an ideal place to introduce theatre to new audiences, both young and old. 

Lunchbox Theatre focuses on the development and production of original one-act plays; many of which are written by local Calgarians. There are six plays produced in a season, along with the Stage One Festival of New Work and the RBC Emerging Director's Showcase.


Lunchbox Theatre spent its initial years presenting one-act comedies, musicals and revues in four different theatre spaces in Calgary’s Bow Valley Square. In the fall of 2008 the theatre relocated to its current location in the Calgary Tower Centre. 

The new Lunchbox Theatre was designed by Bathory Associates Architecture + Design of Calgary and Proscenium Architecture + Interiors Inc. of Vancouver and can be found at the base of the Calgary Tower in the heart of the city’s cultural district. It seats up to 150 patrons in different seating configurations, depending on the size of the stage. 

What's a One-Act Play?

 A one-act play is a short play that takes place in one act consisting of one or more scenes. It is often referred to as the “short story” of plays because it is told in a concise and creatively efficient manner. One-act plays, as with full length plays, come in all genres: comedies, dramas and musicals. Lunchbox Theatre mainly programs comedies and musicals to provide a noontime oasis for busy audience members.

(counter-clockwise) Bartley Bard, Margaret Bard and Betty Gibb

(counter-clockwise) Bartley Bard, Margaret Bard and Betty Gibb

Lunchbox Theatre is the most successful lunchtime theatre in the world. The very first performance, September 15, 1975, sold out every seat.  One acts created at Lunchbox are now produced internationally. Lunchbox actors have become names on stage and screen.  Bravo to all of you who share in the artistic miracle!
-Bartley and Margaret Bard