Algonquin Commons Theatre – Ottawa’s Hidden Venue

I’m overdue for a little opinion piece about random topics. This one is going to seem a bit like a review, but it’s more of an awareness post. I’m writing about the Algonquin Commons Theatre, and how this little known gem of a venue draws such amazing entertainment. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll already know how I feel about the theatre, but I think, as I look into the fall semester, it’s worth a full post.

For those of you who haven’t been to this venue, simply put, it’s incredible! Despite the smaller-ish size, they are able to host amazing bands and entertainment acts throughout the year. The theatre has an intimate feel to it without a bad seat in the house. You don’t have to have floor seats in order to feel as though you’re part of the show. I have attended many of these acts, and have reviewed some of them. You can have a read if you’re interested here:

Tea Party Concert – January 2017

USS Concert – January 2017

Piff the Magic Dragon – March 2017

Nelly Concert – March 2018

As you can see, simply by this small sample of previous shows, the quality of acts is outstanding. They are certainly big enough names to perform in some of Ottawa’s larger stadiums. The theatre offers seating for 700 people, but for many of the concerts, the floor level chairs are removed to increase capacity to 835. There are three levels in the theatre including the floor, main and a balcony levels. The sound and lighting equipment is state of the art and acoustics are as professional as it gets! Although used primarily by the Algonquin Student’s Association, the Algonquin Commons Theatre is its own business and not directly related to the school, however is staffed and ran through the Student’s Association. On event days, there’s typically a bar area and a merch table set up near the main doors. The bar offers a full selection of beer, wine and spirits, along with an array of non-alcoholic drinks.

While I was populating my event calendar for the fall, I noticed an incredible line up of acts coming in just this one season to the ACT! This was my inspiration to publish this post. Here is a list with links to the main acts hosted by the ACT:

September 4thSam Roberts (outside the Student’s Association building, NOT in the ACT)

September 12thTerry Bozzio Reality Tour

  • The Algonquin Commons Theatre is proud to present Terry Bozzio on his Ottawa stop of the Reality Tour 2018, where he will be playing the largest tuned drum and percussion set in the world. Terry Bozzio, best known for his work with Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, Missing Persons, and too many others to mention, is the definition of a drummer-composer. His drum sets are each unique instruments unto themselves, with compositions written specifically for them. His kits often include dozens of toms and several bass drums, with countless cymbals and effects. He was made famous for his performance of Frank Zappa ́s musical piece “The Black Page,” which Zappa wrote in order to test musicians. The piece is known as a “musician ́s nightmare” because there are so many notes on the page of music, the music paper is almost completely black.

September 19thFetty Wap – Wayne Out Canadian Tour

  • After the release of his most recent mixtape, Bruce Wayne, multi-platinum selling artist Fetty Wap is heading out on a Canadian tour with special guest, Peter Jackson. The Wayne Out Tour follows after Fetty’s collab with Cheat Codes (“No Promises Ft. Demi Lovato”) for their bubbling winter jam, “Feels Great.” In between releasing official singles, Fetty gifted his fans with two mixtapes, Luck No. 7 and For My Fans II. Through out the Wayne Out Tour, Fetty will continue recording his highly- anticipated sophomore album, King Zoo. The tour will kick off in Vancouver, BC on August 30th of 2018 and conclude in Halifax, NB on September 23rd. Fans are bound to see a new side of Fetty as the “Trap Queen” superstar will perform an array of songs from his impressively vast catalog and the new music.

September 25thThe Proclaimers (remember…. “I would walk 500 miles”?)

  • The Proclaimers are a Scottish duo composed of the identical twin brothers Charlie and Craig Reid. They are best known for their songs “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, “Sunshine on Leith”, “I’m On My Way” and “Letter from America”, and their singing style with a Scottish accent. The band tours extensively throughout the world. They have released ten studio albums since 1987 as well as three compilation albums and a DVD.

September 28thThe Cadillac Three

  • Live Nation presents American Southern rock group The Cadillac Three and special guest Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion live in Ottawa at the Algonquin Commons Theatre this September!

October 9thMAGIC!

  • This fall, multi-platinum global reggae-pop quartet MAGIC! will be on their headlining Canadian tour starting in September! The Algonquin Commons Theatre is proud to present the Ottawa stop of the tour. MAGIC! is composed of Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer Nasri (lead vocals), Mark Pelli (guitar), Alex Tanas (drums) and Ben Spivak (bass). The band made their mark with hit single “Rude”, released in 2014 before exploding into viral popularity. Holding the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for six weeks, “Rude” simultaneously dominated the charts globally, hitting #1 in 41 countries. The track has been streamed nearly 500 million times on Spotify and the upbeat, quirky video for the single has seen over 1.3 billion VEVO views. MAGIC! has released two studio albums, toured with Maroon 5 and headlined shows all over the world. They have received two JUNO Awards and received multiple nominations including American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Teen Choice Awards and more

October 19thSherry Gallant: Spiritual Medium

  • Sherry Gallant is a Spiritual Medium located in the the beautiful town of Caledon, Ontario. Born with a sense of knowing that she was different and was naturally gifted, she kept it very quiet feeling that it was something that society and family would never accept. Over the years Sherry has learned to possess an impressive display of Mediumship skills including clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience.  She sees, hears and communicates with the spirit world with ease.  As a naturally gifted Spiritual Medium, Sherry takes her work seriously, with integrity and great respect to bring peace, comfort, and perhaps closure to her clients.

October 22ndUSS (Bonavista Tour)  **Read my previous USS review at ACT here

  • USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) is a Canadian alternative rock musical duo that began working out of Parkdale, a neighbourhood situated in the west end of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The band is composed of vocalist, guitarist, and erhuplayer Ashley Buchholz (aka Ash Boo-Schultz) and turntablist/hype man Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons. The USS sound is a mixture of drum and bass beats, grunge-like guitar riffs, and 2-step rhythms. “We like to call what we do the campfire after-party,” Ash said, “It’s like you’re at Nirvana Unplugged but there’s a drum and bass party and glow sticks all around you.”

October 23rdTEDxOttawa: Changing the Narrative

  • TEDxOttawa, in the grand tradition of ‘ideas worth sharing’, seeks to share some of the stories you don’t know, but should. This isn’t Ottawa’s story, but instead a collection of amazing individuals whose ideas are helping shape the world in which we live, work, and play. Experience what you don’t know. In order to deal with the hard modern problems of automation, global climate change, and the inundation of questionable news sources, this event will aim to inspire deep critical thinking.

November 7thPuddles Pity Party

  • The ‘Sad Clown with the Golden Voice’ is here with his heartfelt anthems and a suitcase full of Kleenex! This Pity Party is not all sadness and longing. The show is peppered with a brilliant sense of the absurd, mixing lots of humor with the awkward, tender moments. A veritable “Pagliacci by way of Pee-Wee Herman and David Lynch” (The AJC), Puddles Pity Party has 286k fans on Facebook and over 76 million views on YouTube for indelible interpretations of classics by ABBA, Bowie, Cheap Trick and Queen and his unforgettable mash-up of “Pinball Wizard/Folsom Prison Blues”. You may recognize him from his recent appearances on America’s Got Talent and video collaborations with Postmodern Jukebox. Puddles has toured extensively in the US at legendary venues like the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, the Kennedy Center in D.C. and the Troubadour in Los Angeles. He has also performed many times in the UK at Soho Theatre London and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Other worldwide festival appearances include the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Perth Fringe World, Melbourne International Comedy Fest, Just for Laughs Montreal, Belgium’s Gent Festival, Festival Supreme (LA), Bumbershoot Festival (Seattle), Moontower Comedy Festival (Austin), and Bethlehem’s MusikFest.

November 23rdJeremy Hotz

  • Fondly referred to as “the master of misery”, Gemini Award winning stand-up comedian, actor and writer Jeremy Hotz announced today that he’ll return to his hometown of Ottawa, ON, for two live shows at the Algonquin Commons Theatre on November 23rd. Celebrated for his original style coupled with side splitting takes on everyday life, Hotz confirmed that both “Profoundly Disappointed” shows will be filmed exclusively for a special forthcoming DVD release. “I’m really looking forward to shooting a comedy special in Ottawa,” shares Hotz. “It’s my hometown! The city where I started stand-up in 1984, at the crummy Beacon Arms Hotel on Albert Street. Jesus…what was I thinking?


As mentioned, the Algonquin Commons Theatre is attached to the Algonquin College Student’s Association building, but it is not just for students. There are certainly benefits to be had with a student or Alumni ID, but other than a discount on the already reasonably priced tickets, the public is entitled to the same benefits of the shows. So if you’ve never been, this fall season is proving already to be a great line-up for the ACT, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more great shows added as time goes on.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the shows!!


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