SaskExpress (originally named Saskatchewan Express) was founded in 1980 by Carol Gay Bell. It was the outcome of a successful touring show of Saskatchewan performers held in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday.Because of the enthusiastic response, the Government of Saskatchewan initiated the Saskatchewan Talent Hunt in the performing arts in 1974. The program sought out talented performers from throughout the province with the goal of combining them in a touring show.
It was in 1980 that a touring show was finally achieved as a program of the Diamond Jubilee Corporation. To help Celebrate Saskatchewan on the occasion of her 75th anniversary, a touring group was put together and called Saskatchewan’s Greatest Little Travelling Birthday Party. In 1983, Saskatchewan Lotteries became a supporter and the group was named Saskatchewan Express.
SaskExpress remained a government program, supported by government and Saskatchewan Lotteries until 1994 when it became a non-profit cultural organization with a board of directors. SaskExpress was granted charitable status in 1998.
SaskExpress is supported primarily by SaskCulture through the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund. The organization raises 70 per cent of its budget through performance fees, sponsorship, grants, members and donors, and fundraising events.
Our performers come from all parts of Saskatchewan from the smallest communities to major centers. Many former SaskExpress performers have gone on to professional careers in entertainment around the world, including Broadway, cruise ships, touring shows and stage productions, as well as appearances in film, television and recordings.
SaskExpress is proud to be a musical ambassador for this province and has appeared across Saskatchewan and from coast to coast in Canada as well as in the United States.
Firmly believing in the education of young people in the performing arts, SaskExpress established Musical Theatre Studios in Regina in 1997 and in Saskatoon in 2000. These studios train young people from the ages of 3 to 19.
In January of 2017, Danny Balkwill came on as Artistic Director and C.E.O. and with that came fresh new ideas for the future. Starting with a major rebrand in the fall of 2017, SaskExpress is forging a new path, honouring the past while charging head first with a unique new vision of what SaskExpress can be in the future.
2018 marked the 38th anniversary of SaskExpress in providing training and opportunities to talented Saskatchewan performers and delivering first-class family entertainment to the people of this province no matter where they live.