A ballet about a dystopian future based on a best-selling Canadian novel, outdoor music making in February and an unprecedented year for female playwrights are some of the highlights of 2013's arts scene. Here are what Winnipeg's top culture makers have to say about the year that was:

Danishka Esterhazy, filmmaker:

Jenna Hill, Marina Stephenson Kerr, Alix Sobler and Richie Higgs in Social Studies

Jenna Hill, Marina Stephenson Kerr, Alix Sobler and Richie Higgs in Social Studies by Trish Cooper. (Bruce Monk)

For me, the cultural highlight of 2013 was (and continues to be) the "Group of Seven" female playwrights. How lucky it is for Manitoba to have this amazing group of talented women writers. Trish Cooper's Social Studies was one of the funniest and most moving plays that I have seen on stage ... anywhere. And I cannot wait to see Alix Sobler's play The Secret Annex  at RMTC . I'm also excited that Alix and I will be writing a screenplay together next year. We really do have a great community of writers in Manitoba.

Raymond Hogg, Artistic Director of Rainbow Stage:

'I laughed so hard my face was sore for a week.' - Raymond Hogg, Rainbow Stage

There were so many cultural highlights this year for me! Being a newcomer to Manitoba I've been soaking up the cultural scene every spare moment that I have - from attending every single musical theatre & dance performance, as well as quite a few plays at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, to world premieres at PTE, RMTC, RWB, MTYP and Zone 41 (love all the abbreviations in town by the way), to our own remarkable season at Rainbow Stage in Kildonan park, I'm hard pressed to choose but here is one highlight:

Nicholas Rice as Winch in The Miser of Middlegate

Nicholas Rice as Winch in The Miser of Middlegate by Carolyn Gray. (Leif Norman)

The Miser of Middlegate (Theatre Projects Manitoba and  Zone 41) - I loved the creative use of physio balls, the simple elegance of the set design and construction, the fabulous acting, the sublimely comic script and the masterful direction provided by Krista Jackson. I laughed so hard my face was sore for a week, I was able to skip my ab work out, and I swear I lengthened my life span by ten years. The transformative power of theatre indeed!

Kelly Leschasin,  Marketing and Production Coordinator at the West End Cultural Centre:

One of the COOLEST cultural events (and I mean that in every sense of the word) in Winnipeg last year was Manitoba Music On Ice . Hosted by Manitoba Music, local artists huddled by the warming huts along the Assiniboine  River and performed their hearts out to passersby on skates, skis and foot. It was a fantastic combination of creativity between architecture and music.
Red Moon Road

Red Moon Road performed in Music on Ice in 2013.

The warming huts are so fun to look at and the music was so great to hear. Everything from jazz to roots/folk was being played on the river that day in mid-February which is incredible if you think about it. There were so many smiles. I'd say it was an event very unique to Winnipeg.

André Lewis, Artistic Director of Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet:

The making of The Handmaid's Tale based on the novel by Margaret Atwood was a highlight of 2013 for me. The opportunity to produce a new creation that brought together two icons of Canadian culture - Margaret Atwood and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet - was a fantastic experience. It is important for the RWB to continue our reputation for commissioning thought provoking new works. We look forward to continuing this momentum as we approach our 75th season in the New Year. 

Happy New Year from the Manitoba SCENE team!