Winnipeg theatre spring lineup: 8 reasons to get excited

The big theatres are wrapping up their seasons and the Winnipeg Fringe Festival is still almost three months away, but the next few weeks bring a lot for local theatre fans to get excited about. Here's a look at what's coming up.

Simpsons-based hit play, controversial 1-woman show part of busy weeks ahead on local theatre scene

District Theatre Collective brings the hit Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play to Winnipeg from April 28-May 7. (District Theatre Collective)

The big theatres are wrapping up their seasons and the Winnipeg Fringe Festival is still almost three months away, but the next few weeks bring a lot for local theatre fans to get excited about.

Here's a look at what's coming up.

1. The Cowboy Shows (Adhere + Deny): Local indie company Adhere + Deny has a history of making avant-garde puppet and object theatre. But this show strips it down to basics with two monologues by Grant Guy and Chris Sabel, both touching on the mythology of the Old West. See it if you like new work, but just can't wait for the Fringe. The $10 admission is also very Fringe-like, as is the performing space.
Runs April 20-24 at the Rory Runnels Studio (in the Artspace building).

Adhere + Deny presents two new monologues as The Cowboy Shows. (Adhere and Deny/Facebook)

2. 204 FM (One Trunk Theatre): One Trunk Theatre offers up a weekly series of radio plays performed live at the West End Cultural Centre, along with music from a different act each week. The series focuses on a fantastical history of Winnipeg, and promises appearances by characters including the Grey Nuns, Burton Cummings and the Golden Boy. A very funny local cast includes RobYn Slade and Toby Hughes of Outside Joke. Musical guests include Scott Nolan, Leaf Rapids and Red Moon Road.
Runs weekly, April 25-May 24, at the West End Cultural Centre.

3. Swingin' in Spring (White Rabbit Productions): A one-night-only fundraiser for the local musical theatre company White Rabbit and the Never Alone Foundation, which supports cancer patients and their families. It promises swing dancing, retro fashions and partying like it's 1929.
April 28 at the Fort Garry Hotel.

4. Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (District Theatre Collective): The apocalypse has come in this hit dark comedy, and The Simpsons has become humanity's new mythology. District Theatre Collective gives the much-hyped play its Winnipeg premiere (they were also the first local company to do another edgy hit, Avenue Q).
Runs April 27-May 7 at the Rachel Browne Theatre.

5. My Name is Rachel Corrie (MayWorks): A tremendously controversial play about Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer during a protest in 2003. A group of talented local actors will take on the one-woman show during the MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts.
Runs May 5-14 at the Manitoba Irish Association.

The controversial one-woman play My Name Is Rachel Corrie runs as part of the MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts. (

6. Wine & Words (Theatre by the River): The indie company's annual fundraiser delivers pretty much what it promises — wine and readings of new works by authors like David Bergen, Ariel Gordon and Brian Richardson. Readers include Ian Ross, Jen Zoratti, CBC Manitoba's own Ismaila Alfa and yours truly (but come anyway).
May 6 at the Manitoba Museum.

David Bergen is one of the writers featured as part of Theatre by the River's Wine and Words fundraiser. (File)

7. A Little Night Music (Dry Cold Productions): Dry Cold's sold-out production of Follies was one of the hits of 2013's SondheimFest, and they return to the work of Stephen Sondheim with his 1973 musical A Little Night Music. Robb Paterson directs an impressive local cast.
Runs May 18-21 at the RMTC Tom Hendry Warehouse.

8. Breaking Through (Sarasvati Productions): This community-based theatre project sees Sarasvati team up with partners including the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society and the Selkirk Mental Health Centre to create a play exploring how we deal with mental health. The audience will be invited to give feedback at the staged readings of this work in progress.
Runs May 22-28 at the University of Winnipeg's Asper Centre for Theatre and Film.


Joff Schmidt

CBC theatre reviewer

Joff Schmidt is a copy editor for CBC Manitoba. Since 2005, he's also been CBC Manitoba's theatre critic on radio and online. He majored in theatre at the U of M, and performed in many university and Fringe festival productions along the way (ranging from terrible to pretty good, according to the reviews). Find him on Twitter @JoffSchmidt.