Performing Arts

Winnipeg’s Performing Arts: We're No Second Fiddle

Known as a cultural hub throughout Canada, Winnipeg is a city where arts and culture thrive. Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Manitoba Opera anchor a performing-arts scene that welcomes internationally renowned artists each year. Learn a little about these esteemed institutions in the brief paragraphs that follow.

Also presented below is information about Le Cercle Molière, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Prairie Theatre Exchange and Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, just to name a few. Go ahead and start planning your ultimate experience.

If you love the performing arts, you’ll love living in Winnipeg. So Get Centred and Go Flat Out by enjoying some of the most revered and respected artistic companies on the continent.

Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Versatility, technical excellence and a captivating style are the trademarks of Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB)—qualities that have garnered both critical and audience acclaim. These qualities keep the RWB in demand as it presents more than 70 performances every season. 

Founded in 1939, the RWB holds the double distinction of being Canada's premier ballet company and the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America.  In 1953, the company received its royal title, the first granted under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. 

Since its formation, the RWB has grown and developed, taking its place among the world's internationally renowned companies.  The ballet company is housed in a unique facility that includes 10 dance studios (including a performance studio), a physiotherapy room, administrative and production offices, a box office, a wardrobe department and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School (professional and recreational divisions). 

Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC) is a community-based, registered charitable not-for-profit arts organization. In 2010, the Manitoba government announced that MTC had become the third Manitoban recipient of the rare and cherished royal designation. 

MTC was Canada’s first English-speaking regional theatre and, under founding artistic director John Hirsch, became a model for regional theatres throughout North America. MTC now presents more than 250 performances annually.  MTC also produces the following two important theatre festivals:

The Master Playwright Festival honours playwrights whose innovation and creativity have influenced fellow artists and left a lasting impression on audiences.

The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival is North America’s second-largest such festival. Presenting live theatre in an informal, accessible and inexpensive environment, this fringe festival strives to break down traditional boundaries between audiences and artists, encouraging open dialogue between theatre-goers and theatre-creators.

Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1947, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) performs concerts for approximately 100,000 people each year and offers a wide array of musical experiences ranging from great art of the master composers to pops, family concerts, educational performances and other special concerts. The orchestra has performed hundreds of world and Canadian premieres and has embraced playing music by living composers while hosting the internationally recognized New Music Festival each February.

Manitoba Opera

Manitoba Opera was established in 1969 by founding president Justice Kerr Twaddle and a group of individuals dedicated to presenting the great works of opera to Manitoba audiences. Manitoba Opera has embraced all aspects of its mandate throughout its history, producing a range of established repertoires as well as producing new Canadian works. Manitoba Opera produces two full-scale productions and one concert annually in the 2,305 seat Centennial Concert Hall.

Additional Theatre and Dance Companies

Le Cercle Molière

Now in its 87th season, Le Cercle Molière offers theatre lovers a wide range of styles and themes ‘en français,’ presented in a new state-of-the-art theatre. Le Cercle Molière is the longest-running theatre company in North America in any language. From October to May, enjoy four major productions, public readings, a theatre school, shows for children, Manitoba school tours and the annual Teen Drama Festival.

Manitoba Theatre for Young People

Manitoba Theatre for Young People (MTYP) has been presenting innovative theatre for young audiences since 1982. MTYP's artistry has been applauded not only as a theatre for young audiences, but also as an innovative and highly creative theatre company. Located at The Forks in Winnipeg, MTYP's home is a 28,000-square-foot performance facility featuring a fully reconfigurable theatre, classroom studios and production facilities.

Prairie Theatre Exchange

Prairie Theatre Exchange (PTE) was founded in 1972 as a result of the combination of a defined need and a group of volunteers determined to create an answer to that need. From its humble beginnings in a run-down building on Princess Street, PTE has grown to epitomize the good things in life here on the Canadian Prairies: camaraderie, self-sufficiency, strength of will, creativity and warmth of heart.

PTE presents five adult plays every season, specializing in new Canadian works and ranging from hilarious comedies to searing dramas. In December and early January, a special family holiday show is also presented. The theatre features a unique thrust stage, with audiences on three sides, resulting in an intimate and unique experience. PTE also has a theatre school, with classes offered in stage and film acting, musical theatre and production.

Rainbow Stage

Rainbow Stage is Canada’s longest-standing outdoor musical theatre production company and has been bringing professional Broadway-style musical shows to Winnipeg stages for more than 55 years. Summer performances take place at Rainbow Stage in Kildonan Park.

Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers

Rachel Browne founded Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers (WCD) in 1964 and served as the company’s artistic director, resident choreographer and teacher for over 20 years. Under her direction, the company grew from a local amateur group to a nationally recognized repertory company significant in the development of modern dance in Canada.

Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers’ goal is to create a place on the local, national and international arts landscape that enables vital intersections, linkages and exchange among dance creators, dance interpreters, spectators and communities. Its values, programs and activities are based on respect for WCD history, the ongoing development of WCD artists and its place in the community.

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About Tourism Winnipeg

Tourism Winnipeg is the city’s official destination marketing organization tasked with increasing visitation and delivering the best possible visitor experience. A division of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc., Tourism Winnipeg’s mission is to facilitate a healthy, prosperous, responsible and fully integrated tourism industry that enhances Winnipeg’s economic growth through the acquisition of meetings, conventions, sports and events, group travel and leisure tourism.