I came across this rather amusing letter to the editor on the weekend that I just had to share. Last week, Kevin Prokosh of the Winnipeg Free Press was talking about his frustration that four arts organizations in the city were holding their open houses on the same night, making it difficult for media and art lovers to take it all in. It turned out the Manitoba Theatre Centre, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Prairie Theatre Exchange and Winnipeg Jewish Theatre all launched their seasons last week on the same night, rather than staggering them like they usually do.
What was funny was a subsequent letter to the editor that came from Vancouver in response. I share the following excerpt as a reminder to all those people who constantly dump on our city, saying there is nothing here, saying we have nothing to do:
As for the enthusiasm for West Coast arts practices, you’ll forgive me if I laugh. I’m a Vancouverite who has always seen artists here gaze longingly at the success of Winnipeg, a smaller city with a healthier arts sector. One telling yardstick of cultural success is the ability to support a ballet company, so let me remind you that you have the country’s first, and in Vancouver, Ballet BC went bankrupt in 2008 (and is still struggling to resurrect itself).
Companies here are closing over the 90 per cent cut to B.C.’s arts budget last spring. Those left are distracted with fighting the government to claw back funds while scrambling to find private sponsors. Too many plays opening in Winnipeg this week? Really? Got any other embarrassments of riches you want to whinge about?
Isn’t it amazing that what we take for granted is a source of envy for all-powerful Vancouver? Those four organizations mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s happening in Winnipeg every fall. There’s still the RWB, WSO, MTC Warehouse and Manitoba Opera still to account for, along with dozens upon dozens of other things. (And I won’t even bring up the fact that 90 per cent of that is happening downtown. Oops, there I did bring it up.)
In case you need some help deciding, here’s what you can do this weekend:
Oct 14-Nov 6 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
In a world where the threat of permanent incapacitation rules the day, a guilty man tries to fight justice. Funny, shocking and profoundly moving, the play is one of the classics of American drama. Manitoba Theatre Centre, 174 Market Avenue, 942-6537, mtc.mb.ca
Oct 13-31 The Savannah Disputation
A perky young Pentecostal missionary gets more than she bargained when she drops in on two Catholic spinsters and sparks a crisis of faith. To fight back, the sisters enlist the help of their unsuspecting parish priest, throwing a truly devilish dinner party and setting the scene for a theological smack-down of biblical proportions. A smash hit across the United States, this is a comedy you can believe in! Prairie Theatre Exchange, Portage Place, 942-5483
Oct 14-24 Butterflies
Dance, nature and technology come together to tell the story of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly. Theatre like you’ve never experienced before! Manitoba Theatre for Young People, The Forks, 942-8898