Behind the Scenes of The Birds and the Bees

Get ready to laugh out loud at The Birds and the Bees, a hilarious new comedy at the Prairie Theatre Exchange! Playwright, Mark Crawford, tells a story we can all relate to, of love, chance encounters and fresh starts. The play which is closing the Prairie Theatre Exchange’s season is set on a bee farm owned by the character Gail.

Let’s set the scene: It’s nearly time for the last-ever annual Turkey Days Festival and the excitement in town is palpable. Sarah, a turkey farmer, has just left her husband and moved back home with her mother Gail who raises bees. Enter Ben, a 23-year-old virgin and an eager, athletic young grad student majoring in entomology, intent on studying the declines in the local bee population.

I recently got a behind the scenes look of the crew preparing to deliver this amazing show. When I first arrived I was introduced to the stage set up. The play is set on the top floor of Gail’s home where her daughter Sarah arrives after leaving her husband. Below is a miniature model of how the stage looks when you arrive.

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Birds and the Bees Stage Model

Set Designer Carole Klemm designed the set and gave the viewer the ability to really picture the events as if they were happening in real life. Below is the crew making a few final touches as they get ready for opening night.

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Crew making final touches to the stage design

The Birds and the Bees play wouldn’t be complete without an actual beekeeping suit! I got to take an up close look at the actual suit used in the play.

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Beekeeping Suit used in Birds and the Bees play

The all-local cast features some pretty remarkable actors including:

  • Mariam Bernstein as Gail
  • Tristan Carlucci as Ben
  • Robb Paterson as Earl and;
  • Paula Potosky as Sarah

The actors have rehearsed for countless hours, including some long twelve hour days, and are ready to give you a show that will definitely entertain you!

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Actors Tristan Carlucci and Mariam Bernstein – Photo Credit: Haanita Sevel
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Actors Robb Paterson & Paula Potosky, with stage management and director at tables – Photo Credit: Haanita Sevel

Robert Metcalfe, Artistic Director of Prairie Theatre Exchange says, While it’s obviously about “the birds and the bees and this thing called love”, I like the play because it’s set against the background of actual birds and bees (turkeys and bee colonies), and because it’s about several generations in the pursuit of love. People trying to negotiate their love life (and their sex life) are always hilarious because they’re always desperate to get it right – and there’s so much room for things to go oh-so-wrong!

The Birds and the Bees will be at the Prairie Theatre Exchange until April 16th and I want to send you and friend to check it out! Share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter and tag both @PrairieTheatre and @DowntownPeggy. You will be entered to win a pair of tickets to this hilarious show on Thursday, April 13th!

You can also visit their website at http://www.pte.mb.ca/ to learn more about their exciting new 2017-2018 season (their 45th!) and how to become a subscriber.

See you downtown,

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Winter Fun Downtown

There is never any shortage of winter fun in our downtown. For all ages, there is always a way to take in the fun of the chilly days and nights and enjoy Winnipeg winters at their best.

Here are a few events taking place this weekend downtown:

Million Dollar Quartet

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Wonderful Wedding Show Comes to RBC Convention Centre

The proposal. The ring. The planning. When a wedding is in your immediate future everything becomes research—your last hotel stay, every other wedding you attend, every cupcake, donut, or pie, and even dress shopping becomes a second job.

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The Wonderful Wedding Show takes place January 21 and 22 at the RBC Convention Centre. This annual event is the largest single source of information available about Winnipeg wedding services, featuring the city’s leading wedding professionals. With over 300 displays and 130,000 square feet of the latest must-have wedding fashions and trends, wedding products and services, and much more, every couple can explore the ways to make their wedding dream come true. One lucky couple will even win a DREAM WEDDING!

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Make a day of the Wonderful Wedding Show. Start by meeting up with your bridal party at a downtown restaurant or coffee shop to plan your route throughout the show over brunch or appetizers. When you enter the RBC Convention Centre be sure to get your copy of V.I.B Weddings Magazine, a magazine for the Very Important Bride!  V.I.B. Weddings features local content and real weddings highlighting products and services from Wonderful Wedding Show vendors that will inspire couples with ideas and has a special Show Guide section with Exhibitor Listing, floor plan and editorial about the show.

Downtown Winnipeg is a regular spotlight in local urban weddings. Whether downtown Winnipeg is the backdrop for wedding photos, or where the wedding reception is held, to where couples book their honeymoon suites in one of many iconic hotels, there are so many wonderful spots, corners, and signature spaces that hold special memories for Winnipeg couples. Take advantage of our fantastic downtown scenery and architecture to make your wedding memories uniquely Winnipeg. Tag us in your Wonderful Wedding Show photos on Insta and Twitter with #finditdowntown and enjoy planning your special day!

Top left, clockwise: Photo credit @blackandgoldphoto; Inspiration Gallery 2016 winning table by Just In Couture Designer Planning & Luxury Décor, photo credit Wonderful Wedding Show; Bottom left: Wedding planning by Like A Star Weddings, photo credit @nghiatranphotography. All photos used with permission.

Don’t miss out on these key daily features:

Brides’ Lounge with performances by Danny Kramer Dance Band at 1:30 & 3:30pm daily

Eph Apparel Grooms’ Lounge – Grooms-to-be can even enter for a chance to win the Ultimate Sports Prize Package

Inspiration Gallery – 2,500 sq ft of inspiration!

Fashion Show – 12:30 & 4:30pm daily

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Purchase tickets in advance to be entered for a chance to win a FREE vacation courtesy of LA Travel Group, Air Canada Vacation, and Palace Resorts. Trip value up to $6,000. Includes flights, transfers, hotel, & taxes. Click here for more prize details

Tickets available at http://wonderfulweddingshow.com/tickets/

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Downtown Winnipeg Highlights from 2016

2016 was a fantastic year for downtown Winnipeg. Reduced crime, increased cleanliness, and added community support have continued to shape the downtown into a great place to play, shop, and live. Here are ten highlights from 2016 to celebrate as the year comes to a close.

 

  1. Sizzling Summer Events

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The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ hosted 230 events between June and October, attracting over 50,000 visitors to the downtown! From Zumba to movie screenings, festivals to concerts, there was truly something for everyone.

 

  1. Times Square Expert Takes On Portage and Main

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This February, president and CEO of Times Square Alliance Tim Tompkins came to the Fairmont Winnipeg to discuss opening Portage and Main to pedestrians. Tompkins played a huge role in turning Times Square into the tourist destination that it is today, and his perspective on Portage and Main provided a proven vision for the future of this iconic intersection.

 

  1. Police Unveil New Downtown Safety Strategy

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In mid-December, Winnipeg Police Service announced a new strategy to patrol the downtown. With a combination of modern technology and “walking the beat,” the new strategy will increase the presence of officers and foster a heightened sense of community. We look forward to seeing it in action.

 

  1. Manyfest Continues to Grow and Impress

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Seventy thousand people enjoyed the sixth annual Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Manyfest from September 9 to 11. The event celebrates arts, entertainment, community, and healthy living. The Food Truck Wars, presented by ROYALE Tiger Towel, was a particularly tasty highlight again.

 

  1. Canada Day Living Flag Still the Biggest

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Over 3,158 people gathered at Shaw Park on Canada Day to create a living flag, and we’re proud to say it was the biggest in the country! Shout-out to all the participants who made this event one for the record books.

 

  1. Pop-Up at Portage and Main

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From June to September, all four corners of Portage and Main hosted pop-up events on the last Friday of the month. Pedestrians experienced an exciting variety of events and entertainment in Canada’s famous intersection.

 

  1. #finditdowntown

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In May, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ won Marketing Campaign of the Year (over $2,500) at the Winnipeg Tourism Awards of Distinction. Our social media platforms are doing better than ever at informing followers, capturing moments, and celebrating all that downtown Winnipeg has to offer.

 

  1. Host it Downtown

 

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s “Host It Downtown” program aims to increase the number of events downtown. It was founded in 2015, and in 2016, we attracted new and existing events like the Manitoba Filipino Street Festival, SpaceLand, and Peg City St. Patrick’s Day Parade to our downtown. Perhaps we could host your next event?

 

  1. CHAT Program Better than Ever

 

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Community Homeless Assistance Team (CHAT) received increased support this year, with an annual investment of $120,000 from Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries and $150,000 from the City of Winnipeg.

 

The CHAT program provides support to downtown Winnipeg’s vulnerable populations, including homeless people and/or people struggling with addictions or mental health issues.

 

  1. True North Square announced

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In February, True North unveiled plans for True North Square, a $400 million development featuring businesses, hospitality and entertainment, residential space, outdoor rinks, and more.

 

Construction is already underway, and the end product will show again how much our downtown has to offer those who want to live, work, and play in this bustling area that continues to grow with opportunity.

This way to the Hamptons!

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There are a few things Winnipeggers love in the summertime – patios, parks and partying at all the street festivals. And I can totally get on board with that – and find it downtown.

One thing that’s really not my scene? Lake life. However, this summer, relaxation party vacation is coming to us – Hamptons style.

Athena Leadership hosts its annual fundraiser on June 6 at Manitoba Hydro Place in support of their yearly scholarship – the Leader of Tomorrow Award.

Last summer’s fundraiser – A Midsummernight’s Dream – was attended by over 400 people, and boasted a high-value auction, beautiful décor, signature cocktails and delicious bites and desserts. This year will be much the same – Hampton’s style, and sponsored by Birchwood Volvo Jaguar Land Rover.

We’re all requested to wear white, to add to the glam atmosphere and up our selfie game.

This is the downtown party of the year, it’s going to be all over your Instagram feed, so in attending you’ll have an amazing time, support a fantastic cause and avoid a serious case of FOMO.

Tickets are $40. Click here to purchase.

Or, as you’ve come to know, I have a few up for grabs. Get at me on Twitter @DowntownPeggy saying “I want to Party in the Hamptons” and use the hashtag #Finditdowntown two winners will receive a pair of tickets on June 3 at 10AM.

 

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The Many Events of ManyFest! Coming September 6 to 8

Manyfest MusicIt’s hard to know where to begin when talking about this year’s Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries ManyFest; I suppose it’s aptly named! Calling it “downtown’s biggest street festival” does paint a pretty good picture. One thing I do know: I know what I’m doing next weekend! For those of you new to ManyFest and feeling a little overwhelmed by the many happenings, here’s the lowdown on the festival, running September 6 to 8 on Broadway, with Memorial Park as the hub:

ManyFest kicks off on Friday at 5pm, so head to Broadway after work for the Wine & Beer Festival, on until 11pm. There’s nothing like sipping a chardonnay under the stars. If you’ve become enchanted like me this summer with watching movies outdoors, you’ll want to bring a blanket or lawn chair to watch the Giant Movie in the Park, “Up”, in Memorial Park, beginning at sundown (about 8pm).  And don’t worry, your food cravings will be answered with a variety of munchies –you can even vote for your favourite with the new-this-year Food Truck Wars (not to be confused with food fights?!) A dozen different trucks will be out the whole weekend, starting Friday at 5pm, so you’ll have a chance to taste at least a few.

Now, my personal favourite is Saturday’s Big Dance on Broadway coupled with Lights on Broadway (and a dash of the Wine & Beer Festival, of course! ) The Big Dance is just that: music and dancing in the streets. As the sun sets, the lights come on. The organizers like to change it up each year, but it’s always an awe-inspiring experience strolling down Broadway with a few thousand of your closest friends and the soft glow of lights and candles – yes, real candles!

Throughout the whole weekend, don’t forget to save time (and money) to peruse the Farmers’ and Artisan’s Market. It’s the perfect time of year for fresh veggies.

ManyFest is all about being open to everyone, so it’s no wonder there’s something for all ages. Kids can have fun at their very own festival: MiniFest Kids’ Zone, this year including some activities done by the Manitoba Children’s Museum, on Saturday and Sunday starting at 11am.

After two days of food trucks, wine and beer, you can work it all off on Sunday. (And after a night of dancing on concrete, you’ll be happy for an excuse to wear your runners all day.) For you fitness buffs, there is still time to sign-up for the Winnipeg 10 and 10, which offers various race options–even for a fair-weather runner like me. Anyone wanting to try their hand at yoga or zumba or a variety of other fitness activities can do so for free right on Broadway during Ciclovia. This healthy-living, eco-friendly event runs all day Sunday (11am-6pm), with a bunch of cool activities like a climbing wall, soap box derby and street hockey.

All weekend long you can do as I plan to do: ride my bike to Broadway, use the free bike valet, then feel perfectly justified in partaking in the Wine & Beer Festival and more Food Truck War goodies (after all, in the interest of fair judging, I will have to sample them all!)

The Wine & Beer Festival runs all weekend long, and with no admission fee, you’re free to come and go (though your bevvie is not free to “go” with you!) So those are the many events of ManyFest! Can’t wait to see you there!

For more info, visit http://www.manyfest.ca

Stuff to do this week: Jan 24-30

Now that the temperature has warmed up a little (it’s amazing how -13 deg C can feel almost like summer), it’s time to come out of hiding and take in some entertainment. Here’s a few ideas to get the blood flowing and keep those toes warm:

Jan 20-Feb 5 After Miss Julie
As revellers celebrate the landslide victory of the Labour Party in 1945, Miss Julie engages in a forbidden flirtation with her father’s chauffeur, John. MTC Warehouse, 140 Rupert Avenue, 943-4849

Jan 27 Aqua Books
Landsdowne Prize for Poetry Series Free readings from poet Bertrand Nayet with Ariel Gordon and Dennis Cooley. 7pm, Aqua Books, 274 Garry Street, 943-7555

Jan 29 Write to Art: creative writing and the visual arts
Have you ever wondered what correlations exist between different art forms? How do observation and interpretation of the visual arts find meaning and expression through writing? Write to Art is a creative writing workshop with the acclaimed writers Debbie Schnitzer and Marjorie Anderson. Responding to the work of Colombian artist Fernando Botero in the exhibition The Baroque World of Fernando Botero, participants will engage new creative and interpretive strategies and go beyond simply looking, 2-5pm, registration is $25 for WAG members, $30 for others, to register please call 789-0516

Jan 29 Evelyn Glennie Dame
Evelyn Glennie will be performing the newly-commissioned Percussion Concerto by WSO composer-in-residence Vincent Ho. Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Centennial Concert Hall, 8pm, 555 Main Street, 949-3999

Jan 29 PBR Canadian Cup Series
Professional bull riding. 7:30pm, MTS Centre, 300 Portage Avenue, 780-3333

Jan 29 Toopy and Binoo
and the Marshmallow Moon. 1pm & 4pm, Pantages Playhouse, 180 Market Avenue, 780-3333

Jan 30 Botero or Bust!
Grab your passport and tour the wonderful world of Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Catch the South American vibe with dance troupe Folklore De Mi Tierra. Create your own Botero-inspired work of art. Reduced all-day family admission – $20 (includes 2 adults and 4 children under 18), 1:30pm-4pm, Winnipeg Art Gallery, 300 Memorial Blvd, 786-6641

Jan 30 Devil Driver
American heavy metal band. 7pm, The Garrick Centre, 330 Garry Street