Best List, Essentials Listings

7 Spots to See World-Class Theatre in Winnipeg

The play's the thing—but the venue is pretty important too. Luckily, Winnipeg boasts an abundance of theatrical talent, and actors, dancers and performers of all stripes find a home on these spectacular stages.

Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre's John Hirsch Mainstage

Royal MTC was Canada’s first English-language regional theatre when it formed in 1958. In the contravening decades, through the mounting of more than 600 plays, the company has built a name for itself and is known for exceptional theatre and high-quality production. The mainstage theatre, completed in 1970, was renamed for one of the company’s founders, John Hirsch, in 2008, and in 2010 received royal designation by Queen Elizabeth II. On the mainstage, you’ll see everything from classics to Broadway hits to new work by Canadian playwrights. Shows deftly balance mass appeal with thought-provoking themes. See what’s on now here.

Location: 174 Market Ave, 204-942-6537,

Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre's Tom Hendry Warehouse

The second stage for the Royal MTC theatre company (see above) has existed in some form since the 1960s, and was named after the theatre centre’s co-founder, Tom Hendry, in 2008. More intimate in space and sparser in setting than the mainstage, the Warehouse Theatre allows the company space to showcase more experimental productions. Boundary-pushing plays and pieces by emerging playwrights find a home here, all executed with MTC’s high quality standard. Check out what’s playing here.

Location: 140 Rupert Ave, 204-942-6537,

Centennial Concert Hall

Step into the Centennial Concert Hall and you can almost feel the drama vibrating in the air—an effect of decades of providing the stage for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Manitoba Opera, and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra as well as countless touring productions. Haunting music, soaring spectacles, centuries-old classics, and modern Broadway hits always pack the concert hall’s seasonal schedule. Built in the 1960s, the venue has a seating capacity of 2,305 and a 24-by-12 metre stage that can accomodate a full orchestra and a choir of 700. In the spirit of local artistry, the building boasts beautiful murals by Canadian artist Greta Dale and Winnipeg artist Tony Tascona. See what’s playing here.

Location: 555 Main St, 204-949-3999,

Prairie Theatre Exchange

This local theatre company has been making magic on stage since 1972. Located on the third floor of downtown Portage Place Mall, this theatre is humble in size but big in impact. The open stage transforms with each production. Prairie Theatre Exchange focuses on local and Canadian playwrights and an emphasis on mounting new work. Also hosts an annual festival of new works and a film and theatre school. See what’s on now here.

Location: 3rd floor, Portage Place Mall, 393 Portage Ave, 204-942-5483,

Cercle Moliere

This French-language theatre company in the heart of St. Boniface has been in continuous operation since 1925. This theatre mounts a subscription season every year as well as a touring youth production, a high school theatre festival, a live reading series, directing workshops and drama classes for kids. Productions take place in a beautifully-designed 125-seat theatre built in 2010. Plays range from the classics of French avant-garde theatre to new productions by local writers. For Anglophones, real-time translation is offered for some shows. The company is also well-known in Winnipeg for its annual lobster gala fundraiser. See what’s playing here.

Location: 340 Provencher Blvd, 204-233-8053,

Manitoba Theatre for Young People

The colourful MTYP theatre at The Forks brings in kids and their parents from across the city for their yearly line up of plays, events and classes. Founded in 1982, the company presents theatrical works for families and children of all ages, ranging from fun and silly to educational. Hard-hitting, emotionally resonant dramas for tweens and goofy entertainment for little ones alike are well designed, acted and produced. Along with its stage, the centre hosts a theatre school for kids age 3-12 and teens, with classes in acting for stage and screen, improv, musical theatre, animation, filmmaking and puppetry. See what’s new on stage here.

Location: 2 Forks Market Rd, 204-947-0394,

Rainbow Stage

It’s been a Winnipeg tradition for generations, when the weather gets warm, to take in a show at Rainbow Stage in Kildonan Park. The longest-running outdoor theatre company in Canada, Rainbow Stage mounts high-production shows every summer under its canopy amidst the greenery of the park. Fun and fanciful classic musicals typically take the stage, accompanied by impressive staging and elaborate costumes. Runs May-September. See what’s playing this season here.

Location: Kildonan Park, 202-1215 Henderson Hwy, 204-989-5261,