What is Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR) all about?
Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR) is a professional Canadian theatre company that is best known for presenting Shakespeare outdoors in unique settings. For more than 20 years, SIR has specialized in creating accessible, entertaining productions in non-traditional settings, with a proud history of presenting both new plays, and old plays in new ways. We invest in the works of Shakespeare because, as the world’s greatest dramatist, his plays provide the greatest opportunities for theatre artists and audiences alike.
Our annual spring main stage production takes place in and amongst the Ruins of the Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park in St. Norbert Manitoba. Our shows feature stunning sunsets, the wind on your face, and real ominous storm clouds threatening in the distance. This natural and ever changing backdrop creates a communal experience for the actors and audience, all of whom are in the heart of the action together.
Special moments from our shows stay with our audience for years. Stephano swam and sang his way through his iconic first entrance in our production of The Tempest; Lady Macbeth’s hand washing scene was hauntingly torch lit and placed her waist deep in the La Salle river; during the final moments of Antony & Cleopatra the heavens opened up and a rain of mourning poured on actors and audience alike.
Putting on great productions is only part of what SIR offers to Manitoba’s rich cultural landscape. SIR is unwavering in its commitment to help young people understand and truly experience the magic of theatre and Shakespeare. We have reached the minds and hearts of more than 100,000 youth through our dynamic, interactive provincial tours and student matinees. SIR also helps increase literacy rates and build community through our free inner-city programming for children and adults.
Shakespeare in the Ruins, Inc. is an artist-driven theatre company dedicated to:
- the production of plays, principally the works of Shakespeare and the creation/development of new works
- the use of non-traditional casting and environmental staging
- the development and growth of theatre artists in Manitoba
- engaging with and enhancing our community, particularly youth, through the works of Shakespeare
Shakespeare in the Ruins exists to bring timeless beauty to our modern world by exploring, speaking and embodying the enduring truths of the human condition. We create opportunities for genuine connection between performers and audiences, fostering a life-long love of theatre. We engage our audiences with Shakespeare’s elevated language, the natural beauty of our landscape, and the co-operative effort involved in promenade performance, to remind us all of what it is to be human, sharing this beautiful land in communion with others.
We believe this ancient exploration of human nature illuminates our modern society’s challenges: intolerance, greed, ambition and abuse of power. Rather than providing our audiences with an escape from current events, we centre our work inside the realities of our times, giving audiences broader perspective and deeper understanding of the world and our place within it.
Through all these means, we seek to build empathy in ourselves, our audiences and our society at large.
There is truth and beauty at the heart of all our actions, decisions, conflicts, failures and triumphs. When we see ourselves reflected on stage – our ambitions, vulnerabilities, hopes, desires and aversions – we are challenged to expand our sense of who we are. Through that expansion the lines between ourselves and others are broken down and we become one.
Shakespeare’s words connect us across barriers of time, culture and status. We are all equally vulnerable in a sudden Prairie rainstorm, we are equally blessed by the sun’s warmth, and we all have the capacity for courage, grace and the highest expression of the human spirit.
Just as SIR is built upon an ensemble based structure, we value community, co-operation and the equitable sharing of our gifts. As in our performances, in all our dealings, we place a high value on clarity, transparency and honesty. We value communications which are direct, intimate and honouring. We believe community, creativity and courage are our most valuable and enduring assets, for our company and our world.