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 (SIR) exists to spotlight the transformative power of classic theatre through the exploration of the human experience.
Shakespeare in the Ruins, Inc. is a theatre company dedicated to:
- The production of plays, particularly the works of Shakespeare
- The creation/development/presentation of Shakespeare adjacent new work
- The use of non-traditional casting and environmental staging.
- Creating opportunities for the development and growth of theatre artists in Manitoba.
- Engaging with and enhancing our community
Shakespeare’s words connect us across barriers of time, culture and status.
Shakespeare in the Ruins brings timeless beauty to our modern world by exploring, speaking and embodying the enduring truths of the human condition. We engage our community using Shakespeare’s elevated language. We believe this ancient exploration of human nature illuminates our modern society’s challenges: intolerance, greed, ambition, and the abuse of power. When we see ourselves reflected in the Bard’s powerful words – our ambitions, vulnerabilities, hopes, desires and aversions – we are challenged to expand our sense of who we are.
In our productions, we create opportunities for genuine connection between performers and audiences, fostering a life-long love of theatre. Through the natural beauty of our landscape, and the cooperative effort involved in promenade performance, we are reminded of what it is to be human, sharing this beautiful land in communion with others. We are all equally vulnerable in a sudden Prairie rainstorm, we are equally blessed by sun’s warmth, and we all have the capacity for courage, grace and the highest expression of the human spirit.
Rather than providing an escape from current events, we centre our work inside the realities of our times; giving a 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.
At SIR, we value community, cooperation 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.