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, MLA St. Norbert
June 3, 2013

Shakespeare in the Ruins

Mr. Speaker, this month marks the 20th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR). From June 6th to 29th, St. Norbert will promote the performance and attendance of live theatre, all in the name of the greatest dramatist that ever lived, William Shakespeare. Having impacted our literary culture like no other, Shakespeare's works resonate significantly with theatre artists and audiences alike. This year, Shakespeare's Julius Caesar will be featured at the beautiful Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park.

Back in 1993, Lora Schroeder, Ann Hodges and B. Pat Burns gathered together a group of friends and colleagues in the Trappist monastery ruins. Their performance of Romeo and Juliet effectively established their collective theatre. The first show set the tone for what has continued to be SIR's approach to Shakespeare masterpieces: the distinctive ruin environment, cross-gender and multi-role casting, promenade-style audience movement, a fascinating combination of a stripped-down contemporary and traditional aesthetics, and lively, text-oriented performance technique.

Specializing in creating accessible and engaging productions in atypical settings, SIR boasts a proud history of presenting both new pieces and modern versions of the classic favourites. Attracting the participation of Manitoba artists for every production amplifies SIR's belief in the world-class quality of local theatre artists and the company's commitment to the continued development of homegrown talent. Their dedication to collective organization, community education, youth initiatives, professional development and creation of novel pieces make SIR an undoubtedly distinctive and valuable Canadian arts association.

In the interest of preserving a piece of St. Norbert's history here in the Legislature, I would like to list the names of the additional original founding members. They include Derek Aasland, Michelle Boulet, Lee J. Campbell, Matt Moreau, Maggie Nagle, Debbie Patterson, Gene Pyrz, Marc Beaudry, Katie R. East, Grant Guy, Arne MacPherson, Rick McPherson and Rick Skene.

Thank you to all the good people at Shakespeare in the Ruins. You maintain St. Norbert as a hub of arts and culture, which is considered important to the identity of our community and Manitoba as a whole. Break a leg this month, and see you in the ruins!