Rainbow Stage is governed by a Board of Directors and managed by a team of 7 full time dedicated and talented individuals who operate Rainbow Stage in accordance with the by-laws and policies as adopted by the Board of Directors.

Registered charity number:
13546 7777 RR0001.

Each year Rainbow Stage holds a strategic planning session and revisits the vision and mission of the organization. While tweaks have occurred over the years, the integrity of the mandate has never waivered.

The Vision:

To be recognized as a centre of excellence for musical theatre production, performance and education.


The Mission:

To produce musical theatre, develop talented Manitoba artists and be supported by enthusiastic audiences.

Rainbow Stage has strived since inception to be a centre of excellence for Manitoba talent, indeed it is in our by-laws as a non profit Musical Theatre. Excellence in producing high quality professional music theatre, to hire and develop Manitobans wherever possible and to further develop nationally recognized artists the likes of Len Cariou; Heath Lamberts: Catherine McKinnon; Dinah Christie; Fred Penner; Loreena McKennitt; Richard Hurst; Jeremy Kushnier ; Jane Patterson ; Doreen Brownstone; Daphne Korol; John Hirsch; Arnold Spohr; and many more.

 

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Rainbow Stage The Story

When the old bandstand in Kildonan Park, north Winnipeg, was damaged in the 1950 flood, the idea of replacing it with a structure suitable for use as an open-air theatre took hold in the city. Thomas R. Hodgson, superintendent of parks, and James Duncan, director of the University of Manitoba Glee Club, were early advocates of the idea, which was inspired by Vancouver’s Theatre Under the Stars. It took a few attempts to successfully pitch the idea to the City and the Parks Board, but eventually it gained traction when the Parks Board agreed to participate in the new enterprise. It was an opportune time for a collaboration between a musical theatre company and the Parks Board, whose new Superintendent Thomas R. Hodgson had harboured a lifelong passion for music since his days as a choirboy at St. Giles Church. Mr. Hodgson suggested Kildonan Park as the ideal location for the proposed construction, and eventually an agreeable plan was prepared by project architects Smith-Carter-Katelnikoff. The architects also provided the creative spark that lead to the theatre’s naming; Mr. Dennis Carter arrived at a meeting one night with a cardboard model of the design, where someone observed that if lights were strung along the top curvature of the structure it would look like a rainbow. Construction began in 1951, with funds coming from the Park Reserve Fund and the Junior Chamber of Commerce as well as from compensation for the loss of the original bandstand from the Provincial Flood Fund, and was mostly complete by 1952. After additional work on the amphitheatre, the stage was completed in time for the first concert: a performance by the touring Kitsilano Boys Band from Vancouver on September 22, 1953. The next spring and summer, pergola walkways were constructed on either side of the amphitheatre along with seats and complimentary landscaping. Rainbow Stage, officially opened with a variety benefit concert featuring prominent local artists directed by Duncan on 7 July 1954. In September 1955 Duncan directed the first musical comedy performed there, Brigadoon, which marked the beginning of a tradition. Thereafter MUSICAL THEATRE became the staple of the theatre’s summer seasons. Director John HIRSCH, choreographer Arnold SPOHR and actress Evelyn Anderson were among the early participants in Rainbow Stage productions.

Looking out to the next 20 years

Under the leadership of Executive Producer Ken Peter, Rainbow Stage returned to its roots as a two-show, summer-only theatre in 2010. For the first show of the season the theatre was transformed from 2,300 seats to a more intimate size, ranging from 780 to 1,400 seats. The aim was to program newer, more adult-themed musicals in the smaller venue, and larger, classic family-friendly productions in the full 2,300 seat space. Smaller-venue shows have included Rent (2010), Cats (2011), Footloose (2012), Buddy the Buddy Holly Story (2013), A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline & The Producers (2014), and West Side Story (2015) . shw_strp_tab_1

In November 2012 a new leadership structure promoted General Manager Julie Eccles to the office of Executive Director and named Ray Hogg, the company’s first ever Artistic Director the following month. Committed to the long term success of the organization, the shared vision focuses on upholding the reputation earned by the theatre over 60 years of entertaining audiences and fostering its growth and expansion into the future.

In 2012, the construction of sets and props was brought back to the theatre and, for the first time in over ten years, the back stage carpentry shop was brought back to life by the carpenters of local builder Scenic Elements. From that point on, Rainbow Stage has continued to invest in designers, carpenters, painters, and artisans to bring the highest quality production values to our stage.

Since 2010, we have seen this type of investment bear fruit: audience growth and support has been getting stronger year by year with attendance levels closing in on 50,000 attendees during our 60th Anniversary Season.

This investment has also opened the door to some very exciting collaborations. In 2013 and 2014 Disney Theatricals granted Rainbow Stage the rights to produce two Canadian Regional Theatres Premieres based on our excellence in production,: the 2013 smash hit Mary Poppins and 2014’s wildly popular The Little Mermaid. Both shows served to deepen the Rainbow Stage/Disney Theatricals relationship and we are eager to collaborate with them more in the coming years.

Since 2010, we have placed an increased focus on producing Central Canada premieres as well, and will yet again present a premiere production with Sister Act in August of 2015. Stay tuned for announcements of other exciting upcoming premieres…

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Bringing a Season Together

Rainbow Stage strives to be fresh and inventive in all aspects of our work. Our aim is to bring new titles to the Winnipeg stage and re-live the classics that make musical theatre great! Our passion is to explore new possibilities for Rainbow Stage and our audiences. As a professional not-for-profit arts organization, our focus is on fostering interest and appreciation in musical theatre and contributing to the well-being of the theatre community. We aim to nurture and support the growing community of Manitoba-based artists from their early professional years straight through until their retirement.

We are equally committed to ensuring that productions at Rainbow Stage are accessible to the widest possible community constituency. Not only do we ensure that a family of four can attend the theatre for the same price as an afternoon at the movies, over the past 6 years we have also provided over 10,000 tickets to deserving not-for-profit, community-focused organization service organizations that share and exemplify our core values of inclusivity and accessibility in their organizational programming. – we live to serve!

We are proud to be a recognized tourism attraction in Winnipeg, and contribute to the nationally recognized local arts industry. Rainbow Stage employs more than ½ of the local arts workers – making us a tremendous economic driver. In line with our mandate to operate in a fiscally responsible manner, we continue to pursue new funding opportunities in the private and public sectors to support this important work.

The above is no small feat, governed by our dedicated board of directors, managed by a team of 7 full time staff and supported by a cast of thousands of patrons. Rainbow Stage continues to develop year by year.

 

Our Shows

Since 1955, Rainbow Stage has produced Broadway Musical Theatre Productions at Rainbow Stage. In the early years the selection of titles was limited and hence many productions were often seen multiple times over the years. Since 2010 the competition for rights of new musicals has opened up to include Regional Theatres and we are very pleased to be in a position to bring often first arrivals to our wonderful City and Province.

1955

Brigadoon

1956

The Wizard of Oz

Annie Get Your Gun

Our Town

Kiss Me Kate

1957

Can-Can

Pitfalls of Pauline

Do You Remember

I Remember Mama

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Chin Chu Chow

Pot O’Gold Variety Show

1958

The King and I

Hell’s A Poppin’

Brigadoon

1959

Guys and Dolls

Show Boat

The Wizard of Oz

1960

The Pajama Game

Damn Yankees

Carousel

1961

South Pacific

High Button Shoes

Most Happy Fella

1962

The Music Man

The Student Prince

Oklahoma!

1963

West Side Story

The King and I

Bye, Bye, Birdie

1964

The Sound of Music

Anything Goes

Finian’s Rainbow

Gypsy

1965

Flower Drum Song

Can-Can

Guys and Dolls

Annie Get Your Gun

1966

My Fair Lady

South Pacific

1967

Oliver!

The Sound of Music

1968

Carnival

The Music Man

1969

The King and I

Funny Girl

1970

The Wizard of Oz

Hello Dolly!

1971

Peter Pan

Fiddler on the Roof

1972

Cinderella

Mame

1973

Where’s Charley?

Anne Get Your Gun

1974

The Sound of Music

No, No, Nanette

1975

My Fair Lady

1976

Oklahoma!

Brigadoon

1977

Irene

Fiddler on the Roof

1978

Oliver!

Hello, Dolly!

1979

The King and I

The Desert Song

1980

Guys and Dolls

Show Boat

1981

South Pacific

Funny Girl

1982

The Pajama Game

The Music Man

1983

The Pirates of Penzance

Kiss Me Kate

1984

Kismet

Fiddler on the Roof

1985

H.M.S Pinafore

Mame

1986

The Student Prince

The Sound of Music

1987

My Fair Lady

Annie Anne of Green Gables

1988

Oliver!

Sweet Charity

1989

Carousel

Peter Pan

1990

Anything Goes

Say It With Music

Cinderella

1991

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

The Wizard of Oz

1992

The Wizard of Oz

Guys and Dolls

1993

Fiddler on the Roof

1994

Brigadoon

Damn Yankees!

1995

Oklahoma!

1996

The Sound of Music

1997

South Pacific

1998

The Music Man

1999

Crazy For You

2000

Singin’ in the Rain

42nd Street

2001

A Chorus Line

Big – The Musical

2002

Fame – The Musical

West Side Story

2003

Footloose

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

2004

Chicago

The King and I

Beauty and the Beast

2005

Miss Saigon

Good News

Smokey Joe’s Cafe

2006

The Wizard of Oz

2007

Grease

The Sound of Music

2008

The Full Monty

Peter Pan

Forever Plaid

2009

Beauty and the Beast

2010

Rent

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

2011

Cats

Hairspray

2012

Footloose

Annie

2013

Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story

Mary Poppins

2014

A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline

The Producers

The Little Mermaid

2015

West Side Story

Les Misérables

Sister Act

2016

Cash: Ring Of Fire

Shrek The Musical

2017

Little Shop Of Horrors

Mamma Mia!

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Rainbow Stage developed its Wall of Fame in 2004 with the intention of honouring, in a permanent way, those individuals who have influenced the company over the years. Be sure to visit our Wall of Fame the next time you are at one of Rainbow Stage’s summer productions. It is conveniently located inside the theatre at the front lobby.

Past Inductees

2016

Mickey Murphy – Technical

Joanne Parker Gibson – Performer

Douglas Meacham – Builder

Lou Pollock – Musician

2015

Elsie Chrunyk – Musician

Paul A. Skirzyk – Technical

Scott Drewitz – Performer/Creative

Jeremy Kushnier – Performer

2014

Danny Carroll – Creative

Marian Peter – Volunteer

Julie Husband – Musician

Scott Peter – Performer / Creative

Debbie Maslowsky – Performer

Brenda Gorlick – Performer

2013

Rob Berkowits – Administration

Jennifer Lyon – Performer

Scott Henderson – Creative

Alice Wiebe – Technical

Marlene Stephen – Volunteer

2012

Judy Murphy – Creative

Donna Fletcher – Performer

Ken Peter – Administration

Charles E.Porter – Technical / Builder

Assiniboine Credit Union – Builder

2011

Scott Ingram – Builder

Gerry Price – Creative

Tim Magas – Performer

Bill Jewell – Administration

Chris Seida – Technical

The Lions Club – Builder

2010

Brian Foley – Creative

Nadine Kelly – Technical

Celoris Miller – Creative / Performer

Ron Meyers – Builder

2009

Donna Norris – Volunteer

Margaret Harrison – Creative

Marilyn Boyle – Performer

Reid Harrison – Performer

Campbell McIntyre – Builder

Grant Marshall – Builder

2008

Len Cariou – Performer

Stan Lesk – Performer

Canada Safeway Limited – Builder

John Miller – Creative

John Shopka – Technical

2007

Norman Cowan – Builder

Edward Evanko – Performer

Don MacFarlane – Administration

Robb Paterson – Performer/Creative

Hugh Ritchie – Volunteer

Arnold Spohr – Creative

2006

John Hirsch – Creative

Don Fonger – Builder

Richard Hurst – Performer / Creative

Machell Shapira – Administration

Ted Patterson – Performer / Builder

Alan Lund – Creative

2005

Joan Karasevich – Performer

Wally Burgess – Creative

Dave Robertson – Administrator

David Ritchie – Builder

2004

Cliff Gardner – Performer

Robert “Bob” McMullin – Creative

Evelyne Anderson – Performer

Glen Harrison – Creative

Thomas R. Hodgson – Builder

Taras “Ted” Korol – Creative

James Duncan – Builder

G. Campbell MacLean Q.C. – Builder

Victor L. Pinchin – Builder

Recognition

Thank you to all who keep theatre alive.

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