Artistic Statement

Artistic Developments

We began 2014-2015 by creating our first draft of an Artistic Statement for Rainbow Stage. Guided by our Organizational Strategic Plan, we crafted an Artistic Vision, Artistic Mission, and stated our Artistic Values as follows:

Vision – Rainbow Stage will be the centre for music theatre excellence in North America.

Mission – As Canada’s first-class not-for-profit music theatre company, Rainbow Stage produces imaginative and innovative works, develops and supports the world’s brightest artists and fosters a thriving and engaged community through a shared exploration of the music theatre arts.

Artistic Values – Diverse, Innovative, Progressive, Integrity

We practice diversity by showcasing the stories and talents of the many cultures, ages, genders, sexualities, physicalities, and abilities in our city and community through our artistic practice & collaborators; in doing so we create remarkable and rewarding experiences and relationships.

We celebrate innovation by exploring what is new and reimagining the familiar in order to create relevant and exceptional art.

We strive to be progressive by promoting, advancing and elevating music theatre as a hybrid art form.

We behave with integrity by collaborating with the best suited and most qualified music theatre practitioners, by taking calculated risks in our programing in order to present our artists with challenging & demanding repertoire, and by nurturing, promoting, and maintaining the highest standards of professional artistry.


The biggest highlight of 2016 was our award-winning production of Shrek the Musical (Winner: Favorite Local Theatrical Production, The Uniter 2016 Reader’s Poll). We told a big, bright, beautiful story complete with Broadway bright sets and costumes, family friendly fun, explosive song and dance routines, and gags galore! Most importantly we also managed to pack a deep and meaningful anti-prejudiced punch. Our emphasis on tolerance, acceptance, and anti-discrimination in our story telling resonated with audiences and critics alike:

“There is much for the kids to love here. The musical duly delivers the rude naughtiness, even as it hews close to the movie… But there is a constant undercurrent of sophistication too…”
– Randall King, Winnipeg Free Press
“Aside from the flash and pizazz, strong themes about acceptance and prejudice are woven throughout…”
– Robin Summerfield, CBC News Manitoba
“Took an edgy cartoon and blasted it open into one of the most socially relevant musicals of it’s time… I’m thrilled that it reached its audience…”
– The Uniter (U of W)
Shrek The Musical


Cash Ring Of Fire
A major triumph was the immensely popular Ring of Fire. The show extremely well attended by our patrons, was met with great critical acclaim, and showcased the talents of our cast of 8 multi-instrumentalist actors in a virtuosic display of acting, singing, dancing, and musicianship. The success of the show is thanks in part to the collaboration we were able to undertake with dramaturg/director Carson Nattrass, the rights holders, and original authors of Ring of Fire. Together, we were able to create a new song order, write new dialogue and address other structural issues with the script that were inhibiting clear story-telling.
“Some of Ring of Fire’s best moments come when the actor/musicians (Gilles Fournier, Jeff Giles, Jesse Grandmont, Elena Howard-Scott, Tom Keenan, Allison Lynch, Rena Semenko and Kaitlyn Semple) sing together. None of them sounds like Cash, but together they sound fantastic…There are also moments when Ring of Fire finds a different, quieter kind of power — a stripped down, haunting take on All Over Again by Lynch and Grandmont is stunning.”
– Joff Schmidt, CBC News Manitoba
Ring Of Fire
Another highlight was bringing the children’s chorus back to Rainbow Stage. The last time a large group of children has tread the boards in Kildonan Park was in our 2012 production of Annie. We were thrilled to have 19 children join our cast of Shrek. Following a grueling audition process, the 19 children underwent 6 weeks of pre-professional level intensive training provided by Kimberley Rampersad, Rebekah Jones, Catherine Wreford, Rachel Cameron, Anthony Bastianon and Ray Hogg.
Children's Chorus
Special thanks to our volunteers, donors, and supporters who’s contributions of studio space, financial resources, and time help to make the magic come to life for our artists and our audiences. Honorable mention goes out to one of our most dedicated stage managers, Leslie Watson (nee Sidley) who, in 2016, celebrated 10 years of stage managing at Rainbow Stage in 19 different productions.
Artistic Developments By The Numbers:
  • 26 Directors, Choreographers, Music Director/Conductors, Designers, and Stage Managers
  • 46 Actors
  • 14 Musicians
  • 35 Carpenters, Scenic Painters, Props Builders, Costumers
  • 16 Backstage Crew
  • 42,920 audience members
Music Theatre Conference

Community Outreach, Educational & Professional Training Developments:

The biggest Community Outreach, Education, & Professional Training highlight of 2016 was the first ever Rainbow Stage Music Theatre Conference for Students.
Our goal with this conference is to go beyond performing arts skills and shed light on all of the work that happens behind the scenes at a professional theatre – from marketing and budgeting, to set construction and design. Each day eight different hour-long workshops were held in and around our venue in Kildonan Park. Students were able to choose a maximum of four workshops that they most wished to attend from the following options:

  • Business/Arts Administration
  • Wardrobe Design & Construction
  • Set Design & Construction
  • Lighting Design & Construction
  • Choreography
  • Song Writing
  • Script Writing
  • Performance Skills

Students, parents, and educators were beyond enthusiastic in their praise for the conference:

“I just wanted to let you know what an amazing day my students enjoyed yesterday at the conference. They loved the enthusiasm of their presenters and the introduction to many careers they’d never considered. As many of my students have not had the opportunity to see a show at Rainbow, the free ticket to Shrek was deeply appreciated…”
“As an educator, I was thrilled with the organization of it, the follow-up with the contests outlined in the brochure, and also the inspiration several presenters gave my students for their potential in the industry. I even had a parent call me this afternoon to extend her own gratitude with the event as she had never heard her child sound so inspired after a field trip!”
Music Theatre Conference By The Numbers
  • 2 days
  • 8 workshop subjects
  • 64 workshop sessions
  • 21 teaching artists
  • 17 schools
  • 421 student attendees
  • $20,960 sponsorship dollars (MTS Futures First, Great West Life)

Camp Rainbow

A major triumph was the creation of Camp Rainbow. Available to children ages 9 to 13, Camp Rainbow is designed to provide high-quality, professional instruction in singing, dancing and acting for children. Our faculty creates a playful, fun and safe atmosphere for participants to learn and play in, as well as forge lasting and meaningful memories to foster future Rainbow artists and audience members.

In the spirit of creating an inclusive community, our camp is unique in two ways:

  1. A background in theatre is not necessary
  2. Subsidized spots are available each week for children of families who face financial challenges

Camp Rainbow has made a difference in the lives of the youths who participated, allowing them to express themselves in various musical theatre disciplines, build self-confidence, and learn the value of team-building and cultivating friendships.

“Ommygosh! My children had the best time! My 3 children have never been to any sort of theatre classes. The instructors were so completely supportive of all three with their very different personalities and skills. I appreciated that they were engaged right away and so obviously well cared for and looked after (both physically and emotionally) during the week…”
“…My oldest boy was almost 12. He is extremely shy and at the first registration he was telling me there was “no way” he was going to participate and couldn’t believe I was being so mean to take him to attend. By the end of the day he was excited to return and spend the week happily telling me about this activity or that new friend…”
“…My youngest is 8 and a little young for the camp. As a result he couldn’t keep up with the activities at times. The instructors ensured he had one-on-one time while the older kids were busy with dance etc. He then learned about sets and lighting etc. During their show it was great to see every time the sound system worked one of the instructors would fist bump him and he was so proud that he was a full team member and valued.”
– Lisa Oxam (parent)
Camp Rainbow By The Numbers
  • 6 week-long sessions
  • 164 Campers /li>
  • 8 teaching artists and assistants
  • $8,000 in Public support (Winnipeg Foundation)

Another highlight was running the Actor’s Intensive and Spring Training community dance classes for the fourth consecutive year. Sky-high attendance, and continued donor support have solidified Rainbow Stage’s programming as crucial professional-level training for Manitoban music theatre artists. The spirit of our Professional Training programming is to provide the skills training necessary to talented and passionate local artists in order to allow them to compete at that national and international level. Through this programming, we fulfill our mandate of nurturing and supporting Manitoban talent.
We follow the credo “Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

Actor’s Intensive and Spring Training Community Dance Classes By The Numbers
  • 8 weeks of free dance classes
  • 1 week of Intensive training
  • 81 participating artists
  • 9 teaching artists
  • $6,200 in donations

On behalf of the individuals whose lives we are changing, we would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks to our donors, sponsors, and public funders who provide financial support to our Education, Outreach, and Professional Training programs – we truly could not do this good work without you!

For more information about our Education, Outreach, and Professional Training programs, please see Appendix “A” for a high level description. These programs are funded through grants, sponsorships and donations.

Appendix “A”

Rainbow Stage is the Manitoba’s premier musical theatre company. Our expanding role within the community and the growing demand for arts education, outreach and professional training in musical theatre provides a unique opportunity for all Manitobans. Rainbow Stage’s Artistic Director, Executive Director and the Board of Directors are pleased to share a vision for the future of Outreach, Education and Professional Training of Manitoban artists and arts enthusiasts.

Rainbow Stage is actively focused on becoming a central hub for musical theatre education and performing arts. We envision being home to inspiring creative processes that attract the best and brightest artists from our community and across the globe. The place to be for those striving to develop outstanding knowledge and skills in an environment that promotes excellence in the world-class city of Winnipeg.


Educational Programming (Children and Youth)

Rainbow Stage firmly believes in fostering an interest in musical theatre and providing accessible programming for school-aged children. Educational programs offered by Rainbow Stage today will serve as THE creative spark that will develop future artists, patrons of the arts, and arts supporters. We have three core educational programs for young people, they are:

Camp Rainbow is a summer program for kids ages 9-13 that focuses on the philosophy of building healthy minds and healthy bodies in young people through the disciplines of singing, dancing, and acting. The emphasis is always on fun, as it should be with children, while at the same time providing an extraordinary theatre training experience. Through this process self-confidence, teamwork, and a love of artistic expression through musical theatre is built.

The School Awards program is a province-wide initiative that encourages the development and production of musical theatre in Middle and High Schools. It is made available to all 202,500 Middle & High Schol students in Manitoba Rainbow Stage’s annual awards recognize and encourage excellence in production of musical theatre in Manitoba schools. Through this important program both students and teachers are saluted for their creativity and hard work.

The Musical Theatre Conference for Students was launched in 2016 by Rainbow Stage. Hundreds of middle and high school students as well as educators are invited to experience two days of hands on workshops in beautiful Kildonan Park. This is a comprehensive program headed by professional instructors in interactive seminars on musical theatre production including: stage management, wardrobe design, prop design, lighting, sound, audition technique, script-writing and performance skills.

Outreach Programming

Rainbow Stage connects with Manitobans through targeted programming designed to promote the music theatre arts. As a centre of excellence, we have the unique privilege and responsibility of sharing our passion and expertise with the larger community. We’re thrilled to provide programming designed to promote the musical theatre arts, and offer an opportunity for underserved community members to access our productions. Rainbow Stage has three outreach programs:

Community Workshops offer free-of-charge access to Winnipeg’s highest quality training in the musical theatre arts – no professional experience necessary! Amateur and professional artists alike are invited to participate in this dynamic series of workshops designed to bring the community together to share knowledge and deepen awareness of music theatre. The Community Workshop Program reflects our commitment to provide professional advancement to artists through all stages of their career development as well as promote music theatre as a hybrid art form.

Dance Day is a free community-building celebration of dance. Run in partnership with Dance Manitoba and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, we invite hundreds of community members to join us at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet studios to explore the joy of dance under the watchful eye of talented local choreographers. Regardless of age, experience, or ability, Dance Day is a fun-filled inclusive opportunity to gather, get moving, and get healthy.

Community Support is a distinctly Rainbow Stage program in which we truly stand alone. We are pleased and proud to be the leader in Manitoban theatres providing free-of-charge access to our productions for more than 1,000 underserved Manitobans annually. Our Community Support program is a reflection of our values of inclusivity, accessibility, and our commitment to providing an unforgettable live musical theatre experience for community members who face insurmountable barriers which would otherwise prevent them from participating. Our 1,000+ subsidised tickets are distributed annually through local not-for-profit groups.

Professional Training Programming (artist 16 years and older)

Rainbow Stage is the only theatre in Manitoba that provides paid professional training for musical theatre artists. We remain committed to building a robust and growing community of world-class professional artists in Winnipeg. Rainbow Stage’s Professional Training programming supports individuals intent on making theatre their primary career by providing paid training and life-long career guidance designed to prepare Manitoba artists for local, national and international stages.

Rainbow Stage’s Professional Training includes five programs:

The Creative Mentorship Program provides a practical, ‘hands on’ mentorship experience for mid-career and emerging directors, music directors, and choreographers. The emphasis is on elements of artistic development and creation. This is a core program for musical theatre in Canada as it is essential that new talent has a place to grow and flourish.

The Production Mentorship Program provides invaluable mentorship to mid-career and emerging designers, stage managers, and behind-the-scenes artisans and craftspeople. The Production Mentorship Program provides essential training for props and wig makers, electricians, and carpenters all with an emphasis on elements of technical design and production.

The Actor’s Intensive can be described as our finishing school for professional artists. The program provides extremely focused post-graduate level training to a talented group of promising artists selected through an applications process by Artistic Director Ray Hogg. It’s an exciting opportunity to train on an international scale by providing elite-level training with an equal emphasis on performance technique and career management. Actor’s Intensive alumni are making their mark in major theatres at home and across the country.

The Spring Training Program is a reflection of our commitment to providing the skills and support that allow local artists to compete on the national and international stage. Inspired by sports teams and launched in response to the scarcity of affordable professional-level dance technique classes, this annual program provides professional dance technique classes free of charge taught by local industry leaders. Both professionals and amateurs are welcome to participate. By removing financial barriers to access to training for local artists and addressing the lack of training opportunities faced by professional artists in our community Rainbow Stage is proud to act as the leader in accessible professional arts-training.

The Scholarships Program provides direct financial assistance to promising young theatre practitioners and/or musicians who wish to study theatre or music at the post-secondary level. The individual scholarship award is available to any of the 12,000 graduating high school students who demonstrate a high ability in performance, composition, or technical production and intend to continue their education by enrolling in a post-secondary arts program after high school.


Rainbow Stage has a proud history of training and nurturing artistic and creative development. We’ve launched a remarkable amount of professional training, education, and community outreach programs. The profound impact of our programming has quite literally transformed the loves of fledgling artists, disenfranchised community members, and countless young people, patrons and supporters.

The guiding principles of these outstanding programs have been based on a vision that allows us to nurture, develop, train and support musical theatre artists from the infancy of their budding careers to the height of their achievements while inviting the general public to engage and interact with our artists and creative processes at every step of the way.

In order to reach the heights every young artist hopes to scale in our fascinating and rewarding industry, it’s our sincere and determined goal to connect with donors, corporations, private foundations, and public funding bodies in order to provide the highest quality experience possible.

Artistic Administration

Rainbow has hired an Artistic Administrator to take over Kate Supleve’s responsibilities as Production Associate. Ashley Kowalchuk joins the team on March 6th and immediately got to work organizing artist contracts for South Pacific.

South Pacific – The show has wrapped and we are just tying up some loose ends in terms of returning scores and finals payments. We are in the process of gathering Post-Mortem feedback which will allow us to plan better for our next WSO collaboration.

A Chorus Line – The next work we will present with the WSO in March of 2018 will be A Chorus Line. Scheduling and notices are being created to facilitate the casting process which will take place in June. A responsibilities matrix is also being drafted to clarify the roles and responsibilities of both Rainbow Stage and the WSO to mitigate overlap and confusion and will draw upon the feedback received from the South Pacific production.

Little Shop of Horrors – All actor packs have been put in order and bios and headshots are being prepped for programs. Travel is currently being arranged for out of town artists.

Housing – A preliminary housing list has been distributed to both Little Shop of Horrors cast and Mamma Mia! Options are quite limited and short-term furnished apartment rental contacts may be added to the list, but many of these options are quite expensive for our artists.