Starting on Tuesday April 23rd, one of Winnipeg’s true cultural jewels will be opening up its box office to audiences, as they prepare for another season of presenting the best in theatre.

For 30 Years, Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR) has been entertaining and engaging audiences with the works of the bard, and works that are Shakespeare adjacent.

Called A Season of Transformation, this 2024 season will see the company perform one of Shakespeare’s most performed and beloved works, his hilarious comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That presentation will run from June 6th to July

Also in this season SIR will be presenting a brand new play written by Canadian playwright Daniel Macdonald. MacDonald’s play Iago Speaks is a Sequel to Shakespeare’s Othello; all be It written more than 400 years later. It tells the Story of the villain Iago and more importantly Iago’s jailor.

It breaks the theatrical fourth wall and deals with questions such as, Will Iago break free? Will the Jailor finally be the protagonist of his own story? What is the point of stories? Why do we keep telling the same old stories repeatedly? It tackles the big questions and so much more.

Iago Speaks runs from June 14th to July 7th

SIR Takes place at the Trappist Monastery in St. Norbert just south of the Perimeter Highway. For Shakespeare in the Ruins Artistic Director Rodrigo Beilfuss, the ruins are an excellent venue to perform Shakespeare’s works. As he explains, “It nods to the original form of the plays. Shakespeare was originally in an outdoor setting…at the Globe Theatre [in London, England]. The plays are very much in conversation with the elements at all times…so I think we continue the tradition 400 years later. And it is a unique place, and we do things that can only be done out there….like long shots…actors running, climbing things, jumping…and more importantly the relationship between the audience and the players…you actually see people and look them in the eye. They are on the same playing field…you have this actual interaction, and you feel the energy. It goes much, much beyond what we can achieve in a black box in an indoor setting.”

The choice to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the ruins makes a perfect natural backdrop for the play. The combination of the woods, the magic, the fairies, the capriciousness of love, and the humor that are in the play, make it a once in a lifetime experience to see it and have the natural surroundings be the sets. As Beilfuss states, “It takes place in a forest, and out there we are really in the forest…in the elements. It the most perfect play for that setting.”


The other play in SIR’s 2024 Season is Canadian playwright Daniel Macdonald play Iago Speaks. This play has been performed once before in Saskatoon. Beilfuss was there to see it and fell in love with the play right way, and decided to bring it to Winnipeg.

The play very much breaks the four wall with the audience, it I as if the audience is another character.  Iago Speaks deals mostly with Iago’s Jailor. The Jailor represents all the extra unnamed characters that Shakespeare wrote for in his plays. Speaking of the synopsis of Iago Speaks Beilfuss says,   “The jailor wakes up almost as If from a dream, and he’s confused as to where he’s at. And he feels like he has done this before and he’s been doing this forever. And then piece by piece he tries to understand why he’s there in this dungeon with a quiet Iago…and why there is an audience watching him, and why he has no name…so he’s having this awakening as a character into the real world going ‘what is happening, who are you watching me, what’s the point of me, why am I here, who am I’…and bit by bit he remembers his purpose…but then he wants to be more than just a jailor, he wants to be the hero of his story…and he then enlists Iago, of all people, to help him find the point of his presence in this story.”

It sounds like it is going to be another amazing season of theatre out at the Trappist Monastery with SIR. The setting of the ruins, combined with the skill of the players performing the poetic words of Shakespeare and the text of Daniel McDonald make this a great opportunity to sit outside on a summer evening and take in some extraordinary theatre. Don’t miss out!!

For more details on how to get tickets to Shakespeare in the Ruins, visit their website.