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Best seat in the house

Hanging out with friends like John Hirsh and Tom Hendry -- what could be better?

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This is where I normally love to sit this time of year, but as you can see, it's now a construction zone -- but not for long.

Once MTC opens up its doors, this should all be gone. Why do I love this place? Because it's where so much of my life evolves. Besides, who wouldn't want to sit next to John Hirsh and Tom Hendry, two of the forefathers of theatre in Winnipeg?

So as I now stand here looking at my favourite bench, I can reflect on why I'm crazy enough to be in this business for over 30 years. Crazy because I'm driven by it! It's also that exciting time of year when all the theatre seasons are gearing up. It's a time when artists and audiences are all eager to plan their year, ready and anxious to pick and choose how best to whet their cultural cravings.

I'm liking the offerings of the smaller Winnipeg independent companies. I've already caught Little Women, Dry Cold's musical as well as some of the new works at Sarasvati's Femfest. I'm looking forward to Good People, Bad Things written by Daniel Thau-Eleff in October by Moving Target Theatre as well as the second coming of Bloodless, being produced by White Rabbit. Did you know that Bloodless, written by our own Winnipeg composer Joseph Aragon, is being presented in Toronto this fall as an adjunct to the Mirvish productions? Kudos to you, Josh. Theatre Projects is bringing Salon Theatre back, and the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre is starting off with a 'bang' with Dai, a play about a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

Speaking of John Hirsch, did you hear the rave about the new play, Hirsch, about his life growing up in Winnipeg? It ran at Stratford this summer. I didn't get a chance to see it, but I heard Alon Nashman was amazing. Let's hope it comes to Winnipeg someday.

I'm looking forward to RMTC's opening show, For a Few Good Men. That's sure to get your mind and blood pumping. Interesting tidbit about another one of its shows: Nikki Landau, who penned the adaptation of Gone with the Wind, which runs in January, got her start here in a Winnipeg Jewish Theatre production called Kindertransport. Congratulations, Nikki!

PTE is also launching into a new play, The Brink, by Winnipeg's own Ellen Peterson. She has the natural gift of comedy and I'm sure it's going to be spectacular.

As artistic director of the Winnipeg Studio Theatre, I've been busy planning some fun events this fall. We've put together a group of talented emerging artists who will be performing in a series of flashmobs for 10 nights at Boo at the Zoo. We've also put together some incredible talent for Virtuosi's Got Talent, a FUNraising event for Virtuosi Concerts, Nov. 15 at the Fort Garry Hotel featuring performances by prominent professionals Gail Asper, Jim Carr, Evan Roitenberg, Danny Gunn, Tricia Barnabe and others. Judges include Sylvia Kuzyk, Lee White and Jim Ingebrigtsen.

The Winnipeg Studio Theatre is also producing the new musical, Ordinary Days, in late November at the Tom Hendry Warehouse Theatre.

So, all you hockey fans out there -- I'm really sad there probably won't be any games this fall, but in the meantime, why not take in some theatre events. If there is a good musical about hockey, I'd be all over it.

Kayla Gordon is the artistic director of the Winnipeg Studio Theatre and she teaches acting and musical theatre at the University of Winnipeg.

Upcoming directing projects include Ordinary Days running Nov. 21-25 and Rooms, A Rock Romance running May 2 -12. Both at the Tom Hendry Warehouse Theatre.

Do you have a

favourite place in Winnipeg?

We'd like to hear about it. There are no prizes to be won, but if you're published, you get to bask in the admiration of your friends and feel the glow that comes from doing something nice for your city.

Email your story to dave.connors@freepress.mb.ca .

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