The biannual festival, Prairie Scene, kicked off on April 26 and runs until May 8. With it comes a variety of events and performances, from gallery shows to concerts, and everything in between, for a festival that spans 500 artists, 80 events, and 13 days. In honour of this very Canadian event, we’ve put together a “Prairie Scene edition” of the Weekend Roundup.
Friday, April 29
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet does a grown-up take on Wonderland as part of the festival, complete with an electro-acoustic soundscape and edgy elements that bring this surreal story to life. Your favourite bizarre characters will all be on hand (think the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, and that mischievous white rabbit). Also playing Saturday.
Eat your lunch early and head to the Prairie Lunch Series to catch JP Hoe in action (show begins at noon). This singer-songwriter walks the line between indie rock and alt-country, and you’ll get a good dose of sweet, melodic tunes and clear vocals.
A Place in the Prairies looks at the concept of place in stories about the prairies, from writers who know know this area of Canada well. It’s an evening of conversation with award-winning writers that include David Carpenter, Dianne Warren, Alissa York, and Connie Gault.
Saturday, April 30
Spend an afternoon at Karsh-Masson Gallery exploring the exhibit Liberating Containment by sculptor Richard Finney from Winnipeg and woodworker Michael Hosaluk from Saskatoon. This show highlights two well-known prairie artists, and explores the notion of “containment” in all of the forms in which it comes. Neat fact: the exhibit is curated by Lafrenière & Pai Gallery. On until May 29.
Guy Maddin’s Tales from the Gimli Hospital: Reframed is a must-see for fans of the Canadian filmmaker. This unique performance combines the eerie film about two men who share a hospital room with a live performance of newly commissioned work by Winnipeg composer Matthew Patton, performed by members of the Icelandic band amiina, and narrated live by cult film star Udo Kier.
Get ready for a hand clappin’, foot stompin’ good time in the Prairie Fiddle Showcase. Dynamic tunes will be served up by fiddlers from the flat lands that include Karrnnel Sawitsky, Métis master fiddler John Arcand, and Donny Parenteau, who has played with Tim McGraw and Shania Twain.
Sunday, May 1
Corner Gas‘s Brent Butt takes the stage for this stand up comedy performance. People know him for his small town antics on the long running Canadian show, and now they’ll get to see another side of this funnyman with his self-described “coffee shop humour” that’s conversational, relaxed, and of course, hilarious.
Grab a bite to eat at the National Arts Centre’s le café. Throughout Prairie Scene, the restaurant is offering a prairie-inspired table d’hôte menu that features Chef Michael Blackie’s interpretation of Manitoba and Saskatchewan’s distinctive cuisines.