Winnipeg’s own Manitoba Theatre centre has received a rare royal honour.
Queen Elizabeth has designated it the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. RMTC joins the prestigious Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, which takes place in Brandon, in sharing the royal designation in Manitoba.
The announcement of the royal designation was made at a reception at the Manitoba Legislative Building by Premier Greg Selinger: ““On behalf of Manitobans, I would like to congratulate the Manitoba Theatre Centre on being given a royal designation from Queen Elizabeth. The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre is a mainstay in our province’s cultural life, providing us with a rich and diverse array of theatre. It has solidifed its reputation for artistic excellence ad for being a well-managed organization with a commitment to balanced budgets”
The honour is a testament to the lasting legacy of the theatre, which is the oldest English speaking regional theatre in Canada. RMTC was founded in 1958 by John Hirsch and Tom Hendry , who wanted to create high-quality professional theatre with mass appeal. Since 1958, RMTC has produced more than 500 plays and its stage has been graced by the likes of Len Cariou, Martha Henry, Judd Hirsch, William Hurt, Seanna Mckenna, Keanu Reeves and Al Waxman – many of whom are stage legends in Canada.
Currently, RMTC produces 10 plays per year on two stages, has more than 18,000 season ticket holders, takes to the road for a regional tour, and hosts The Master Playwrights Festival and the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, which has become the second largest in North America.
The new moniker -The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre – is a sign that RMTC has reached a level of prestige, and it may also be a great marketing tool.
– Barbara Abramchuk