Huffing and puffing

Kristen Einarson, GUEST COLUMNIST

I love theatre because it pushes boundaries.

The best theatre I’ve been seeing recently is produced on the independent stages of Winnipeg. I went to see Huff at Theatre Projects Manitoba, which was produced in conjunction with Native Earth Performing Arts. It was a punch in the gut.

It’s a show that will probably stick with me until I die. The show was from the perspective of a young boy growing up on a reserve, and a lot of the subject matter was shocking. The impression I got from the talk back after the show was that it wasn’t too far from the truth. As a young, white, educated woman who lives in a city, that’s a perspective I probably wouldn’t otherwise be privy to.

However, I couldn’t help but notice all of the empty seats. Maybe it was because it was a Tuesday. Maybe it was because the subject matter was challenging. Maybe it was because most people don’t enjoy being voluntarily upset like I do.

Still, the audience was only half full – and this was a show more than worth seeing.

There is a time and a place for theatre that is just there for the sake of a fun night out with your buds and a bottle of wine. I am not judging – mainstage theatre is also worth your time. There is also a time and place for rollicking dance numbers and vintage love duets, and that time is always.

At the end of the day though, independent theatre is what’s going to challenge you. It’s just the nature of it. But in order to challenge people’s perspectives, independent theatres need audiences. Independent theatres need funding so they can pay their artists. Independent theatres need space to rehearse and to perform.

Going to the theatre is a great way to start helping. Most of the seasons are done now that it’s March, but the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival is coming up soon. A lot of independent companies use the Fringe to test out shows. You can also see shows from cities all around the world. Tickets are usually $10 at most. When you see a show you love, tweet about it. You’ll be helping out the artists more than you know.

Live theatre has the power to mystify, to inspire, to challenge, and to get a real emotion out of an audience.


Kristen Einarson is a Creative Communications student.

Her favourite hobbies include stress eating, singing musical theatre songs and petting dogs.

When she’s not having CreComm-induced stress dreams, she’s usually tweeting @KTEinarson