MayWorks 2020

Posted April 29th, 2020

By now you have noticed the art work for MayWorks this season. I hope!!

This piece done as a poster is the work of a Minneapolis artist -Ricardo Levins Morales and was the inspiration for the theme for this season-“Time for Change -Organize” When May Works began a few years ago in a new direction doing specific programming based on a theme we began issuing a program book as a method of publicity each “season”. We developed a theme for the year that we would use to promote not only the performances offered but the theme/idea itself. conceived in thought and supported by the artwork. So began a relationship with the artist and I was never sure which came first-the theme or the art work that spoke to the ideal/idea.

Each season the process follows the same route and eventually ends with a phone call to the artist-a long conversation between two old friends and a new year/season is born with a new idea and a new piece of cover art. MayWorks pays a negotiated rate for the use of the piece each year which works for both the artist and for May Works. We are very proud of the special relationship that we have with this artist and look forward to more collaboration down the road.

Enjoy the performances offed this season – a new experience for us!

Call for Submissions MayWorks 2020: Time for Change – Time to Organize

Posted November 20th, 2019

MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts is now accepting submissions to the 2020 Festival: Time for Change – Time to Organize. MayWorks is a multi-disciplinary festival concerned with social justice in all its forms. It celebrates the contributions of working people to this struggle. The Festival takes place in the month of May but can include events in late April and early June. All artists, organizations or anyone proposing an event is requested to submit a description of their event by January 17, 2020 to Applicants will be notified if accepted into the Festival.

Terms and conditions:

There are no fees associated with being part of the Festival;

Organizer(s) of an event are responsible for venue, tickets and any support required for holding the event and are required to promote the event independently;

Events are also expected to promote the MayWorks Festival at their event;

MayWorks provides overall publicity for the Festival and will:
• promote your organization and event in our online and print calendar;
• include you in our event listings and large festival media release which is launched in May;
• offer advice in promoting your event(s);

Please provide the following details:

Name (artist or organization which is making the submission);
Contact information (email and telephone number);
Description of project/event (please explain how your project addresses how it fits the overall mandate of MayWorks);
The following is for the promotion of your event (the information you provide here will be how the event is advertised in MayWorks promotional material so please ensure it is accurate);
Day(s), date(s) and time(s) of event;
Event name or title;
Event description (not to exceed 150 words – though we reserve the right to edit);
Event location;
Ticket price and, if applicable, where tickets can be purchased in advance;
For more information; (provide a reliable way you can be contacted about the event)

Send the above information to

Welcome to MayWorks 2019!

Posted April 6th, 2019

The Winnipeg General Strike was about working people uniting against the conditions imposed on them by a social and economic elite, backed by the authority of government and the rule of law.

It is a history that is fresh and relevant to the present day because the same struggle and social divisions are still with us: unions cannot determine how they will bargain with the employers, new immigrants face the same prejudices and hostilities, the gap between rich and poor has grown and social inequality remains.

There are some new twists to the old struggle. Social protections such as pensions and social programs long considered milestone achievements of a “caring” society are now described as “entitlements” and “legacies” to make it easier to cut and slash them in the name of fiscal responsibility. The environment, sustainability and food security are at the mercy of the bottom line.

The Winnipeg General Strike is a part of our history that should be remembered because of what those brave workers to fight injustice. It should be remembered because history has lessons for the present. The wealth of events marking the 100th anniversary of the General Strike is testimony to its legacy and importance.

We owe a lot to the many who have kept this history alive, added new stories and understandings to our collective consciousness about the strike.

MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts was first organized in 1994 on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Strike. This is our 25th year of programming a Festival devoted to working class culture and themes. We are proud that it has both lasted and grown.

Welcome to MayWorks 2019!

Glenn Michalchuk,
MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts

Welcome to MayWorks 2018!

Posted April 15th, 2018

The theme for MayWorks 2018 is “Human Needs – Neither Optional nor Negotiable”. We have chosen this theme because the reality is that human needs are being reconsidered. They are falling victim to the drive for fiscal austerity and, in place of the common good, there is corporate control of food, water, shelter and energy.

Hard won rights are becoming “negotiable” reversing generations of struggle to secure these as “essential” social rights. The social good has been replaced by the corporate good–pensions are unsupportable, health care has to be “cost justified”, homelessness is an economic calculation, and so on. The determinant of human need has become the bottom line of the balance sheet. But there is resistance to this path and always has been.

In this year’s Festival the concert tribute to Pete Seeger, his life and work, is an affirmation of the struggle for social justice and the dedication to social activism. In the essays you will find in this programme the issues of defining social commitments are examined not from the principle of fiscal balance but social balance and necessity. Those are but two examples from this year’s Festival.

It was the events to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike that prompted workers and union activists to form MayWorks. The aim was to celebrate the struggles of working people through the art created in those struggles.

Whatever your interest, we invite you to come and participate in the events that are part of this year’s MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts.

Glenn Michalchuk,
MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts

MayWorks is Coming!

Posted March 3rd, 2018

Stay tuned for the full program for the 24th Annual MayWorks Festival, but in the meantime, here is a taste of what we’ve got planned for MayWorks 2018!


Monday, May 7, 2018


McNally Robinson Booksellers (in the Atrium)

1120 Grant Avenue

Italian Poetry and Humanism

A reading of selected Italian poets in Italian and English by the singer Liliana Moscarda-Romanowski and Ron Romanowski.

With an introduction by Ron Romanowski, author of the 2017 poetry collection, Butterflies of the North Woods.

Our world culture has inherited many ideas and principles that we have come to value as the basis of civilization from the artists of Italy, specifically its poets. You are cordially invited to come out and enjoy some of their work.


Thursday, May 10 & Friday, May 11 

Doors 7:15pm | Show 8:00pm

West End Cultural Center

586 Ellice Avenue

Pete Seeger’s The Incompleat Folksinger
with Mark Hellman

Pete Seeger’s The Incompleat Folksinger is a 2-act solo play about the early life and times of the late, great folksinger. Based on Seeger’s 1972 autobiography, it imagines a concert “somewhere on the road, 1970”: in his own words and the music of many, he looks back on 35 years of ‘musical activism’: on the road supporting the union movement with mentor Woody Guthrie, meeting his great love Toshi, confronting government committees(HUAC) and media blacklists, while singing in defence of the poor and oppressed on the front lines of the civil rights movement, and in conflict zones overseas. As the audience sings out with all or part of 29 songs, the concert transforms into a collective expression of ‘the power of song’, and a unique theatrical experience for ages 8-98.

Tickets $20.00 at, Organic Planet, West End Cultural Centre or at the door. CHOIR DISCOUNTS! GROUP RATES (10 or more) call West End Box office at 204.783.6918.


Thursday, May 17th-Sunday, May 27th (no show Monday)

7:30pm nightly (Saturdays 2:00pm & 7:30pm, only 2pm on May 27)

Rachel Browne Theatre

211 Bannatyne St. 

Moving Target Theatre Company and MayWorks Present:


Inspired by Joshua Key and American war resisters in Canada, Deserter is a new play by award-winning, Winnipeg-based playwright Daniel Thau-Eleff.

Deserter follows Curtis Colby, a fictional war-deserter who is detained for using a forged passport. He finds himself in a tug-of-war between the holding cell in the present-day, his time in Iraq, and a small town in Manitoba, where he and his wife Jessica are desperately trying to lead a normal life.

Deserter explores moral behaviour in a complex world, raising questions about the relationship between civilians and soldiers in countries with (supposedly) volunteer armies. When should a soldier say no? What morality can we hope for in war? And what is the role of ordinary citizens?

Advisory: strong language and mature subject matter.


Sunday, May 27th 


1919 General Strike Tour

In May 1919, over 30,000 workers shut down Winnipeg in one of the most important moments in our political history. For six weeks, inflammatory social conditions and relations ignited into a major protest over wages, rights, revolution and inequality.

The tour will go through highlights of what happened in 1919 and reflects on how the echoes of the strike can be heard in Winnipeg of today. This is a three hour bus tour. Cost is $15 for employed adults. Reserve seats at or call/text 204 793 3289.

Confirmation information and location to meet will be sent to you after you register and provide an e-mail.