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MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts in Winnipeg, MB : News

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 The social good has been replaced by the corporate good–pensions are unsupportable, health care has to be “cost justified”, homelessness is an economic calculation, and so on.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 ticketfly.com, 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 commgroup@mts.net 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.

MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts 2018 Call for Submissions

Posted November 20th, 2017

Event Submission Form

The theme for MayWorks 2018 is “Human Needs – Neither Optional or Negotiable”.  We examine the struggle of working people to maintain hard fought victories and forestall defeats in the face of corporate and government push for austerity as well as ownership and control of all the supplies of food, water, energy and production. We also want to challenge those who attempt to silence or discredit those who raise their voices in protest on behalf of the people with no voice!

MayWorks was first established as a Festival of Labour and the Arts in Winnipeg in 1994 as part of the celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the 1919 general strike in Winnipeg. There are MayWorks Festivals in many other Canadian cities in May and all celebrate the contributions of working people through various forms of artistic expressions, displays, or other relevant expressions.

All artists, organizations, or anyone proposing an event are requested to submit this form on or before Thursday, February 15th, 2018 at 5:00PM to MayWorks at info@mayworks.org

Submissions received will be reviewed and a decision made regarding acceptance into MayWorks 2018.

Terms and conditions:

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

The event will be relevant to the MayWorks theme and mandate;

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, 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 the theme or 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)

Welcome to MayWorks 2017

Posted April 21st, 2017

Welcome to MayWorks Festival of Labour and the Arts 2017.
This is the 23rd year for MayWorks. The Festival’s first year was 1994 – the 75th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike. It was those anniversary celebrations that prompted a number of trade union activists to launch the MayWorks Festival as a celebration of working class struggles.

MayWorks offers a mix of events and something of interest to everyone. We have some events that are part of the calendar every year that honour the history of the Strike or unique cultural gems such as the Winnipeg Mandolin Orchestra. This year, MayWorks looks at the effects globalization: “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”.

Events in Britain (the vote to leave the European Union) and the United States (the election of Donald Trump as President) have been part of a mass response to globalization and its effects on working people.

In this year’s Festival, we examine the struggles of working people to maintain hard fought victories and forestall defeats in the face of corporate and government push for austerity, as well as ownership and control of all the supplies of food, water, energy and production. On this note the Festival will feature some events dealing specifically with the features of globalization.

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

Final event of MayWorks – Sunday May 29

Posted May 20th, 2016

Joing us for the final event of MayWorks 2016…
Ukrainian Labour Temple – AUUC Winnipegi
(Admission by donation)

The annual Spring Concert will be part of the Ukrainian Labour Temple’s participation in Doors Open. Featuring performances by: the Winnipeg Festival Choir, Winnipeg Mandolin Orchestra, AUUC dance groups, Yunist Ensemble and the School of Folk Dance.

See you there!