The University of Winnipeg



Picnic Packs Punch

UWinnipeg Theatre season opens with exciting take on William Inge's Picnic

WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film opens its 2007/08 theatre season Nov. 20-24, 2007 with William Inge’s Picnic. The play will be performed by the Fourth-Year Honours Acting-Contemporary Performance class with technical support from the Department’s production students.

William Inge was one of the most successful American playwrights during the 1950s. Picnic opened on Broadway in February 1953 and earned significant praise from critics, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Outer Circle Award, the New York Drama Critics Award, and a Donaldson Award. The movie adaptation in 1955 expanded the story’s appeal and garnered two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a listing as one of the 10 best films of 1955.

“Our production involves a complete rethinking of the play. Our task is to honour the playwright’s intention but to infuse the work with a fresh and current perspective,” said director Tom Stroud. “Using a style that can best be described as ‘dark parody,’ our production will explore the social veneer of the 50s and its darker undertones in a manner that will range from the humorous to the horrific.”

While embraced by mass audiences for its superficial charms, critics lauded Inge’s play for its much darker themes. Picnic has come to be regarded as a pioneering drama for its frank depiction of sexuality and its subliminally cynical take on the idea that “love conquers all.”

The play is set in small town Kansas. The year is 1953. The young and beautiful Madge and her younger sister Millie yearn for more than the life of staid domesticity awaiting them. Then Hal, a dangerously handsome drifter, comes along and sets the whole town a-flutter. He and Madge strike instant sparks, but can she really reject all she’s been taught to want to follow unreliable hopes and a pounding heart?

The production will be directed by the Department’s Movement and Voice Instructor and Interdisciplinary Artist Tom Stroud, with set and costume design by Kim Donald-Haverty and lighting design by Lara Strain.

Performances are Tues., Nov. 20 through Sat., Nov. 24 at 8:00 p.m. nightly, with a matinee on Sat., Nov. 24 at 2:30 p.m. at the Gas Station Theatre, 445 River Avenue. Admission is free but reservations are recommended. Please call our 24-hour Reservation and Information Line at 204.786.9152, or visit The University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film website at:

– 30 –

The Department of Theatre and Film at The University of Winnipeg offers programs in Acting, Design, Drama in Education, Filmmaking, Playwriting, and Production/Stage Management. Our classes are small and our programs practical. Our faculty is comprised of highly respected and award-winning professionals who are experienced teachers and remain active in their disciplines, bringing relevant and up-to-date instruction to our students.

Located in the heart of downtown, The University of Winnipeg is a compact, diverse, multicultural academic community committed to access and excellence. Home to more than 9,200 full- and part-time students, UWinnipeg has been ranked by our graduates in the Top Ten of all Canadian universities when asked about their “Entire Educational Experience” (Maclean’s Graduate Survey, June 2006). The Globe & Mail 2007 Report Card gives The University of Winnipeg an overall ‘A’ grade in the areas of quality of education, teaching quality, class sizes, faculty-student interaction, and the availability of faculty outside classroom hours. Find out why. Visit

Patty Hawkins, Department of Theatre and Film, The University of Winnipeg
T: 204.786.9955, E:

Tom Stroud, Department of Theatre and Film, The University of Winnipeg
T: 204.786.9323, E:

Ilana Simon, Communications Officer, University of Winnipeg
P: 204.786.9930, C: 204.782.3279, E: