The University of Winnipeg



‘The Drowning Girls’ brings true crime to the stage

Three actors pose on stage next to prop bathtubs

Acting III: Honours class students (L-R) Jen Gieg, Mary Catagas, and Renelle Chartier star in “The Drowning Girls”.

The Brides in the Bath was an English true crime case that made headlines in 1915. In The Drowning Girls, brides Bessie, Alice, and Margaret are revived to present evidence against their murderer—and take back their power. This chilling tale is presented by The University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film from February 13 to 17. It will be performed by the Acting III: Honours class and directed by Associate Professor Hope McIntyre.

In 1999, Edmonton playwrights Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson, and Daniela Vlaskalic adapted this true crime case into a ghost story for the stage. The play toured nationally and was performed throughout the world. Using bathtubs on stage, the play harnesses the visual power of water to tell this unique story. It also incorporates humour, despite its dark themes. 

The Drowning Girls humanizes those who were harmed, but also allows them to share their stories in a playful way,” McIntyre said. “There is joy in these three women banding together. It is also an incredible piece of theatre for the three actors (students Mary Catagas, Renelle Chartier, and Jen Gieg), who embody dozens of characters.”

The play highlights the systemic cause of gender-based discrimination in the early 1900s, and shows how this is still relevant in 2024. 

This UWinnipeg production features costume design by student Jojo Garton, set design by student Laina Judge, and lighting design by Associate Professor Adam Parboosingh.  All technical work is done by junior and senior production students. 

In partnership with Vocal Image Ensemble Winnipeg (VIEW), this production will also feature an audio described performance for the visually impaired on February 17. This is a first for the UWinnipeg Department of Theatre and Film, and one step in their larger commitment to make performances more accessible.

The Drowning Girls runs Tuesday, February 13 through Saturday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (400 Colony Street, enter from Balmoral). Admission is free, but reservations are recommended.

Mature content warning: Emulation of death, violence against womxn, intimate partner abuse, gaslighting, misogyny, serial murder, emotional trauma, chronic pain, and hauntology. For mature teens and up.

Based in the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film at The University of Winnipeg, the Department of Theatre and Film offers concentrations in acting, design, drama in education, filmmaking, playwriting, and production/stage management. Our classes are small and our approach is 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. 

Media Contact