May 20 2020 | Posted in Press Releases

COVID-19 Interrupts Royal Winnipeg Ballet Summer Tradition

May 14, 2020 WINNIPEG, MB – Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet will not begin its 81st season with Ballet in the Park, a treasured community event.

“The July 2020 performances would have been a celebration of a longstanding tradition,” says André Lewis, Artistic Director and CEO, of the RWB. “I sincerely regret that COVID-19 has prevented the RWB from sharing its inspiring experience of dance with the community.”

Ballet in the Park traditionally runs for three nights each July at Assiniboine Park’s Lyric Theatre. The free event is attended by more than twenty thousand Winnipeggers annually and features activities for the whole family, including dance workshops, games and face-painting.

“Ballet in the Park provides an important opportunity for us to thank our community for its support,” says Tara Birtwhistle, Associate Artistic Director of the RWB. “Although we can’t gather together in our traditional way, we are looking into alternative ways for the dancers of the company to continue to share their artistry with Winnipeg.”

Ballet in the Park features dancers from the RWB’s Professional Division and Recreational Division students, sharing the stage with the Company, making it an excellent showcase of the RWB School.

“Ballet in the Park is one of our most popular events of the year,” says Stephane Leonard, RWB School Director. “There’s nothing like ballet being performed under the prairie sky and our students always put on an amazing performance.”

This cancellation is the latest in a spate of similar announcements from the RWB, which has also cancelled the final mainstage show of its 80th anniversary season: 80 Years – A Retrospective, RWB school performances including Spotlight, On the Edge and Dance Spectrum, and temporarily ceased in-person classes and rehearsals, having moved to video classes for the time being.

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries as the Presenting Sponsor of Ballet in the Park and anticipates the return of this event when it is once again safe to do so.

The RWB is preparing for its 81st season titled Virtue & Villainy. Currently scheduled to begin in October, the upcoming season features Canadian premieres and timeless favourites sure to delight and inspire. To purchase a subscription for the 20/21 season, register for classes, or find the latest news on the Company and its upcoming shows, please call 204-956-2792, email or visit