Welcome to the website of the Struts and Frets Players. We’re a professional theatre company based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. To learn more about the company, click the About / Contact tab above.

We will be on hiatus for the foreseeable future, as all of our members have moved away to further their education. However, you can click the Past Productions tab above to check out our previous work.


The Hound of Ulster

This talented local company…wheels wildly between irreverent humour and reverence for the source material of Irish myths in this draining, exhilarating 75-minute dramedy… – Winnipeg Free Press

Performed with boundless enthusiasm… A heady mix of blood, sweat, tears and laughter, Ulster isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re open to its folklore-nerd charms, it’s darn good fun. – CBC

The Hound of Ulster was based on the legend of Cúchulainn, a figure in Celtic mythology. Cúchulainn is the greatest warrior in all of Ireland, because when he fights, he undergoes a “warp-spasm” – a terrifying berserker rage that transforms him into a mad, unstoppable beast. He has the love of a good woman and a steady military career, but can he keep his two selves separate forever?

This was by far the darkest piece we’ve ever done. We wanted to explore the cult of celebrity surrounding Cúchulainn, and the isolation he felt as a result. We also explored the glorification of war. Because these themes are still very timely, and we wanted to confront the audience with that fact, we cultivated a more modern aesthetic style than ever before. Our costumes were inspired by military fatigues, and we performed in a basement, surrounded by concrete. The only aesthetic nod to the story’s mythological origins were swirling blue Celtic warrior-style tattoos that we applied to our faces and arms.

The Hound of Ulster will be our last show for the foreseeable future, as our founding members have all moved to different cities to further their education. But we were very glad to be able to put on one last show before that happened, and we think we went out with a bang.

L-R: Connla (Dan Augusta), Medb (Jessy Ardern), Cúchulainn (Ariel Levine), and Emer (Michelle Arentsen)

L-R: Connla (Dan Augusta), Medb (Jessy Ardern), Cúchulainn (Ariel Levine), and Emer (Michelle Arentsen)

Winnipeg Fringe 2013

We are very pleased to announce that we will be participating in the Winnipeg Fringe Festival for the sixth time this summer! The Hound of Ulster is based on a warrior of Celtic legend named Cuchulainn (pronounced cu-khoo-lun, with phlegm, or simply cu-coo-lun).

Cuchulainn is destined to be the greatest warrior Ireland has ever seen, because when he fights, he suffers a terrible “warp-spasm”, transforming into a ferocious, unthinking monster known as The Hound. He has a steady military job, the love of a good woman (the Best of Women, in fact,) and everything seems to be going his way. But what will happen when the consequences of his actions come back to haunt him? And are they really his actions, or The Hound’s?

The Hound of Ulster will play in The RAW Gallery (Venue #19), in the basement of 290 McDermot Ave. Show times are as follows:

Wed July 17, 7:00 PM
Thu July 18, 7:00 PM
Fri July 19, 9:00 PM
Sat July 20, 9:00 PM
Sun July 21, 2:00 PM
Tue July 23, 9:00 PM
Wed July 24, 7:00 PM
Thu July 25, 9:00 PM
Fri July 26, 7:00 PM
Sat July 27, 9:00 PM
Sun July 28, 7:00 PM


The Hound of Ulster Facebook event

Struts & Frets Players on Facebook

Winnipeg Fringe show listings

Cupid and Psyche

Cupid and Psyche will pierce the heart of audiences with its achingly clever and gaspingly funny interpretation of the story of these most famous of lovers. [5 stars] – Winnipeg Free Press

The company both honours the tale and has a tremendous amount of fun at its expense…From start to finish, this superbly directed play is smart, witty, ambitious, thorough and joyfully done — easily one of the best of the fest. [5 stars] – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Last summer, we returned to Classical mythology with Cupid and Psyche, the story of a mortal woman, Psyche, who is so beautiful that people start to worship her instead of the actual goddess of love, Venus. Naturally, Venus doesn’t take too kindly to this, so she hatches a plan with her son, Cupid – he’ll shoot her with one of his famous arrows and make her fall in love with a monster from the underworld. However, upon seeing her for the first time, Cupid falls in love with her instead. Complications ensue.

Stylistically, we blended Classical Roman fashion and architecture with elements of Art Nouveau. Instead of shadow puppets, we incorporated several large, hand-held puppets to depict various the fantastical beasts described in the story: Cerberus, the guard dog of Hades; mad, venomous sun-sheep from which Psyche must pluck golden fleece; some very helpful ants; and of course, Dave, the lovelorn underworld monster.

Cupid and Psyche was a wonderful experience for us in several ways. It was our first time in a “Bring Your Own Venue” at Winnipeg Fringe, which turned out to be a very good fit for the show. It was also our first time touring a Fringe play – we all had a lot of fun at Saskatoon’s PotashCorp Fringe Festival, and we made some great contacts there. All in all, a stirring success!

Pictures below the fold.

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In just over two weeks, our very own Jessy Ardern and Ariel Levine will present Oedipus the King, an independent production they directed featuring a talented teenage cast!

Oidípous, meaning “swollen foot”, was a mythical Greek king of Thebes. A tragic hero in Greek mythology, Oedipus fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thereby brought disaster on his city and family. The story of Oedipus is the subject of Sophocles’s tragedy Oedipus the King, which was followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone. Together, these plays make up Sophocles’s three Theban plays. Oedipus represents two enduring themes of Greek myth and drama: the flawed nature of humanity and an individual’s powerlessness against the course of destiny in a harsh universe. – Wikipedia

70 Albert St.
Studio 320, 3rd floor

Saturday, February 16 – 8pm
Sunday, February 17 – 2pm and 8pm
Monday, February 18 – 8pm

Tickets $10 general / $8 students

Facebook event page

We are pleased to announce that this summer we will finally be taking our show on the road! After premiering Cupid and Psyche at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, we’ll be coming to Saskatoon’s PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival as well!

The Winnipeg Fringe runs July 18-29, and we will be performing at the Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre, located at 91 Albert St.

The Saskatoon Fringe runs August 2-11, and we will be performing at Oskayak High School Gym, located at 919 Broadway Ave.

Full show info and advance tickets: Winnipeg / Saskatoon

Links to the Facebook events: Winnipeg / Saskatoon

We hope to see you there!

This Friday (June 29) at Manitoba Theatre for Young People, we hosting a fundraiser for our upcoming show Cupid and Psyche! There will be a reading of our very first show, Perseus and Medusa, a preview of Cupid and Psyche, and previews of three other shows by our talented Fringing friends:

  • “The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine” by Robert Morgan, Martha Ross, and Leah Cherniak, presented by inspired I theatre
  • “Antigone” by Sophocles, presented by This Reality Theatre Company
  • “Against the Wall” by Primrose Madayag Knazan, presented by Prairie Q Productions

There will also be refreshments, displays of masks ‘n things from our past shows, finger puppets with which to play, and even a raffle!

The event is titled “A Fringe-mas Carol, or, Gorgon’s Head Revisited, or What You Will, or Four Silly People Take Your Money”. It will take place in Richardson Hall at Shaw Performing Arts Centre (aka Manitoba Theatre for Young People), located at 2 Forks Market Rd. Doors open at 6:30; entertainment starts at 7:00 (but there will be plenty to take in before that). Admission is $10 at the door.

If you like, you can RSVP to the Facebook event.

Fringe 2012

The Struts and Frets Players will return this July for our fifth Winnipeg Fringe Festival production, Cupid and Psyche! In this Roman story (yes yes, I know, the Romans just stole it all from the Greeks. But this story is specifically Roman), the course of true love never did run smooth for the beautiful mortal woman Psyche, who falls head over heels for…the son of Venus, goddess of love. Oh jeez. No good can come of this.

This year will be the Players’ first foray into the world of “Bring Your Own Venue”: Cupid and Psyche will be presented at the Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre, 3rd floor of 91 Albert St. (above Mondragon). We are also pleased to introduce our friend and colleague Michelle Arentsen, who will be joining the cast this summer!

As always, more details will be forthcoming as the Festival approaches. We hope to see you there!