The Brass Rail Rule

The Winnipeg Press Club, like press clubs around the globe, was once the favoured hangout of editors, reporters and writers from local dailies and news organizations. Because it was, in essence, a bar, it was common to see the city editor of a local paper enjoying a drink with, for instance, the mayor.

Naturally, any number of juicy tidbits of gossip passed between the two, but it was understood that anything said in the confines of the club was off the record. Around the base of the bar was a brass foot rail; the code of silence became known as the Brass Rail Rule.

Today, we honour that rule. We do not allow any recording devices to be used by the audience at any time. The show is video-taped, but only for the benefit of the cast and crew. These recordings are archived and kept under strict security.

Our marketing plan often calls for excerpts to be used to promote the show, but these excerpts are carefully chosen. Our VIPs are secure in the knowledge that whatever we say on stage, no matter how pointed, remains only in the memories of the players and the audience and won’t wind up in the newspaper or on YouTube.

It is this special treatment of the material and our VIP guests that keeps them returning year after year to an event that is not a private party but certainly feels like one.