Three, Two, One… Launchpad!

Creating space for the emerging artists in our city and province is an integral part of Sarasvàti and FemFest’s mandate. Looking back at the success of last year’s Launchpad, we’re thrilled that with the support of RBC Foundation and the Graham C. Lount Foundation we are able to continue this program during the upcoming season. This year’s cohort will debut at FemFest 2020: Engaging Community but we hope to keep them involved with unique mentorship opportunities all season. If you’re unfamiliar, Launchpad brings together ten emerging women and non-binary artists whose creative mediums range from a variety of disciplines: directors, dancers, performers, playwrights, technical crew, etc… This team then takes part in intensive workshops (taught by Winnipeg theatre professionals) including movement work, vocal work, improvisation, devised theatre, and writing. 

Like last year, the Launchpad team will produce material to be premiered at FemFest. However, the exciting change from this year is that these emerging artists will present climate change focused work as a walking tour in downtown Winnipeg. Using short scripts from Chantal Bilodeau (our FemFest guest artist!) or creating their own unique pieces.  

Returning to facilitate and coordinate the Launchpad are Victoria Hill and Lindsay Johnson. Lindsay Johnson is a Winnipeg-based actor, director, writer, and animal-lover. With a love of both devised and classical theatre, Lindsay has enjoyed working as a Director/Assistant Director on several projects including Purge (Geritheatrics), Little Dead Lady (Naked Theatre Productions), Home 2.0. (Sarasvàti Productions) Richard III (Shakespeare in the Ruins), and Vinegar Tom (University of Winnipeg).  

Victoria Emilie Hill is a creator, mover, and actor based in Winnipeg, Treaty 1 Territory.  She is passionate about work that focuses on movement and the body as a place we hold and tell stories.  She is curious about the myriad ways we express and communicate with ourselves, our environments, and other creatures. Victoria is honoured to be working on the Launchpad Project again this year and looks forward to learning from these new collaborators.   

Both Victoria and Lindsay are ecstatic to be helping a new group of theatre artists break through and showcase their work at FemFest. 

Without further ado, here are the ensemble members for this year’s Launchpad: 

    • Kate Willoughby  
    • Anna Verbytska 
    • Kristian Cahatol 
    • Emma Welham 
    • Kimmy Martin 
    • Sarah Luby 
    • Taylor Gregory  
    • Lindsey Taylor  
    • Brittney Fredrickson  
    • Tara Streilein 
    • Plus Caitlyn Seymour, as a junior member 

We’re so excited to see what this talented group of artists will create together. We know it will be great! And, while we have you here, don’t forget to check our website for updates on FemFest 2020!  

The Rest of the Fest: Announcing The Full FemFest 2020 Program

Two weeks ago, we announced the touring artists of FemFest 2020: Engaging Community. While we’re so excited for those three incredible shows (Tita Jokesbug, and Monstrous), the festival wouldn’t be complete without our in-house productions. Without further ado, here are the shows and events rounding out the rest of our planned programming for FemFest 2020. 

Alice and the World We Live In 
By Alexandria Haber
Alice stands frozen on a dangerous mountain pass. Paralyzed, unable to move forward or turn back, she is suspended between multiple possibilities of what could have been and what is. Inspired by the topsy-turvy world Alice encounters in Wonderland when she falls down the rabbit hole, this moving allegory explores a woman’s struggle to push through the grief of losing the love of her life to a random act of terror. Echoing our collective fear of what lies ahead in these tumultuous and uncertain times, the play exalts our indefatigable resilience and endless capacity to love, once we find the courage to let go. 

 

Readings
The View From Here
By Hannah Foulger 
A new piece of documentary theatre about the Grandview School for Girls in Cambridge, ON – an examination of the institutional abuse that occurred there and its impact on the community.   

Agency 
By barb janes  
For those who attended last year’s Bake-Off – this was the audience selection to receive development and a reading. 
Three “orphan” girls from three different eras and three different countries: Louisa (a British Home Child), Annie (a sixties scoop adoptee) and Natasha (adopted from Romania). Plagued by issues of abandonment and belonging, the three friends search for their mothers, their identity and their own agency. 

 

Chantal photo

Chantal Bilodeau

Guest Artist
Chantal Bilodeau  
Chantal Bilodeau is a Montreal-born, New York-based playwright and translator, whose work focuses on the intersection of science, policy, art, and climate change. Her plays and translations have been presented in a dozen countries around the world, and she is a recipient of the Woodward International Playwriting Prize as well as the First Prize in the Earth Matters on Stage Ecodrama Festival and the Uprising National Playwriting Competition. She serves as the Artistic Director of The Arctic Cycle and is currently at work on a series of eight plays that look at the social and environmental changes taking place in the eight Arctic states.  

 

 

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A snapshot from the 2018 Bake-Off

Bake-Off 
Coordinated and directed by Cairn Moore 
In partnership with the Manitoba Association of Playwrights.
Feast your eyes on the annual Bake-Off. We challenge selected playwrights with a list of ingredients and eight hours to cook up their own fantastic theatrical feasts! The results are an abundance of laughs and entertaining surprises. Plus, the audience gets to select the winner. 

(Psst… we’re still accepting submissions for Bake-Off. More details here!) 

 

The Launchpad Walking Tour
Yes, we are bringing back our emerging artist initiative and combining it with our

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A shot from last year’s walking tour!

walking tour. Short performances will tackle the theme of climate change. Next week’s blog will feature the announcement of this year’s ensemble.  

You can also expect fantastic opening and closing night cabarets featuring local artists and lots of laughs.  

So there you have it: FemFest 2020 is certain to be one to remember! Be sure to check out the FemFest page on our website regularly for information about ticket prices, performers, and how each show will be executed in regards to current health protocols. Although things will shift based on what September brings, we are committed to following through on this exciting programming in a unique way!  

Virtual Audition Tips

With so many aspects of regular life changing, so too have auditions! Due to physical distancing recommendations, we’ve decided to hold our general auditions online. (Also, if you’re aactor interested in auditioning, but you haven’t submitted your headshot and resume, it’s not too late!) While not everyone who submits their headshot and resume will be given an audition, those who are chosen will be asked to do so virtuallyWe encourage all to submit, we will be holding on-line auditions on a show by show basis so connecting with actors on a show by show basis. Never done a virtual audition before? No problem! Here are our best tips:  

Be mindful of lighting.
It’s always recommended to sit with the light, rather than against itYou want to avoid being “backlit” – a term that means being lit from the back (AKA, facing away from a window so the camera captures your silhouette, and not your face). If you can, set up your laptop/webcam in line with a window’s light stream, this will make your face clear and easy to see! 

Double check your camera and microphone are working.
This is one a few members of our team have personally experienced! Computers can be unpredictable and web cameras/microphones may randomly stop working. It’s a great idea to restart your computer and open up a program that uses both your webcam and microphone (Facetime, Zoom, or Skype, for example) before the audition to guarantee it’ll run smooth when the time comes. 

Try to deliver your lines at eye-level with the camera. 
Eyes are, of course, not only the gateway to the soul, but also an incredibly important part of acting. It can be far too easy to lose someone’s eyes virtually, as there’s not necessarily a “reader” or mark to be looking at. Try to keep your eyeline around where the camera is, so we won’t lose your face and our team can see your best work! Another tip: consider placing a sticker or post-it above or next to your camera, as some cameras are so small, they can be tough to see. 

Be prepared.
Like regular auditions, the main task is to show what you can do. We will be sure to let everyone know what to prepare if you are booked to audition. However, sometimes directors will ask you to try a different interpretation. If you were sitting, they may ask you to stand to demonstrate greater embodiment. This might mean making sure you are dressed to audition on top and bottom! 

Have fun!
Auditions can already be a bit nerve-wracking for some folks, so the idea of doing them in an unfamiliar way may add more feelings of anxiety. But don’t worry! Our team is figuring things out just like you, and we absolutely understand technical problems may come and go – and that’s one of the silver-linings of this new time we’re in: we’re all just figuring it out together!  

We want to thank the folks who’ve submitted already, and we’re excited to (virtually) audition others as needed for our 2020/2021 season! 

The Touring Artists of FemFest 2020

The last few weeks (and months!) have been overwhelming. We do not want to get back to normal but be part of creating a different, better, and more equitable future. We want to start off this blog post by acknowledging the pain and violence Black and Indigenous folks and people of colour have suffered at the hands of the police as a result of systemic racism. If you didn’t read our official statement on the Black Lives Matter movement, you can do so here 

Representation and diversity have been at the heart of Sarasvàti since the beginning, of its inception, but we know we have not done enough and must do better through action and not just words. Our theme for FemFest 2020 is Engaging Community, which we found particularly fitting given recent world events. We had exciting programming in the works since the fall of 2019. Although we are preparing contingencies and know thing may have to shift, we’re thought it important to share our planned touring artists for this year’s FemFest. Whether live in Winnipeg or participating in some other way we want to showcase the amazing work of these BIPOC artists: 

 

Monstrous

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Montrous featuring Sarah Waisvicz  

Created and performed by  Sarah Waisvicz
Directed by Eleanor Crowder 

Who are you when you don’t know what you are? Monstrous follows the protagonist’s journey across continents, centuries, and musical genres as she sifts through the facts and fictions of her mixed-up, mixed-race family history. Integrating storytelling, multi-genre dance, music, song, projections, and audience interaction, it is a quest for roots, remembrance, and belonging; it is also a cutting, hard-hitting provocation about “multiculturalism” in Canada. Monstrous is a startling wake-up call that puts pressure on how accepting we think we are.  

 

bug

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bug featuring Yolanda Bonnell

Produced by Manidoons Collective 
Created and Performed by Yolanda Bonnell
Directed by Cole Alvis 

 bug is a 60 minute solo show about women of an Indigenous family navigating addiction and inter-generational trauma. When their addictions manifest as manidoons (Ojibwe word for bug, insect or worm), the creature burrows beneath their skin, pushing them beyond the brink. Using movement, poetry, and prose, creator/performer Yolanda Bonnell weaves stories of women grappling with their painful past and making tough choices to survive. This work is honest, unflinching, and raw; it will take your breath away.  

 

Tita Jokes

Tita-Jokes-Next-Stage-2020

Tita Jokes featuring the Tita Collective

Created and Performed by the Tita Collective: Ann Paula Bautista, Belinda Corpuz, Isabel Kanaan, Ellie Posadas, Alia Rasul and Maricris Rivera 
Director: Tricia Hagoriles

Tita Collective are an all-Filipina collective composed of award-winning playwrights, comedians, musicians, dancers,  theatremakers and actors. They explore different mediums to tell the stories about the Filipinx diaspora. 
A Filipinx-focused musical sketch revue inspired by the Tita Collectives’ real-life Titas, Tita Jokes is a hilarious and heart-warming love letter to the womxn in the creators’ lives – their aunts, moms, daughters, and partners. Itshows their struggles and heartaches, but also how they cope through comedy and songs. Featuring original music and laugh-out-loud sketch comedy. 

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While we may not have all the details as to how these shows will be executed, we do know we’re so lucky to be sharing such immense talent with our audiences in Winnipeg. 

As always, we’ll be kicking off with our Opening Cabaret on September 19 which will feature a variety of local performers! Stay tuned as we announce more details on the festival which runs September 19 – 26.  

 

A Robot Learning to be Human: An Interview with Jon Mourant

To get ready for the virtual edition of One Night Stand: A Series of Readings Focused on the Development of New Works on Thursday, June 11th at 7pmwe’ve interviewed Jon Mourant, co-ordinator, host, and Launchpad alumni.

Jonathan Mourant photo

Jonathan Mourant

Q: Jon! Tell us a little bit more about yourself and some of the things you’ve written.
A: I use the term “trans-disciplinary artist” which translates to improviser, playwright, drag performer, producer, and whatever other job I feel like taking on. My favourite phrase to describe myself is as a “robot learning how to be human,” which connects in a lot of ways to what I write and the ways I approach them! I’m fascinated and somewhat obsessed with how I see myself and how other people see me – both negatively and positively. In my writing I try to interrogate how personal relationships often force someone to come face to face with who they are, either because the company they keep holds them back or challenges them to be better.

Q: I know you were part of the Launchpad team this past year, can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
A: Launchpad hands down changed my life. It was my first time working on a project that was dedicated to women, trans, and non-binary artists, which fundamentally changed the way we worked. The creation of our show “To Kill a Lizard” was incredibly collaborative, with each participant taking on a piece of writing and directing while also performing in the show. There isn’t a moment of that show that wasn’t touched in some way by every single participant in the room.

Q: What drew you to playwriting in the first place?
A: I started playwriting in high school when I wrote 30 Rock spec scripts to perform in front of the school once a month. I found a joy in creating stories and characters, and more than anything building a world and defining its rules. To me, playwriting is the power to make anything real, and with that comes a sort of freedom that you don’t find anywhere else.

Q: What are you most looking forward to during next week’s edition of One Night Stand?
A: The most exciting thing to me is finding new discoveries in the work. I can’t wait for the moments where a playwright hears their work and thinks “Oh, I know what to change.” That’s the best feeling in playwriting and I hope that every playwright experiences it at the reading.

Q: Do you have any advice for emerging playwrights?
A: It’s cliché but be yourself. Something I’m always reminding myself is that I’m not trying to write someone else’s story or in someone else’s voice. I’m writing my play, and I need to trust that the best way to do it is the way that I do it.

This event will be livestreamed on our Facebook Page and will feature the following actors: Dylan Hatcher, Ady Kollar, Matt Paris-Irvine, Riva Billows, and Cheryl Soluk. Just a reminder: if you want to give verbal feedback to the playwrights we ask you to click “going” on the Facebook event page (we only have five spots left!), otherwise you can leave written feedback on our Facebook page, where the event will be livestreamed. We’re so excited to see these plays come to life – virtually, of course!

 

Fresh(ish) Faces

Yes, summer is approaching and we can always tell because our team expands – although this year it’s a remote expansion. This month we welcomed two members to the Sarasvàti team! We have Samantha Desiree returning as our Production Assistant and Riva Billows joining us as the Marketing and Community Outreach Assistant.

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Sami Desiree, Production Assistant

You may recognize Sami as she filled the same position leading up to and during FemFest 2019. Sami is currently working towards her BAH at the University of Winnipeg, with speciality in Stage Management. She is an artist with many interests and has been working in production, directing, acting and producing. She started in theatre at a young age, performing as Buttercup in The Princess Bride. After that performance she received handwritten letters from young girls who had seen the show and “wanted to grow up to be like Buttercup.” That was when she learned the power of theatre. She founded Beau Theatre Co. in 2017 and since has produced six full productions with them and was slotted for a 5 stop Canadian Fringe tour this year (which has been postponed). She thanks her cat Zella and partner Matt for their support.

Riva Billows is a local improviser, comedian, and a recent graduate of the Creative Communications program. She was voted the second funniest person in Winnipeg in this year’s Uniter 30. She’s performed at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Montreal Sketch Festival, and the Winnipeg Fringe Festival the last four years.

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Riva Billows, Marketing and Community Outreach Assistant

 

Riva was an actor in “Can You See Me Now?”, a partnership between Sarasvàti and West Central Women’s Resource Centre that told women’s experiences of homelessness. “Looking back, doing that show and collaborating with these incredible women just solidified how important it is to tell the untold stories,” she said. “That was probably the first time that I really saw, firsthand, how theatre can be a vehicle for change.”

Sami believes theatre can change perspective and create empathy and compassion which is something she incorporates into all her work. She is so grateful to be back working on FemFest for a second year, with such brilliant humans!

The two are looking forward to seeing the exciting (but still secret!) performers featured in FemFest 2020 – no matter what shape that may be.

We’re excited to have these two on board as we move closer to FemFest 2020FemFest will run in some shape or form from September 19 – 26. Stay up to date by following us on one of our many social media platforms or check out our website as we start to announce the line-up for our 18th festival. 

Virtual Dating for Playwrights

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We are excited to announce the line-up for our first virtual One Night Stand: A Series of Readings Focused on the Development of New Works! We had a wonderful array of work submitted to us for consideration, so we hope this will be just the start of a revised version of our initiative to support playwrights. Each edition will offer excerpts of new works in early stages of development, read by an ensemble of actors, and tested before an audience. The goal is to focus on the playwright and what would help them get to the next stage with the script they are working on.

Jonathan Mourant photo

Jonathan

On Thursday, June 11th at 7pm we will share ten minute excerpts from 5 plays in progress. It will be hosted by our new One Night Stand coordinator Jonathan Mourant. We are welcoming folks to either join in to provide feedback on Zoom or simply tune in to listen on our Facebook Page.

 

 

Learn about our first round of playwrights:

Love Letters for Juliet
by Makrenna Sterdan
conceived by Makrenna Sterdan and Joanne Roberts 

Makrenna Rose Sterdan is a producer and writer. Sterdan has had her work produced in South Korea, Canada, and America. Sterdan also owns and operates Red Lips Productions (RLP), a company that creates theatre and film pieces internationally, both in person and remotely. For more information, go to RLP’s website at www.redlips-productions.com or Sterdan’s personal site www.makrennarose.com

Veralyn

Veralyn

The Bridge
by Veralyn Warkentin

Veralyn’s plays have been produced by the Manitoba Association of Playwrights, Winnipeg Mennonite Theatre and Tara Players who commissioned her script about the Irish Famine, Like the Sun, which was then produced in Winnipeg, Milwaukee, Chicago and Limerick; and published in Canadian Mosaic II: 6 Plays. Additional scripts have had staged readings by MAP (Land of Hope); Theatre Projects Manitoba (Criminal Element); and Sarasvati presented Quite an Undertaking, based on the memoir of Canada’s first female mortician, at FemFest 2009. Other scripts have placed 1st (Mary & Martha, 2002) and 2nd (The Death of Polly Anna, 2012) in Winnipeg Mennonite Theatre Playwriting Contests.

Kevan

Kevan

Seekers of Atlantis
by Kevan Bowkett

Kevan Kenneth Bowkett’s work has been presented at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival (Time’s Fancy, 2017), at the Carol Shields Festival of New Works by SIR (Time’s Fancy, extended version, 2013), and at Wine and Words 2015 by Theatre by the River (“Bacchus’ Song”). His Fringe-length Time’s Fancy was read in-house by the Knavish Hedgehogs (2016). He wrote his first Shakespeare-esque scene at age 14. Since then he’s been in the Canadian Forces Reserves, washed dishes, planted trees, collided with an open car door while bicycle couriering, done door-to-door sales, weeded gardens, slept in an igloo, worked in a daycare, and run for Parliament.

alison

alison

Strawberries & Cream
by alison mcLean 

alison has a BA (Film & Theatre) from the U of M, and an MFA in Playwriting from UBC. Her plays Chick Night and Bond Night premiered as staged readings at FemFest ’03 and ’04. Her monologue “Hockey Mom” was part of the International Women’s Week Cabaret produced by Sarasvàti Productions in ’11, the same year her scene “Sister Wars” was published in the anthology Generation NeXXt. Her most recent play, Skin Deep, was given a staged reading at FemFest ’14. She attended a Masterclass with Judith Thompson as part of FemFest 2017. alison is also the lead singer for the cover band Nameless + Shameless.

ty

Ty

The Planet
by Ty Ballingall

Ty is a queer and gender unbound actor and artist living on Treaty One Territory on the land we call Canada. The Planet is the first play they have ever wrote and are very excited for this opportunity! They are currently living life in Osborne and are just going with the flow, hanging with friends and hugging trees. They practice witchcraft, they like the colour green and are happy to be here.

Keep up to date on our FB Event as we finalize the ensemble cast and other details!

FemFest – Planning for the Unknown

Yes, there will be a FemFest! What that will look like is still a work in progress. Our amazing team is developing multiple contingencies depending on the reality that we may be in come September. We are optimistic that there still may be live events. Perhaps smaller audiences nicely spread out. Maybe it will be a hybrid year with some live and some virtual offerings. Like many other festivals and performing arts organizations we are exploring, experimenting and ready to offer the best programming we can.

FemFest 2020 logoFemFest 2020 will run from September 19 to 26. Our theme this year is Engaging Community. We chose it two years ago as part of long-term planning. Now of course this theme means something very different. Ways to engage have certainly changed, but at the core of our work has been and will always be community. Before the world paused we had lined up three amazing touring shows and a stellar guest artist. We’ll be announcing these acts with our brochure later this month as our ideal for September. It is a mix of work that tackles identity in terms of the struggle to fit in to a community; work that continues to allow us to pursue our commitment to reconciliation; and even some sketch comedy to lighten the mood.

Most exciting is working with guest artist Chantal Bilodeau. She is truly living through the crisis, as a former Canadian now in New York. Whether live in Winnipeg or virtually, we have an array of activities planned with her facilitating on the theme of climate change and the arts.

Chantal Bilodeau photoChantal Bilodeau is a Montreal-born, New York-based playwright and translator, whose work focuses on the intersection of science, policy, art, and climate change. Her plays and translations have been presented in a dozen countries around the world, and she is a recipient of the Woodward International Playwriting Prize as well as the First Prize in the Earth Matters on Stage Ecodrama Festival and the Uprising National Playwriting Competition. She serves as the Artistic Director of The Arctic Cycle and is currently at work on a series of eight plays that look at the social and environmental changes taking place in the eight Arctic states. 

“I really look forward to FemFest! I’m excited to connect with people in Winnipeg and start to imagine together the just and sustainable future we want to create.” – Chantal Bilodeau

Ah, the FemFest ramp up is beginning! This time of year is always fun for us as we welcome the energy and enthusiasm of summer youth positions. Although they won’t be physically in our office quite yet, we are excited that Samantha Desiree – our PA from last year – is returning. Sami runs Beau Theatre Co. and is finishing her degree in theatre at the University of Winnipeg. Stay tuned for news on our Marketing and Community Outreach Assistant summer position. You can expect to hear more from both of them as the journey to the festival continues.

In the meantime, we still have a couple slots in our Producing 101: Virtual Workshop and save the date for our first virtual One Night Stand reading series on June 11th at 7pm.

Long Distance Work

It’s the 7th week that our staff are working remotely! It’s hard to believe, but we have all adjusted to a new normal. Only our Artistic Director is working out of the empty and much too quiet office. This week’s blog is dedicated to the thoughts, discoveries, and advice from our amazing staff.

1. What things do you never want to have to do again post-isolation?

Wren

Wren’s home office

Wren Brian, Administrator

  • Stress about keeping 2 meters away from people (hard on sidewalks & in apartment buildings).
  • Resist the urge to pet cute dogs out with their humans.
  • Limit grocery shopping to once every three weeks – it’s a lot to carry (my shoulders are definitely getting stronger though).

Hope McIntyre, Artistic Director

  • Zoom multiple times a day – so many tiny faces on the screen
  • Avoid people, which has led to the most bizarre game of ‘stay away’ in grocery stores
  • Postpone work we love to do!

Fawnda Neckoway, Administrator

Fawnda

Fawnda’s home office

  • Feel like it’s wrong to visit my family, worry about hugging my nieces.
  • Deem taking my son grocery shopping unsafe.
  • Be restricted from places I enjoy going (lockdowns/checkpoints aren’t fun).

Liz Whitbread, Assistant Artistic Director

  • Stand six feet away from my loved ones
  • Clean my oven ‘as a fun treat’ on a Friday night

2. What things do you want to keep doing that you started due to the isolation?

Wren

  • Keep more of a routine, particularly some of the treat days I set up to help me keep track of the days of the week (Whiskey Wednesday, Take-Out Friday, Strolling Saturday, etc.)
  • Watch more recordings of theatre productions in other parts of the world (if they are made available still…I hope they are!)
  • Connect with friends in other cities more regularly.

Hope

  • Going for long walks – it’s become an end of work day ritual with my partner and we’ve discovered new parts of our neighbourhood
  • Evenings at home – my cats have never been so happy
  • Buying local – we’ve made an effort to order from local restaurants

Fawnda

  • Beading, I put them down for some time but it’s nice to start again.
  • Long drives just because. We explore when we can.
Liz's WFH

Liz’s home office

Liz

  • Talking to my friends on the phone! I’ve rediscovered my junior high love of long telephone conversations with loved ones.
  • Journaling every day

3. What are three things you can’t wait to do again post-isolation?

Wren

  • Go visit Whitehorse, Yukon, my hometown.
  • Going for a drink and some food with a group of people (particularly the theatre units!).
  • Plan my life. Well, more just plan more than a month into the future with a bit more certainty.

Hope

  • Teach in person
  • Meet in person
  • Go to live theatre

Fawnda

  • Go to the gym!
  • Have a big BBQ somewhere.
  • Let my son play freely with his friends in our backyard

Liz

  • Hug my friends!
  • Go dancing!
  • Hold hands!

4. Anything you want to share in terms of tips or lessons learned from working at home.

Wren
If you can, have a work station, one area of your home where you only do work. And when you’re done for the day, try to create a separation (personally I put a light blanket over the turned off computer & hide my lists & notebooks under there too).
If you’re feeling stressed by the situation, find a comforting quote or two that keeps you grounded in the moment and have them near your workspace to refer to (taped to your desk or computer, even the wall). I used to work contracts and often found myself unemployed for a few weeks or months with nothing lined up, so once I made a collage featuring a quote I really like, it’s in a frame on my desk now.

As mentioned above, I’ve enjoyed and found it helpful to label days with treats (food, drink, fun activity, etc.) for yourself to keep track of days of the week.

Sarasvati office

Empty Sarasvati office

Hope
Routine, boundaries, get away from the computer at the end of the work day! I’m lucky as I was able to keep working in the office, but the pitfall was the temptation to work much longer hours and sit at the computer for way too long. I felt it in my back and eyes!

Fawnda
Music helps 🙂

Liz
For me, creating a morning routine has been essential:
Changing out of pyjamas (even if it’s just into a slightly more structured pair of pyjamas); getting outdoors first thing in the morning – usually just for a stroll around the block while my coffee is brewing; trying not to look at my phone for a good half hour after waking up to ease myself into the day; starting work around the same time each day. It’s helped me retain a sense of structure and given me something to focus on.

We hope you are all managing and staying healthy. We look forward to all being together again when it is safe. In the meantime, feel free to contact us at info@sarasvati.ca.

Producing – From Home

As our staff work remotely to produce our programming from their homes, it seems like the ideal time to explore how to share knowledge with others in their homes! Thus far we’ve had a virtual roundtable, we’ve moved forward with the script for Songide’ewin by hosting an on-line reading, our staff have done virtual tutorials, and there is a lot more to come. Although we can’t wait to be together again, our team is learning new platforms that can help us meet our goals of greater accessibility and inclusion – even when the theatres open again.

Before we get ahead of ourselves though – we are excited to announce our next virtual workshop! Have you ever wondered how to produce your own theatre? Where to start? What steps to take? Producing 101 will happen online from the comfort of your own home. On Saturday, May 30th from 1pm-3pm. Unlike a panel, this will be a skill-development session and as a result will only be open to a limited number of participants.

Coming up with a script or show idea is half the work, but once you have that, what then? If you’re thinking of self-producing this workshop is for you! It will provide a helpful breakdown of the fundamentals required to take your vision to the stage. Through this virtual training experience industry professionals will provide participants with an overview of producing their own theatrical performance from A-Z. Topics for discussion include budgeting, scheduling, production tech planning, plus marketing and communications. Our goal is to equip artists with helpful knowledge in preparation for future self-producing, as well as creating an opportunity for discussion between artists in our local community.

We know money is tight right now so the cost is up to participants. You decide! Artists can choose their registration fee – $20, $15, $10, $5 or free depending on what you can afford. We believe in paying artists, so monies earned from registration will be used to pay facilitators and to continue similar programming.

E-mail now to register or stay tuned for details on the co-facilitators and hope there is still space left.

We are so grateful to be able to bring art and knowledge to the arts community during these difficult times. If self-producing isn’t your thing we have lots of other opportunities coming up!

Don’t forget, for female and non-binary emerging artists, our Launchpad Project is still accepting applications HERE until tomorrow (May 1st). For both emerging and established playwrights, our One Night Stand reading series is also taking submissions HERE until May 8!