SARASVÀTI PRODUCTIONS’ FEMFEST CALLS FOR EQUITY IN CANADIAN THEATRE

FemFest 2009: Herstory will inspire with the stories of women who have beat the odds!

 Winnipeg, June 26, 2009 – Sarasvati Productions’ seventh annual theatre festival of plays by women for everyone is coming just in time to help restore balance in Canadian theatre. FemFest 2009 runs at the Canwest Centre for Theatre and Film (at the University of Winnipeg) from September 25 to October 4, 2009 and will feature three touring shows, local productions, new works in development, two multi-disciplinary cabarets and skill development workshops. 

FemFest 2009 has armed itself to battle this huge inequity by programming an exciting line-up of high artistic quality exploring stories, both historical and contemporary, about women.  “The appeal is universal,” says Artistic Director Hope McIntyre, “every person, male or female, has interaction with women at some point in their lives so why shouldn’t we hear women’s stories and celebrate them in the same way that male historical figures have been canonized?”  Through the use of humour and inspiring storytelling FemFest will chronicle a super heroine’s battle to save the word through poetry, the bio-play of Judy Holliday and new scripts in development ranging from an exploration of women and sex to the inspiring journey of the first female undertaker.

 FemFest 2009 will arrive at an important time for women playwrights and directors not just in Canada, but North America.  Recent findings from the American Dramatists Guild statistics note that in the last two years, only 9-11% of all productions in regional theatres and Off-Broadway theatres were written by women. In fact the numbers were worse in New York last year than they were 100 years ago.  Canada’s numbers are not much better; a recent poll by Nightwood Theatre reveals that women make up under 1/3 of producing directors and playwrights across Canada. 

 FemFest 2009 is also excited about helping local women artists with its first artist in residence, Norma Bowles (California), who is the Founder and Artistic Director of Fringe Benefits.  She has led many of Fringe Benefits’ play development projects and “Theatre for Social Justice” workshops and facilitates school tour performances.  Her work across the U.S. has helped to empower school children and educators in their struggles against racism, homophobia and bullying. Bowles will be creating a Forum Theatre piece with local artists that will both be performed at FemFest and in Winnipeg schools.  She will also mentor local educators and conduct workshops for multiple community organizations.

About Sarasvàti Productions: Sarasvàti Dramatic Theatre Productions and Repertory Inc. (founded in Winnipeg in 2000) seeks to inspire artists and audiences through the use of theatre and to provide a place where artists can develop, showcase their skills and celebrate their creativity.

About FemFest: Founded in 2003 by Sarasvàti Productions, FemFest presents the work of both established and emerging artists from across Canada. The festival’s mandate is to produce one-act plays by women and showcase women theatre artists.

For more information, please contact

Rob Brown Marketing and Communications

204-586-2236  marketing@sarasvati.ca

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