Sarasvàti Productions’ FemFest 2009 saw record-breaking attendance and successful new initiatives.

Winnipeg, October 6, 2009 – FemFest 2009 was a rousing success breaking attendance records in its seventh year! Sarasvàti Productions’ annual theatre festival of plays by women for everyone saw an increase of over 300 admissions from the previous year, despite moving to a new location. Audiences are still talking about the powerful productions and great artistry featured at this year’s festival.

FemFest 2009 ran at the Canwest Centre for Theatre and Film from September 25 to October 4, 2009. The featured touring shows, local productions, new works in development, cabarets and skill development workshops saw total festival attendance break the 1,400 mark after averaging 1,100 to 1,200 over the last few years.

“With a new venue there is always concern about attracting your regular patrons, but we were extremely pleased to see our supporters as well as new audience members attending the work. We were particularly surprised that the workshop and development of new scripts attracted large audiences, which speaks to Winnipeg’s desire to support new voices,” says Sarasvati Productions’ Artistic Director Hope McIntyre.

The Forum Theatre piece, No Offense…, created with over 30 participants and guest artist Norma Bowles was so well received that Sarasvàti Productions will now be pursuing a full high school tour of the production. This powerful piece explored racism among Winnipeg youth and included an opportunity for audiences to intervene and resolve the problems addressed in the play. It led to enthusiastic discussions and participation from audiences of all ages.

“No Offense is a great show — the high school audience at the preview was totally captivated. It’s utterly authentic, it’s about something real. Its truthfulness was a breath of fresh air,” said Kent Suss, Theatre School Director at Manitoba Theatre for Young People after seeing the work.

Another exciting new component was the FemFest Reviewer Competition. Judges Marlo Campbell (Uptown Magazine) and Morley Walker (Winnipeg Free Press) selected emerging writer Jennifer Clark’s review of Unruly as the winning selection. Clark is a graduate of the Creative Communications program at Red River and currently works at the University of Winnipeg Foundation. She will receive a $250 prize. Competition entries can be viewed at http://FemFestwinnipeg.wordpress.com or at the Winnipeg Free Press on-line (www.winnipegfreepress.com/entertainment ).

Sarasvàti Productions would also like to thank their volunteers without whom the festival would not be possible. Over thirty volunteers kept the festival running smoothly.

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.

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