FemFest Don’t Miss Out!

As Artistic Director of FemFest, I have the privelege to select work that I am passionate about, bring it to Winnipeg and share it with local audiences.

With the festival just passed its midway point I’ve personally been inspired and moved by the wondeful work we have hosted to date. Those who caught RAUNCH know what I mean when I say that it was a hilarious, entertaining yet deeply disturbing performance. It left audiences with a lot to think about.

It was also extremely rewarding to have high schools join us for our matinee performance of No Offense… on Tuesday.  The interventions that day were particularly exciting as local actor Ryan Black, father of Mary Black in the cast, stepped up and offered alternative solutions to the issues in the play.

Another highlight was our packed house for the launch of Generation NeXXt. This anthology of scenes for young women was the brainchild of Cairn Moore. As 16 playwrights, 8 actors and 4 directors were featured the audience was entertained by the stylistic diversity of the scenes. The anthology was also a popular buy and remains on sale at the festival until we close on October 2nd and will then be launched at bookstores with a reading on October 7th at 7pm in McNally Robinson Grant Park.

Yesterday we welcomed new guests to Winnipeg as Tanya Pillay did her first performance of All of Him at the festival. This is such an exciting blend of performance and dialogue, which should not be missed!  d’bi.young also arrived and inspired 100 students at the University of Winnipeg Department of Theatre and Film with her Real Thing lecture discusing her work and approach to performance. Her piece she will run over the next two days and I’m really looking forward to the audience’s response to the work.

Finally one of our most anticipated shows The Vajayjay Monologues opens on Friday. I can’t wait to sit with the audience and witness Lindsay Burns’ hilarious and thought-provoking performance.

The festival is a bit like a big family holiday as we welcome new and old friends. We spend months preparing and the ancitipation of sharing these gifted performances with our community keeps us going. As we celebrate ten years in Winnipeg we close FemFest with a birthday celebration featuring a retrospective of old work and an exciting line-up of music, dance and theatre. Join us for this party on October 2nd at 9pm!

-Hope McIntyre, Artistic Director

FemFest Ready To Roll!

FemFest 2010 is only days away and there is a lot to see and do!

Join us for the opening day events, starting off with a chance to hear from some of Canada’s best women playwrights with Playwrights Revealed at 2pm. Beverly Akerman, Shirley Barrie, Maureen Hunter, Jenny Munday and Celeste Sansregret will read from their work and answer questions about the writing process and the role of the playwright.  Then things really start hopping with our opening cabaret and reception, starting at 7pm. The opening features celebrated Winnipeg filmmaker Danishka Esterhazy, DJ Lady Spice and Canada’s Hip Shakin’ Mama. For a full list of cabaret acts go to –  http://sarasvati.ca/fem-fest-shows/cabarets/

Also of note is the opportunity to learn from the amazing FemFest artists being brought to Winnipeg. There will be three skill development workshops for artists or potential artists:

the storyteller’s integrity: a dubpoetry masterclass by d’bi.young
October 2nd 4-6pm
Cost: $10

this workshop is suitable for anyone interested in storytelling be it through writing, performing, directing, witnessing etc. it explores the her/historical-socio-political-cultural-personal-poetic intersections of dubpoetry using the ‘orplusi principles’  being developed by d’bi.young.

Turn Your Fetish into Gold: How to write a one-person show with Lindsay Burns
September 30th 4-6pm
Cost: $10

Want to scare yourself to the core? With Fringe festivals throughout the country you can find a stage, now all you need is a topic/fetish for your show.

Sketch Comedy: Making and breaking the formula with Alice Nelson and Jacqueline Russell
September 26th 3pm-6pm
Cost: $15

Through Keith Johnstone’s narrative-style improv, participants will explore physical comedy, pecking orders/status play and the development of sketch through narrative scene set up. 

Space is limited – please reserve 586-2236 or info@sarasvati.ca

More info – http://www.femfest.ca

Greetings from d’bi.young


i am very excited about coming to winnipeg.

the idea and reality of femfest is an urgent one.

as womben we need to congregate, celebrate

analyse and realize the incredible beauty, power

and strength we possess.

we need to encourage the growth of that.

the proliferation of that so that the next generation

of us cultivate an uncompromising love most important

for ourselves and eachother. my work at the festival

is an attempt to play my part in this process of regeneration.

see you at the theatre!



The Vajayjay Monologues Causes a Cuntroversy

Lindsay Burns in The Vajayjay Monologues

A Cuntroversy

I am eating too much sugar these days.  Partly that’s because Calgary weather is heading into it’s carbo-loading cold and partly it’s because Eve Ensler is aware of my work.  I know it’s not nice to blame other people but Eve Ensler is causing me to throw heaping handfuls of licorice Goodies down my throat in a way that most closely resembles a goose being fattened for foie gras. The problem began on August 16th 2010 at the Edmonton Fringe Festival when I received an email from lawyers representing Eve Ensler demanding that I cease and desist all future performances of my play, The Vajayjay Monologues. It accused me of violating her copyright and distastefully trading off her play, The Vagina Monologues.

At first, I was thrilled. The Vajayjay Monologues is a conversation that I (and the characters I created) have with Eve Ensler, the creator of The Vagina Monologues.  It is an homage to her work and a reminder to women that we haven’t reached the promise land yet. I had been speaking to Eve for the past 3 years but until Aug 16th 2010, she had remained decidedly mute.

I haven’t been hiding from Eve.  In 2008 I took Vajayjay to the Winnipeg and New York Fringe festivals. Before heading down to the Big Apple I wrote Ms. Ensler at her website v-day.org. The producer of the festival said that she’d send word through friends of friends.  Volunteers at the box office of the Soho Playhouse were expressly informed that if Eve should walk into the lobby she was to be let in immediately at no charge. If Eve was ever going to become aware of me it should have been in New York. But it never happened.  I returned to Canada and gave up on that dream. So imagine my surprise at her finding me in Edmonton on a Monday night.

The next day I spent 7 hours writing 2 letters responding to her charges.  The first more closely resembled a mushy fan letter.  A friend who is a businesswoman helped me craft the second.  I informed Eve that my work is inspired by her play but in no way a derivation of The Vagina Monologues and that I was going to complete my run at the Fringe.  I also promised that once the show closed in Edmonton I would send her a DVD of my performance and a script so she could judge for herself.

I ran my letter by a copyright lawyer my friend knew.  He said to send it because she’d have to prove her case in a court of law and that because I have made less $10,000 doing this show for the past 3 years it would be unlikely that she would take it that far.  His final advice was, ‘Don’t cave in.’ So on August 19th I sent it off.    

After three more great shows, the Fringe ended and I came home to Calgary and settled into my non-theatre life of working in a library and raising a family. On Sep 3rd I sent off the promised package by express mail and as of Sep 11, I haven’t heard anything back. 

In my wildest dreams, Eve will love my piece, want to produce it on Broadway and introduce me to Oprah.  In my nightmares, she gets an injunction against me ever performing it, or anything else, ever again.  I spend my days wavering between these two possibilities while trying to calm my anxiety by eating vast quantities of candy-coated licorice.  If after seeing my show she still wants to shut down my show, the 2 performances at Femfest could be my last.  So I promise you I am going to make them good ones. I invite you to attend and then to go to my website potofjam.com to let me know where you stand in this ‘cuntroversy’. 

-Lindsay Burns