‘Empty’ Shines a Light

Empty, our original, in-house production (created with the support of the Winnipeg Arts Council ‘With Arts’ Program and the Winnipeg Foundation), had its world premiere at FemFest 2012 last week to an extremely enthusiastic and responsive audience. We knew before FemFest that we wanted to take this show out into the community and thanks to the additional support of RBC Foundation this has been made possible. It is important to us to share this incredible work with folks who may not have access to or typically go to theatre shows. To kick-off our tour, we brought the play into the place that inspired the play: Winnipeg Harvest. Over the lunch hour, we performed the show for Winnipeg Harvest volunteers, staff and community members. The response has been overwelmingly positive.

“On behalf of all the Winnipeg Harvest team members who were there, thank you so much for presenting Empty today at lunchtime. You have done an excellent job of capturing the reality faced by Winnipeg Harvest clients in your script. The actors, director and crew all make it come alive and be real. As I looked around the room during the performance, I could see that you were having a profound effect on everyone there. Many, including David, were moved to tears. Your play was acting as a catalyst for their increased consciousness of their individual situation and how that is reflected in the systemic reality. Drama can be a powerful force for social change. Emptyis very powerful. We all hope it leads to the kinds of changes we all want.” – Donald Benham, Director of Hunger and Poverty Awareness (Winnipeg Harvest)

Sylvia Kuzyk, Elena Anciro and Melanie Dean; photo by Janet Shum

As we were approaching community groups and schools about this project, the response and interest was paramount. There is such a thirst for ‘real stories’ about ‘real people.’ We are excited to be offering a production that was written not only with food bank users in mind, but with direct input from food bank users, volunteers and staff throughout the entire creation and writing process. When our own Artistic Director Hope McIntyre was commissioned to write this piece, she knew from the start that this project and the resulting production would be able to reach out to individuals and communities in an enlightening way. We look forward to a successful run!

We have two community shows that are open to the public and you’re invited!

7pm Thursday, September 27 in partnership with the Provincial Council of Women at the Society of Manitobans With Disabilities (825 Sherbrook Street); $10 admission
8pm Thursday, October 4 at Graffiti Art Gallery a special show for youth (109 Higgins Ave); admission is free but seats need to be reserved (call 204.586.2236 for details)

September 24 2012 – FemFest 2012: a Smash Hit!

Sarasvàti Productions is humbled by the unwavering support and love that we have received from the fantastic turn-out and interest in FemFest 2012: Staging Identity. The festival closed this past weekend and although we are sad that it is over, we are happy to know that so many Winnipeggers were able to experience and appreciate transformative plays by women. It is hard to pick out highlights from this years festival because of the wide variety of topics and issues each of the plays raised. The audience response to our shows has been overwhelming! We are proud of the work we have put out this year and for the last 10 years of Winnipeg’s only and Canada’s favourite female playwright festival!

As part of our 10 year anniversary of FemFest, we have put together a series of videos, speaking with many of the amazingly talented women who have contributed their stories and work to the festival over the years. As well, we have compiled a short video, looking back on this past FemFest and what some favorite moments were! Check it out on our youtube page!

Just because FemFest has passed does not mean Sarasvàti takes time off! We are excited to announce that Empty, an in-house production that debuted at FemFest, will be touring Winnipeg high schools and community groups in the upcoming weeks. The tour starts tomorrow, with a free show at Winnipeg Harvest at 11:45am! Admission is free but we encourage you to bring a tin for the bin!

As well, we will have many more events and shows throughout the 2012-2013 season – and we cannot wait to see you at all of them! For more information about our season line-up, check out www.sarasvati.ca

FemFest 2012 to wrap up this weekend!

We could not be more thrilled with the incredible amount of support and encouragement we have received this week as part of FemFest 2012! There are only two days left of the festival but there are still tons of incredible performances to see!

Friday, September 21:

7pm – Empty: Created with the assistance of the Winnipeg Arts Council WithArts Program, Empty tells the true and poignant stories of people at a local food bank and explores the human side of poverty.

8:15pm – The Possible Lives of Dolores Garcia Rodriguez: a reading by playwright Jordan Hall, Co-created with ACTvist Theatre Collective’s Zoe Green, Possible Lives explores the 2006 repeal of therapeutic abortion rights in Nicaragua and their effects on the lives of three different women. When do we decide to create change, and when do we decide to ignore the issues?

9pm – My Pregnant Brother: a one-woman show by Montreal playwright and actor Johanna Nutter, this stranger than fiction story is based off of the true events that took place when one day on a park bench, Johanna’s brother revealed that he was pregnant! Absolutely heart wrenching and mesmerizing!

My Pregnant Brother; photo by Pam Price

Saturday, September 22:

2pm – Empty

7pm – Immigration Stories: SOLD OUT!: Created in partnership with the Immigrant Women’s Association of Manitoba, Immigration Stories tells the true stories of senior immigrant women and their experiences coming to and navigating through their new lives in Winnipeg. Experience the trials, tribulations and triumphs of these amazing, head strong women. Although tickets are sold out audiences are welcome to take a risk and come just before the show in case there are no-shows.

9pm – Closing Cabaret: Hosted by Virgin Radio’s Chrissy Troy, the closing cabaret is a celebrating of female talent from across disciplines! Including: Gear Shifting Performance Work, MAWA artists Cindy Dyson and Nora Kobrinsky, slam poetry by Ali Tataryn, Prairie Caravan Tribal Bellydance, a short film by Leslie Supnet and musical guest Flo!

Tickets can be purchased online at www.femfest.ca or you can try your luck by purchasing at the door! (We recommend buying ahead of time – shows are filling up quickly! Tickets bought ahead of time will be available at the box office)

FemFest 2012 – Opens Tonight!

The clock is ticking… Sarasvàti Productions 10th annual FemFest 2012 is only a few hours away. Performers, directors and staff have been working tirelessly to prepare for what we consider to be our best and biggest festival yet!

We have an incredible line-up to open the festival today; we have something for everyone! Tell your friends!

1pm – A reading of In Waiting by Claire Therese

3pm – A workshop presentation of Cry After Midnight by Talia Pura

7pm – Opening Cabaret! Featuring wonderful and eclectic performances by Mad Young Darlings, members of Young Lungs Dance Exchange, Lynn Langdon and many, many more! Reception sponsored by Stella’s to follow the cabaret!

For the full festival line up and how you can purchase your tickets (while they’re still available) go to www.femfest.ca

Dinner and a Show with Garbonzo’s!

Can you believe that FemFest is only TWO days away? What a special treat we have lined up for FemFest attendees!

Sarasvàti Productions is thrilled to announce a special community partnership with Garbonzo’s Pizza Pub! During FemFest 2012: Staging Identity (September 15-22) bring your ticket stub to Garbonzo’s (471 Portage Avenue) and receive 20% off food and beverages (alcoholic beverages not included); half price off pizzas; and Coors Light for $3.25!! This is an exclusive offer for those who attend FemFest and can be used any time of day throughout the festival!

We especially encourage FemFest attendees to come on down to Garbonzo’s on September 17,2012 after the Bake Off for a special meet and greet with performers, directors and Sarasvàti staff and volunteers!

Sonofabitch Stew Rides in to FemFest

There is something about westerns, animal hides and cowboy hats that just make you feel… shameless.

Sarasvàti Productions is proud to be presenting Sonofabitch Stew: The Drunken Life of Calamity Jane at FemFest 2012: Staging Idenity. The one-woman show comes from Vancouver’s Shameless Hussy Productions.

Daune Campbell – Shameless Hussy Productions Co-Artistic Director – stars as Janet Payne a cussin’, fussin’, drinkin’, brawlin’, women’s studies professor who has become a legendary maverick by kissing off life’s middle of-the-road for the rougher and more thrilling ride on the trail of her lifelong heroine Calamity Jane. Haven’t you ever wanted to take on the persona of one your personal heros (mind you not everyone can pull that off)? Sonofabitch Stew has opened to rave reviews around the country and we couldn’t be more thrilled bring this rootin’ tootin’ performance to Winnipeg!

For those who are uninitiated, the real Calamity Jane, AKA Martha Jane Canary, was an American frontiers woman, who was famous for her kindness and compassion and infamous for her gung-slingin’ and drinkin’. For more info on Calamity Jane, click the pic below!

Sonofabitch Stew: the Drunken Life of Calamity Jane makes its FemFest debut on Tuesday, September 18 at 9pm, with additional shows on Wednesday, September 19 at 2:30pm and 9pm. Tickets are $10 and are available at www.femfest.ca or at the door. Can’t wait to see you there!

Winnipeg gets CHALKED!

Hey Winnipeg.. FemFest 2012 is just around the corner, and we want everyone to know!

This morning, Sarasvati staff and volunteers came out for our first ever CHALK MOB! What better way to show your support for FemFest 2012 and female playwrights and artists than by public displays of art We had a great time promoting FemFest 2012: Staging Identity in a unique and beautiful way. Check out our art in front of the University of Winnipeg’s Wesley Hall!

Do your part! Carry some chalk in your purse or pocket and spread the news – FemFest 2012 is only a week and a half away! We cannot wait to see the line-up at the UW Asper Centre for Theatre and Film next weekend!! For more information check out www.femfest.ca

In Depth: FemFest Workshops

Every year when planning FemFest, Sarasvati Productions looks for new and exciting ways to connect with Winnipeg communities. We strive on representing as many communities as we can and helping them tell their stories. FemFest 2012: Staging Identity is so much more than just some actors on a stage. Women’s storytelling aims to engage the audience and force them to see something inside themselves and create their own artistic viewpoints and spaces. We are pleased to present, as part of our already stellar festival line-up, two excellent, hands-on workshops from two of our touring performers and companies.

Another exciting aspect about FemFest is the opportunity to present readings and lectures from distinguished and established playwrights and artitsts. It is importanting to attend readings of works in progress in order to better understand and appreciate the writing process. We are proud to be presenting writers from across Canada and across genres as part of the line-up of FemFest ancillary events!

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