Introducing Sam Walters, our Emerging Artist in Residence!

Sarasvàti Productions is thrilled to introduce Samantha Walters as our new Emerging Artist in Residence! Samantha will be working closely with our Artistic Director Hope McIntyre through ACI Manitoba’s youth mentorship program. ACI Manitoba’s mentorship programs provide opportunities for youth to be exposed to careers in arts and culture. Participants are mentored by a member of Winnipeg’s arts and culture scene through group workshops, individual consultation, volunteer work experience and participation in career development workshops.

“Be confident. Be fearless. Be unapologetic.”

Graduating high school wasn’t half as scary as my teachers made it out to be. After all I knew, more or less, what I wanted to do. And so I began my first year at the University of Winnipeg which is where I met Hope McIntyre and where my journey as an artist began.

Do you remember watching plays in your school gym as a kid? I do (quite vividly actually). I don’t really remember what the plays were about, but I remember being in awe of the actors. I remember at the end of every show they would always come out to take some questions from the audience. Some kid always asked “How did you memorize all of those lines?” and I would sit there and wonder the same thing. It makes me laugh now.

In my last year of high school I remember this happening again. My drama teacher told us we were going to go watch a play in the band room. But this play was different. It was unlike something I had ever seen before. It was real and it took place in a high school and it was being performed by people who weren’t so much older than me. I remember somebody coming out after the show to talk to us and ask us questions about what we thought of the piece. I can’t remember if I said anything at all. And then that was it. The school year went on but the piece stuck with me. I couldn’t even remember what it was called.

Almost a year later, in my Introduction to Performance class with Hope McIntyre, everything clicked. She was talking about her theatre company, Sarasvàti Productions, the work they do, and some of the projects they had done in the past. Ripple Effect was one of them. And then it all made sense! That was the play I saw in the band room at my high school! She was the woman that came out and asked us what we thought of the piece! It sounds silly now, but I remember being so excited as I pieced this puzzle together. As the year progressed, I learned more about Sarasvàti Productions and the work they do and instantly fell in love. I don’t think anyone had ever told me specifically that theatre had the power to transform but I think that’s what I’ve truly always admired about the art form.

I now hold a B.A. (Honours) degree in Theatre and Film from the University of Winnipeg and am a recent graduate of Canada’s National Voice Intensive, a five-week intensive actor training program held every spring in Vancouver, B.C. In the summer of 2009 I worked as the Production Assistant for FemFest and participated in the making of the forum theatre piece No Offence lead by Norma Bowles of Fringe Benefits Theatre (California). In FemFest 2011 I was in the staged reading of Tyler White’s Bear and Blue’s Adventures through the Whispering Woods and just recently, I appeared in Immigration Stories, a sold-out hit at FemFest 2012! I’ve also been involved in various other local productions over the past few years and just wrapped a silent film project with Guy Maddin at the Winnipeg Art Gallery! To top it all off, I’m currently taking a Devised Theatre with Claire Borody at the University of Winnipeg and am working on creating my own 25 minute solo piece which I will be performing next month.

As I said before, graduating high school wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Graduating university on the other hand definitely was which is exactly why I couldn’t have asked for an opportunity such as this to come at a better time. I am extremely excited to have been chosen to be Sarasvàti Productions “Emerging Artist in Residence” this year! As a participant in ACI’s Youth Mentorship program, I will be working alongside Hope McIntyre over the course of the year on a number of different projects including Sarasvàti’s International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues. I also plan to organize a few different workshops for other emerging artist in the city who like me, want to be seen and want to be heard. It’s an honour to be working with Sarasvàti Productions once again and I cannot thank Hope and her team enough! It’s going to be a fantastic year.

I would like to leave you with a favorite TED talk of mine – Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability. I hope you find it as inspiring as I do.

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