Jail Baby: Biographies Continued

With less than two months until opening night, it’s time to get excited about the world premiere of Jail Baby!  As a continuation of last week’s entry, we present to you two very talented actors who will be featured in the production. Read on about these local talents and then get your advance tickets today!

Daina Leitold (compressed)Daina Leitold has played the stages of MTC, WJT, SIR, Theatre Calgary, The Winnipeg Folk Festival, The Winnipeg and Saskatoon International Children’s Festivals, as well as countless Fringe and other independent productions.  She has also performed in many productions for film and television. Daina is a proud founding member of The Talentless Lumps and not afraid to say she’s worked as a mime.

Megan McArton photoMegan McArton recently appeared in The Brink at Prairie Theatre Exchange. Prior to that she spent several years in sunny beautiful Thailand, teaching English and drama, and being a boarding mom at an International School. She is glad to be home and acting again, appearing as Mrs. Smithfield (among others) in the incredibly talented cast of Jail Baby this May!

Fundraising campaign update: Well folks, it’s the home stretch! Our fundraising campaign ends this weekend and we need your help to make our goal! Phone a friend and get them to commit too! Not only will you get some sweet swag when you donate, but you will also be contributing to a theatre project with strong community roots, which tackles increasingly relevant topics. There have been so many stories in the news recently about the justice system, and it is time that we hear the voices of those in the system! Help us realize these goals by showing support for Jail Baby today!

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Jail Baby: Biographies

After months of biting our nails in anticipation, Sarasvàti Productions is proud to finally announce our cast for Jail Baby!  We are excited to work with this amazing group of local actors for the world premiere of this new work! This stellar cast will be working with acclaimed director Ann Hodges, who started her involvement with Jail Baby when it was workshopped in 2011 for FemFest. Sarasvàti Productions is also excited to announce their incredible design team who will bring this play to life!

Jail Baby
by Hope McIntyre and Cairn Moore
with Nan Fewchuk and Marsha Knight

Directed by Ann Hodges

Set/Costume Design by Abigail Myers

Lighting Design by Dean Cowieson

Sound Design by Chris Coyne

Starring: Ashley Chartrand, Melanie Dean, Shannon Guile, Daina Leitold, Megan McArton, Tracey Nepinak and Cory Wojcik.

Let’s take a look at the two actresses who will be playing the lead role of Jasmine. These two superb actresses will be playing young and present day Jasmine (respectively), and we couldn’t be more excited to see them take to the stage this May!

Ashley Chartrand photoEmerging theatre artist Ashley Chartrand made her Sarasvàti debut in 2008 with our school tour of Ripple Effect. In 2009/2010 she performed in No Offense…, the no-holds-barred play about racism in schools created as part of FemFest 2009. She also appeared in our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues a coule years ago. Ashley is currently studying at the University of Winnipeg.

Melanie HeadshotIf you have seen some of our previous shows this past season, you will recognize Melanie Dean. Melanie was in FemFest 2012 favourite Empty, as well as in our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues just a few short weeks ago!  Melanie was born in The Pas MB, and is a member of Mathias Colomb Cree Nation (Pukatawagan, MB). Mel attained her BA at the University of Winnipeg (2002) majoring in Performing Arts and English Literature. Nowadays, she can be found dancing on the Powwow trail somewhere on Turtle Island with her two beautiful children Shanley and Jesse. Mel’s other credits include, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Doug Nepinak’s The Crisis in Oka Manitoba with Red Roots Theatre Company, Doug Nepinak’sThe Life of Ruth and BBQ, William Inge’s Picnic, Dale Lakevold’s and Darrell Racine’s Stretching Hide at the University of Brandon, Frederico Garcia Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, and MTC’s production of Tracy Letts August Osage County.

Fundraising campaign update: To date, we have raised $2,168.20 for our campaign, which will go directly towards Jail Baby. With just over a week left to donate, we need every one of our readers and friends to show your support! We only require 19 donations of $150 or more to reach our goal! So, phone a friend, and get them to donate as well!  Help us make our target today!

Be A Part of A Work of Art! (by Hope McIntyre)

Art can be created in the most amazing places!

Catherine McKenzie is an exceptional artist and she has also served time in a federal correctional institution, which is where she first started painting. A couple of years ago, the Winnipeg Free Press did a feature story on her art work and her inspiration. At the time of the interview, Cathy was incarcerated at the Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge. This is where I met her in January 2012 as part of our work creating Jail Baby. Although I had read the WFP article I didn’t connect the story to Cathy until on the second day of drama workshops she brought in her portfolio of artwork. I recognized the painting immediately. Fellow facilitators Nan Fewchuk, Cairn Moore and I were all impressed with both her art work and her. This was a young woman who had made really bad decisions early in her life and now was able to recognize the anger she had been carrying around. Since meeting her we continue to correspond and she is now working in the community and trying to help other youth.

Urban Indian by Catherine McKenzie

Urban Indian by Catherine McKenzie

In just two months’ time, Sarasvàti Productions will be producing the world premiere of Jail Baby. After meeting over a hundred incarcerated women in developing this project, interviewing family members, correctional employees and talking with victims’ organizations; I am extremely proud to share this play. I have become convinced that it is crucial that we initiate a dialogue about the justice system in Canada without further delay.

We need your help to realize this goal and to make Jail Baby accessible to the full community.

With just 12 days left to donate to our fundraising campaign, we are asking you to show your support for this incredible production. Every donation, even just $10, is an important contribution to realizing this ambitious project.  In order to continue the remarkable work that we do, and to see this important and timely play brought to the stage, we need the support of our friends and fans right now more than ever. Help us tell the stories that are not being told and receive a range of benefits – click here for full details!

IWW a Great Success!

Last week Sarasvàti Productions marked International Women’s Week with performances of our Cabaret of Monologues celebrating Wild Women across Winnipeg and the surrounding areas. The response has been very inspiring as audiences relished stories of women who truly represent and reflect the “wild” side in all of us!

We were invited to celebrate IWW with both the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba Womyn’s Centres celebrations. Both groups made for excellent audiences and we were thrilled to be performing for young feminists and up and coming community leaders.

We were also privileged to share the work with important community groups. We performed for the women at Sage House, a community health, resource and community outreach centre for women and transwomen in the North End. This performance was met with much enthusiasm from the audience, who may not otherwise be able to attend a professional theatre performance. There were hoots, hollers and even some tears. Later in the week, we performed at a fundraiser for Genesis House, a women’s shelter serving the Winkler and Morden area of Manitoba. The event, with keynote speaker former MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis was a great way for us to bring the monologues to our rural fans and friends, all while supporting a great organization. We appreciated their heartfelt standing ovation.

photos by Janet Shum

photos by Janet Shum

As part of our goal to bring theatre to the community we also performed free sneak-peek shows at both Portage Place and the Gallery at Manitoba Hydro Place. These were both great opportunities for folks “on the go” to catch a monologue or two and really soak up the power of live theatre!

The big show, of course, was on International Women’s Day at the Gallery at Manitoba Hydro Place. People lined up in droves to be able to see this special one night only engagement of the Cabaret of Monologues. We were literally bursting at the seams with fans and friends! The audience responded enthusiastically to the show! Special thanks to the Buffalo Gals Drumming group and to artist Anna-Celestrya Carr who rounded out the evening with their powerful messages.

Once again, thank you to everyone who made last week’s monologues a great success! We look forward to seeing you in years to come. And stay tuned for even more “wild” women when Jail Baby makes its world premiere in May!

Happy IWW 2013!

Tomorrow, alongside millions all over the world, Sarasvàti Productions will be celebrating International Women’s Day with our annual Cabaret of Monologues. We have already performed sneak-peeks of the show to community groups in Winnipeg and the surrounding areas! The monologues have been received very well, and we are exciting to end this wonderful week with a bang with our full show line-up tomorrow.

Jane Burpee, Cherrel Holder, Danielle Savage

photos by Janet Shum

One of our favourite things about performing the Cabaret of Monologues each year, as opposed to a full-length play, is that we have the incredible opportunity and privilege to celebrate many women’s voices and stories. Not only that, but because of the diversity in our monologues, we are also able to work with so many different actors, and to showcase their diversity as well.

This has allowed us to create a line-up of monologues that is just as varied as the actors involved! For example, Jane Burpee will be playing the role Rita, an older woman who sells alcohol to minors in Hannah Foulger’s Booze Hound. Up and coming actor Cherrel Holder will play Bilguisa Simpore, a Nigerian soccer superstar who faces a gender challenge in Donna-Michelle St. Bernard’s Bilguisa Speaks Up. Finally, Danielle Savage will play an extremely sleep deprived new mom on her first night away from her baby in Nicolle Nattrass’s Mama’s Night Out. These three monologues alone show that there is a need to tell different stories, because women come from all different walks of life and have so many different stories to tell!

Not only is it a great thing to see and hear the stories of all of these women, but it is also exciting to see the community at large gather together to celebrate these women, and women across the globe. We have been talking to folks all over the place – from just down the street in the North End to our friends in Winkler, Manitoba. Though organizations and individuals may differ in objectives or geography, one thing is clear: everyone everywhere is hungry for more stories about women, by women, for everyone! We are proud to be a part of a supportive community that embraces the voices of these women, no matter how wild they may be!

Tomorrow is the big day! The full show line-up will be performed for one night only at the Gallery at Manitoba Hydro Place (360 Portage Avenue). Plus we are excited to have the Men’s Banner Project by Anna-Celestra Carr present and Buffalo Gals Drumming Group to start off the evening! We are almost sold out so be sure to get your tickets from www.sarasvati.ca or by calling 204-586-2236!

Happy International Women’s Week and Happy (early) International Women’s Day to all!