Jail Baby A Resounding Success!

On behalf of the staff, cast and crew, we would like to thank everyone for coming out and supporting the world premiere of Jail Baby. Phew! What a ride it’s been! I remember first reading the script months ago and thinking, “Wow, this is going to be big. This is going to have an impact.” Everyone I have spoken with who has seen the show has been in complete awe of its honesty, its intensity and its story. The play inspired dialogue that has continued well past the post-show panels, car rides and home and has now become part of the public discussion. Now that I have finished my year-long position with Sarasvàti Productions, I can proudly say that I have been a part of a company that inspired positive social change, all while maintaining artistic excellence and performing some kick-ass theatre! I am looking forward to future events and will be sitting in the audience with a giant smile on my face!
–Tali Sitschkar

Kangaroo Court small

We are pleased to present one last community performance tonight, May 30, at the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre. Tea & Bannock with drumming by Lorne Redsky and dancing by Shanley Spence will take place when the doors open at 6:30pm and then Jail Baby will take the stage at 8pm. Tickets are just $5!

Here are just a few of the responses we’ve received thus far from audiences and supporters:

Barbara Toews – Provincial Council of Women
Jail Baby is transformational theatre at its best. It’s a tough story, but it was told with sensitivity and just enough humour to give the audience a break from the reality of the difficult circumstances the women in the play found themselves in. Jail Baby draws audience members into that environment for 90 minutes. It would be wonderful if every Canadian could have this experience. Perhaps if our Minister of Public Security, Vic Toews, understood the tragedy of the lives of the women portrayed in this play, he would invest money into programs that would help change lives through education and employment and not look to more jails as the answer!

Judy Wasylycia-Leis – former Member of Parliament
Jail Baby is theatre at its finest. It entertains, educates and challenges. It is filled with edge-of-the-seat suspense, a rich script made more powerful by the authenticity of the voices, and thought-provoking drama that forces a rethinking on every aspect of our corrections system from the need to shackle women while giving birth in prison to the root causes of disproportionate incarceration among aboriginal women. Not since Agnes McPhail, the first woman MP in Canada, stood in the House of Commons brandishing a whip used against female inmates, has anything challenged our treatment of women in Canadian Corrections like Jail Baby.

Susan Horodyska – Women’s Enterprise Centre
Sarasvàti Productions brings deeply rooted contemporary issues to the stage with Jail Baby. Hard realities are delivered with complexity and satire mixed with the hope of healing. The play invites and inspires awareness, dialogue and action about important issues facing all of us today, locally and across Turtle Island/Canada.

In Your Own Words – Responses to Jail Baby

What a week it’s been!  Last Thursday we opened our new play Jail Baby to a very enthusiastic and supportive audience. The packed house was brought to tears and laughter, with lots of folks attending the opening night reception not only to celebrate the world premiere, but also to discuss the issues brought up during the performance. Over the long weekend momentum continued, and despite the heavy rain, our friends and fans came out and participated in our post-show panels, which have been a great hit! We have just four shows left of this incredible play and we hope you can make it out!

Take a look at what some of the audience members had to say after the opening night show! Tickets are still available for tonight and this weekend! Please visit http://www.sarasvati.ca or call 204-586-2236 to book!

In addition, below the cut you’ll find some reviews of the show from our colleagues across Winnipeg. What we’ve learned over the course of the week is that everyone agrees that this play could not have come at a better time – now more than ever we need to hear the voices of women in the justice system and to bring the issues facing them to the forefront of public discussion.

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Jail Baby Opens TONIGHT!

We are just hours away from the world premiere of Jail Baby and we couldn’t be more excited! After several years of development, research and interviews, the play that takes an honest and compassionate look at the issues facing criminalized women has finally arrived.

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you already know about all of the great aspects of this production that make it a must-see. In case you haven’t been keeping up, or if you need a refresher, here are some important figures you should know:

–          5 Winnipeg lawyers participating in cameos in the play.

–          11 opportunities to see the play – come as many times as you’d like!

–          $18 is the cost of one adult ticket (price drops to $12 for students and seniors). That’s about as much as an IMAX-3D movie ticket; but nothing is more “3D” or more exciting than live theatre! We even have two Pay What You Can matinees (May 19/26) if that works for you!

–          19 justice and community organizations participating in after-show panels, discussing topics related to the play such as safety and security, the call for more prisons and connections between foster care and crime.

–          63 incarcerated or recently released women were part of the play’s creation. Women were interviewed, participated in drama workshops and storytelling sessions allowing them to be creative and resulting in an authentic and compelling play.

(photos by Janet Shum)

We are very overwhelmed and honoured to be receiving so much hype and support around this production – and it hasn’t even opened yet! Here is just a snippet of some of the press we have received thus far.

At the Edge of Canada: Indigenous Research – “Jail Baby: Stories about children born in prison

Canstar Community News Sou’Wester – “Play to portray serious issue with a dream of change

Community News Commons – “Jail Baby tackles issues of crime, poverty and motherhood on stage

CBC Scene – “New play based on real stories of incarcerated women

Canstar Community News The Times – “Jail Baby an emotional roller-coaster for actor

Breakfast Television – Interview with Hope McIntyre and Tracy Booth

Winnipeg Free Press – “Winnipeg play shines light into cells of women awaiting trial

Tickets are still available but are going fast! To book either visit www.sarasvati.ca or call 204-586-2236!

‘Jail Baby’ panels tackle crime and prevention!

Earlier this week we announced the roster of Winnipeg lawyers who will be participating in Jail Baby in special cameos. We are also excited to announce the incredible list of professionals, experts and individuals who will be participating on panels throughout the run of the show!

We have been fortunate enough to work with amazing and dedicated members of the justice community, from lawyers and judges to community outreach personnel, throughout the course of development for Jail Baby. Their expertise and our mutual desire to have these issues brought to the forefront of public discussion are the reason that Jail Baby has garnered such attention and praise.

We are particularly excited to have such a variety of panelists featured throughout the run of the show. We believe we have created a line-up of experts that truly reflect the wide variety of viewpoints on issues such as access to Aboriginal justice, the connections between incarceration, the effects of incarceration on children and how we find the balance between safety and justice in Canada.

Panels will take place almost immediately after each performance (9:15pm May 17-25, 3:15pm May 19). Tickets are still available for most shows – though they are going fast! Visit www.sarasvati.ca or call 204-586-2236 for yours today!

For the full list of panelists and topics covered, read on!

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Winnipeg lawyers take to the stage!

As you may already know, Sarasvàti Productions is set to premiere the play Jail Baby in just over a week! This timely and compelling play takes a look at the harsh lives of incarcerated women and seeks to dismantle the myths and stereotypes that permeate public discussions.

You may also already know that Jail Baby, much like the other work that Sarasvàti Productions has produced or written, is highly steeped in community involvement. This play could not have come to be if it wasn’t for the 60+ incarcerated and recently released women who shared their stories in drama sessions or interviews, along with corrections workers, mediation services, victims groups and families of criminalized women.

The play started in the community and we are excited to maintain this connection. Stay tuned for details on post-show panels with community members, criminalized women and experts. In the meantime, we are excited to announce that we have five Winnipeg lawyers doing cameos in the show! Playing a parodied version of a dithering old judge, these lawyers will be featured in the Kangaroo Court scene – one of a few scenes which provide comedic relief in an otherwise deeply emotional story.

Saul Simmonds is a founding partner of Gindin Wolson Simmonds Roitenberg and has been practicing criminal law since 1980. He has lectured on gang violence; the role of DNA in the courts; disclosure; impaired driving; wiretaps, and other topics of concern in criminal defense law. Aside from past appearances in the MTC lawyer’s show, Saul is also an avid triathlete.

Rachel Margolis is a partner at Aikins Law. She practices in the areas of corporate and commercial law, representing both small and large businesses alike; this includes mergers and acquisitions, commercial real estate and corporate finance. She has previously been involved with the Food Banks of Canada (serving on their board of directors) and writes for www.goldengirlfinance.com.

Bonnie Gembey is a Winnipeg lawyer practicing at Gembey Law Office. Working primarily in the area of criminal defense, throughout her 12+ year career she has also worked with family and child protection defense law. As the sole practitioner at her firm, Bonnie is committed to working toward improvements in the justice system, including continuing development of the Mental Health Courts, the development of and FASD diversion court in Manitoba and advocating for prisoner’s rights.

Amanda Sansregret is a criminal defense lawyer for Legal Aid Manitoba. Amanda has previously worked on such landmark cases involving HIV disclosure and condom usage and those involving chronic repeat offers. Most recently, Amanda has participated on a panel alongside Elizabeth Fry Society of Manitoba Executive Director Tracy Booth and Liberal Party of Manitoba leader Dr. Jon Gerard, exploring the link between youth in foster care and later involvement with the criminal justice system. She is also the chair of the St. Norbert Behavioural Health Foundation.

Loretta Ross is a member of the Hollow Water First Nation in Manitoba and obtained her law degree from Queen’s University. Loretta has been a practicing lawyer for over 20 years and has served as legal counsel to numerous First Nation governments and organizations including the Assembly of First Nations and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.  Loretta’s legal practice has ranged from child and family matters, trust and corporate law as well as land claims. In her spare time, Loretta loves to curl, golf and watch her children participate in their extra-curricular activities.

With just over a week until opening night, it’s time you purchased your tickets!

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Go behind the scenes of Jail Baby

For the past few months, we have had Heba Abdel-hamid, a Masters student at the University of Manitoba, working behind the scenes for us here at Sarasvàti Productions. Completing her practicum in the faculty of Peace and Conflict studies, Heba has been our community outreach liaison for our new play Jail Baby (premiering in just a couple of weeks). Recently, Heba interviewed some of the Jail Baby team to learn more about what it’s like to work on a project of such importance. She’s even asked some of your questions! Read on to learn more about a play that is generating lots of great buzz!

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We are officially less than three weeks away from our world premiere of Jail Baby! Earlier this week the cast and crew met for the first time! Deep in the recesses of the University of Winnipeg Asper Centre for Theatre and Film, we did our first table read and looked at designs of the set and costumes!

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After featuring the actors’ biographies, we decided to ask them some specific questions so audiences can get to know them better. It’s clear that our cast is not only talented, but insightful and passionate about the play!

Is there an actor you would like to get to know more, or feel a connection with? We look forward to hearing your responses! Read below the cut to learn about these talented actors!

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