Bake-Off Participants Announced!

The playwrights competing in our second annual Bake-Off have been selected! We received several applications and are extremely pleased with the level of talent that will be featured this year! The playwrights will be given their ingredients on August 31st and will have eight hours to whip up a scene incorporating the elements. A reading of each piece will be presented at FemFest on Monday, September 16th at 7 p.m. in front of an audience who will select the winner. The prizeis the opportunity  to develop their Bake-Off script into a full production for next year’s FemFest!

Last year, Jessy Ardern participated in the first Bake-Off as an emerging playwright and had the audience in stitches with her script. This year, her play Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests will received its world premiere at FemFest and is sure to be a crowd favourite! Jessy is also part of the ‘Group of Seven’ an initiative by a consortium of Winnipeg theatres highlighting seven local female playwrights being produced in Winnipeg’s upcoming season. What an amazing year to have so many local works, let alone work by women! Stay tuned for more information and works by Ginny Collins, Trish Cooper, Carolyn Gray, Cairn Moore, Debbie Patterson and Alix Sobler.

Jessy Ardern

Jessy Ardern

Now, here’s a chance to get to know this year’s Bake-Off participants:

Megan Andres
Megan Andres is a graduate of the U of M Theatre Program. Select credits include: As Director: Antipode, Departures and Arrivals (BHTC), Lawrence and Holloman (PTE-Apprentice Director). As Actor: The Darling Family, Catching Shadows (Broken Still Productions), Doubt; A Parable, The Fighting Days (Tara Players).

Rebecca Gibson

Rebecca Gibson’s writing credits include the award-winning series Tipi Tales, the television special Rising Star, the drama H&G, and several plays. Rebecca is also an actor, director, and producer. Acting credits include her award-winning role in the film that launched The Murdoch Mysteries, the film We Were Children, and the film American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky.

Daina Leitold

Daina is an accomplished actor, director, mime and drama educator. Playwriting is her most recent theatrical endeavour. As an actor she has appeared on the stages of Sarasvàti, RMTC, SJT, SIR and Theatre Calgary. She has also performed in many productions for film and television.

Sally Stubbs

Sally, an award-winning Vancouver playwright and educator, also directs, dramaturges, and performs. She has been playwright-in-residence at the Firehall Arts Centre, Touchstone Theatre, the Playwrights Theatre Centre Colony, Nightwood Theatre’s Groundswell Festival, and the University of Lethbridge. Sally’s scripts have been described as fierce, bold, surprising, audaciously theatrical, and darkly humorous. They include: Centurions; Kid Gloves; Herr Beckman’s People; Wreckage; Spinning You Home; and She’ll to the Wars.

Priscilla Yakielashek

Priscilla is a Manitoban playwright, actor, producer and director. She received her BA Honours at the University of Winnipeg. In October 2012, she graduated from the University of Alberta with an MFA in Theatre Practice, specializing in Playwriting. Select plays include: Life Without Secrets; Felix and Max; The House Left Standing; Organ; and German Silver. She is a recipient of several scholarships and bursaries—a testament to her talent.

Season Launch a Great Success!

We are thrilled to announce that our season launch on Tuesday morning was a great success! We had a fabulous turnout and were pleased to be joined by so many fans, supporters, actors, playwrights, and members of the media in launching our 2013-2014 season: Revelation and Revolution. Our Artistic Director, Hope McIntyre, was able to share our exciting upcoming productions, events, and projects that this season has in store. Recognition was also given to our season funders the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Winnipeg Arts Council and the Winnipeg Foundation.

There is already a bunch of buzz surrounding the launch and our upcoming projects! Andrea Ratuski of CBC Scene wrote a great piece featuring our launch and our season.

Our Artistic Director, Hope McIntyre, and FemFest Associate Producer, Cairn Moore, also appeared on CTV Morning Live to talk about FemFest and our upcoming season. Check out the segment here:

As it does every year, FemFest will be kicking off our season this year on September 14th. The crowd was treated to an excerpt from Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests by Jessy Ardern performed by David Fox and Brittany Thiessen, which had everyone in stitches. Marie Christian, coordinator with VOICES: Manitoba Youth In Care Network, spoke about the inspiring progress that our workshops with youth in care have yielded for our forum theatre piece, Giving Voice . Janet Taylor, the Chair of our Fundraising and Development Committee announced our third run of So You Think You Can Act , our fun fundraiser scheduled for February 19th. Our Cabaret of Monologues to celebrate International Women’s Week will run in various venues from March 3-9, 2014 under the title Rise Up!  Finally, the audience also got a teaser from our spring production of Fefu and Her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes with a reading performed by Melanie Dean and Nan Fewchuk.

Our guests also enjoyed our display of paper bag art and got to indulge in some delicious treats provided by Cake-ology and Starbucks!

If you weren’t able to come, you can find all the information about our upcoming season right here and by viewing the slideshow below!

Thank you to everyone who came and supported us!

More Fabulous FemFest Talent!

With FemFest rehearsals in full swing, we wanted to introduce you to more of the talent you’ll be seeing on stage in just a few short weeks. Here are more interesting answers to our artist questionnaire! Feel free to also check out our first artist introductions from July 18th.

Grant Burr

Grant Burr

Grant Burr is an honours acting graduate of the University of Winnipeg theatre program. He is delighted to make his first appearance at FemFest in Flood Control. Most recently Burr appeared in Thom Pain (based on nothing) at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.

What is your favourite play? That’s hard…I’ve always loved The Importance of Being Earnest.

What is your favourite word? “Chookas”. My favorite word from the world of Australian theatre.

If you had one wish, what would it be? For you to enjoy the show!Fun Fact: Grant and his wife moved to China for a year and lived in Australia with their two boys while his wife was on a teaching exchange.

Colin Connor

Colin Connor

Colin Connor is a young performer who has worked with Sarasvàti before and will be appearing in the hilarious Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests at FemFest. Colin recently gave a gut-busting performance in The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine at this year’s Edmonton Fringe Festival, also in last year’s Winnipeg Fringe.

What is your favourite play? The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine, The Pitchfork Disney, Grim and Fisher

What is your favourite word? Splendid or Rhubarb

If you had one wish, what would it be? To spend the rest of my days in Cagliari (Italy)

Fun Fact: Colin collects bowties and tiki mugs

Shanley Scarsbrook Jardine

Shanley Scarsbrook Jardine

Shanley Scarsbrook Jardine is a wife, mother, performer and artist with many talents. Shanley is excited to highlight the similarities and differences between two mothers of different socioeconomic backgrounds in here performance in The Exchange at FemFest.

What is your favorite play: Too many to choose from!

What is your favourite word? Yes!

If you had one wish, what would it be? That my children grow up to be happy, strong, capable individuals.

Fun Fact: Shanley loves to garden.

Renée Vandale

Renée Vandale

Renée Vandale is a well renowned professional dancer and choreographer in Winnipeg. Renée will be captivating FemFest audiences when she dances as one of the acts for the closing cabaret.

What is your main occupation?  I work full time as an Optician, semi full as a Dance Artist, and casually as a Makeup Artist. I’m kind of multitasked kind of lady.

What do you want audiences to take away after viewing your work?  I want the audience to walk away with a mindful of satisfaction, good memories, and a desire for more.

What area of Winnipeg are you from? I’m mostly from St.Vital, but will be moving into Osborne Village next week. (Hopefully!)

Elena Anciro

Elena Anciro

Elena Anciro is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film. Now a Sarasvàti veteran, her credits include: A Kick in the Head (Director, FemFest 2006), Generation Nexxt (FemFest 2010), Empty (FemFest 2012) and the International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues (2011 – 2013). This year you can catch her in Flood Control!

What is your favourite play? That’s a really tough question, but I can say that the first play I read that really affected me emotionally was Oedipus Rex.

What is your main occupation? Curriculum Developer at Career Trek, Inc.

If you had one wish, what would it be? For continued good health!

Former ‘Pegger Showcased at FemFest

We are very excited to include pomme is french for apple in the FemFest line-up. Created and performed by liza paul and bahia watson, it was a critic’s pick, patron pick and best of fringe at the Toronto Fringe Festival. pomme is french for apple is a vaudevillian and distinctly west indian exploration of the absurdity of women’s lives in settings diverse as the islands, downtown toronto, southeast london, and the too-tight crotch of the pants. What more could you ask for? Plus presenting the show means a chance for artist bahia watson to return to Winnipeg!

bahia watson

bahia watson

“i left winnipeg a few years ago to escape the winter and to chase my dreams. working primarily in the toronto theatre scene means that most of the people who grew up with me and raised me haven’t been able to see what it is that i do. it thrills me to be able to return to my beloved hometown to share pomme is french for apple with everyone who knew me first. as a dancer, the caribbean communities of winnipeg were my first audiences. they supported, encouraged and inspired me deeply. we are grateful to femfest for inviting us and allowing us to add a likkle something to di pot.

ya ready, pegcity? let’s get into it. xo”

– bahia watson, co-creator of pomme is french for apple


Check out the pomme website for more videos and pomme news. There are just three performances of the show at FemFest so get your tickets early!

FemFest Cabarets Feature an Array of Talent!

It has become a tradition that each year FemFest will open and close with a cabaret celebrating female artists from multiple disciplines. These are amazing evenings featuring performers, dancers, visual artists, comedians and film-makers. FemFest 2013 will not disappoint. We have put together a unique line-up of artists to showcase to launch the festival on September 14th and to ceremoniously end the festival on September 21st.

Here is the exciting line-up for both but stay tuned for more details and news!

Opening Cabaret and Reception – Saturday, September 14, 7 p.m.

Host: Susan Tymofichuk (CTV)

  • visual art by MAWA artists
  • The Exchange a short play by Katherine Koller
  • Accalia Robertson – tribal dance
  • Samantha Halas – contortionist
  • Melanie Dahling – comedian
  • Acquetore: Swan Doll – devised theatre by Devan Gingrich, Megan Sekiya and Brittany Thiessen
  • Van Kunder – music
  • The Craftastics: Agents for Social Change by Jennie O and Valley Gardens Middle School Grrlz Club – Art Installation in lobby and Trading Card Deck – Developed through the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Community WITH ART Program
  • Plus teasers from other FemFest shows


Closing Cabaret and Reception – Saturday, September 21, 9 p.m.

Host: Kerri Salki (Clear FM)

  • visual art by MAWA artists
  • Adi Sara Kreindler – music
  • Heather Witherden – comedian
  • Renée Vandale – dance
  • Teresa-Lee Cooke – prose writing
  • Danishka Esterhazy – short film “Fallen”