Local Celebrities Ham it Up!

Former Bombers, morning show hosts, radio personalities, and a comedian!? We’ve got it all at this year’s 3rd annual So You Think You Can Act fundraising event! Join us on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 as local celebrities are paired up with theatre actors to test our their acting chops in front of a panel of judges – much like your favourite reality television competition shows! The judges will provide insightful feedback, positive reinforcement, and side-splitting commentary. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better then this, we let the audience take matters into their own hands and let YOU choose the winner! Today, we are pleased to announce our celebrities and judges. We would also like to welcome back the hilarious Ace Burpee to the stage! Ace was the inaugural event winner back in 2012 and will be hosting this year’s event. For a list of complete bios, please click here.


THE EMCEE: Ace Burpee – Host of the Ace Burpee Show with Chrissy Troy on 103.1 Virgin Radio

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THE JUDGES: Sharon Bajer (Actress, Playwright, and Director), Ardith Boxall (Artistic Director of Theatre Projects Manitoba) and Kevin Klassen (Artistic Co-Chair of Shakespeare in the Ruins)

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  • Alison Gillmor – Winnipeg Free Press and CBC radio
  • Jim Ingebrigtsen – TV Producer/Host
  • Obby Khan – Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber
  • Eva Kovacs – Global Morning News
  • Kris Laudien – CTV Morning Live anchor
  • Big Daddy Tazz – Comedian
  • Troy Westwood – Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber

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Get your tickets now before it’s too late! Just $25 gets you into the show as well as the after-show wine reception. All proceeds go to Sarasvàti Productions. Tickets can be purchased online from our website or from our office by calling (204) 586-2236. Don’t forget, tickets to So You Think You Can Act make a fabulous holiday gift for that hard to buy for person on your list!

We hope you’ll help support Sarasvàti Productions and join us for a fun filled evening on Feburary 19th at the Gas Station Arts Centre. Who do you hope will take home the grand prize?

Behind the Scenes of Fefu: Meet the Directors!

This spring challenge your preconceptions of life with Fefu and Her Friends! With all the snow, icy roads, and extra driving time added to our days, it’s hard to imagine what spring will look like. One thing we know for sure is that our directors are doing a fantastic job realizing their exciting vision for a truly unique show. Today, we wanted to introduce you to two fabulous members of our creative team. Our very own Artistic Director Hope McIntyre will be directing Fefu and Her Friends. We are also pleased to welcome Rachel Smith on board as Assistant Director. As a new director in Winnipeg, Rachel will be working closely with Hope as part of our on-going mentorship program and desire to provide emerging artists with professional opportunities. Keep reading to find out more.

myphotoHope McIntyre – Director

Hope McIntyre has a BFA (University of Saskatchewan) and an MFA in directing (University of Victoria). She also completed an apprenticeship in England. Hope is in her fourteenth year as Artistic Director of Sarasvàti Productions. She is a published playwright, and has received awards and productions for her scripts across Canada, the U.S., and Australia. Jail Baby (co-written with Cairn Moore) premiered in May 2013 and has been published by Scirocco Drama. EDEN premiered in May 2012 and Empty premiered at FemFest 2012. Her directing credits include:  Grace and After (Alumnae Theatre), Drama At Inish (Toronto Irish Players), A Streetcar Named Desire (Rubber Gun Productions), Risk Everything and Problem Child (venus.calm), Revisioning (Short Pencil Productions), Bush-Ladies (Theatre by the River), Vinegar Tom and Ghost Sonata (University of Winnipeg) and dozens of productions for Sarasvàti Productions. In 2006 Hope was awarded the YWCA Women of Distinction Award and in 2008 won the Bra D’Or Award for supporting women playwrights through her work on FemFest. She currently teaches at the University of Winnipeg and has previously taught at Mount Allison University, Brandon University and University of Manitoba. She is a former President of the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Why did you choose Fefu and Her Friends? Why are you producing it now?
I first encountered this play and the fabulous Maria Irene Fornes while doing my undergrad years ago. I was immediately drawn to her writing. I wanted to direct Fefu for my masters thesis back in 1996 but the committee felt it was too dated. I think in fact they did not have anyone with the knowledge of the style able to properly oversee the production as an advisor. It is a complex and layered text presented in a unique style and form. I’ve waited for a time when I felt ready as an artist to tackle the piece and for Sarasvàti to have the capacity to contract the seasoned actors we would require. Hiring eight women to perform the piece is a budget challenge but also an amazing chance to see some of Winnipeg’s strongest female performers on stage. I also feel that the themes of oppression and the exploration of how we attempt to repress our own feeling of discomfort echo much of what is happening in the world today. We do not have to look too far for examples of how figures of authority continue to dictate our behaviour and what is or is not appropriate. I am very excited to finally be working on a show that I started researching almost twenty years ago!

Rachel Elizabeth Smith - HeadshotRachel Smith – Assistant Director

Rachel Smith has just returned to Winnipeg after completing her MA in Theatre and Performance at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. She is a former student of the University of Winnipeg, having completed a BA Honours in Theatre and Film. This is her second time Assistant Directing, having previously worked on Way to Heaven at the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre. Rachel is very excited to be working on Fefu and Her Friends.

What excites you the most about this project?
What most excites me about working on Fefu and Her Friends is that it is a site specific performance. I have recently done a fair amount research surrounding site specific work and am very excited to have been given the opportunity to be involved with one.

In addition to the setting of the performance, I am looking forward the second act of the play. During Act Two, there will be four scenes taking place at the same time in different rooms of the house. This is a unique and challenging aspect of the play that I am eager to contribute to and learn from.

Fefu and Her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes will run from May 22nd – June 1st, 2014 at Ralph Connor House (University Women’s Club of Winnipeg, 54 West Gate). Stay tuned as we announce our cast and members of our production team over the next few weeks!

Transforming Tomorrow – Help us make a difference!

“I laughed so hard my face hurt!” This is just one of the comments from the sold out crowd at our recent Rumor’s Comedy Fundraiser. A huge thank you to all of our supporters for coming out, to our amazing board for their work and to the Fundraising and Development Committee who coordinated it all. We know there is fundraising fatigue out there. It’s a tricky business trying to bring in the funds necessary to support the arts. The question is often raised why the arts can’t support themselves. From our perspective it is the nature of the type of art we create. It is community based, our goal is to make it accessible to all and it often includes working with marginalized groups who do not have the funds to cover the costs. The power of the work we do is clear to those who see it in action. More broadly as we joined our colleagues for Arts Day at City Hall on November 12th, what became clear is that the arts are an important investment not just due to their community building potential but because of their strong economic impact. With 25,000 Winnipegers employed in the industry and 1 billion in gross domestic product, we contribute a huge amount to the local economy and for each dollar spent on the arts it comes back several times over in benefits to other local businesses.

So, although we love creating great art and believe in the impact of the work, we also know we cannot do it alone. There are lots of ways you can get involved as volunteers and as audience. We are about to announce our So You Think You Can Act line-up and tickets for this fundraiser are already available. It is always a great time as you watch local celebrities try their hand at acting. As the holidays approach consider tickets to this amazing night out as a gift for friends or family. As well, the end of November is the deadline for us to receive matching funds for donations to our endowment. Your contribution to the endowment fund will result in double the value and provides you with a charitable tax receipt before the end of tax year.

Our endowment fund is held at The Winnipeg Foundation and is another great way to nurture growth in your community and maximize available funding. Long term financial stability is essential to achieving our mandate. By making a donation to our endowment fund, you will help us to continue creating and producing important, powerful works. In the past, interest from the endowment fund has supported our annual FemFest and unique projects like Jail Baby. One project we are extremely excited about is Giving Voice, our latest youth-based piece created by and about youth in care. This piece will tour to Manitoba high schools in the fall of 2014 in order to increase understanding of what youth in foster care and group homes undergo. Community support has allowed us to workshop with over 30 youth in care and share the work with test schools. We need your help to make the tour accessible to all youth!

Don’t forget that a donor’s gift may be doubled and the next deadline for the federal matching program is November 30th. If you are considering a gift to the company now is the time! Click here and help us make a difference in our community and transform lives through the power of theatre.

Sneak Peek at International Women’s Week!

Teen truckers, gender therapy, white girl problems from the perspective of a mixed-race girl and Judith Thompson! This March will mark Sarasvati Productions’ 10th Cabaret of Monologues in celebration of International Women’s Week. This year’s theme is Rise Up, which means that stories will focus on young women, the next generation of subversion, new forms of advocacy and ways young women tackle adversity! We are excited to offer a diverse line-up of monologues by Canadian playwrights, performed by a talented local cast. We love presenting this unique event as it gives voice to women of all backgrounds and covers topics from the hilarious to the inspiring. Today, we offer you a sneak peek into some of the pieces we will be featuring as part of our line-up! Keep reading to find out more.

Something’s Not Right by Wren Hookey – Our mothers raised us with the best intentions, but somehow, it’s just not really working out how everyone thought it would. Instead of being strong and confident, we’ve turned out insecure and confused. How many therapy sessions is this going to take?

Teen Trucker by Sara Arenson – Ever since she was young, 19-year old Genevieve knew what she wanted to be. This piece explores her dream career as a long-haul truck driver in the face of social expectation and family struggle.

Hide Away by Kendra Jones – Katie, a 23 year old prostitute, finds herself on the run hiding from local police. She finds a safe place and confides in a friend about the events that ultimately drove her to the streets.

#White Girl Problems by Frances Koncan – A stream–‐of–‐consciousness rant by a Mixed–‐race girl growing up in a largely Caucasian world.

Plus new pieces by the amazing Judith Thompson, teen writers Hannah Burns and Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill, and a special slam poetry performance by Ali Tataryn!

Getting excited? Stay tuned for details on the remaining three pieces! Join our mailing list, “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter to stay up to date as we announce more information over the coming weeks!