Giving Voice and Changing Lives

There were tears, cheers of support, inspiring stories, insightful responses, group hugs, so many transformative moments, dancing and a lot of laughter (especially in the van during road trips)! This morning the Giving Voice team took their final bow at Gimli High School. They have performed this inspirational show written collaboratively by youth in and from care a total of 33 times to over 4,200 youth, teachers, CFS workers and members of the general public. They have traveled over 3,186 km to 16 different cities and towns around Manitoba. The responses to the show have been overwhelmingly positive. See below to read a select few for yourself:

“The performance was great. It was a real eye opener to our students to what some people’s life situations actually involve. Our students loved the opportunity to get up on stage in their attempts to make things better for the main characters, and the actors were amazing in welcoming our students to the stage. A great event for any school, as we all have students in care, and we all need to show a caring side to any new students in our buildings.” – Principal in Prairie Rose School Division

“The theme of the play was fantastic. I didn’t expect that they would use social media to tell a story about teens in foster care. It was wonderful how they told a heavy topic in a manner that captured all of our attention. I was truly touched by the play.” – Student in Pembina Trails School Division

“Giving Voice was one of the most powerful high school matinees I have ever attended. To capture the attention of 120+ students is not an easy task but to also inspire them and then encourage them to participate in a meaningful way was amazing to view. The content was thoughtfully chosen, to illustrate the lives of those in care….All too often students feel/think that material provided to them (such as live theatre, videos, texts) is not relevant or applicable to their lives. Giving Voice illuminated aspects of the Child Foster System for all to understand but in a way that truly gave voice to those so often under-represented. Bravo to Sarasvàti for once again providing a thought provoking, engaging theatre experience.” – Teacher in Seven Oaks School Division

“The forum style of presentation gave students an opportunity to really get involved in the issue of kids in care. The way in which students and their ideas were welcomed by the cast encouraged many of our students to go onstage and become part of the scenes, and play a role in making a difference. Sarasvati Productions always leave a lasting impression!” – Teacher in River East Transcona School Division

 

 

“What impressed me the most was how realistic the play was written.” – Student in River East Transcona School Division

“Theatre in general and Forum Theatre in particular has the power to get people talking about issues that all too often remain untouched. Watching my grade 9-12 students get up and engage in multiple interventions, digging and exploring the topic of foster care from a number of perspectives, reminded me why it is SO vital that the Arts/Dramatic Arts are a part of the learning that each and every student takes on in schools daily.” – Teacher in Hanover School Division

“Absolutely brilliant. It was so moving and insightful. My students enjoyed it THOROUGHLY.” – Teacher in Pembina Trails School Division

 

Thank you so much for all of those who attended shows at their school, community groups or the free show at the Winnipeg Public Library! Thank you as well to VOICES: Manitoba’s Youth in Care Network, Manitoba Community Services Council Inc, The Winnipeg Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Winnipeg Arts Council, The General Child and Family Services Authority, Manitoba Teachers’ Society, and Children and Youth Opportunities.

 

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Ready, Set, Register!

Everything you ever needed to know to get ahead as an artist will be covered in our exciting workshop series! After a great first installment of our monthly event, Work It Night on November 17th, we’re eager to reveal what other great events we have planned for emerging artists! Back in September we conducted a survey of emerging artists to ask what was needed and wanted. We received great responses that prompted us to create Work It Nights in partnership with ACI Manitoba, and these four workshops:

First up is…

The Wonderful World of Grants 101
Grant Writing Workshop

Facilitated by Martine Friesen and Dominic Lloyd
Saturday, December 13th 1pm to 2:30pm
University of Winnipeg Asper Centre for Theatre & Film
Cost: FREE!
Deadline to register is December 5th

WAC & MAC logoEveryone talks about grants, but who exactly are they for? Are you eligible? How do you apply for them? Martine Friesen from Manitoba Arts Council and Dominic Lloyd from Winnipeg Arts Council are here to help. They will talk about the various grant programs each of their organizations offers, who is eligible and how you apply for them, particularly as an emerging artist. This workshop is free, however you are required to register by December 5th.

 

After a bit of a break for the holidays, we kick the New Year off with…

 

How to Get Your Foot in the Door
Submissions Workshop with Sharon Bajer

Tuesday, January 27th 4:30pm to 6:30pm
Manitoba Association of Playwright’s Rory Runnells Studio at 504-100 Arthur Street (Artspace)
Cost: $15
Deadline to register and pay is January 13th

Sharon Bajer

Sharon Bajer

Like it or not, as a theatre artist you will be sending out a lot of submissions. Make sure your cover letters, resumes, headshots, and scripts are actually considered. Learn about formatting standards, tips on writing a great cover letter, and how to layout your resume from local actor, playwright and director Sharon Bajer. Through this workshop you’ll learn how to make your submissions conform to industry standard and stand out from the others. Deadline to register and pay is January 13th.

 

This is followed closely by…

 

Theatre Lives: Q&A with Krista Jackson & Rod Beilfuss

Krista Jackson

Krista Jackson

Thursday, February 5th 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre Mainstage Boardroom
Cost: FREE!
Please RSVP to confirm your attendance

Krista and Rod have both led fascinating careers as actors and directors. Both have worked and studied outside of Manitoba, and founded their own theatre companies.

Rod Beilfuss

Rod Beilfuss

Krista is the director of Royal MTC’s Private Lives, however she has also worked with the Shaw Festival, Stratford Festival, MTYP, her own company zone41 as well as last year’s The Seagull at Royal MTC. Rod joins her as apprentice director of Private Lives. Rod has been active in the Winnipeg theatre community for many years as one of the founding members of Theatre by the River. This is your chance to ask these two talented theatre artists about their careers, their work on Private Lives and get tips as artists! Seating is limited, please RSVP to reserve a spot. This workshop is being presented with support from the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.

 

And finally, to finish the season off…

 

Get Your Act Together
Introduction to Business Basics for Theatre Artists with Jan Skene
Sunday, March 8th 4pm to 6pm
MAP’s Rory Runnells Studio at 504-100 Arthur Street (Artspace)
Cost: $15
Deadline to register and pay is February 20th

Jan Skene

Jan Skene

As a working theatre artist, you are essentially your own small business! Being self-employed brings many challenges but also many benefits over the course of an artist’s career. Jan Skene has been working as a professional actor and business manager in film and theatre for over 28 years. This introductory workshop offers an opportunity for artists to have their questions answered in relation to self-promotion, membership in EQUITY/ACTRA, dealing with taxes and accessing resources. Deadline to register and pay is February 20th.

 

So mark your calendars, and email or phone Wren (wren@sarasvati.ca, 204-586-2236) to confirm your spot today! Space is limited in all of these, so don’t delay! (hey that sort of rhymed!)

Plus don’t forget upcoming Work It Nights on December 15th, January 19th February 16th and March 16th.

For more info on Work It Nights and the workshops, click here!

 

9 Super Monologues, 9 Amazing Actors!

With winter settling in March feels a long way away, but that doesn’t mean we’re not busy working on our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues! A few weeks ago we announced the monologue line up, now we get to tell you who will be bringing these awesome monologues to life!

Elena Anciro has performed in our annual Cabaret of Monologues twice before and performed in our spring production Fefu and her Friends. We’re happy to have her back performing At the Gate by Sandra Drag about a remarkable woman’s tale of wrestling a family away from a horrific car accident.

Christine Rodriguez’s The Autism Monologue will be brought to life by Cabaret of Monologues newcomer Shanley Jardine. You may remember Shanley from the short piece The Exchange in FemFest 2013. The monologue is a heart-wrenching story of a mother attempting to make sense of her autistic son’s life. It’s a beautiful piece and we know that Shanley will do it justice.

Another newcomer, Kim Kakegamic, will be performing our FemFest 2014 Bake-Off winner’s energetic monologue Zelda with a Z. Frances Koncan lets us hear Zelda’s side of the story as she talks to us about her life with writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s a fun piece that Kim can really go crazy with!

Samantha Walters, Sarasvàti’s past Associate Producer and Emerging Artist in Residence, is back for her third Cabaret of Monologues in a row. You’ve seen her as Super Girl and now as Glory Girl, a comic book character come to life. Glory Bound by Scott Douglas sees Glory Girl attempt to escape her captors, although she discovers that she may not be bound against her will. We’re thrilled to have Sam back to the stage and can’t wait to see what she does with the role!

For Step Taylor’s Loretta we’ll be welcoming Lorraine James back to the Cabaret stage. Lorraine has done the Cabaret multiple times, including our trip to The Pas in 2008. She will play Loretta who has lied to her drug addicted son about losing her job so that he can focus on passing his exams, but what will happen when he finds out? Come and see for yourself on March 7th!

While Elizabeth Whitbread is new to the Cabaret of Monologues she just recently participated in our FemFest 2014 Short List reading. Jennica Grienke’s An Inheritance is a challenging piece that will see Elizabeth play a character in three different stages of her life. While challenging, it will be fascinating to see what Elizabeth brings to it.

Another FemFest 2014 actor, Mallory James, participates in her first Cabaret of Monologues as John Fubbister (aka Isobel Gunn) in Sandy Klowak’s riveting monologue. Mallory will play a remarkable woman who wouldn’t let anything stop her from adventuring into the wilds of Rupert’s Land. We can’t wait to see this strong historical figure come to life!

Cabaret of Monologues newcomer Jenna Hill will play Bea in Mutated by Carly Pokoradi. Bea is an adventurous young woman whose plans are put on hold when she’s faced with a life-altering situation. This is a very interesting piece and Jenna will bring a lot of depth and humour to it. Last year Jenna was seen in the world premiere of Trish Cooper’s play Social Studies at PTE.

Finally, Jane Burpee is back at the Cabaret after an amazing performance at this year’s Bake-Off. Jane has participated in multiple productions with us over the years, from So You Think You Can Act, to FemFest, to the Cabaret of Monologues, including a performance in the Portage Correctional Centre for Women in 2008. This year Jane will be playing the coolest nun in the convent who reveals her thoughts on life and God while at a nun retreat in Dave Carley’s Urban Nun.

There you have it, the monologues have been selected, the cast has been chosen and believe it or not the first IWW rehearsals start this week! We couldn’t be any more excited to see what these 9 talented actors bring to the stage as they lift these brilliantly written Super Women off of the page. You’ll get a chance to see the final product March 7th at 8pm, so mark your calendar and visit our website for more information by clicking here!

 

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The Endowment Fund aka The Gift that Keeps Giving!

Back in 2007 a very supportive donor wanted to give us a lasting gift, and with the support of the Winnipeg Foundation we set up our endowment fund. This fund has been a huge support over the years helping us continue to create the work that we do. If you’ve ever thought of donating, now is the perfect time. Until November 30th any donations will be eligible for matching funds through the Endowment Incentive Program!

All gifts to our endowment fund are pooled and are permanently invested as capital, and the income earned is provided to us to continue to produce our annual productions. This creates a stable form of future income to ensure that we are able to continue realizing our artistic goals. Artistic goals that include: making our work accessible to the communities that we work with, supporting emerging artists, and promoting stories from marginalized groups. We can’t rely as heavily on box office revenue as other companies since many of the people we want to welcome to our shows have limited disposable income. We firmly belief that this shouldn’t be a barrier to viewing and participating in theatre.

Here are the top 5 ways the fund has helped us in the past! It has helped us to:

1. Create forum theatre pieces to empower youth around Manitoba:

Giving Voice - The Perfect Family

Giving Voice – The Perfect Family

From Ripple Effect to No Offense… to Diss to this year’s Giving Voice, we have been bringing powerful stories of school violence, racism, and bullying to thousands of students in Manitoba to encourage the discovery of positive solutions. So far Giving Voice has been called “a smashing hit” and an “excellent, excellent show” with amazing student and staff responses.

2. Produce a festival that showcases and celebrates female theatre artists:

The Naked Woman - Nan Fewchuk and Grant Burr

FemFest 2014 – The Naked Woman – Nan Fewchuk and Grant Burr

This year we celebrated the 12th annual FemFest, a festival of life changing theatre by women for everyone. Despite some great plays by women in Manitoba last year, the national statistics for last season reveal that only 23% of plays on Canadian stages were written by women. FemFest continues to support a future where female theatre artists are given equal opportunities.

3. Support emerging theatre artists: It can be a very uncertain world out there in the theatre industry when you are just starting out, we strive to make it less so by offering affordable skill development workshops and opportunities for emerging artists to work with us. We always offer workshops as a part of FemFest, but the past few years we have been working on offering workshop series during the rest of the season too!

Catherine Banks

Catherine Banks

4. Premiere ground-breaking new works: For our spring productions we seek out and develop interesting new works for a full scale production. Past productions include Eden, Jail Baby and last year’s sell out Fefu and Her Friends. This year we are premiering Miss’N Me, the latest play from two-time Governor General Award winning playwright Catherine Banks.

5. Create community-based work: We are excited to work with amazing community organizations who help to make Winnipeg vibrant, supportive and healthy. In the past we have worked with criminalized women through the Elizabeth Fry Society, with Winnipeg Harvest to tour Empty, with youth in care, with immigrant woman…and we are about to embark on our next long-term project exploring mental health in partnership with Red Threads Playback Theatre and the Selkirk Mental Health Centre. It is a timely issue and we know that everyone is touched in some way by mental health issues. We are excited to embark on this new journey!

If you want to help us continue to do all of this and more, please consider donating to our endowment fund. Click here to see our profile on the Winnipeg Foundation website. From here you can make an online gift, but if you’d rather donate by cheque or credit card over the phone, click here for those instructions! If you have any questions feel free to phone or email us: 204-586-2236, info@sarasvati.ca