Looking Back at an Incredible Year

Champions were crowned, all too real stories were told, new plays launched and we even shared lots of laughs. Can you believe the year is coming to an end?

Our 2016-17 Season was a whirlwind of exciting challenges and new endeavors. From a bold exploration of stories of Stolen Sisters to launching our largest high school tour ever, we’re proud of the work we produced in 2016. Here are our top six!

1.SO YOU THINK YOU CAN ACT

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Al Simmons – SYTYCA Champion

The year began with an all-star champion ensemble for the fifth annual So You Think You Can Act. Hosted by the incredible and hilarious Lara Rae, The Rage on the Stage featured local celeb favourites Al Simmons, Big Daddy Tazz, Jenna Khan, Tracy Koga, Troy Westwood and Kerri Salki. We rang in our fifth year with our most outrageous panel of judges yet – Ari Weinberg, Pablo Felices-Luna and Andrea Del Campo. We were happy to close out five years of this entertaining fundraiser with a bang.

2.INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S WEEK
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Last March ten amazing women took to the stage in our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues. The theme was Stolen Sisters. We traveled to new community venues like Thunderbird House and worked with amazing organizations breaking records with attendance. We were so honoured to facilitate the sharing of these crucial perspectives which are all too often silenced.

“As a Manitoba women’s shelter director, I know that our staff hear many stories from women escaping abuse and violence – our work is very challenging.  Today’s monologues were outstanding and I found the theme very relevant to the clients we support. Equally important to me was the ability of the actors to perform such emotionally difficult work.  I further enjoyed an opportunity to chat briefly with the actors, to ask a few questions about the work and their methodologies.  I think I hoped to take away some strategies for the shelter staff – helpers and healers often suffer from vicarious trauma. Thank you for making the Cabaret available to rural audiences – the messages are so important.” – Pam Hadder, Executive Director Agape House-Eastman Crisis Centre

3.BREAKING THROUGH

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Staged reading of Breaking Through

 

In May we watched two years of research and community story-sharing come together in a staged reading of Breaking Through. We shared laughs and shone light into the darkness.

“I saw it this afternoon and as a person living with mental illness I could absolutely relate. It made me feel less alone.” – Audience member

“I absolutely loved it. It was uncomfortably real and in your face. A story that needs to be told.”-Audience member

I honestly loved the play! And I’m so glad you all are putting so much time and effort into it to help educate people and promote social awareness on mental illness. Both as someone working in the mental health field, and as someone with OCD and bi-polar disorder it really means a lot when people actively put hard work into making a difference.” – Audience member

We learned so much from our audience and we can’t wait to mount the full production of Breaking Through in May of 2017!

4.FEMFEST

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The Seduction Theory

What an unforgettable FemFest! This year we opened with an amazing Cabaret packed with wonderful supporters. We were proud to present such provocative touring shows as Miss Understood, Mouthpiece, as well as clown favorites Morro & Jasp Do Puberty. The world premiere of the previous year’s Bake-Off winner Sherry MacDonald’s The Seduction Theory made a huge impact as audiences discussed the ways we continue to victim-blame.  Believe it or not planning has already begun for FemFest 2017: Coming of Age.

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5.WOMEN’S COMEDY NIGHT

15032696_10153905973161175_2557633172626739937_nWe took a leap and tried something brand new with our comedy fundraiser. We teamed up with Winnipeg’s explosive women comedians to produce the Women’s Comedy Night. The event saw unprecedented success—selling out and packing the venue with an incredible mix of Sarasvàti supporters and comedy fans. We had a blast and you better believe we’ll be doing this again next year.

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6. SHATTERED

Cast around Xmas tree.JPGWe are ready for a holiday rest, after finishing off our fall with Shattered. We broke pervious records by performing to 6,161 youth and educators in Manitoba. Shattered has received overwhelming praise from teachers and students alike.

“I discussed the play with both my theatre classes and the overall consensus was that it was fantastic. I even had a colleague stop me in the hall to tell me how moved she was by the performance and the interaction with the kids. This was, bar none, the absolute most engaging piece I have witnessed at our school. Our students really became involved with the piece and I think it resonated powerfully with them all, particularly the message that they are not alone.” – Kim Dudek, Teacher at Murdock MacKay

We want to thank our amazing cast and crew for bringing years of hard work to life.

Of course there were also emerging artist workshops, workshops for youth and story gathering with new communities for future projects! It has truly been a transformative year for us as we continue to challenge artists, audiences and society while promoting and reflecting diversity. Thank you all for helping to make this such a great year. From all of us at Sarasvàti, we wish you and yours an amazing start to 2017!

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