Cheers to 15 Years!

FemFest’s 15th Anniversary was an incredible week of transformative theatre! We cannot thank our artists, volunteers, audience and supporters enough for the wonderful success.


The festival kicked off with Tomboy Survival Guide – a musical call-to-arms about defying gender norms to reclaim one’s own identity. Group member Ivan Coyote also treated audiences to a reading of their work, catered by Elements Restaurant.

The Opening Night Cabaret presented a diverse sampling of local talent, including the return of Winnipeg travel enthusiasts Mindy and Marge, a beautiful dance performance by Prairie Caravan Tribal Bellydance, stand-up comedy by Dianna Rasing, and many more! A huge thank you to our Cabaret sponsors, Garbonzo’s U of Winnipeg Anx and the Winehouse, as well as the night’s hosts, local ukulele duo BUNNY!

Two Indians by Falen Johnson followed two Mohawk women (Melanee Deschambeault and Erica Wilson) reuniting after years apart to recreate a ceremony from their childhood. Directed by Sonya Ballantyne , this moving piece reflected the modern Indigenous struggle to reclaim one’s heritage and stay connected to one’s roots.

The Human Library, presented in partnership with the Winnipeg Public Library, featured the incredible stories of 23 human ‘books’! The event paired members of the public, or ‘readers’, with human books to hear their stories about facing adversity. Master Canadian playwright Judith Thompson appeared as a book for a day in between facilitating a masterclass and attending the Mulgrave Road Theatre production of her play Watching Glory Die. We were particularly honoured to welcome Senator Kim Pate for an insightful post-play discussion.

Annual FemFest staple The Bake-Off put five playwrights in a pressure cooker with a list of ingredients and just eight hours to create a brand-new piece! Jo MacDonald took home the Janet Taylor Bake-Off  Playwriting Award for her scene, Home and Native Land.  Our 2016 winner Jessy Ardern had a reading of the full draft of her piece Kit & Joe, finally letting us see what happened after last year’s cliffhanger!

The One Night Stand series gave playwrights the opportunity to present their work and gain valuable audience feedback. We invited some of our most celebrated playwrights to participate, including Sharon Bajer, Columpa Bobb, Ginny Collins, Trish Cooper, Primrose Madayag Knazan and special guest Judith Thompson

FemFest also hosted the all-ages piece Grounded Heroes in partnership with Castlemoon Theatre and devised by Carrie Costello, Frances Koncan, and Cherissa Richards. It was wonderful to have a piece for children on the stage with such a strong artistic team performing and to get feedback from such an engaged audience.

Finally Sarasvàti also presented a sneak-peek of our latest community-based project, New Beginnings, which pairs professional artists with new arrivals to Canada in an exchange of stories, music and dance.

With an amazing collection of talented artists, this year’s festival kicked off our 15th Anniversary with a bang! We’re so excited to see what FemFest 2018 might bring – in fact, we’re already looking for submissions!



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