Developing a Workshop

Have you ever wondered what goes into planning a workshop? Workshops are a great way to enhance your artistic skills; often hosted by an established artist, held in an artist appropriate space and filled with eager to learn emerging artists! Needless to say, a lot goes into the planning of a workshop. At Sarasvàti Productions, we host a range of workshops every year hosted by established professions and attended by- well, anyone and everyone! Here is a behind the scenes look at how a workshop is developed!


PLANNINGDSC_0027

First things first, we make a plan. What kind of workshop are we hosting? Who are the target participants? Why this workshop? For example, this past Saturday we hosted our movement workshop for actors. During the planning we had to consider why we were hosting a movement workshop and who we would want as a facilitator. With December being a common month for a big break for everybody, we figured why not host in January and get those bodies moving again! Of course, Ali Robson is a well known mover in the city, so we offered her the opportunity to facilitate.


IMG_5735GET THE WORD OUT THERE

Okay, so we planned the workshop, we know what it’s for, we have a facilitator and a venue… now what? Now we need YOU! The participants! We’re lucky to have a list of emerging artists in office, so we are always sure to send our emerging artists information about all of our workshops (email info@sarasvati.ca to be added to the list). In some special cases, we will do target asks. For example, every year we host “Coffee with a Pro” which is literally a sit down coffee date between a pro in the theatre world and 3-4 participants. In these cases, we specifically reach out to folks who are interested in the professional field of the “Pro”. For Audrey Dwyer’s “Coffee with a Pro” session, we invited emerging playwrights to join Audrey for coffee.


THE DAY OF

Woohoo! It’s workshop day! Now, our job is to make sure you get the most out of the day and have a great time. We want to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth! A staff representative will always be present to make sure the day is fun, safe and effective.


NEXT UP OFUR Poster-page-001

If all of this reading about workshops has you wondering about what’s coming up next, here it is! Next, we have “Theatre in Colour: A Discussion on the Importance of Racial Diversity in Theatre”. We will be teaming up with up-coming theatre company Out From Under the Rug to host this workshop panel discussion on racial diversity in theatre. Taking place on Sunday, February 16th, 2020 at The Rachel Browne Theatre (221 Bannatyne Ave). This workshop will be FREE, but donations are always welcome. Email info@sarasvati.ca to reserve your spot.


I hope this little workshop on workshops has helped answer some questions you may have about what goes into planning a workshop. We hope to see you at the next round!

Click HERE for more information on upcoming Sarasvàti workshops.


 

On the Stage

You’ve met the playwrights, now meet the performers who will be bringing their stories to life! This year’s traditional monologues are Ping, Yearning/Distance, Masks and The A Word. Four local Winnipeg actors have been brought onto this year’s cabaret to perform these monologues throughout the tour.


TaesiaScratch headshotTaesia Scratch – Ping

Mother of four, Vancouver born and Winnipeg resident, Taesia Scratch will be performing Ping by Larissa Hikel. Taesia’s first role upon moving to Winnipeg was with Sarasvàti Productions and you may have seen her in the Bake-Off during FemFest 2019!

What excites you about your piece?

“It does not apologize. It is a raw story of an intense situation that all women may have faced, it tells a story of the fear that we have trying to get to the safety of the place that should be, safe.”

How do you relate to your piece?

“I have worked nights as a young woman and had to return home, where I lived alone, many times. I spent years working very late walking through my apartment lobby, after speed walking home, with this kind of fear, that comes to most women after the sun goes down.”


Saira Rahman – Yearning/Distance Saira Rahman

Saira is a proud Muslim, female filmmaker who also performed in FemFest 2019 for the world premiere of Baby Box. This year, she takes on the role of a new mother yet again as she performs Yearning/Distance by Beth Lanigan!

What excites you about your piece?

“Preparing to perform the piece will be an exciting challenge for me because it brilliantly manages to paint a vivid picture of what post-partum illness may feel like with all of its complexity.”

How do you relate to your piece?

“Although I’ve never experienced post-partum depression, I think this piece remains universal because all of us at one time or another have felt the sting of depression. I know I have, and it feels immensely comforting to know that we are not alone, and that in speaking about our feelings and experiences with depression and anxiety helps crush the stigma.”


5U3A3824-Edit-EditRenée Hill – Masks

Graduate of The University of Winnipeg Theatre department, Renée is a gifted singer, maker and bilingual voice over artist. Last year, Renée performed Oracle Jane by Vicki Zhang in our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues: Here I Am. This year, Renée will play a school teacher in Makrenna Sterdan’s Masks.

What excites you about your piece?

“It’s an upbeat, intelligent, curious look at educators, children and the systems at play.”

How do you relate to your piece?

“As a parent of young children I am intrigued by the education of our children and which societal systems influence how and what our children learn.”


Lizzie Knowles – The A WordLizzie Knowles

Ukulele playing, vegetarian, owner of two rabbits, Lizzie joins our team for the first time! Lizzie is a theatre grad from The University of Winnipeg with Honours Acting and participates in this year’s cabaret by performing The A Word by Brooklyn Alice Lee.

What excites you about your piece?

“I get really excited by the reality of it. The fear and anxiety is genuine, and it’s relatable to everyone I think. I really love whenever I can see a fully realized decision and the process to get there presented on stage. I think it’s comforting for an audience.”

How do you relate to your piece?

“My brain works in a very similar way to this character, so it’s been very fun to work on. I’m very grateful to tell a story that many people have gone through and few feel they can discuss.”


See these monologues and more during International Women’s Week! Touring from March 2nd-8th, 2020 with two public performances on Saturday, March 7th, 2020 at 4pm and 8pm! Tickets on sale HERE. March 7th at 8pm will be an ASL interpreted performance.

New Year, Same Us

It is officially a new year AND a new decade! Happy New Year and welcome to 2020!

2019 has come and gone which means the second half of our 19/20 season is underway. We are so excited to tell you a little bit about what we have in store for all of you in the upcoming months…


IMG_5259International Women’s Week 2020 Cabaret of Monologues: Changes

Have you heard? Our annual Cabaret of Monologues is happening from March 2-8, 2020! We have been doing our best to update you on our performers and playwrights, if you’ve missed any of our past blogs, you can meet some of this year’s artists HERE and HERE.

This year we have monologues but also music, dance, mime, and comedy!

Stay tuned for our tour schedule, but in the meantime, tickets are now available for our public performance on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 4pm and 8pm. Get your tickets HERE!


Workshops$25(1).jpg

As always, we have a ton of workshops in the works for you for 2020. Have you registered for our Movement for Actors Workshop with Ali Robson? This workshop will take place on January 19th, 2020 for $25. If you want more info, click HERE, if you want to register email liz@sarasvati.ca

It doesn’t end there! Coming soon, we will be hosting workshops on the following topics…

Accessibility in Theatre Panel, April 4th, 2020

Diversity Panel, February 16th, 2020

Fringe Production 101, May 16th, 2020

And more!


Jo MacDonald

Jo MacDonald

Reconciliation Through Theatre

We completed our Seven Visions workshops in 2019, now comes the process of creating one big final production! We are so excited to be working with Playwright Jo MacDonald and Director Tracey Nepinak to create our final performance piece for May 2020!

The performance, entitle Songide’ewin (Courage), will take place at The Forks and feature art created by youth during our workshops. We are so excited to share the voices of Winnipeg’s youth and tell a story of reconciliation in a time that gravely needs it.

More on the reconciliation project HERE!


As we move in to the fall of 2020, we will actually be launching our 20th season in Winnipeg!! Yep, we’ve been creating transformative theatre for two decades. This anniversary season will see the transition to a new Artistic Director, new community-building processes, and some of our usual offerings.


School Tour

DSC_0398Every second year we hit the road with an interactive performance, using Forum Theatre principles. It is an amazing way to engage youth in a discussion about how to be active participants in their community. This year’s touring show will be built from the material gathered as part of our Reconciliation Through Theatre project. Stay tuned for full details.


FemFest 2020opening

And of course, 2020 will play host to our 18th annual FemFest! 18 years of transformative feminist theatre AND counting! As always, the festival won’t happen until September, but the work starts now as we begin to read scripts and performance pieces and choose our line-up for the 2020 festival.


Thank you all for making 2019 such a fantastic year, here’s to 2020 and all of the exciting new theatre to come!


 

A Year in Review

What a year it has been! As 2019 comes to a close, we reflect on all the wonderful successes the year brought. Some of which, we will carry on into 2020…


International Women’s Week 2019 Cabaret of Monologues: Here I Am

LaurenMarshall_photobyPatrickRabago2

It might sound odd to hear about our last Cabaret of Monologues as the 2020 line-up has already been announced, but it’s a year ago already that the last round of monologues were in the works and preparing for the 2019 tour!

We were so grateful and fortunate to take the cabaret to places we had never gone before! Such as the Women’s Resource Centre in Flin Flon and Aurora house in The Pas. We also took every single one of our monologues to The Canadian Museum of Human Rights for an evening. This tour was incredibly rewarding and we can’t wait to do it all again in a few short months!

Interested in this year’s monologues? Public performance tickets are on sale now. Get them HERE!


WorkshopsFemFest2019_WorkshopDSC04910.jpg

Every year, we host a set schedule of fun and educational workshops for the theatre community. In 2019, we were happy to host five workshops.

This included workshops with panelists like Queering Theatre and How to Make a Living in Theatre. Both allowed us to try out a more inclusive approach with professionals talking amongst workshop participants.

Our annual One Night Stand Series also played a role in 2019 as playwrights were able to meet and work together to improve and workshop their craft.

FemFest 2019 hosted some workshops of it’s own! The Launchpad Project was initiated as a pilot project. It allowed a group of emerging artists to work with established professionals to create and perform their own production, To Kill a Lizard, during FemFest 2019. As well, our guest artist, Yvette Nolan hosted a playwriting masterclass, which culminated in Leaping Off the Page! Where playwrights were able to create and share work, then have it read aloud before an audience.

We also loved working with community groups to use theatre techniques in training settings. A big thank you to SEED Winnipeg, Nor’West Youth Hub, St. John’s High School, and the Manitoba Drama Educators Association for welcoming us!

Find upcoming workshop details HERE!


Picture3Seven Visions

On top of our regular workshop schedule, we were happy to start our Reconciliation Through Theatre project! Last spring we hosted consultation circles, then a public sharing with the reading of Jo MacDonald’s OUR HOME & native land. This important community-building work then allowed us to appropriately structure arts-based workshops at seven Indigenous youth organizations all in the name of Reconciliation.

The seven organizations were, Children of the Earth High School, Wahbung Abinoonjiiag, Ndinawe, Knowles Centre, Manitoba Youth Centre, Marymound, and Indigenous Leadership Development Institute.

All of the art created and stories shared are in the works to be curated into a final piece, Songide’ewin, which will be performed at The Forks in May, 2020. You can find more on the upcoming performance HERE!


FemFestFemFest2019_StanleyDSC01572.jpg

Of course, that brings us to FemFest 2019. Our annual festival of transformative feminist theatre! 2019 brought a whole new range of performances to FemFest.

For the first time in FemFest history, we were happy to host a visually impaired performer and her guide dog for, Raising Stanley/Life with Tulia. This production was moving and inspiring for audience members. We were even fortunate enough to host 4 visually impaired spectators and their guide dogs! Who wouldn’t love that?

Pop Art made its debut at FemFest 2019 as well. 4inXchange with company xLq was a unique interactive performance involving only 4 audience members and $1000 cash!

Lastly, Like Mother, Like Daughter warmed our hearts as local Winnipeg Indigenous and Newcomer mother/daughter pairs sat down in front of an audience and answered intimate questions.

FemFest has always had a way of bringing people together and celebrating various types of Canadian theatre, but this year it truly excelled!

The process of FemFest 2020 begins now! We can’t wait to show you what we have in store…


So long 2019, you were a good year for theatre! We hope your year was as good to you as it was to us. We wish you all nothing but the best for 2020 and look forward to sharing more transformative theatre with you in the months to come.

See you next year!


 

Monologues and Beyond

This year, we take International Women’s Week beyond the constraints of traditional monologues. The menu for this year’s Cabaret of Monologues will include half written monologues brought to life by local performers and half performances by artists from other creative mediums. These creative pieces will range from dance to song, from spoken word to mime.

If you missed out last blog post on IWW 2020, click HERE, you’ll find the first four theatrical monologues have been announced. As for the other half…. exciting new work is being created, here’s a little sneak peak to help whet your appetite on who and what you can expect to see…


Kweskina by waNda wilsoN

Wanda Wilson playing her electric guitarSome of you may remember waNda from last year’s Cabaret. WaNda recently received her Red Seal as a mechanic, and her title for this year’s piece means “change your thoughts” in Cree. She performs a beautiful combination of storytelling and musical performance, stemming from her own personal life experiences.


Bringing movement to the stage, is a dance piece by Maria Grant. Maria runs Drop In Dance Winnipeg and will Choreograph a piece to perfectly fit this year’s cabaret and the theme of “Change”.


Hailley Rhoda performing with her stuffed elephant

Last year, a piece by Hailley Rhoda utilized puppets!

The bold, beautiful and Deaf by Joanna Hawkins

As a deaf artist and member of 100 Decibles, Joanna will explore the world of mime and bring to life the art of silent storytelling.


Oversharer by Kristen Einarson

Kristen has had a really big year. She split up from her partner, she got a whole new career path, she started filling in her eyebrows, she had a mini nervous breakdown at her friend’s bachelorette party and started doing stand-up comedy. This is a monologue of things she has told people that she probably should not have. In her signature comedic style, Kristen is vulnerable and hilarious, and her piece will take you on a ride of social anxiety, insecurity, and uncertainty. She probably shouldn’t be writing such big promises in a show description. She probably shouldn’t have said she has a signature style. She also wishes she gave her character a more interesting name, like maybe “Harriet” or “Susan”.


The art of spoken word poetry will have a place in this year’s line-up. Writer, activist and member of Red Rising Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie will share her original work.

ShereenRamprashad_photobyPatrickRabago2

Last year’s spoken word artist, Shereen Ramprashad


Save the Date! These pieces will be performed from March 2-8 for International Women’s Week with just two opportunities to see the full line-up on March 7th. Keep up to date as we travel across the province to various stages, organizations and venues to bring these pieces to life in the name of women everywhere.

What better way to celebrate International Women’s Week, than to host a performance yourself? To host any number of the monologues above, contact info@sarasvati.ca for details on availability and price. We would love to perform for you!


 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

40345266323_b5dc7a4ee5_z

Hailley Rhoda performing “Talking About ED” IWW 2019

Change. Like it or not, it’s happening everyday, all around us. The world is ever evolving and changing, whether it be for better or worse and we evolve along with it. International Women’s Week: Cabaret of Monologues is now officially in progress and we are excited to announce that this year’s theme is… Changes! Emotions, thoughts, opinions, body, politics, technology – it all plays a part in our changing lives and what better way to express these changes, than through theatre.

46395256235_81f4385594_z

Renee Hill performing “Oracle Jane” IWW 2019

This year’s selected monologues will explore how we navigate a changing world . Four monologues have officially been accepted into this year’s cabaret, while others are in the process of being curated and workshopped. The selected monologues feature four different women in four very different situations of change. Until we have a full menu of monologues for you to devour, here are the official first four to whet your appetite…


Masks by Makrenna Sterdan

Ms. Jones works to keep positive as she teaches a school of children about air pollution. But, when she is alone with fellow teachers and staff, the dark truth about the day’s lesson is revealed.


Yearning-Distance by Beth Lanigan

A new mother struggles to describe her changing world and herself. She simultaneously experiences and explores the detachment and dissociation of her postpartum depression.


WandaWilson_photobyPatrickRabago

waNda wilsoN performing “Bare Bones” IWW 2019


The A Word by Brooklyn Alice Lee

A young woman enters The Women’s Hospital, alone and afraid she struggles to complete paperwork while questioning the nurse and herself about her decision to terminate her pregnancy.


Ping by Larissa Hikel

Jessamyn returns home from a late shift at the bar she works at. She is cautious entering her apartment building as she recounts the terrifying events from the night before. Events that women today know are far too common.


International Women’s Week: Cabaret of Monologues will take place from March 2-8, 2020. We will once again tour the monologues to various locations around Manitoba and

33434600698_62754629cd_z

Shereen Ramprashad performing “I Am Not a Victim” IWW 2019

offer two public performances at the end of the tour. Last year we were excited to travel as far as Flin Flon and to perform in tiny classrooms as well as huge museums. If you’re interested in hosting any of this year’s monologues, give us a call at (204) 586-2236 or email us at info@sarasvati.ca!

Stay tuned for updates and more information on International Women’s Week: Cabaret of Monologues 2020, coming soon!

Group picture 1

Performers from IWW 2019

Work-Work-Work-Work-Workshops!

Workshops are essential to the artist. Experience and practice are EVERYTHING when it comes to the arts and what better way to gain experience and practice than by learning from a pro? Our 2019/20 workshop season begins tomorrow! We are working hard to find the facilitators for each workshop so you can get the most out of every single one. This year’s topics will range from what you need to know on the stage, to behind the stage and everything in-between.

Audrey-Dwyer-240x300Tomorrow, Audrey Dwyer will host a Coffee with a Pro session on playwriting with invited participants. Audrey Dwyer is a multi-disciplinary artist with over twenty years of experience working as an Actor, Director, Playwright, Teacher, Facilitator and Mentor. She is also a couple months in to her role as the Assistant Artistic Director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Dwyer will share her insights and answer questions in a special intimate setting with emerging artists.

 

Another Coffee with a Pro session will be held a few weeks following on devised theatre andraea-sartison1with Andraea Sartison of One Trunk Theatre. Andraea Sartison is a theatre artist and event producer in Winnipeg. She is the founding Artistic Producer of One Trunk Theatre and is known for her creative performance concepts, interdisciplinary collaboration, devised theatre and the integration of technology into live performance. Invited participants will again have a chance to sit down and chat with Andraea on her work in devised theatre.

A huge thank you to Forth Café for hosting and supporting these unique meetings!


ali-robsonAs for on the stage, Ali Robson will be facilitating a movement workshop on January 19, 2020. Ali Robson is a dance artist who works in both dance and theatre and is curious about collaborating across disciplines and creating work with and for people of all ages. Ali is a collective member of Weather Parade Dance Theatre, is the Associate Artistic Director of Company Link and is a board member for Young Lungs Dance Exchange. Ali teaches movement at the University of Winnipeg and other classes for children and adults throughout Winnipeg. Participants will have the chance to learn about movement in theatre from Ali, while having the opportunity to practice her teachings in the space. If you’re interested in attending the workshop, please send an email expressing interest in the workshop with your full name and contact information to liz@sarasvati.ca.

 

Some other workshops we are exploring for the coming months are…

  • Drag performance
  • Production 101
  • Accessibility in the arts
  • Cultural diversity in theatre
  • A revised One Night Stand reading series

Stay tuned for more information on future workshops. Visit our website HERE for more details on the season!