Virtual Audition Tips

With so many aspects of regular life changing, so too have auditions! Due to physical distancing recommendations, we’ve decided to hold our general auditions online. (Also, if you’re aactor interested in auditioning, but you haven’t submitted your headshot and resume, it’s not too late!) While not everyone who submits their headshot and resume will be given an audition, those who are chosen will be asked to do so virtuallyWe encourage all to submit, we will be holding on-line auditions on a show by show basis so connecting with actors on a show by show basis. Never done a virtual audition before? No problem! Here are our best tips:  

Be mindful of lighting.
It’s always recommended to sit with the light, rather than against itYou want to avoid being “backlit” – a term that means being lit from the back (AKA, facing away from a window so the camera captures your silhouette, and not your face). If you can, set up your laptop/webcam in line with a window’s light stream, this will make your face clear and easy to see! 

Double check your camera and microphone are working.
This is one a few members of our team have personally experienced! Computers can be unpredictable and web cameras/microphones may randomly stop working. It’s a great idea to restart your computer and open up a program that uses both your webcam and microphone (Facetime, Zoom, or Skype, for example) before the audition to guarantee it’ll run smooth when the time comes. 

Try to deliver your lines at eye-level with the camera. 
Eyes are, of course, not only the gateway to the soul, but also an incredibly important part of acting. It can be far too easy to lose someone’s eyes virtually, as there’s not necessarily a “reader” or mark to be looking at. Try to keep your eyeline around where the camera is, so we won’t lose your face and our team can see your best work! Another tip: consider placing a sticker or post-it above or next to your camera, as some cameras are so small, they can be tough to see. 

Be prepared.
Like regular auditions, the main task is to show what you can do. We will be sure to let everyone know what to prepare if you are booked to audition. However, sometimes directors will ask you to try a different interpretation. If you were sitting, they may ask you to stand to demonstrate greater embodiment. This might mean making sure you are dressed to audition on top and bottom! 

Have fun!
Auditions can already be a bit nerve-wracking for some folks, so the idea of doing them in an unfamiliar way may add more feelings of anxiety. But don’t worry! Our team is figuring things out just like you, and we absolutely understand technical problems may come and go – and that’s one of the silver-linings of this new time we’re in: we’re all just figuring it out together!  

We want to thank the folks who’ve submitted already, and we’re excited to (virtually) audition others as needed for our 2020/2021 season! 

The Touring Artists of FemFest 2020

The last few weeks (and months!) have been overwhelming. We do not want to get back to normal but be part of creating a different, better, and more equitable future. We want to start off this blog post by acknowledging the pain and violence Black and Indigenous folks and people of colour have suffered at the hands of the police as a result of systemic racism. If you didn’t read our official statement on the Black Lives Matter movement, you can do so here 

Representation and diversity have been at the heart of Sarasvàti since the beginning, of its inception, but we know we have not done enough and must do better through action and not just words. Our theme for FemFest 2020 is Engaging Community, which we found particularly fitting given recent world events. We had exciting programming in the works since the fall of 2019. Although we are preparing contingencies and know thing may have to shift, we’re thought it important to share our planned touring artists for this year’s FemFest. Whether live in Winnipeg or participating in some other way we want to showcase the amazing work of these BIPOC artists: 

 

Monstrous

JLIFE-Sarah-Waisvis-zMonstrous-Waisvisz-Photo-by-Christopher-Snow-640x428

Montrous featuring Sarah Waisvicz  

Created and performed by  Sarah Waisvicz
Directed by Eleanor Crowder 

Who are you when you don’t know what you are? Monstrous follows the protagonist’s journey across continents, centuries, and musical genres as she sifts through the facts and fictions of her mixed-up, mixed-race family history. Integrating storytelling, multi-genre dance, music, song, projections, and audience interaction, it is a quest for roots, remembrance, and belonging; it is also a cutting, hard-hitting provocation about “multiculturalism” in Canada. Monstrous is a startling wake-up call that puts pressure on how accepting we think we are.  

 

bug

photo-of-Yolanda-Bonnell-as-The-Girl-by-Gilad-Cohen-2-1024x683

bug featuring Yolanda Bonnell

Produced by Manidoons Collective 
Created and Performed by Yolanda Bonnell
Directed by Cole Alvis 

 bug is a 60 minute solo show about women of an Indigenous family navigating addiction and inter-generational trauma. When their addictions manifest as manidoons (Ojibwe word for bug, insect or worm), the creature burrows beneath their skin, pushing them beyond the brink. Using movement, poetry, and prose, creator/performer Yolanda Bonnell weaves stories of women grappling with their painful past and making tough choices to survive. This work is honest, unflinching, and raw; it will take your breath away.  

 

Tita Jokes

Tita-Jokes-Next-Stage-2020

Tita Jokes featuring the Tita Collective

Created and Performed by the Tita Collective: Ann Paula Bautista, Belinda Corpuz, Isabel Kanaan, Ellie Posadas, Alia Rasul and Maricris Rivera 
Director: Tricia Hagoriles

Tita Collective are an all-Filipina collective composed of award-winning playwrights, comedians, musicians, dancers,  theatremakers and actors. They explore different mediums to tell the stories about the Filipinx diaspora. 
A Filipinx-focused musical sketch revue inspired by the Tita Collectives’ real-life Titas, Tita Jokes is a hilarious and heart-warming love letter to the womxn in the creators’ lives – their aunts, moms, daughters, and partners. Itshows their struggles and heartaches, but also how they cope through comedy and songs. Featuring original music and laugh-out-loud sketch comedy. 

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While we may not have all the details as to how these shows will be executed, we do know we’re so lucky to be sharing such immense talent with our audiences in Winnipeg. 

As always, we’ll be kicking off with our Opening Cabaret on September 19 which will feature a variety of local performers! Stay tuned as we announce more details on the festival which runs September 19 – 26.  

 

Cabaret of Sneak Peeks

Movies get trailers, so why not have a one for theatre too? Below are some sneak peeks at this year’s line-up for International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues: Changes and how each piece correlates to this year’s theme.


“Today, we’re learning about Air Pollution. Can I hear everyone say “Air Pollution”?…Good job everyone! Now, air pollution is so yucky. Yes, it’s yucky. What happens if you breathe too much air pollution? Is breathing in air pollution good or bad?”

Makrenna SterdanMasks by Makrenna Sterdan is a satirical monologue that follows Mrs. Jones as she teaches an assembly of youngsters how to properly put on 5U3A3824-Edit-Edittheir face masks to protect themselves from polluted air. This monologue focuses on the changes within the world and the consequences that we will soon face if something doesn’t, yet again, change. Masks will be performed by Renée Hill in this year’s cabaret.


Content warning: Assault

“I need to get into my apartment but what if he’s in the elevator again? And I mean I can’t take the stairs… the stairs are out of the question, anyone, anything could be in the stairwell. Anything.”

Ping by Larissa Hikel tells a story that most women in today’s society can relate to. Late TaesiaScratch headshotat night, on her way home from work, Jessamyn is attacked in the elevator of her apartment building by an unknown man. Although she manages to escape the initial attack, she now has to deal with the trauma on a daily basis. Ping will be performed by Taesia Scratch.


“I can’t even imagine. Not having the choice? I keep beating myself up, saying I’m selfish, second guessing my decision, but that’s just it, it’s MY Decision! It’s my body and right now I’m sick of feeling sick!”

OFFICIAL HEADSHOTThe A Word by Brooklyn Alice Lee follows a young woman as she makes the decision to terminate her pregnancy. There is a lot of debate today towards Lizzie Knowlespro-choice and pro-life. Society is changing in their opinions and as change is not always linear, the debate continues with many differing opinions. The A Word will be performed by Lizzie Knowles.


“Dear Baby, she said. Dear Baby. I wish I could reach you, she said, from the other side of the…glass. If I wasn’t over here, and you weren’t over there. With this…is it glass? Or fog? Fog maybe. Between us.”

Yearning/Distance by Beth Lanigan, a new mother struggling with postpartum Saira Rahmandepression. Having a new baby is one of the biggest changes a person can go through. This monologue uses a unique and abstract narrative to try and voice how it might feel for a new mother experiencing postpartum depression. Yearning/Distance will be performed by Saira Rahman.


“To change your thoughts, this is what it means in Cree. Kweskenta, not so easy to do when you’ve been broken, hurt so many times in so many ways or sometimes even when you have a good day.”

SONY DSCKweskenta written and performed by waNda wilsoN. As a storyteller and musician, waNda uses her skills to share her own personal stories. You may recall waNda from last year’s cabaret where she performed Bare Bones. This year, she explores the meaning and reasoning behind changing your thoughts while performing two of her songs.


“So what happened was, in the dark of my new apartment / a brief period of time when I lived in a house called The Marijuana Mansion with two professional musicians, I was alone with my thoughts. I often didn’t sleep at all unless I had a couple of glasses of wine or was watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.”

Oversharer performed and written by Kristen Einarson is a stand-2020_KristenEinarson4436up comedy piece. Kristen brings her wit and charm to the stage by sharing her intimate story of change within her own life all while giving the audience a good giggle.


“In a world that tells you that if you just worked hard enough / Was smart enough / Was cool enough / There may be a chance that you deserved a privilege key / To unlock the box of ignorance.”

Sadie

Traumatic Resilience by Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie is a spoken word poetry piece that will also be performed by Sadie. They will share their story of resilience and overcoming adversity and change through this spoken-word piece.

 


Joanna Hawkins will also be performing a piece titled, The Bold, Beautiful and Deaf. joannaUnfortunately, we are unable to provide a sneak peek as Joanna’s piece will all be mimed!

 


For some more on this year’s monologues and to purchase your tickets now, visit our website HERE.  Check out our interview with performers HERE on our Facebook page!


 

Women are Hilarious

By Kristen Einarson


Something wild happened: me, a local stand-up comedian and hooligan, was approached by a real-life theatre company to create a piece of storytelling for a touring cabaret. THAT IS BANANAS. I obviously said yes. But I quickly became terrified. Theatre muscles aren’t muscles I’ve used in a number of years, so I knew it was going to take a minute to ease back into that world.2020_KristenEinarson4436

Theatre and comedy are very similar, believe it or not. There’s a whole lot of vulnerability in both, but just presented in vastly different mediums. Stand-up shows are almost never longer then 60 minutes, and I’ve never done a set longer than 15. Theatre can happen for hours. Thankfully, the task was just to make 10 minutes of theatre – easy peasy, right?

Creating a monologue is much different then writing a stand-up set. For one thing, you’re allowed to say “I created a monologue” or “I developed a piece of storytelling art”. If you said “I created/developed a stand-up set” to anyone – especially a comedian – you’d likely get smacked.

In stand-up, the typical practice – or MY typical practice, anyways – is to go to an open mic and try out 3-5 minutes of new jokes. This depends how many comedians signed up and how confident you are with your new material. Sometimes you’ll think “yup, I’m totally going to do 5 minutes of NEW SHIT” and then your first joke falls flat and you spend the rest of your time onstage trying to recover and get the audience back on your side.

For Oversharer (LOL I GOT TO PUT THE TITLE OF MY PIECE IN ITALICS THIS IS WILD), I just sat down and barfed it into a Google doc. This was mainly due to procrastination and a deadline on my part, but partially because I wasn’t sure how to build a monologue in bits and pieces the way I build and test out stand-up. There have absolutely been revisions, but I just barfed it and then it was. Like literal vomit, but instead it was ~art vomit~.

When we met for a rehearsal, Hope, the AD of Sarasvàti, just said “We like your work! This is what we think. What do you need from us?”

It’s wild to me that artists are allowing me to do my little comedy skit with such blind trust. I really hope it doesn’t bomb. I also wish there was a more interesting story about the process, but that’s it. Sarasvàti has been a DREAM to work with, and lets me revisit my days as an actor.

I used to act all the time. I stopped doing plays around 2016 to go back to school and become a marketing sell-out. Fun fact: Liz, Associate Artistic Director of Sarasvàti, and I did three Fringe plays together between 2013-2016. Here is a cute photo of us from our youth:

Capture

This experience has honestly been the most beautiful and inspiring whirlwind. It inspired me so much that I’m planning on growing Oversharer into a one-woman, 60-minute Fringe show, to be premiered this July. And it’s all because my friend Liz saw me do a drunk open mic and saw something in me!!!!

I am passionate about what Sarasvàti does because women’s voices are important. In my opinion, there aren’t nearly enough women who do stand-up comedy. It’s a field that is very male-dominated. But guess what? Women are hilarious. Women have important things to say. We have voices. We have good eyebrows. We are ready to SLAY and do stand-up comedy or theatre or anything we want to do!


 

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.

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!


 

Launch in T-Minus 17 Days

The date is September 19th, 2019. Allergies are at a record high. In what is claimed to be an anti-allergy program, the government begins restricting access to EpiPens. In doing so, it exposes an entirely new species to the world’s stage.

This synopsis covers the production of To Kill a Lizard, a one-of-a-kind piece of theatre created by some of Winnipeg’s up-and-coming actors, directors and writers. This hour long devised production was created from scratch by our amazing Launchpad team; the new generation of Winnipeg theatre! The production is the result of intensive workshops, mentorships with professional artists, and collaboration amongst a selected group representing the future of FemFest.


Here is a little bit about The Launchpad. First up the Coordinators/Facilitators and Stage Managers of the team …

Victoria Emilie Hill (Coordinator/Facilitator)

Victoria Emilie Hill is a creator, mover, and actor based in Winnipeg. She is passionate about work that focuses on movement and the body as a place we hold and tell stories. She is curious about the myriad ways we express and communicate with ourselves, our environments, and other creatures. Victoria is also a founding member of The Patriarchy, a two-woman acapella band that sings songs and tells stories that challenge the status quo through a comedic and playful lens. Victoria is an avid student of life, and loves adventures in new things which have included roller derby, making jewelry, sky diving, knitting, white water rafting, and trying to keep her plants alive. She enjoys collaborating with new artists, and is so very honoured to be a part of the Launchpad Project with this amazing team of humans.

Lindsay Johnson (Coordinator/Facilitator)

Lindsay Johnson is a Winnipeg-based actor, director, writer, and animal-lover. With a love of both devised and classical theatre, Lindsay has enjoyed working as a Director/Assistant Director on several projects including Purge (Geritheatrics), Little Dead Lady (Naked Theatre Productions), Home 2.0. (Sarasvati Productions) Richard III (Shakespeare in the Ruins), and Vinegar Tom (University of Winnipeg). Some of Lindsay’s acting credits include Palm House (+friendsprojects), Channel Zero: Dream Door and No End House (Universal Cable Productions), A Christmas Carol (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre), Passion (Red Hen Collective), Shattered (Sarasvati Productions), The Time In-Between, The Writing on the Stall (Fill The (W)hole Theatre), Quickies with Chekhov (This Reality Theatre Co.).

Ridge Romanishen (Stage Manager)

Ridge is thrilled to be working with Sarasvàti Productions on Launchpad for FemFest 2019. As a previous audience member of past FemFest shows, Ridge is excited to be a part of the ground-breaking work the festival puts on. His previous credits include Time and the Conways (U of W, Assistant Stage Manager), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Arcadia (U of W, Stage Manager). Most recently he worked on Kiss of the Spider Woman (Dry Cold Productions, Apprentice Stage Manager) and Growing Op (Winnipeg Fringe 2019, Stage Manager). A big thanks to Sarasvàti Productions for this opportunity!

Bennette Villones (Assistant Stage Manager) 

Bennette Villones is currently studying theatre and film at The University of Winnipeg. She has worked with Sarasvati Productions in the past before on a high school touring show, Home 2.0 as the understudy. Now she has an opportunity to be an assistant stage manager for The Launchpad project. Recently, she was also part of Twelfth Night, a Shakespearean play with Indifferently Reformed for Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival 2019. She found it a fun and challenging experience and she hopes to use theatre as a way to inspire, tell stories and spread awareness


Now, The Launchpad Team…

Karam Daoud (Performer/Creator)

Karam Daoud is a Moroccan-Canadian actress who moved from Morocco to Canada over Karam Daoud - Headshot6 years ago. She has played numerous roles, from army generals to teenage stalkers. More recently, she was a part of her first feature film in 2019 coming out soon to Canadian festivals. Fluent in English, French and Arabic, she loves to sing and she spends her free time painting, reading, writing or playing the violin or the piano. Karam has always been a fervent theatre lover, and has been a part of multiple productions in Winnipeg. She also happens to be a big fan of World of Warcraft when she is not filling her spare time with her mechanical engineering job.

Anika Dowsett (Performer/Creator)

Anika Dowsett is a queer theatre artist and drag performer located in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  In face she goes by Petty Davis and performs a neurotic and hyper-idealized house wife femininity.  They’ve studied playwriting, theatre, and film at the University of Winnipeg but their heart will always be at Manitoba Theatre for Young People where they took their first classes.  From Club 200 to the Asper Theatre Centre to the Local library where she always has at least two holds, Anika Dowsett is committed to making the world a queerer and artier place.

Sarah Flynn (Performer/Creator)

SARAH FLYNN - HeadshotSarah Flynn recently finished her BaH in performance with a specialization in Devised Theatre and a minor in Classics at the University of Winnipeg. She toured the Interlake with TPM’s Interlake Chautauqua, studies Clown on Manitoulin Island and with the Village Conservatory for Music Theatre. Sarah co-founded Naked Theatre Productions in 2014 and has produced and performed in 7 shows since then. Sarah enjoys breathing fresh forest air, lighting things on fire and playing with her food.
Recent credits: Pippin (ViC/WST), Little Dead Lady (NTP), Mary’s Wedding (TPM), Luna’s Suitcase (WPG Fringe)

Sara Groleau (Performer/Creator)

Sara Groleau is a 28-year old Winnipeg actor and proud to be a part of Sarasvàti Productions’ Launchpad Project! Her first theatrical role was in a play produced by The Manitoba Association of Playwrights in 2018. Since 2018, she has been in several short films. In May 2019, she appeared as Daisy in Student Body produced by Beau Theatre Co.; she also appeared as June in Farrago, produced by Dark Horse Theatre, during the 2019 Winnipeg Fringe Festival and Gimli Summer Theatre Festival. Sara is looking forward to FemFest 2019!

A.J. Hotomani (Performer/Creator)

I always had an interest in the arts but, it was during my high school years, when I fell in love with film. I took every course related to it, and that included the theatre technician courses. After high school, I applied to the University of Winnipeg with an interest in pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Filmmaking, and this is how I was introduced to Theatre Performance. I took an intro course in my first year and was gifted the opportunity to work with Sarasvàti Productions. Now here I am, entering my second year of University exploring a newly found interest, in acting.

Jonathan Mourant (Performer/Creator)

Jonathan Mourant is a non-binary, multidisciplinary artist and also a robot learning how to be human. They first began improvising at 14, travelling across Canada to perform in festivals and train with professionals from Edmonton, Seattle, Vancouver and more. As an independent performer and producer, Jonathan has worked with local companies Common Crow Improv, Family Dinner, and Unexpected Results, which they formed in 2015. They are also an emerging playwright, and this year produced their play Here Together at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Jonathan is thrilled to be a part of this incredible team of emerging artists!

Andi Lea (Leaf) Pankratz (Performer/Creator) Headshot

Andi Lea (Leaf) Pankratz is an emerging non binary performer and creator currently training in aerial arts with the eventual goal of running away with the circus. They are entering into their second year of theatre at the University of Winnipeg. They took this past year to complete their Deaf Studies Certificate with the goal of participating in and contributing to theatre accessible to the Deaf community. They started performing at the age of eight, being lucky enough to have parents who enabled them, and never stopped.

Makrenna Rose Sterdan (Performer/Creator)

Makrenna Rose Sterdan is a director and playwright born and raised in Winnipeg, MB. After graduating from the University of Winnipeg’s Theatre and Film department in 2014, she moved to South Korea to teach kindergarten and work on the expat theatre scene. She has directed plays and films in Canada and South Korea, and runs the theatre/film production company Red Lips Productions. She has participated previously with Sarasvàti Productions as a playwright, writing Doing It for the Fame and Who’s Driving? for the 2016 and 2019 International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues.

Emma Welham HeadshotEmma Welham (Performer/Creator)

Emma is an emerging artist who is about to enter her final year in the University of Winnipeg’s Honours Acting Program. Since beginning her journey in theatre she has been lucky to be a part of many amazing shows, most notably House at Pooh Corner with MTYP and School of Rock the Musical with Winnipeg Studio Theatre. Emma is also a member of La Troupe Jeunesse; a French Canadian Gigue group that performs locally and international at various festival and events. She is very excited to be a part of this project and to be working with so many wonderful people!


The Launchpad Project will be presenting their work as part of FemFest 2019: All the World’s a Stage, with 3 shows. Sunday, September 15th at 4:00PM, Tuesday, September 17th at 8:30PM and Wednesday, September 18th at 6:30PM. Support local emerging artists by purchasing your tickets for the show, HERE!

Three Ladies, One Baby

For three nights only, the world premiere of Baby Box is coming to FemFest 2019: All the World’s a Stage! If you missed the last blog on Baby Box, you can find it HERE. As we begin the rehearsal process, we are happy to introduce you to our amazing cast! We asked the cast of Baby Box to tell us a bit about themselves as well as share their answers to the question, “What was your favourite activity as a child?”


Playing Woman #1, the birth mother, is Victoria Hill.

Victoria Hill_Headshot-page-001Victoria Emilie Hill is a creator, mover, and actor based in Winnipeg.  She is passionate about work that focuses on movement and the body as a place we hold and tell stories.  She is curious about the myriad ways we express and communicate with ourselves, our environments, and other creatures.  Victoria is also a founding member of The Patriarchy, a two-woman a capella band that sings songs and tells stories that challenge the status quo through a comedic and playful lens. (Spoiler Alert: They will be hosting the FemFest Opening Cabaret) Victoria is an avid student of life, and loves adventures in new things which have included roller derby, making jewellery, sky diving, knitting, white water rafting, and trying to keep her plants alive. Baby Box is such a beautiful project, and she can’t wait to share it with all of you.

Victoria’s favourite activity as a child was climbing trees.


Playing Woman #2, the nurse, is Natasha Torres-Garner.

Torres-Garner started her performance career in contemporary dance in 2002. She has performed with Montreal’s Fortier Danse Création, Bill Coleman, in repertoire by the late IMG_5064webJean-Pierre Perreault, as well as Toronto’s Marie-Josée Chartier. Natasha’s long dedication to the independent community in Winnipeg has meant working with Winnipeg’s Tom Stroud, Out of Line Theatre, TRIP Dance Company, Treasure Waddell, Alison Robson, Johanna Riley, Alex Elliott, Ali Robson, Leigh Anne Parry, Danielle Sturk, Ming Hon, Mia Van Leeuwen, and under the direction of Arne MacPherson. As a choreographer Natasha Torres-Garner has presented solo and group works locally and internationally, including Winnipeg, Regina, London(UK), Toronto, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Dresden, Germany.

Natasha, enjoyed the calligraphy club as a child.


Playing Woman #3, the adoptive mother, is Saira Rahman.

Headshot-SAIRA RAHMANSaira Rahman grew up in Winnipeg, and was a teacher and principal before pursuing filmmaking. In 2003, she wrote a 3-part documentary series about Muslim Canadians called “A New Life in a New Land” (Milo Productions), which aired nationally. After completing the Digital Film Production program at Langara College in Vancouver, Saira and her sister, Nilufer, established Snow Angel Films in 2010, producing their first feature documentary, “Arctic Mosque” (CBC, APTN) and most recently, “Prairie Mosque”(BellMTS), a story about the first mosque established in Winnipeg in 1976. Saira is also an emerging actor having performed in The Game (Sarasvati Productions), Murder By Poe (PTE Adult Company), and Boundary Avenue (One Trunk Theatre). She is very excited to be a part of FemFest again this year and Baby Box!

Saira’s favourite activity as a child was to play house with her sister, but their own version where they were single moms.


Victoria, Natasha and Saira have already begun rehearsals for the world premiere next month along with Director, Hope McIntyre, Choreographer, Ali Robson, and Musical Director, Rachel Cameron. Through the use of unique narrative, movement and song, the Baby Box cast is sure to give a moving performance.

For ticket information and more, be sure to give us a visit HERE on our website!

Ready For Launch

-Written by Emma WelhamEmma Welham Headshot

As I enter the final year in my undergrad degree, my thoughts have been on what to do after I graduate. Many professors say “Make your own work!”, but I will admit that idea always scared me slightly. When the time came, would I know how to create a piece from scratch? Would I be able to cover not only everything on the artistic side of the process but on the production and business side of things as well?

Thankfully, the universe has a way of giving you what you need, and this past May I learned about Sarasvàti Production’s Launchpad Project. Aimed specifically at emerging artists, The Launchpad Project gives artists like me the chance to create our own show over the period of three months; culminating in three performances of the show at their annual FemFest.

Starting in mid-June, myself and eight other incredible emerging artists began workshops with industry professionals in devised theatre, movement, improv, and directing before beginning to cultivate and create material that we would like to put in our show. Now a month into this project, I can easily say that being a part of this initiative is one of the most fun and artistically fulfilling projects I have ever been involved in.

non binaryWe meet twice a week (soon to become three in mid-August), and create, create, create! Each of our eight members takes turns leading the rehearsals and we have two facilitators in the room in order to keep things running smoothly. Each member of our group comes from a different background both in theatre and in life, and one of my favourite parts of rehearsal are our group discussions, because everyone brings such a unique perspective to the table.

As we approach August our show is starting to take shape as we begin to piece together material previously created and begin to create the structure of our show.

Be sure to follow Sarasvàti Productions on Facebook, Instagram (@sarasvati_wpg) and Twitter to keep up to date with all future The Launchpad Project updates including blog posts and Instagram takeovers! For more information on FemFest 2019, visit our website HERE!

You Get What You Pay For

Coming to FemFest 2019 as part of our touring shows, a POP ART performance of 4inXchange by xLq. This unique performance involves three performers, four audience members and $1,000 cash!

Jordan Campbell, Maddie Bautista and Katherine Walker-Jones sitting stoic at a table in wigs, sunglasses and white lab coats. About to begin their performance

xLq is a POP ART performance duo comprised of Jordan Campbell and Maddie Bautista. Dedicated to radical forms of performance and complicit audience experience – xLq combines ritual, fashion, dance, music, and queer pop aesthetics to question, physicalize, and reimagine our possible futures. Recipient of the Nightswimming 5×25 2017 Commission and winner of the NOW Magazine Audience Choice Award for ​4inXchange – which debuted at SummerWorks 2019, with tour stops at Vancouver’s rEvolver Festival and now our own FemFest.

“Will leave you looking differently at that fiver in your wallet”- NOW Magazine Toronto

4 audience members write on paper thoughtfully while xLq watchesLearn all about the xLq team we will be welcoming to Winnipeg for FemFest:

Jordan Campbell (performer-creator, producer) is a queer performance artist, creator and youth workshop facilitator. He is an xLq co-artistic director and performer. Jordan’s Jordan and Maddie hold up two pieces of money to eachother while sitting on their knees on the table, the audience sits close watchingsolo work is physically based and uses high aesthetics, drag and performance art. His work with youth has focused around those with different learning abilities, including teaching at Purple Carrots Drama Studio. Selected performance credits include: The Youth/Elders Project (Buddies in Bad Times), 72-Person Ball Passing (FFDN), The Stranger (DLT).

Maddie Bautista (performer-creator, producer) is a Bi, Filipina sound designer, theatre creator and performer. Her sound design has been featured in theatres across the country: Luminato, Why Not’s RISER, Aluna Theatre, b current, rEvolver Festival in Vancouver, High Performance Rodeo in Calgary, and more. Recipient of the SummerWorks Spotlight Performance Award 2016, a Dora-nomination for her sound design ​(Eraser, Why Not’s RISER), and fu-GEN Theatre’s inaugural Walk the Walk Commission 2019.

xLq and the audience members toss money into the air, smiling.Katherine Walker-Jones (performer-creator) is an artist from Winnipeg who is now based in Toronto. They make theatre and music. Since graduating from Humber Theatre Performance in 2016, they have released two EPs and recorded a forthcoming album with their band Feels Fine. They also collaborate with xLq Pop Art Performance. Recent works with xLq include curating the Trash Sanctuary event series as well as performing at SummerWorks Performance Festival and rEvolver Festival.

4inXchange can only accept four audience members per performance, so reserving your tickets in advance is crucial! The show will use a unique pay-what-you-choose method at the end of the show and only has 16 performances. That means only 64 lucky audience members will get to experience this unique event. For show times and to reserve your tickets, visit our website.

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