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

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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

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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

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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.  

 

We Want YOU!

There are so many exciting things to look forward to in the near future. From workshops, to festivals, we can’t wait to gather once again as a community and share our art. We would love for you to join us! We are currently accepting submissions for our One Night Stand playwright development series and applications for our Launchpad Project! 

one-night-stand-poster-april-11-e1524149136777Every year, we host our One Night Stand reading series as a way for emerging and established playwrights to share their work and gain some feedback. We are seeking 10-minute scenes from Manitoban playwrights of all ages, genders, and backgrounds! Our first virtual, One Night Stand will take place in June, 2020. All submissions must be received by 11:59pm on May 8th, 2020. More details on how and what to submit HERE. 


We are so excited to welcome former Launchpad participant Jonathan Mourant in helping to coordinate future ONS editions! 

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Jonathan Mourant in the 2019 Launchpad Project

Jonathan Mourant is a trans-disciplinary performer, producer, and also a robot learning how to be human. They have been improvising for just under a decade and have performed and learned at festivals and workshops across Canada, including the Winnipeg Improv Festival and Toronto SketchFest. This year, Jonathan wrote and directed Here Together for the 2019 Winnipeg Fringe Festival and created Jon After Hours, an experimental late night talk show featuring local personalities. Recently, they have begun performing drag as Nora Vision, and are thrilled at the opportunities to combine improv, theatre, and drag into their own unique performance.


You may recall our Launchpad Project from FemFest 2019. A group of emerging female and non-binary identifying artists gathered weekly for a series of workshops, before creating and performing their final work To Kill a Lizard during FemFest 2019. After a successful pilot project that supported ten young artists, we are excited to change it up this year with a new focus. This intensive residency will take place in August/September 2020. Participants will be working on performance pieces that explore climate change. They will perform them in site-specific locations in downtown Winnipeg during our fall festival of FemFest 2020. The best part is participants are paid – as all artists should be!. For more details on who, what and how to apply, click HERE. 

We hope you will consider submitting for one (or both!) of these exciting initiatives. It is important to remember that there is still a lot of exciting things to look forward to and so much art and theatre still to create! 


 

Accessibility Online

Lots of companies are offering free virtual workshops, discussions and play readings. We were so grateful to host the accessibility panel discussion, “Accessibility On Stage and Off” on Saturday, April 4th along with Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba and Sick + Twisted Theatre.

91937880_10158356493302533_3700888570668515328_nWe hosted the discussion online so panellists and workshop participants could participate from the comfort of their own home! We were even able to broadcast the discussion to or Facebook livestream so folks could choose to just watch and observe. It was nice just to do something beyond the usual quarantine routine and to have an important and valuable conversation pertaining to accessibility in the theatre industry. We were even able to have ASL interpretation for the Deaf.


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Joanna Hawkins

Some of the points and ideas brought up included a calendar of events specifically for accessible performances and productions, suggested by Joanna Hawkins, a local Deaf performer. She also brought up the idea of using ASL videos to announce local events, in order to appeal more to the Deaf community. Joanna also shared insights on the importance of communication, “communication is something we all do, we are human beings!” One of the other disability advocates, Hannah Foulger, also mentioned the importance of communication, “the more we talk about what some venues are already doing, the more the other venues will listen and change.” As did our Sick + Twisted Theatre host and moderator, Debbie Patterson, “it’s all about connections and communication. We observe, we pay attention, it’s a network it’s not any one person!” While our other partner Jenel Shaw from Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba expressed the importance of venues and organizations understanding the need for accessible spaces, “if more organizations saw accessibility not as a burden or expensive but as an opportunity to grow, it would really benefit everyone. More than a quarter of the Canadian population has a disability.”

Panellists Hailley Rhoda and Hannah Foulger also discussed the importance of hiring

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Hailley Rhoda

disabled performers. “Seeing people with disabilities on stage reminds me I am worthwhile, my life is worthwhile and we have important things to say,” Hannah Foulger. “The difference between knowing you’re allowed in a space and knowing you’re welcome in a space, the.re is a huge difference,” Hailley Rhoda.


This discussion was incredible informative and beneficial in many ways. We want to thank the panelists, the participants and everyone who tuned in! We are grateful to be able to keep conversations like these going and we hope to have many more! It is also important to move it beyond talk and walk the walk. Here are some amazing resources:

Stay tuned for more updates on our season. We hope you all are happy and healthy!


 

Accessibility On Stage and Off

The world is changing but the arts continue to stay alive. Everything has moved to the virtual world as folks social distance and work on flattening the curve. We want to do our part, but we also want to keep the arts alive! That’s why this Saturday, April 4th at 12pm, we will be hosting a discussion on Accessibility On Stage and Off with guest panelists and disability advocates via Zoom! More is being done to address accessibility in theatre and the arts in Winnipeg, but is it enough? How accessible are performances for audiences? How exclusionary are the spaces and processes we use in making theatre? Why is the inclusion of artists with disabilities essential to the continued development of the art form? Join Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba, Sarasvàti Productions and Sick + Twisted Theatre for a frank discussion with guest artists and Disability advocates.zoom-how-use-online-classes

Zoom is an online video chat platform. Participants can choose to join in the discussion and be seen and heard from the comfort of their own homes; or watch without any pressure to join in! The choice is yours. Debbie Patterson of Sick + Twisted Theatre will be moderating. Jenel Shaw representing our other partner, Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba, will be part of the panel will . Along with Debbie and Jenel, we have a selection of disability advocates who will be sharing their insights.


joannaHailing from Poland, a University of Manitoba Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate, Joanna Hawkins has always felt a strong connection to the arts. She is a skilled artist (drawing & painting), graphic designer and photographer but her real dream had always been with acting. Joanna has performed as a lead in a children’s show for young deaf children and has been involved in several films in Manitoba as a featured extra as well as two television commercials. Joanna has been professionally trained in mime, physical comedy and storytelling by the award winning Hot Thespian Action’s Shannon Guile. Recently Joanna performed as Mrs. Peachum in Sick + Twisted/AA Battery production’s “The Threepenny Opera”. Joanna’s aim is not only to entertain audiences with her incredibly crisp and clean physical illusions but to reach-out with the beauty of Deaf Culture and build bridges between the hearing and Deaf worlds. Joanna continues enjoying working in theatre/film industry as an actor, ASL translator and ASL coach.


Hailley Rhoda is a theatre artist focused on storytelling, puppeteering and reimagining _MG_0615traditional myths. She has a fringe company, Chronically Ch(ill) Productions, entering its third year of existence. She is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg’s Theatre and Film department. Hailley has two invisible illnesses, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (Classic) and Von Willebrand’s Disease. Quasi the tripod cat will likely be appearing in this live stream. She has yet to develop artistic passions, and mostly enjoys biting Hailley and chasing the laser pointer.


Hannah Foulger is a British Canadian theatre artist and writer from Cambridge, Ontario on the Haldimand Tract of Treaty 3 territory. She studied Theatre and Creative Writing at the University of Winnipeg, and is a winner of the Bertsinger award. Her theatre projects have appeared at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, the PTE Festival of New Works and Sick + Twisted Theatre’s Lame Is… Cabaret. Her creative writing has been featured in Prairie Fire Magazine, Matrix Magazine, Juice and the Disability Voices Anthology from Rebel Mountain Press. She lives in Winnipeg on Treaty One territory with a brain injury and epilepsy.


Also joining the panel is Diane Driedger, Ph.D. Diane Driedger is Assistant Professor in the Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Disability Studies at the University of Manitoba. She is a visual artist, poet and disability activist.


To join the panel, email info@sarasvati.ca to get the link! All you will need is a computer or cellphone so you can access the Zoom app or website and the meeting code. If you wish to interact live with the panelists you will also need a camera and microphone. If you can’t do a Zoom and prefer to just watch, you can also tune in via Facebook livestream. We hope to see you virtually on April 4th from 12pm-2pm!


 

Cabaret in Review

This year’s International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues tour took us all around Winnipeg and surrounding cities/towns. Our travels were filled with inspiration, excitement and meaningful experiences. All eight of our pieces went out on the road to share the transformative stories of the women in this year’s line-up.

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Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie Performing at Sunshine House

Many women’s groups around the cities welcomed us into their spaces to share our monologues. North End Women’s Centre hosted an event and invited three of our performers to share their pieces with the staff and clientele. CTV Winnipeg made an appearance at North End Women’s Centre and interviewed our artists to cover International Women’s Week! Other amazing women’s groups we were happy to visit were Sage House and Women’s Health Clinic.

Wanda St. John's

waNda wilsoN performing at St. John’s Library

Our monologues were not limited to women’s organizations. We were happy to visit other community groups and venues. Sunshine House and Rainbow Resource Centre are two organizations with an open inclusivity mandate and advocacy for LGBTQ+ issues. Both welcomed our artists with open arms and open discussion. A disabilities class at The University of Winnipeg welcomed our Deaf performer, Joanna Hawkins in to perform her mime piece for students in a more intimate setting. St. John’s Library, a local staple in our North End Community, welcomed our musical performer waNda wilsoN for

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Lizzie Knowles performing at CMHR

a special and intimate performance. We were honoured to bring five of our monologues to The Canadian Museum for Human Rights on their First Friday’s free event night. Our pieces on the subject of “Change” were a perfect fit in an institution that promotes and supports human rights.

We love expanding beyond Winnipeg and our first road trip took us to Steinbach for a performance hosted by Agape House during an evening dedicated to raising funds for

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Genesis House, Winkler

this important shelter. On the final leg of our tour, we took one group of monologues to Winkler and another group to Altona! Both performances were for special Women’s Day events. Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie’s spoken word ‘Traumatic Resilience’ and waNda wilsoN’s music about not giving up and remembering those who have been lost to us, were the

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Performers and Staff in Altona

perfect bookends to a moving presentation by Wilma Derksen and Odia Reimer in benefit of Genesis House women’s shelter. Meanwhile in Altona our performers were invited to judge a “fancy hat” competition! It was the perfect way to celebrate International Women’s Day and the end of our tour.

These eleven community performances were in addition to the two full performances of all the pieces in a theatre setting on March 7th. Here we welcomed almost two hundred audience members to experience the work.

All-in-all, our International Women’s Week was a success! The subject of Changes is so relevant to today’s society and to being a woman in this day and age. It doesn’t end here, we need to continue to share the conversation and support women in the arts every day of the year. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to work with local performers and artists and help to showcase their art across the city and across the province. We can’t wait for next year!


 

Accessing Diverse Theatre

Accessibility and Diversity are two burning topics in society right now. Especially in the theatre community, we are trying more and more everyday to make our spaces more accessible and diverse. But what does that mean? What does it look like?

On February 16th, we were happy to host a panel on Diversity with Out From Under the 69098045_104007547644963_1207535746102067200_oRug Theatre Collective. Established in 2019, Out From Under The Rug Theatre Collective is focused on creating works by, for, and about people of colour. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Out From Under The Rug intends to highlight the experiences of those whose voices often go unheard – or more often told to stop talking. As a collective, their goal is to emphasize a dedication to safe and accessible spaces. They would like to acknowledge our privilege of living, working, and creating on the traditional lands of The Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples and the Homeland of the Metis Nation. Visit them on Facebook HERE!

DSC_0019Panel discussions included topics such as, creating works of theatre with characters of colour where their ethnicity is not their entire personality. As well as how to create these characters and describe said characters when the playwright doesn’t share the same ethnicity. Panelists touched on the importance of representation in the arts and media, they specifically spoke on being a person of colour and how it feels to see yourself represented on the screen and on the stage. Out From Under the Rug’s member Sophie Smith-Dostmohamed described herself in childhood only ever wanting to watch the Disney film “Aladdin” as it was the only place she saw characters that looked like her, further emphasizing the need for representation.

During this panel, we were able to open up a conversation in a safe space about diversity in the theatre industry, where it’s headed and how we can improve. This panel was open to all and free of charge in a physically accessible building (wheelchair accessible, gender neutral restrooms, ASL interpretation). To further the conversation on diversifying theatre and allowing for more accessibility; not only in audiences but also for performers, we will be hosting a roundtable on accessibility on April 4th!

Accessibility On Stage and Off will occur on April 4th, 2020 from 2pm-4pm at the Cargill Boardroom at RMTC. Sarasvàti Productions, Arts AccessAbility Network and Sick + Twisted theatre will host a discussion on the subject of accessibility in theatre. This discussion will be lead by a panel of disability advocates. The discussion hopes to open a conversation on accessibility, what it means to be accessible and how we can improve on what theatres in Winnipeg are doing to make their spaces more accessible. We plan to discuss the importance beyond just the audience’s accessibility and touch on accessibility for performers.

Stay tuned for more on the Accessibility workshop coming soon! For more information on upcoming workshops visit our website HERE.


 

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!


 

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!


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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.