The Rest of the Fest: Announcing The Full FemFest 2020 Program

Two weeks ago, we announced the touring artists of FemFest 2020: Engaging Community. While we’re so excited for those three incredible shows (Tita Jokesbug, and Monstrous), the festival wouldn’t be complete without our in-house productions. Without further ado, here are the shows and events rounding out the rest of our planned programming for FemFest 2020. 

Alice and the World We Live In 
By Alexandria Haber
Alice stands frozen on a dangerous mountain pass. Paralyzed, unable to move forward or turn back, she is suspended between multiple possibilities of what could have been and what is. Inspired by the topsy-turvy world Alice encounters in Wonderland when she falls down the rabbit hole, this moving allegory explores a woman’s struggle to push through the grief of losing the love of her life to a random act of terror. Echoing our collective fear of what lies ahead in these tumultuous and uncertain times, the play exalts our indefatigable resilience and endless capacity to love, once we find the courage to let go. 

 

Readings
The View From Here
By Hannah Foulger 
A new piece of documentary theatre about the Grandview School for Girls in Cambridge, ON – an examination of the institutional abuse that occurred there and its impact on the community.   

Agency 
By barb janes  
For those who attended last year’s Bake-Off – this was the audience selection to receive development and a reading. 
Three “orphan” girls from three different eras and three different countries: Louisa (a British Home Child), Annie (a sixties scoop adoptee) and Natasha (adopted from Romania). Plagued by issues of abandonment and belonging, the three friends search for their mothers, their identity and their own agency. 

 

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Chantal Bilodeau

Guest Artist
Chantal Bilodeau  
Chantal Bilodeau is a Montreal-born, New York-based playwright and translator, whose work focuses on the intersection of science, policy, art, and climate change. Her plays and translations have been presented in a dozen countries around the world, and she is a recipient of the Woodward International Playwriting Prize as well as the First Prize in the Earth Matters on Stage Ecodrama Festival and the Uprising National Playwriting Competition. She serves as the Artistic Director of The Arctic Cycle and is currently at work on a series of eight plays that look at the social and environmental changes taking place in the eight Arctic states.  

 

 

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A snapshot from the 2018 Bake-Off

Bake-Off 
Coordinated and directed by Cairn Moore 
In partnership with the Manitoba Association of Playwrights.
Feast your eyes on the annual Bake-Off. We challenge selected playwrights with a list of ingredients and eight hours to cook up their own fantastic theatrical feasts! The results are an abundance of laughs and entertaining surprises. Plus, the audience gets to select the winner. 

(Psst… we’re still accepting submissions for Bake-Off. More details here!) 

 

The Launchpad Walking Tour
Yes, we are bringing back our emerging artist initiative and combining it with our

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A shot from last year’s walking tour!

walking tour. Short performances will tackle the theme of climate change. Next week’s blog will feature the announcement of this year’s ensemble.  

You can also expect fantastic opening and closing night cabarets featuring local artists and lots of laughs.  

So there you have it: FemFest 2020 is certain to be one to remember! Be sure to check out the FemFest page on our website regularly for information about ticket prices, performers, and how each show will be executed in regards to current health protocols. Although things will shift based on what September brings, we are committed to following through on this exciting programming in a unique way!  

The Fest so Far

Sold out performances, a glitter-filled opening night, home-made cookies at the Bake-Off – we are more than halfway done FemFest 2019! As always, it is a bittersweet feeling. The fest has been a wonderful experience so far with plenty of highlights and thoughts to share. We asked two Sarasvàti employees to share their experience working towards and during the festival.

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In May 2019, we brought on two new team members to help with the preparation of FemFest. Sami Desiree worked as a Production Assistant for the festival and Brooklyn Kilfoyle worked as the Marketing and Communications Assistant. The whole experience has been an exciting and informative experience for both as their work finally comes to life before their eyes.

“It’s surreal, I’ve always attended theatre festivals and productions in the past but I had no idea just how much hard work goes into it” said Kilfoyle who has worked in the industry mostly as an actor and playwright.

“There are so many moving parts. It is truly inspiring to watch strong, hard working women be an integral part of the process” said Desiree who manages her own theatre company Beau Theatre Co.

image2Some highlights from the festival so far include the annual Bake-Off that completely sold-out! Congratulations to Barb Janes, this year’s winning playwright. Another highlight was the front row of the opening for Raising Stanley/Life with Tulia, we had the pleasure of hosting three audience members accompanied by their guide dogs right in the front row! The Launchpad Project features emerging artists and so far, it has been a success. This group made a production out of nothing but their own creativity and dedication, bravo Launchpad!

Having the opportunity to share theatrical art with ASL Interpretation is something Sarasvàti is very proud of. Inclusiveness is key! We are offering one last ASL Interpreted production for Like Mother, Like Daughter tonight at 6:30! Another program we are proud to offer this year was child minding! Free childcare during 3 selected image1performances. We have 2 performances left with child minding being offered, Baby Box at 8:30 on September 20th and Like Mother, Like Daughter at 2pm on September 21st. If you’d like to take advantage of childminding, call (204) 586-2236 or email us at info@sarasvati.ca. 24 hours’ notice is required to guarantee adequate staffing.

When asked what have been highlights for the FemFest new blood, here’s what they had to say:

“It’s been a major highlight to have the opportunity to connect with artists from all over Canada. To speak with them about what they are doing in their community with their art. It’s been my favourite part so far.”- Sami Desiree, Production Assistant.

“Hearing the audience members as they come out of the theatre, discussing what they just saw and sharing thoughts and praise, it feels good to part of something that is so positive in the community.”- Brooklyn Kilfoyle, Marketing and Community Outreach Assistant.

Both women expressed their gratitude for having the opportunity to make FemFest 2019 a reality and both plan to continue working with Sarasvàti in the future.

There are still 3 days left to enjoy FemFest 2019: All the World’s a Stage so if you’ve been waiting, now’s the time to go!

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The remaining FemFest schedule:

September 19th:
5:00- 4inXchange
6:30- Like Mother, Like Daughter
7:00- 4inXchange
8:30- Baby Box
9:00- 4inXchange

September 20th:
2:00- Like Mother, Like Daughter
3:00- 4inXchange
5:00- 4inXchange
6:30- Like Mother, Like Daughter
7:00- 4inXchange
8:30- Baby Box
9:00- 4inXchange
10:00- Bastard Reading

September 21st:
1:00- 4inXchange
2:00- Like Mother, Like Daughter
3:00- 4inXchange
3:30- All Winnipeg’s a Stage Walking Art Tour
5:00- 4inXchange
6:30- Like Mother, Like Daughter
7:00- 4inXchange
8:30- Leaping Off the Page with Yvette Nolan

Book your advance tickets HERE or call (204) 586-2236 to reserve!

Everybody’s Got a Plan, Until They Get Punched in the Face

By Brooklyn Alice Lee

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The night before the Bake-Off, I could hardly sleep. “What are the three ingredients going to be?” “What are my competitors like?” “What if I don’t come up with anything?” All of these questions and more were racing through my mind. When I sent in my application for the “Bake-Off,” I hadn’t considered the reality of the competition! 5 of us in one room for 8 hours, writing. AH!

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All of my worries melted away when I arrived at The Asper Centre for Theatre and Film and entered the writing room (well, most of my worries. There was still the ‘will I come up with anything?!’ panic). All of the playwrights were in good spirits, everyone brought snacks, there was coffee, water and sunlight to keep us going. Meeting the other playwrights for the first time was a huge help to calming my nerves. Everyone was so kind and supportive of each other, the energy in the room was electric. Being surrounded by a group of such positive women; passionate about theatre set fire to my determination. Then came the ingredients.


The sound, “shhh,” a flat tire, and the quote, “Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the face.”

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Well… alright then! As a writer, I had a few ideas in my head. The trick was which idea would these three ingredients work best with?

The timer begins.

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I take my blanket (taken right off my bed at home) and my pillow (also taken right off my bed at home) and I plop myself down in the corner. I will confess. The first half-an-hour was spent scrolling through Twitter and Facebook. What? I was 68803677_10157631014417533_6195709625510133760_olooking for inspiration! Then I came across a photo of my five-year-old brother and I remembered a story I had been toying with for quite some time that involved the two of us, but never actually got around to writing. I was immediately inspired (see, scrolling can spark inspiration)!

68706456_10157631014072533_5099784042023223296_nThe room was mostly quiet throughout the writing process. With the exception of a little chatter around lunch time and the occasional “Bless you,” everyone was hard at work. Seven hours, approximately thirty different seating positions, two bottles of water and one phone call to my mum for encouragement later and I was done. I read over the script quite a few times, which I’m so glad I did because initially my script included a “spare tire,” very different from a “flat tire”! I was sure to make that adjustment, read it over a few more times and then pressed send!

Everyone completed their scripts in a timely fashion, some finishing earlier than others. By the end of it, you could feel the thickness in the air, the stress that comes with sending DSC_0227.JPGoff your work to not only be displayed in front of an audience, but no more adjustments can be made! Now, all there is left to do is wait to watch the actors bring our pieces to life and see who the audience choice winner is.

All in all, I am feeling proud, terrified, motivated and excited to see what my competitors brought to the table! It is sure to be an exciting FemFest! The performances of each playwrights Bake-Off piece will take place on September 16th at 6:30PM and you can purchase tickets HERE! Make sure to check out all of the other amazing shows going on during FemFest 2019.