The Tita Collective: Essential Reading

We are incredibly lucky to have the Tita Collective present their musical sketch revue hit, Tita Jokes, at this year’s FemFest. Although it may not be the usual live performance due to the current situation, it will still be hilarious and a must-see! An all-Filipina collective composed of award-winning playwrights, comedians, musicians, dancers, theatremakers and actors, the Tita Collective explores different mediums to tell the stories about the Filipinx diaspora.

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The Tita Collective

Tita Collective won the 2019 Steamwhistle Producers’ Pick at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, Best Newcomer at the Montreal Sketch Comedy Festival, and the Second City Outstanding New Comedy Award.

To get you just as excited as us, we’ve gathered some interviews and videos of the Tita Collective (made up of Ann Paula Bautista, Belinda Corpuz, Isabel Kanaan, Ellie Posadas, Alia Rasul and Maricris Rivera). We highly recommend you watch and read the following and, as we get closer to FemFest, bookmark it so you can return to it again and again and again and… (you get the idea!)

Tita Collective: ‘We’re Like The Spice Girls Of Theatre,’ With A Filipino Twist
This article from the CBC tells you all the key facts about the Tita Collective and their show, from their origin story to their connection with each other.

Excerpt: “It’s a very inter-generational story. So our parents, our older aunts and uncles have come to the show . . . But even my niece and nephew who are eight and 11 years old also came to the show and they could still enjoy it and resonate with it and identify with that.”

5 Questions With… The Tita Collective
Get to know the Titas even better with this interview on comedy and Filipinx culture.

Excerpt: Filipinas of our parents’ generations are some of the bravest people out there, and there’s a lot to learn from their journeys: from making the choice to leaving their communities behind to move to a strange new place and starting a new life, having to deal with racism, classism and sexism in degrees that today is unacceptable but back then was the norm, and all of this to provide for their families and to prop the Philippine economy up. It’s time that their bravery is recognized and honoured.

FTV (Filipino TV) Exclusive Feature Tita Jokes at the 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival
This video features an interview with the Tita Collective spliced up with footage from their hilarious show.

“When we tell these stories I hear a lot of stories from people who aren’t Filipino, Filipina, or Filipinx and they’re like, ‘My sister-in-law is Filipina so I know what lumpia is,’ or, ‘I have lot of friends who are [Filipinx],’ so it just makes me feel like I’m not as invisible as I thought. This encouraged me to tell other people to tell their stories.”

#NowYouKnow YouTube Videos
#NowYouKnow is a series of videos the Tita Collective made that opens with a slide that says, “We asked titos and titas to explain a few words in Tagalog.” These short clips, featuring words like “ube” or “maganda,” are recommend by the Tita Collective to be watched before you see their show.

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Kristina Guevarra

So there you have it: essential reading (and viewing, technically) for those of you who are soon-to-be fans of the Tita Collective! Keeping in mind COVID-19 protocols, we are currently working on some additional (and very exciting!) virtual programming with them. We’re also excited to announce Kristina Guevarra, a multidisciplinary Filipinx artist, will be coordinating a panel featuring Filipinx creatives. Be sure to check out our new FemFest 2020 page to stay up to date on how each show will be uniquely executed!

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. 

 

Chantal photo

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 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.  

 

A Robot Learning to be Human: An Interview with Jon Mourant

To get ready for the virtual edition of One Night Stand: A Series of Readings Focused on the Development of New Works on Thursday, June 11th at 7pmwe’ve interviewed Jon Mourant, co-ordinator, host, and Launchpad alumni.

Jonathan Mourant photo

Jonathan Mourant

Q: Jon! Tell us a little bit more about yourself and some of the things you’ve written.
A: I use the term “trans-disciplinary artist” which translates to improviser, playwright, drag performer, producer, and whatever other job I feel like taking on. My favourite phrase to describe myself is as a “robot learning how to be human,” which connects in a lot of ways to what I write and the ways I approach them! I’m fascinated and somewhat obsessed with how I see myself and how other people see me – both negatively and positively. In my writing I try to interrogate how personal relationships often force someone to come face to face with who they are, either because the company they keep holds them back or challenges them to be better.

Q: I know you were part of the Launchpad team this past year, can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
A: Launchpad hands down changed my life. It was my first time working on a project that was dedicated to women, trans, and non-binary artists, which fundamentally changed the way we worked. The creation of our show “To Kill a Lizard” was incredibly collaborative, with each participant taking on a piece of writing and directing while also performing in the show. There isn’t a moment of that show that wasn’t touched in some way by every single participant in the room.

Q: What drew you to playwriting in the first place?
A: I started playwriting in high school when I wrote 30 Rock spec scripts to perform in front of the school once a month. I found a joy in creating stories and characters, and more than anything building a world and defining its rules. To me, playwriting is the power to make anything real, and with that comes a sort of freedom that you don’t find anywhere else.

Q: What are you most looking forward to during next week’s edition of One Night Stand?
A: The most exciting thing to me is finding new discoveries in the work. I can’t wait for the moments where a playwright hears their work and thinks “Oh, I know what to change.” That’s the best feeling in playwriting and I hope that every playwright experiences it at the reading.

Q: Do you have any advice for emerging playwrights?
A: It’s cliché but be yourself. Something I’m always reminding myself is that I’m not trying to write someone else’s story or in someone else’s voice. I’m writing my play, and I need to trust that the best way to do it is the way that I do it.

This event will be livestreamed on our Facebook Page and will feature the following actors: Dylan Hatcher, Ady Kollar, Matt Paris-Irvine, Riva Billows, and Cheryl Soluk. Just a reminder: if you want to give verbal feedback to the playwrights we ask you to click “going” on the Facebook event page (we only have five spots left!), otherwise you can leave written feedback on our Facebook page, where the event will be livestreamed. We’re so excited to see these plays come to life – virtually, of course!

 

Virtual Dating for Playwrights

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We are excited to announce the line-up for our first virtual One Night Stand: A Series of Readings Focused on the Development of New Works! We had a wonderful array of work submitted to us for consideration, so we hope this will be just the start of a revised version of our initiative to support playwrights. Each edition will offer excerpts of new works in early stages of development, read by an ensemble of actors, and tested before an audience. The goal is to focus on the playwright and what would help them get to the next stage with the script they are working on.

Jonathan Mourant photo

Jonathan

On Thursday, June 11th at 7pm we will share ten minute excerpts from 5 plays in progress. It will be hosted by our new One Night Stand coordinator Jonathan Mourant. We are welcoming folks to either join in to provide feedback on Zoom or simply tune in to listen on our Facebook Page.

 

 

Learn about our first round of playwrights:

Love Letters for Juliet
by Makrenna Sterdan
conceived by Makrenna Sterdan and Joanne Roberts 

Makrenna Rose Sterdan is a producer and writer. Sterdan has had her work produced in South Korea, Canada, and America. Sterdan also owns and operates Red Lips Productions (RLP), a company that creates theatre and film pieces internationally, both in person and remotely. For more information, go to RLP’s website at www.redlips-productions.com or Sterdan’s personal site www.makrennarose.com

Veralyn

Veralyn

The Bridge
by Veralyn Warkentin

Veralyn’s plays have been produced by the Manitoba Association of Playwrights, Winnipeg Mennonite Theatre and Tara Players who commissioned her script about the Irish Famine, Like the Sun, which was then produced in Winnipeg, Milwaukee, Chicago and Limerick; and published in Canadian Mosaic II: 6 Plays. Additional scripts have had staged readings by MAP (Land of Hope); Theatre Projects Manitoba (Criminal Element); and Sarasvati presented Quite an Undertaking, based on the memoir of Canada’s first female mortician, at FemFest 2009. Other scripts have placed 1st (Mary & Martha, 2002) and 2nd (The Death of Polly Anna, 2012) in Winnipeg Mennonite Theatre Playwriting Contests.

Kevan

Kevan

Seekers of Atlantis
by Kevan Bowkett

Kevan Kenneth Bowkett’s work has been presented at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival (Time’s Fancy, 2017), at the Carol Shields Festival of New Works by SIR (Time’s Fancy, extended version, 2013), and at Wine and Words 2015 by Theatre by the River (“Bacchus’ Song”). His Fringe-length Time’s Fancy was read in-house by the Knavish Hedgehogs (2016). He wrote his first Shakespeare-esque scene at age 14. Since then he’s been in the Canadian Forces Reserves, washed dishes, planted trees, collided with an open car door while bicycle couriering, done door-to-door sales, weeded gardens, slept in an igloo, worked in a daycare, and run for Parliament.

alison

alison

Strawberries & Cream
by alison mcLean 

alison has a BA (Film & Theatre) from the U of M, and an MFA in Playwriting from UBC. Her plays Chick Night and Bond Night premiered as staged readings at FemFest ’03 and ’04. Her monologue “Hockey Mom” was part of the International Women’s Week Cabaret produced by Sarasvàti Productions in ’11, the same year her scene “Sister Wars” was published in the anthology Generation NeXXt. Her most recent play, Skin Deep, was given a staged reading at FemFest ’14. She attended a Masterclass with Judith Thompson as part of FemFest 2017. alison is also the lead singer for the cover band Nameless + Shameless.

ty

Ty

The Planet
by Ty Ballingall

Ty is a queer and gender unbound actor and artist living on Treaty One Territory on the land we call Canada. The Planet is the first play they have ever wrote and are very excited for this opportunity! They are currently living life in Osborne and are just going with the flow, hanging with friends and hugging trees. They practice witchcraft, they like the colour green and are happy to be here.

Keep up to date on our FB Event as we finalize the ensemble cast and other details!

FemFest – Planning for the Unknown

Yes, there will be a FemFest! What that will look like is still a work in progress. Our amazing team is developing multiple contingencies depending on the reality that we may be in come September. We are optimistic that there still may be live events. Perhaps smaller audiences nicely spread out. Maybe it will be a hybrid year with some live and some virtual offerings. Like many other festivals and performing arts organizations we are exploring, experimenting and ready to offer the best programming we can.

FemFest 2020 logoFemFest 2020 will run from September 19 to 26. Our theme this year is Engaging Community. We chose it two years ago as part of long-term planning. Now of course this theme means something very different. Ways to engage have certainly changed, but at the core of our work has been and will always be community. Before the world paused we had lined up three amazing touring shows and a stellar guest artist. We’ll be announcing these acts with our brochure later this month as our ideal for September. It is a mix of work that tackles identity in terms of the struggle to fit in to a community; work that continues to allow us to pursue our commitment to reconciliation; and even some sketch comedy to lighten the mood.

Most exciting is working with guest artist Chantal Bilodeau. She is truly living through the crisis, as a former Canadian now in New York. Whether live in Winnipeg or virtually, we have an array of activities planned with her facilitating on the theme of climate change and the arts.

Chantal Bilodeau photoChantal 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. 

“I really look forward to FemFest! I’m excited to connect with people in Winnipeg and start to imagine together the just and sustainable future we want to create.” – Chantal Bilodeau

Ah, the FemFest ramp up is beginning! This time of year is always fun for us as we welcome the energy and enthusiasm of summer youth positions. Although they won’t be physically in our office quite yet, we are excited that Samantha Desiree – our PA from last year – is returning. Sami runs Beau Theatre Co. and is finishing her degree in theatre at the University of Winnipeg. Stay tuned for news on our Marketing and Community Outreach Assistant summer position. You can expect to hear more from both of them as the journey to the festival continues.

In the meantime, we still have a couple slots in our Producing 101: Virtual Workshop and save the date for our first virtual One Night Stand reading series on June 11th at 7pm.

Long Distance Work

It’s the 7th week that our staff are working remotely! It’s hard to believe, but we have all adjusted to a new normal. Only our Artistic Director is working out of the empty and much too quiet office. This week’s blog is dedicated to the thoughts, discoveries, and advice from our amazing staff.

1. What things do you never want to have to do again post-isolation?

Wren

Wren’s home office

Wren Brian, Administrator

  • Stress about keeping 2 meters away from people (hard on sidewalks & in apartment buildings).
  • Resist the urge to pet cute dogs out with their humans.
  • Limit grocery shopping to once every three weeks – it’s a lot to carry (my shoulders are definitely getting stronger though).

Hope McIntyre, Artistic Director

  • Zoom multiple times a day – so many tiny faces on the screen
  • Avoid people, which has led to the most bizarre game of ‘stay away’ in grocery stores
  • Postpone work we love to do!

Fawnda Neckoway, Administrator

Fawnda

Fawnda’s home office

  • Feel like it’s wrong to visit my family, worry about hugging my nieces.
  • Deem taking my son grocery shopping unsafe.
  • Be restricted from places I enjoy going (lockdowns/checkpoints aren’t fun).

Liz Whitbread, Assistant Artistic Director

  • Stand six feet away from my loved ones
  • Clean my oven ‘as a fun treat’ on a Friday night

2. What things do you want to keep doing that you started due to the isolation?

Wren

  • Keep more of a routine, particularly some of the treat days I set up to help me keep track of the days of the week (Whiskey Wednesday, Take-Out Friday, Strolling Saturday, etc.)
  • Watch more recordings of theatre productions in other parts of the world (if they are made available still…I hope they are!)
  • Connect with friends in other cities more regularly.

Hope

  • Going for long walks – it’s become an end of work day ritual with my partner and we’ve discovered new parts of our neighbourhood
  • Evenings at home – my cats have never been so happy
  • Buying local – we’ve made an effort to order from local restaurants

Fawnda

  • Beading, I put them down for some time but it’s nice to start again.
  • Long drives just because. We explore when we can.
Liz's WFH

Liz’s home office

Liz

  • Talking to my friends on the phone! I’ve rediscovered my junior high love of long telephone conversations with loved ones.
  • Journaling every day

3. What are three things you can’t wait to do again post-isolation?

Wren

  • Go visit Whitehorse, Yukon, my hometown.
  • Going for a drink and some food with a group of people (particularly the theatre units!).
  • Plan my life. Well, more just plan more than a month into the future with a bit more certainty.

Hope

  • Teach in person
  • Meet in person
  • Go to live theatre

Fawnda

  • Go to the gym!
  • Have a big BBQ somewhere.
  • Let my son play freely with his friends in our backyard

Liz

  • Hug my friends!
  • Go dancing!
  • Hold hands!

4. Anything you want to share in terms of tips or lessons learned from working at home.

Wren
If you can, have a work station, one area of your home where you only do work. And when you’re done for the day, try to create a separation (personally I put a light blanket over the turned off computer & hide my lists & notebooks under there too).
If you’re feeling stressed by the situation, find a comforting quote or two that keeps you grounded in the moment and have them near your workspace to refer to (taped to your desk or computer, even the wall). I used to work contracts and often found myself unemployed for a few weeks or months with nothing lined up, so once I made a collage featuring a quote I really like, it’s in a frame on my desk now.

As mentioned above, I’ve enjoyed and found it helpful to label days with treats (food, drink, fun activity, etc.) for yourself to keep track of days of the week.

Sarasvati office

Empty Sarasvati office

Hope
Routine, boundaries, get away from the computer at the end of the work day! I’m lucky as I was able to keep working in the office, but the pitfall was the temptation to work much longer hours and sit at the computer for way too long. I felt it in my back and eyes!

Fawnda
Music helps 🙂

Liz
For me, creating a morning routine has been essential:
Changing out of pyjamas (even if it’s just into a slightly more structured pair of pyjamas); getting outdoors first thing in the morning – usually just for a stroll around the block while my coffee is brewing; trying not to look at my phone for a good half hour after waking up to ease myself into the day; starting work around the same time each day. It’s helped me retain a sense of structure and given me something to focus on.

We hope you are all managing and staying healthy. We look forward to all being together again when it is safe. In the meantime, feel free to contact us at info@sarasvati.ca.

Producing – From Home

As our staff work remotely to produce our programming from their homes, it seems like the ideal time to explore how to share knowledge with others in their homes! Thus far we’ve had a virtual roundtable, we’ve moved forward with the script for Songide’ewin by hosting an on-line reading, our staff have done virtual tutorials, and there is a lot more to come. Although we can’t wait to be together again, our team is learning new platforms that can help us meet our goals of greater accessibility and inclusion – even when the theatres open again.

Before we get ahead of ourselves though – we are excited to announce our next virtual workshop! Have you ever wondered how to produce your own theatre? Where to start? What steps to take? Producing 101 will happen online from the comfort of your own home. On Saturday, May 30th from 1pm-3pm. Unlike a panel, this will be a skill-development session and as a result will only be open to a limited number of participants.

Coming up with a script or show idea is half the work, but once you have that, what then? If you’re thinking of self-producing this workshop is for you! It will provide a helpful breakdown of the fundamentals required to take your vision to the stage. Through this virtual training experience industry professionals will provide participants with an overview of producing their own theatrical performance from A-Z. Topics for discussion include budgeting, scheduling, production tech planning, plus marketing and communications. Our goal is to equip artists with helpful knowledge in preparation for future self-producing, as well as creating an opportunity for discussion between artists in our local community.

We know money is tight right now so the cost is up to participants. You decide! Artists can choose their registration fee – $20, $15, $10, $5 or free depending on what you can afford. We believe in paying artists, so monies earned from registration will be used to pay facilitators and to continue similar programming.

E-mail now to register or stay tuned for details on the co-facilitators and hope there is still space left.

We are so grateful to be able to bring art and knowledge to the arts community during these difficult times. If self-producing isn’t your thing we have lots of other opportunities coming up!

Don’t forget, for female and non-binary emerging artists, our Launchpad Project is still accepting applications HERE until tomorrow (May 1st). For both emerging and established playwrights, our One Night Stand reading series is also taking submissions HERE until May 8!

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! 


 

Postponed, Cancelled, Thriving

It is with a heavy heart that we recently announced the postponement of our May 2020 performance of Songide’ewin, the culmination of our Reconciliation Through Theatre Project at the Forks. We have been holding on with great hope and optimism. We have amazing stories compiled from over 70 Indigenous youth. We have an incredible artistic team and community partners all lined up. We would like to say we are making this choice, however it ultimately was out of our hands as permits and regulations were no longer allowing gatherings in to May and June. We do believe it is the safest decision and what is best for all involved.

Songide'ewin

On April 1st we had a wonderful reading of the draft script under the guidance of our director Tracey Nepinak and with actors Sara Demers, Katie German, Braiden Houle, Jessica McGlynn, Akalu Meekis and Josh Ranville. Incredible designs are underway thanks to Production Designer Louis Ogemah and we have such beautiful art ready to share from so many talented youth.

91609969_10158340738552533_7649438720994574336_nWe are 100% committed to seeing the show through, but at this time cannot provide new dates as we are working with our venue to sort out what is realistic and feasible. We will continue to share all the inspiring work happening in the interim and cannot wait to celebrate when the time is ready! We are grateful for how the community is rallying at this time, thankful for all those working so hard to provide essential services, and for all our supporters, funders, partners for their belief in our work.


These are truly uncertain times we’re in! The arts are taking a hit as performances, workshops, festivals and more are being cancelled or postponed on the daily. In times like these, we understand it’s a challenge to remain positive. But, not all hope is lost. In fact, it is more alive than ever! There are still plenty of resources on creative ways to keep your mind and the arts active. Here are just some examples:

Watch theatre at home!

Free virtual acting classes!

Art from a distance!


Our friends at I Like Hue created a documentary following the process of our reconciliation through theatre project. The documentary outlines the Seven Visions art workshops at our partner youth organizations, eventually resulting in our final production Songide’ewin. You can watch the video HERE on our Facebook with closed captioning or HERE on our Youtube account! [Poster] Sarasvati - 7 Circles

Songide’ewin may be postponed, but the conversation on reconciliation is not. We want to continue to support our artists and collaborators anyway that we can, which is why we will be introducing “Songide’ewin Sunday”! Every Sunday, starting next week, we will be featuring a Songide’ewin artist on our social media platforms. You can keep up with Songide’ewin Sunday on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Stay tuned for updates on Songide’ewin once more information is available to us. We hope you are all remaining in good health and high spirits!