To Infinity… And Beyond!

Forging a future for FemFest requires providing a space for the next generation of voices. To this end we have initiated an exciting new program. At this year’s FemFest, you will get to see the results of their development in progress! “The Launchpad Project” compiles a roster of emerging women and non-binary artists whose creative mediums range from a variety of disciplines: directors, dancers, performers, playwrights, technical crew, etc. This diverse and well rounded team will take part in intensive workshops over the summer including: movement work, vocal work, improvisation, devised theatre and scene-writing. Professionals working in Winnipeg’s theatre industry will lead these workshops and mentor the creative team.

The goal of this project is to give emerging artists a chance to learn, develop skills and network with industry professionals. How does it tie into FemFest? Along with all of the professional shows we put on at FemFest in September, The Launchpad will premiere a devised production connected to the FemFest theme just for YOU! The result of ongoing rehearsals over the summer and training alongside professionals! This is an exciting opportunity for both the artists and the spectators alike. The Launchpad ensemble will have the chance to display their hard work for you the audience, while spectators will have the chance to see a brand new work of theatre with a fresh cast and crew.

Facilitating and Coordinating the Launchpad are Victoria Hill and Lindsay Johnson. They are ecstatic to be helping a new group of performers break through and create their own piece for FemFest.

As for the ensemble members… here’s a list of who you can expect to see:

  • J. Hotomani
  • Anaka Sandhu
  • Anika Dowsett
  • Emma Welham
  • Jonathan Mourant
  • Karam Daoud
  • Leaf Pankratz
  • Makrenna Sterdan
  • Sara Groleau
  • Sarah Flynn

We can’t wait to see what this amazing team comes up with! We know it will be riveting!

Stay tuned for more details on this exciting project and the up-and-comers involved. Also, check out our just launched FemFest 2019 website!

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Le Tour De FemFest

We have an exciting line-up of performances at this year’s FemFest including three touring shows we are excited to share with you! Like Mother, Like Daughter, 4inXchange and Raising Stanley/Living With Tulia are the free touring shows we are excited to be showcasing at this years FemFest. Here’s a little more about what to expect from these shows…

Like Mother, Like Daughter

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Directed by Rose Plotek, Like Mother, Like Daughter weaves together stories from 12 pairs of mothers and daughters into a performance of unscripted conversations performed by the mothers and daughters themselves. At the end of each performance the audience is invited to join the mothers and daughters for a meal– to continue the conversations.LMLDstills-photobyDahliaKatz-8758

We are excited to welcome Why Not Theatre and their production. They will be bringing together mothers and daughters who were born outside of Canada (newcomers, as well as those who may have immigrated many years ago) as well as Indigenous mothers and daughters, in order to create and perform in a participatory project.

“Delicate, generous, inspiring, warm, funny, and in moments, heart-rending.” (Sprockets & Greasepaint).

4inXchange

4inXchange Production Photo (4)A 70-minute interactive performance with three performers and four interactive spectators. Created, produced and performed by xLq (Jordan Campbell and Maddie Bautista [along with the help of Katherine Walker-Jones]) this touring team of three is sure to excite you all while providing thought-provoking questions.

“An interactive, site-specific game with four players and $1,000 cash- 4inXchange is a pop art business meeting that guides you through a series of dialogues, chances, competitions and meditations. Use the cash on the table to get to know your fellow participants, while xLq asks provocative questions about value, intimacy, love, and truth. Returns and exchanges guaranteed.”

4inXchange Production Photo (5)FREE to book a spot to attend. 4inXchange culminates in a unique Pay-What-You-Choose process – please bring some cash of your own to participate.

4inXchange won the NOW Magazine Audience Choice Award at Summerworks2018 in Toronto, Ontario. Click here for a promotional video on 4inXchange: https://vimeo.com/290509007

Raising Stanley/Living with Tulia

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The Journey from Puppy to Working Guide Dog for the Blind… Raising Stanley/Living with Tulia, is the story of two women and their relationships with guide dogs. Karen Bailey is a foster mom to puppies in training to be guide dogs and Kim Kilpatrick is a blind woman telling the story of her first guide dog.

 

“‘How are you ever going to give him up?’ is the question puppy walkers are asked most often by the public. Yes, it is difficult. Yes, we get attached. But like having children, we are happy and proud to see the puppy we raised go off to University (aka guide dog school) and get a job.

That’s what we signed up for as volunteers with Canadian Guide Dogs for the blind; our role is integral to the process.”- Karen Bailey

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“What kind of dog would I get? I had said no preference. Some people would rather a boy or a girl, a Lab or a Golden, a dark or a light. I just wanted a living breathing guide dog that would make it easier for me to move through the world with grace, ease and dignity, just as I had always wanted.”- Kim Kilpatrick

See these as well as a long list of local performances at the FemFest 2019: All The World’s a Stage September 14-21. More information and festival line-up coming soon, we hope to see you there!

NEW BLOOD

As we get closer to Fem Fest 2019, we have brought on two new staff members eager to help us ring in the festival year! Please join us in welcoming Sami Desiree as our new Production Assistant and Brooklyn Kilfoyle as our new Marketing and Community Outreach Assistant.  We asked the girls to tell us a little bit about themselves so we can all get to know them a little better.Sami Headshot 2019

Sami Desiree is currently a production student at the University of Winnipeg. Her passion for theatre started at a young age when she began acting. She has since developed her interests and has begun working in various aspects of theatre including production, directing, designing and producing. Sami founded Beau Theatre Co in 2017 and since has produced four full productions with the company. She could not do any of it without the support of her partner Matt and her cat Zella.

Now, she joins the Sarasvàti team as our new Production Assistant! An opportunity Sami says she is, “excited and deeply grateful” for.

“I am blown away by the care Hope and the whole Sarasvàti team puts into their work.”- Sami Desiree

She cannot wait to be part of that initiative.

Currently, Sami is working on a summer tour with Beau Theatre Co, taking the show, Seascape with Sharks and Dancer, to Regina International Fringe Festival and Gimli’s A-Spire Theatre Festival. You may also catch her in a tech booth somewhere controlling light and sound.

Brooklyn HeadshotBrooklyn Kilfoyle has been an active member of the theatre community from a young age. Her passion has always been performing; whether it is on a big stage under lights or in her living room dimly lit by the television. Brooklyn has recently completed her degree in Theatre with The University of Winnipeg. When she’s not performing, Brooklyn enjoys spending time with her friends and family, including (and quite often limited to) her dog and best friend Bowie. Currently, Brooklyn is rehearsing for the 2019 season of the Winnipeg Fringe, where she will be performing with her own company, 803 Productions. This is the first time Brooklyn has both written and will be performing her own work. The play is titled Growing Op and will be performed during The Winnipeg Fringe Festival at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film.

Though her medium bends towards acting, she has joined the behind the scenes action of the theatre world with us at Sarasvàti Productions as our newest Marketing and Community Outreach Assistant!

“I am excited to be part of a theatre company that promotes positivity and change!”- Brooklyn Kilfoyle

Best of luck, Sami and Brooklyn! We’re happy to have you both on board.

Keep an eye out for more information on Fem Fest 2019, coming soon!

Exploring Responses to Reconciliation

We’re excited to share what’s come out of Seven Visions: Reconciliation through Theatre project launch! We’ve had incredible audiences over the last few days respond to the notion of reconciliation. There’s one more chance to be part of the conversation tonight at 7pm!

We’ve had a great experience so far working with the amazing artists who are part of this project – here are just some of the reasons they’re excited to be involved as we look ahead to the next phase of the project!

I’m very excited about this project because I feel like the perspective that comes forward in the play is very important – very comedic, very funny, very relatable – to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. I’m really excited to see how that affects the audience.” – Darla Contois, Performer, OUR HOME & native land and Indigenous Advisory Committee member

 

 

As an artist engaged with this project, I’m hoping to work with some youth on creating art works that really bring forward their voices and their thoughts on reconciliation and what that means to them. The interactive art work we’re creating at the theatre allows for the public to come out and have their voices heard around reconciliation as well.” – Jaime Black, Visual Artist

I think it’s really important to have reconciliation in theatre because it’s a very important way of communicating different styles. Historically speaking, theatre came from settler colonies – Britain, mainly – and First Nations and Indigenous peoples’ way of communicating and passing down knowledge has been storytelling. What is storytelling but performance and theatre? The coming together and meeting in that spot is really important for reconciliation.” – Nova Courchene, Indigenous Project Coordinator

 

 

It’s been almost three years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report. It put out a challenge to all Canadians. While it was a legal proceeding and even bringing to bear the need for an apology, that doesn’t really bring reconciliation. What we present is an opportunity to have a difficult discussion in a creative and stimulating environment involving youth. There will be hard discussions and there will be hard topics, but it will also be creative and full of hope.” – Myra Tait, Vice President and Indigenous Advisory Committee member

 

 

We’ve had some incredible audience responses so far as community members interact with the art installations, writing down their thoughts and responses to how each of us can do our part for reconciliation. One audience member mentioned that growing up, Indigenous peoples’ history wasn’t taught in her school and it wasn’t until much later in life that she was able to learn more about her own history. Starting this project with a focus on youth allows for an earlier connection to one’s roots. As well, discussions after OUR HOME & native land focused on how each of us can avoid being a “George”: admitting when we don’t know something and recognizing the importance of listening when others have something to teach us.

Discussions from this event will also help us as we move forward in shaping the full production for May 2020. Huge thank you to Patrick Rabago for these incredible photos from the event so far! For more information on the project, check out our website.

Announcing Our New Mentorship Project!

Are you ready to launch into the next stage of your training? We’re kicking off the start of our brand-new “Launchpad Project”! Beginning in May 2019, a team of local emerging artists will get together to create a brand-new devised piece to be showcased at this year’s festival. If you’ve ever wanted to create something new with your peers, this is the project for you!

Our Coffee House for Emerging Artists back in August highlighted that  artists are looking for is a platform to perform, show off their skills, and get recognized for their work by their peers. Training and development opportunities only go so far without an outlet to show what an artist can do. We’re responding to this need in the community by offering a team of emerging artists – performers, directors, writers, dancers, designers, you name it! – the chance to work together and create something new for a public audience.

We’re taking to the community to recruit a group of emerging theatre artists to participate in a four-month intensive to create a brand-new production to be showcased at FemFest 2019: All the World’s A Stage.  Our goal is to make this program accessible with honorariums to participants and transportation subsidies – that’s right artists, getting paid to create theatre! We know how important it is to get that first paid opportunity and feel validated as an artist. This project will also give artists the opportunity to show off their skills to the wider theatre community.

Artists may come from any background, education, ability, or age group provided they meet the criteria for an emerging artist: being in an early stage of their career while demonstrating a strong aptitude for working in theatre. Older artists making a career switch are also welcome to apply. We will largely be focusing the project on women, non-binary, and trans-spectrum artists eighteen and older with a demonstrated interest in performance.

The process will start with a workshop intensive, covering topics like improvisation, creating devised work, movement, physical theatre, playwriting, and vocal skills. Mentoring artists from Winnipeg’s professional theatre community will offer their support and feedback in the creation of the new work. Throughout the course of the project, participants will gain the chance to be mentored by professional artists and make valuable connections.

Interested artists are advised to contact Daphne at associate@sarasvati.ca to learn more about the project or request assistance in completing the application.

See the attached call for submissions for more information!

Saying Goodbye to IWW 2019

Another great International Women’s Week has come and gone! After a community tour that took our team all across Manitoba, our Cabaret of Monologues wrapped up with two public performances on March 9th. In total 860 people saw the work.

This year we traveled further than ever before with two community performances in Flin Flon and The Pas! Brand-new audiences across the province got to take in inspiring and powerful performances, bringing the stories of hilarious, strong, resilient women to communities that don’t normally get to experience the power of live theatre.

 

 

I saw just a few performances at a fundraiser for Agape House, and they absolutely blew me away. I’ll never be the same. I feel empowered, transformed, electrified. I am officially a huge fan and can’t wait to see more! Bravo to all involved. Bravo!” – Agape House Audience Member

Stop hiding away and embrace your story so you can love yourself, then you can love the world. I honestly just feel so strong and confident now, with such a clear purpose.” – Agape House Audience Member

 

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We teamed up with classes at the University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba to share stories of sexuality, addiction, and disability with students. Our performers also entertained the youth of West Broadway Youth Outreach’s Girls World program, inspiring the kids to share their own stories of empowerment!

 “It was wonderful to have the Sarasvati performers in my class. I appreciated the opportunity to have ideas related to the class presented in such an engaging and dynamic way, and especially to have a chance to talk to the performers afterwards about what the pieces meant to them. Students learned both from the performances and from the discussion afterwards.” – Dr. Jocelyn Thorpe

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Sarasvàti Productions for a couple years now – selecting works from their annual Cabaret of Monologues – and it’s always been an excellent experience. The Cabaret of Monologues provides such a wonderful array of performance art that is sure to please many audiences. The performers/performances are diverse, strong, intriguing, thought-provoking, heartwarming, humbling, enlightening, and more! The SP staff are always eager and available to accommodate requests that help me put on a good show. The work that they do is not only important but necessary! I hope that their work and programming continue year after year.” Mubo Christine Ilelaboye, Community Groups Coordinator, University of Manitoba Womyn’s Centre

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“That was really fun, it’s so cool one person could make it so alive without a stage or other actors or anything fancy like that! Like a one woman show!”

“We really want to write our own play about women empowerment and how strong women are.”

“I’m so glad we got to do this for Women’s day, we should do this again!”West Broadway Youth Outreach Girls World Participants

 

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We also featured our full line-up at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, pairing our performers with the museum’s exhibitions to share the call for equality and the stories of ground-breaking women.

 “It was an exceptional experience for us, as well. To see our spaces filled with so many people and alive with this programming was a true highlight! Thank You!”Chandra Erlendson, Manager of Public Programs at Canadian Museum for Human Rights

 

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Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Cabaret such a success: from our incredible performers, our hardworking staff and production team, our amazing volunteers, and all the wonderful audiences who helped us put women’s stories in the spotlight! We’ll see you next year for another exciting Cabaret celebrating the experiences of women everywhere.

 

Get to know the Artists Behind IWW 2019!

Hard to believe our 2019 Cabaret of Monologues is coming up so fast! This week, get to know the amazing performers behind this year’s event.

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Amelia Warkentin, The LightFishers: I am a student, a friend, a daughter, and a very flawed human that recognizes each day as a blessing.

Brooklyn Alice Lee, Sunday Morning Brunch: An empathetic animal lover with a passion for playing make-believe.

Kim Kakegamic, Who’s Driving: I’ll tell you how someone recently described me – friendly, quirky and fun. So that’s what I’ll go with! I work as a writer and I’ve always loved the arts and performing. Although I am an introvert who prefers to stay home, so maybe the best word to use is “dichotomic”.

Lauren Marshall, Geraldine Sloan: 90% my mother, 64.5% bad at math, 17% Mrs. Bennett, 15% Jo March, 5% Harry Potter at the moment in Order of the Phoenix when he’s waiting for mail to arrive at the Dursleys’ and it never comes.

Renee Hill, Oracle Jane: I am a friendly, creative person who enjoys people. I am a stay-at-home mother who maintains her sanity through creativity!

 

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How do you feel connected to your piece?

Amelia: I have visited family in a psychiatric ward and I am very aware of how mental health services operate. I can relate to the anxiety expressed throughout the piece and understand the detrimental effects of addiction.

Brooklyn: I feel connected to the dry, blunt humour of Josephine – she and I are very alike in that way.  I like the complete honesty of the piece. It’s unique, raunchy, and relatable even if you yourself haven’t been in the character’s situation.

Lauren: I love Geraldine because she is fighting for the thing she wants, despite what the people close to her expect her to be. I so strongly identify with that. I’m lucky to have supportive friends and family, but I get her. When I overhear, “She’s still trying to make it as an actress?” it drives me crazy. Just believe in me, for crying out loud! Stop saying no.

Hailley Rhoda, Talking about ED: I live with two invisible disabilities, and have since birth. The older I get, the more I realize how much living with them has shaped me. I wanted to be brave enough to speak some of the uncomfortable truths on stage in the hopes it helped spread that feeling to a wider audience.

Kim: Janet has a lot to say about a wide variety of issues and I feel connected to her opinions, how she turns things on their heads. Again, it’s the writing I really connect with. Plus Janet’s sassiness!

Nan Fewchuk, Thelma and Louise: As I grow older, I think so much more about my own mortality and have come to fully realize what really matters in life. I am so grateful for all of the good times and the wacky times, and for all of my family, friends, teachers, mentors,  coaches, and kind strangers who have taught me so much about life; how to  love, forgive, and journey forward.

Renee: I am interested in exploring how Ying comes to terms with how her innovative technology has negatively impacted marginalized people.  I am curious about the role of culture and its impact on success as well as the difficulty of coming to terms with our mistakes.

Shereen Ramprashad, I Am NOT a Victim: I wrote I Am NOT a Victim at a time when there was a lot of anti-Semitism against the Muslim community. The poem is a defiant cry against society’s need to repress and control women from being their true authentic selves.

Wanda Wilson, Bare Bones: My piece is my life – it is the story of the turning point in my life. I sobered up. I got my life back.

 

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How does your piece relate to the theme of embracing identity?

Hailley: This piece is the most of myself I’ve ever put onstage. Usually I get the mask of someone else’s words, or the framework of a pre-existing story to work behind. This is just me, and my lived experience: talking about the realities of living with disability in a way that I haven’t yet been brave enough to do.

Nan: When I was a little girl, my mom said to me, “Nan, one day you are going to wake up and you will be 40.” Well, I closed my eyes and opened them at fifty-seven years young. And here I am. No regrets. Forever grateful.

Shereen: The drive for my practise comes from my experiences as a kid not understanding why I had little connection to the world around me, why I couldn’t read numbers and symbols, or why my brain never shuts off. Most of all, why people felt it was all right to dehumanize me because of my skin colour and obvious learning difficulties. Once I understood how my brain worked, I was able to turn what is perceived as a disability into an outstanding ability.

Wanda: I’ve never shared my story before. It has been thirteen years and I still feel I have so much more to learn but I’m ready. It’s time. I know a lot of other people are hurting and one of several things I have learned in sobriety is that you are not alone.

 

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The team behind IWW 2019 out on tour!

You can see all these incredible artists in action on Saturday, March 9th! Get your tickets today!