Why We Do What We Do

A Pitch From Our Artistic Director, Hope McIntyre

It is time to brag, boast, crow and show some swagger! I’ll admit it, I don’t always do the best job of tooting the company’s horn. When I was a kid it was a bad thing to be a show off. So, I keep my head down and do the work. The work gets done but not everyone knows about it and not everyone knows how amazing what we do is.

GeNie and kids

Why is Sarasvàti Productions unique? This year alone we opened the eyes to almost 4,500 youth and teachers to the reality of what youth in care experience. To have a young person stand up and say “thank you for helping my peers understand what I have been through” means the world to us. We have had dozens of emerging artists attend our workshop series and access important information to launch their careers as artists. I’ve gotten to see a child who was too shy to say his name become a potato on stage. I’ve sat in a room with 15 women, all but one was sexually abused as a child, and listened to them share their stories. Then being able to laugh with them as we play theatre games. We’ve brought to the stage dozens of stories that would not otherwise be told. What makes us unique is that we are using the arts in a very important, powerful and special way. We believe that the arts have the ability to empower, to teach, to inspire and to allow everyone to have a voice.

SNA BB session 8 (3)Over the last 17 years there have been lots of sacrifices because of the belief that the work we are doing is important. This has been proven to me time and time again when I see the direct impact. However, the reality is that for 17 years we’ve struggled for funding. Our unique position as a theatre company working in the community and dedicated to social change sometimes puts us at a disadvantage when competing for funding that is awarded based on artistic excellence. We combine professional artists with emerging artists and even with community members. On average only about 30% of our revenue comes from public sources and only 5% is for operating costs with multi-year stability. This reality is not the norm for a theatre company operating a full season and having done so for so many years. It may not be sustainable forever, but we have never posted a debt, we stretch every dollar and we now have an endowment fund to work towards long-term stability.

MNM buttonOkay, enough of the reality check – back to bragging! Miss N Me is our next production and it is a crazy, wonderful and empowering journey. The playwright is one of a few two-time Governor General Award winners. We have a fabulous team of local artists including our amazing cast of Colin Connor, Kevin P. Gabel, Alissa Watson and Melanie Whyte. Our design team of Brenda McLean, James Jansen and Dean Cowieson have an awesome challenge with a complex show and a tight budget. They are all miracle workers. Our Assistant Director Angie St. Mars is a powerhouse and Missy Elliott’s biggest fan! The show is worth seeing and it is worth supporting. We’ve just launched our donation campaign for this world premiere and it is a chance for the community to show that they do want this type of wonderful theatre to exist in Winnipeg!

Click here to give and get great donor benefits! We know not everyone can support us in this way so show your support by purchasing tickets here. If money is not an option then contact us to volunteer. If we’ve really won you over we are also recruiting for our Board of Directors and committees.

Meet the Miss N Me Team!

They’ve all appeared in past shows with us, but you’ve never seen them like this before! We are super excited about the team that will be bringing our spring show to life. Catherine Banks (amazing two time Governor General Award winning playwright) has put the final touches on her newest play, Miss N Me, and entrusted us with the premiere . With the group of artists we have on board she will not be disappointed when the show opens on May 21st! Miss N Me is about Dawna, a hairdresser, who goes on a road trip to New York to meet her idol Missy Elliott and along the way she picks up a bunch of whacky hitch-hiking characters.

Melanie Whyte in Impromtu of Outremont

Melanie Whyte in The Impromtu of Outremont

We are thrilled to have Melanie Whyte taking the lead as Dawna! It has been far too long since we’ve worked together, ten years in fact! Melanie was in our TremblayFest production of The Impromptu of Outremont. Since then she’s been busy mostly using her singing talents in musicals such as Mary Poppins, Light on the Piazza and A Man of No Importance. She’s going to get to do a different type of singing in this play though. For her role as Dawna she’s going to have to channel her inner Missy Elliott and try out some rapping!

Kevin Gabel in EDEN

Kevin Gabel in EDEN

Playing Dawna’s teenage son, Justin, is Kevin Gabel. Kevin most recently partnered with Rana Bokhari in this year’s So You Think You Can Act competition, but three years before that he played another teenager in our production of Hope McIntyre’s EDEN. He is truly ageless and we’re happy he can still pull it off! But more recently Kevin has been playing older characters like the son in Theatre Project Manitoba’s production of Proud and Fred in Noel Coward’s Fallen Angels with Tara Players Theatre Company. Hopefully he’ll easily get back in touch with his inner teenager for Miss N Me!

Colin Connor & Alissa Watson in Harold and Vivan Entertain Guests

Colin Connor & Alissa Watson in Harold and Vivan Entertain Guests

Now here is where it gets crazy. The hysterical and talented Colin Connor and Alissa Watson will be teaming up again to play over eight crazy characters. Colin and Alissa have worked together on multiple occasions and make a great team. They just finished performing together in Theatre Incarnate’s Whitechapel Redemption, but before that they starred as the title characters in Jessy Ardern’s Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests as part of FemFest 2013! And before that they, again, played the title characters in The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine! Every time they appear onstage together they leave the audience in stitches and we’re sure it will be the same in Miss N Me. Among other characters Colin will be playing Fat Man, Clown Father, Adonis and Demetrius, while Alissa will be playing Clown Mother, Ms Excess Baggage, Mermaid and Fortune Terrorist.

Rounding out the creative team is Hope McIntyre directing with assistance from Angie St.Mars, set and costume designer Brenda McLean, lighting designer Dean Cowieson and sound designer James Jansen! All of the cast and crew have their work cut out for them in this whacky, imaginative play. Come see it May 21 to 31 at the UW Asper Centre for Theatre and Film. Tickets are available online, just click here or phone 204-586-2236!

FemFest Features Fabulous Talent!

Fem13 temporary web banner3

With FemFest just two months away, we are excited to start featuring some of our fabulous artists who will be performing! In order for you to get to know them a little better, we posed some interesting questions and we’ll post highlights in various blog entries in the coming weeks. Here is a few to get things started:

Kevin Anderson Kevin Anderson has appeared in several Sarasvàti works including EDEN in 2012, Ripple Effect in 2008 and some FemFest readings. This year he will be in our FemFest 2013 short-list readings:

What is your favourite play? Generous  by Michael Healey
What is your favourite word? pedantic
If you had one wish, what would it be? That the next 65 years are even better.
Fun Fact: What Kevin wants audiences to take away after viewing is work the feeling that he did his job well.

Cheryl Gensiorek

Cheryl Gensiorek was most recently seen in Wild Women, our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues, with some interesting props. She is also in our short-list readings: 

What is your favourite play? MTC – Gone With The Wind
If you had one wish, what would it be? To Always be happy/content despite challenges in life.
Fun Fact: Cheryl works as an educational assistant

Brittany Thiessen's photo (3)Brittany Thiessen was seen last year in Empty. She is a recent U of W graduate and will be presenting a devised piece in our opening cabaret and performing in Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests:

What is your favourite play? This is a very difficult question! Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov.
What is your favourite word? “Yes.”
If you had one wish, what would it be? A paid trip to travel the world for a year!
Fun Fact: Here is how Brittany would introduce herself to a stranger: “If the stranger was from Winnipeg, I would tell them my name, ask for theirs, and find out how we already know each other.”

DSC_5887David Fox is currently playing Tommy in The WHO’s TOMMY at the Winnipeg Fringe and will be making his debut with Sarasvàti Productions in Harold and Vivian.

What is your favourite play? Fat Men in Skirts by Nicky SIlver
What is your favourite word? Frisky
If you had one wish, what would it be? To lead a long life as a professional actor.
Fun Fact: David is a member of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Society and Rainbow Pride Mosaic

Alissa Watson (3)Alissa Watson was also seen in Empty last year as well as having done a couple years of our cabaret of monologues. She will be coming back from performing The Anger of Ernest and Ernestine at the Edmonton Fringe to perform in Harold and Vivian:

What is your favourite play?  Currently:  The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine by Robert Morgan, Martha Ross and Leah Cherniak
What is your favourite word? Laughter
If you had one wish, what would it be? I’d wish that every person could have the capability and courage to follow their dreams.
Fun Fact: Alissa attended Brandon University, School of Music and majored in Classical Percussion

For more information on our artists, shows, and performers, visit www.femfest.ca