Not For the Faint of Heart

Five female playwrights; three distinct elements; eight exhilarating hours; only one winning scene – this is the annual FemFest Bake-Off.

On August 19, the FemFest 2016 Bake-Off will challenge a group of emerging and established playwrights with three must-have ‘ingredients’ for a scene. These ingredients can range from the normal (ballroom dancing) to the downright obscure (yellow submarine). With only eight hours from start to finish, Bake-Off writers must use every ounce of their creativity to come up with this year’s Bake-Off audience choice! Up for grabs is a $500 cash prize and a chance to have a reading of their full script at FemFest 2017.

Each scene will have a staged reading before a live audience on September 19 at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film. Based on this viewers vote for their favourite piece. Helping to bring these scenes to the stage, is this year`s team of brave actors:

Ian Bastin – Bastin’s credits include various roles on stage – Lion in the Streets, The Aristocrats (Black Hole Theatre), public reading of Breaking Through (Sarasvàti) – as well as on screen, Steel and Stilettos and The Pinkertons (Buffalo Gal Pictures). Aside from acting, Bastin will bring a list of skills to the Bake-Off cast, like classical guitar, dialects and even stage combat, making him ready for anything the playwrights throw at him.

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Jane in IWW: Cabaret of Monologues – Urban Nun

Jane Burpee –Having performed in several Sarasvàti produced plays like Fen, International Women`s Week Cabaret of Monologues, and Quite an Undertaking, Burpee is no stranger to the Sarasvàti stage. As a performer in FemFest 2012 and 2014’s Bake-Off, she`ll return to this year`s competition ready to take on whatever exciting roles the playwrights throw at her.

Andres Collantes – His first time as part of the Sarasvàti family, we are excited to welcome Collantes to the Bake-Off ensemble. He was discovered by director Cairn Moore in her Intro Performance class at the University of Winnipeg last year.

Nan Fewchuk - HeadshotNan Fewchuk – Always excited about working with Sarasvàti in any capacity she can, Fewchuk has worked both on stage and behind the scenes. Most recently she assistant directed, Jail Baby, and played multiple roles in the public readings of Breaking Through. Other past credits include Fefu and Her Friends and The Naked Woman with Sarasvàti, Beauty and The Beast at Rainbow Stage, The Merry Wives of Windsor at Shakespeare in the Ruins, and she produced and performed in the Winnipeg Fringe Hit, Dog Act.


Spenser Payne – As Sarasvàti Producitons’ June 2016 Rising Star and one half of clown duo, The Red Nose Diaries, we are excited to have Payne performing in this year`s Bake-off. A graduate of the University of Alberta’s Bachelor of Fine Arts acting program, and a founding member of both Sweet and Salty Collective and The Talentless Lumps, Payne will be bringing her enthusiasm and comedic offerings to the Bake-Off cast.

If you’d like to see these multi-talented actors bring your work to life, there is still time to apply for the FemFest 2016 Bake-Off. Grab the bull by the horns (in this case, the computer by the mouse and click here) and apply. The deadline for applications is August 8.

As challenging as the competition may be, it might just be the motivation and inspiration you need to get that scene out of your head and onto the stage! If that’s not enough to sweeten the pot, the Bake-Off winner will receive the Janet Taylor Bake–Off Award of $500. Need we say more?

Performances of FemFest 2016 Bake-Off takes place September 19 at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film. Tickets are available at or by calling 204-586-2236.


Thank You for Another Super IWW!

Twelve performances, three cities and nine SuperWomen! Our 11th International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues was a success – lots of people came out to celebrate and hear the incredible stories of nine amazing women written by talented Canadian playwrights. Thank you to all of our wonderful audiences for joining us to hear the stories of perseverance, self-discovery and empowerment!

Kim Kakegamic, Lorraine James, Jenna Hill, Samantha Walters & Mallory James at the UM Womyn's Centre

Kim Kakegamic, Lorraine James, Jenna Hill, Samantha Walters & Mallory James at the UM Womyn’s Centre

Kicking off the week we performed to a great crowd at the Provincial Council of Women of Manitoba High Tea fundraiser! We were happy to be able to support this amazing organization that does so much to empower women throughout Manitoba. We were happy to also perform at another organization that does a lot to empower women, the University of Manitoba’s Womyn’s Centre. We performed there not only once, but twice last week! During the two performances all nine monologues were performed for members and supporters of the Womyn’s Centre, which does so much to make the campus a safe place for all women.

Kim at Siloam

Kim Kakegamic at Siloam Mission

In addition we were hosted by Portage Place Shopping Centre and Siloam Mission to bring theatre to people who otherwise would not be able to see it. Many people from all walks of life stopped to watch Zelda Fitzgerald vent her frustrations and Glory Girl work her way out of her bounds. John Fubbister (aka Isobel Gunn) also told the youth drop in program at the Rainbow Resource Centre about her story of joining the HBC as a man in the early 1800s. Actor Mallory James and writer Sandy Klowak also held a talkback afterwards.

One of the most powerful presentations was Jenna Hill performing Mutated for the Young Adults Support Group at Cancer Care Manitoba. The piece launched the group in to an important discussion and many shared their personal experiences. It was a moving experience for the actor and our Assistant Director, Rachel Smith.

Some of our Cabaret cast with Nova House staff & cake in Selkirk!

Some of our Cabaret cast with Nova House staff & cake in Selkirk!

We also took a trip out to Selkirk to celebrate International Women’s Week with Nova House Shelter for Women and Children where the team was again treated to the most amazing deserts! For our final performance we traveled out to Winkler on International Women’s Day to join Genesis House Shelter’s celebration. This was the perfect end to our Cabaret of Monologues. Both organizations help abused women and children through a variety of programs and services and we were happy to bring these great monologues to them.

The Cabaret of Monologues wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg and Manitoba Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection. We’d also like to thank all of our playwrights, actors, volunteers and of course audiences! And now, here in the office our attention is turning to the world premiere of Catherine Banks’ Miss N Me – tickets are on sale already because we’re just that excited! Hope to see you there!

Come Celebrate International Women’s Week with Us!

Are we there yet? What more do you believe needs to change in order to achieve gender equality? It’s that time of year when the world can celebrate how far we’ve come and reflect on how far we all have to go to achieving gender equality. International Women’s Day has been celebrated by the UN every year on March 8 since 1977 and has since been expanded to include activities throughout the week. This year there has been some great steps forward in the fight for equality for all women everywhere such as the UN Women’s Solidarity Movement HeForShe, the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict (the largest summit of its kind), and Malala becoming the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her amazing work advocating for girls’ education.

With these achievements and others we certainly feel like celebrating, so come celebrate with us at our full performances of our annual Cabaret of Monologues on March 7th! Hear from nine ordinary and extraordinary SuperWomen in a line-up of thought provoking and funny monologues written by talented Canadian playwrights and performed by local actors.

These amazing SuperWomen have already been empowering people with our community performances of select monologues. We’ve performed at Siloam Mission, Portage Place Shopping Centre, Rainbow Resource Centre, U of M Womyn’s Centre, Cancer Care and that’s not all, we have three more to go! The monologues have been a hit everywhere we’ve been, from the historical figure Isobel Gunn talking about her time working for the HBC in Rupert’s Land to Bea having to make a difficult decision about her mutated cells to Glory Girl having to escape from her nemesis.

To purchase tickets to see these awesome SuperWomen and others on March 7th at 4pm or 8pm in the UW Asper Centre for Theatre and Film, click here!

And if you want to do something on March 8th consider going to Winnipeg’s International Women’s Day march! It is open to all genders and ages and will offer light refreshments and inspiring speakers. The rally is meeting at 1pm at Portage Place and is walking to Union Centre at 1:30pm. For more information check out the Facebook event.


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9 Super Monologues, 9 Amazing Actors!

With winter settling in March feels a long way away, but that doesn’t mean we’re not busy working on our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues! A few weeks ago we announced the monologue line up, now we get to tell you who will be bringing these awesome monologues to life!

Elena Anciro has performed in our annual Cabaret of Monologues twice before and performed in our spring production Fefu and her Friends. We’re happy to have her back performing At the Gate by Sandra Drag about a remarkable woman’s tale of wrestling a family away from a horrific car accident.

Christine Rodriguez’s The Autism Monologue will be brought to life by Cabaret of Monologues newcomer Shanley Jardine. You may remember Shanley from the short piece The Exchange in FemFest 2013. The monologue is a heart-wrenching story of a mother attempting to make sense of her autistic son’s life. It’s a beautiful piece and we know that Shanley will do it justice.

Another newcomer, Kim Kakegamic, will be performing our FemFest 2014 Bake-Off winner’s energetic monologue Zelda with a Z. Frances Koncan lets us hear Zelda’s side of the story as she talks to us about her life with writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s a fun piece that Kim can really go crazy with!

Samantha Walters, Sarasvàti’s past Associate Producer and Emerging Artist in Residence, is back for her third Cabaret of Monologues in a row. You’ve seen her as Super Girl and now as Glory Girl, a comic book character come to life. Glory Bound by Scott Douglas sees Glory Girl attempt to escape her captors, although she discovers that she may not be bound against her will. We’re thrilled to have Sam back to the stage and can’t wait to see what she does with the role!

For Step Taylor’s Loretta we’ll be welcoming Lorraine James back to the Cabaret stage. Lorraine has done the Cabaret multiple times, including our trip to The Pas in 2008. She will play Loretta who has lied to her drug addicted son about losing her job so that he can focus on passing his exams, but what will happen when he finds out? Come and see for yourself on March 7th!

While Elizabeth Whitbread is new to the Cabaret of Monologues she just recently participated in our FemFest 2014 Short List reading. Jennica Grienke’s An Inheritance is a challenging piece that will see Elizabeth play a character in three different stages of her life. While challenging, it will be fascinating to see what Elizabeth brings to it.

Another FemFest 2014 actor, Mallory James, participates in her first Cabaret of Monologues as John Fubbister (aka Isobel Gunn) in Sandy Klowak’s riveting monologue. Mallory will play a remarkable woman who wouldn’t let anything stop her from adventuring into the wilds of Rupert’s Land. We can’t wait to see this strong historical figure come to life!

Cabaret of Monologues newcomer Jenna Hill will play Bea in Mutated by Carly Pokoradi. Bea is an adventurous young woman whose plans are put on hold when she’s faced with a life-altering situation. This is a very interesting piece and Jenna will bring a lot of depth and humour to it. Last year Jenna was seen in the world premiere of Trish Cooper’s play Social Studies at PTE.

Finally, Jane Burpee is back at the Cabaret after an amazing performance at this year’s Bake-Off. Jane has participated in multiple productions with us over the years, from So You Think You Can Act, to FemFest, to the Cabaret of Monologues, including a performance in the Portage Correctional Centre for Women in 2008. This year Jane will be playing the coolest nun in the convent who reveals her thoughts on life and God while at a nun retreat in Dave Carley’s Urban Nun.

There you have it, the monologues have been selected, the cast has been chosen and believe it or not the first IWW rehearsals start this week! We couldn’t be any more excited to see what these 9 talented actors bring to the stage as they lift these brilliantly written Super Women off of the page. You’ll get a chance to see the final product March 7th at 8pm, so mark your calendar and visit our website for more information by clicking here!


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Happy IWW 2013!

Tomorrow, alongside millions all over the world, Sarasvàti Productions will be celebrating International Women’s Day with our annual Cabaret of Monologues. We have already performed sneak-peeks of the show to community groups in Winnipeg and the surrounding areas! The monologues have been received very well, and we are exciting to end this wonderful week with a bang with our full show line-up tomorrow.

Jane Burpee, Cherrel Holder, Danielle Savage

photos by Janet Shum

One of our favourite things about performing the Cabaret of Monologues each year, as opposed to a full-length play, is that we have the incredible opportunity and privilege to celebrate many women’s voices and stories. Not only that, but because of the diversity in our monologues, we are also able to work with so many different actors, and to showcase their diversity as well.

This has allowed us to create a line-up of monologues that is just as varied as the actors involved! For example, Jane Burpee will be playing the role Rita, an older woman who sells alcohol to minors in Hannah Foulger’s Booze Hound. Up and coming actor Cherrel Holder will play Bilguisa Simpore, a Nigerian soccer superstar who faces a gender challenge in Donna-Michelle St. Bernard’s Bilguisa Speaks Up. Finally, Danielle Savage will play an extremely sleep deprived new mom on her first night away from her baby in Nicolle Nattrass’s Mama’s Night Out. These three monologues alone show that there is a need to tell different stories, because women come from all different walks of life and have so many different stories to tell!

Not only is it a great thing to see and hear the stories of all of these women, but it is also exciting to see the community at large gather together to celebrate these women, and women across the globe. We have been talking to folks all over the place – from just down the street in the North End to our friends in Winkler, Manitoba. Though organizations and individuals may differ in objectives or geography, one thing is clear: everyone everywhere is hungry for more stories about women, by women, for everyone! We are proud to be a part of a supportive community that embraces the voices of these women, no matter how wild they may be!

Tomorrow is the big day! The full show line-up will be performed for one night only at the Gallery at Manitoba Hydro Place (360 Portage Avenue). Plus we are excited to have the Men’s Banner Project by Anna-Celestra Carr present and Buffalo Gals Drumming Group to start off the evening! We are almost sold out so be sure to get your tickets from or by calling 204-586-2236!

Happy International Women’s Week and Happy (early) International Women’s Day to all!

The ‘Wild Women’ Are Here!

What do Supergirl, Mae West and an international soccer super star have in common? They will all take the stage at Sarasvàti Productions’ ninth cabaret of monologues. International Women’s Week is next week and we are very excited to be presenting our Cabaret of Monologues once again! This year the focus is on stories of wild women.  Past performances have sold out and have been booked as part of International Women’s Week celebrations across the province. Our audiences will be treated to a line-up of powerful and hilarious pieces while celebrating women breaking boundaries.

With a full public performance on March 8th at 8pm, this year’s Cabaret features monologues from playwrights from different regions of the country performed by some of the best in local female talent! We are proud each year to present both emerging and established theatre artists in our line-up, and this year is no exception! Take a look beyond the cut to learn more about the unbelievably talented women who were born to be wild!

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WILD WOMEN take the stage!

International Women’s Week, the annual celebration of women’s achievements and progress throughout the world, is coming up fast! We are excited to be hosting our annual Cabaret of Monologues as part of the city-wide festivities! Sarasvàti Productions has a proud history of celebrating women’s voices in Winnipeg (and beyond), and we look forward to this year’s unique offering: Wild Women.

This is the 9th time we have presented our Cabaret of Monologues and it’s about time we featured women breaking boundaries! Women from all walks of life are featured in what is sure to be a night to remember! Our Cabaret of Monologues will be shown for one night only, on March 8 at the Gallery at Manitoba Hydro Place (360 Portage Avenue). Tickets are just $10 and the show starts at 8pm! We are also doing a sneak-peek on March 8th at noon for those who just wanna stop by!

We are particularly excited to announce several partnerships with community organizations in and around Winnipeg! We’ll be performing selected pieces at the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, Sage House, Portage Place Mall and at a fundraiser for Genesis House in Winkler. The full schedule is available on our website. If you are looking however, to get the full Wild Women experience, you’ll need to get tickets to our evening show on the 8th which features Elena Anciro, Alexandra Bolton, Jane Burpee, Melanie Dean, Nan Fewchuk, Cheryl Gensiorek, Cherrel Holder, Lorraine James, Danielle Savage and Samantha Walters tackling characters from Supergirl to Mae West! Buy now!