Mulgrave Road Theatre brings harrowing Thompson play to FemFest

“Judith Thompson’s Watching Glory Die is a call to action and a cri de coeur.”
-THE CHRONICLE HERALD

Watching Glory Die (3)

Watching Glory Die

In her recent play, Judith Thompson turns our attention to the flaws within the Canadian prison system. Inspired by the true story of New Brunswick teenager Ashley Smith who died while under suicide watch in an Ontario prison in 2007, Watching Glory Die is a deliberately fictionalized portrait of three women intertwined by systemic abandonment.

“Politically charged and some of Thompson’s best story-telling”
-HALIFAX BLOGGERS

Watching Glory Die emmy headshot (artistic director)

Emmy Alcorn

After a successful run in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mulgrave Road Theatre has been touring this powerful production across the country. We are excited to welcome them to Winnipeg to deliver this incredible piece of theatre at FemFest 2017. Director Emmy Alcorn (Artistic Director of Mulgrave Road Theatre, Nova Scotia Established Artist Award) brings this powerful play to the stage with perfect balance. “I believe there is a way to lift everyone up in society. We live in an abundant world and must ensure that everyone is treated fairly, that they have food and shelter; that they are loved”, says Alcorn.

Watching Glory Die Stephanie MacDonald Headshot (cast) now

Stephanie MacDonald

Award-winning actor Stephanie MacDonald brings these three women to life in a performance that is described in a review by the Chronicle Herald as “masterful, intense, deeply focused and totally convincing.”  In Watching Glory Die MacDonald plays all three characters: Glory, a fictionalized version of Ashley Smith; Rosellen, Glory’s mother and Gail, a guard at the prison where Glory is incarcerated. “It’s not just the precision between roles that is captivating, but how honestly and instantly MacDonald apparates from one woman’s deep emotional state to the next” –HALIFAX BLOGGERS

“Thompsons powerful writing skills are on display” – TORONTO STAR

Watching Glory Die (2)

Watching Glory Die

The play does not shy away from the harrowing moments of this story. Chief among questions raised throughout the play is, “What would I do?” “The impossible is happening in our country,” Thompson said in an interview about Watching Glory Die with the Toronto Star. “The system destroyed Smith. And it happened where least expected.”

Judith Thompson is a multiple award-winning playwright and is highly regarded as one

Watching Glory Die (1)

Watching Glory Die

of Canada’s most prolific playwrights. She is the author of such notable plays as The Crackwalker, White Biting Dog and Lion in the Streets. Her work is a staple of theatre programs in Universities across Canada. There are three chances to see Watching Glory Die at the Asper Centre for Theatre & Film: September 21 at 2:30pm and again at 9pm, September 22 at 7pm.

“Watching Glory Die shocks, clarifies and engages.” —Evan Andrew Mackay, Post City Toronto

Stay tuned for more FemFest news!
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FemFest Celebrates 15 Years!

Our beloved festival in support of women playwrights turns 15 this year! We are celebrating with the theme Coming of Age and a line-up that will blow you away.

We are ecstatic to be bringing in one of the most highly regarded playwright’s in Canadian history, two-time Governor General award-winning playwright Judith Thompson!  Thompson will join us for Mulgrave Road Theatre’s production of her play Watching Glory Die,  a harrowing play based on the true story of Ashley Smith. She will also teach a playwriting master class (September 20, 21 and 22 from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.) give a Real Thing lecture and be part of the Human Library ™.

Tomboy Survival Guide is a live stage experience that defies genre and gender boxes with fearless truth-telling and compassionate defiance. Ivan Coyote and an all-tomboy band take the audience on a musical journey navigating the narrow halls of public washrooms, skirting the childhood threat of being picked to be a flower girl, triumphing over tying a double Windsor knot, and discovering the beauty in being handsome, not pretty, all along. This is also our first time taking FemFest to the West End Cultural Centre!

We focus our in-house attention on producing Two Indians by Falen Johnson directed by Sonya Ballantyne. After years apart two cousins meet in a Toronto alley to recreate a ceremony from their childhood, but can they remember how? When the words missing and murdered, truth and reconciliation, occupation and resistance are everywhere, how do two Mohawk women stand their ground?

We’ll share a workshop preview of New Beginnings, a work in development created with the Winnipeg newcomer and refugee community.  Come and see a preview of this exciting culmination of story and dance from around the world.
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As a company dedicated to transforming society through theatre, we’ve witnessed the impact  that story-sharing can have on breaking down stereotypes and prejudices. This year we are thrilled to present a Human Library ™ as part of FemFest.  In partnership with the Millennium Library, Sarasvàti Productions has curated an incredible line up of Human Books that you can ‘take out’ for a one-of-a-kind learning experience.

Bake off 2016The beloved Bake-Off is back! This FemFest favourite challenges 5 local female playwrights to write a scene in 8-hours using three key top-secret ingredients. Scenes will be performed as part of the Festival on Sept. 18.
Winner of the FemFest 2016 Bake-Off, Jessy Ardern presents a reading of her play in progress, Kit and Joe.

WebFor ages 6 and up, Castlemoon Theatre presents Grounded Heroes. 10 year old Jess loves Lego, but her friends think it’s childish and weird. While researching a class assignment, Jess encounters three girls from history who were also a little bit weird for their time, and together they discover what it means to be true to yourself.

And you definitely won’t want to miss our closing night! This season, we brought our classic One Night Stand play reading series back with a vengeance. In honour of Winnipeg’s own celebrated female playwrights we’re curating a special One Night Stand dedicated to showcasing works in progress by some of these prolific writers who will be joined by Judith Thompson.

Workshops, readings and a dynamite Opening Cabaret will be a staple again this year. Get your passes now and celebrate 15 years of FemFest!

Happy Int’l Women’s Week 2014!

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It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again! A time when Canadians, alongside millions of others all over the world, celebrate progress toward equality for women and their full participation, reflect on the challenges and barriers that remain, and consider future steps to achieving equality for all women, in all aspects of their lives. This week is International Women’s Week and Sarasvàti Productions is thrilled to be part of the celebrations once again with our 10th Cabaret of Monologues event.

We invite you to join us on March 7th and 8th at 8pm for an entertaining evening filled with a diverse line-up of monologues by Canadian playwrights, performed by a talented local cast. This year’s theme is Rise Up! which means all stories explore the diversity of the next generation of women!

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One of our favourite things about performing the Cabaret of Monologues event, as opposed to a full-length play, is that we have the incredible opportunity to celebrate the voices and stories of several women from all walks of life. This year’s theme has given us the privilege to hear the voices, experiences, and challenges of young women characters in particular. It has been an eye-opening experience to work on these pieces and to explore the issues young women face today, especially with a talented cast of 10 young women.

It is also exciting to see the community come together to celebrate these women, and women across the globe. This week, we have had the privilege to tour selected monologues from our line-up to various IWW events in Winnipeg and the surrounding areas. We have already helped the U of M’s Womyn’s Centre and the U of W’s IWGS celebrate the week and will be heading out to the West Central Women’s Resource Centre tomorrow afternoon. We also made the trek to Selkirk and Gimli earlier this week and were pleased to be a part of Nova House and The Interlake Women’s Resource Centre’s celebrations.

There are only two chances for you to catch this incredible event – Friday, March 7th and Saturday, March 8th at 8:00pm inside the Colin Jackson Studio Theatre (at Prairie Theatre Exchange, 3rd Floor Portage Place)! Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here or you can give us a shout at 204-586-2236 to reserve your tickets over the phone. This popular event is almost sold out so be sure to get your tickets now before it’s too late!

Happy International Women’s Week and International Women’s Day from all of us at Sarasvàti Productions!

Looking for more ways to celebrate IWW? On Saturday March 8, 2014, self-identified women, girls and theirs allies in Winnipeg will be marching in celebration of the 103rd International Women’s Day (IWD), starting at 12:00PM. For more information on the march, click here.

Local Young Women Take The Stage!

Winnipeg women are certainly making an impact on this year’s theatre season! With the debut of works by Winnipeg’s Group of Seven female playwrights, it is clear that there is no shortage of female talent in this city. Although women continue to be underepresented in Canadian Theatre, Sarasvàti Productions is doing its part to provide opportunities to both emerging and established female artists. Today, we are pleased to announce our cast for this year’s International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues which features 10 young Winnipeg women!

This year’s theme is Rise Up! which means that the stories focus on young women, the next generation of subversion, new forms of advocacy, and ways young women tackle adversity. Our theme has provided us with the rare opportunity to cast several up and coming local women, many of whom have worked with Sarasvàti in the past. We are pleased to have these 10 women on board and are looking forward to providing them with the opportunity to continue developing their craft and to be seen throughout the community. Check out the slideshow below to meet our cast!

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2014 International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues

Samantha Walters in Something’s Not Right by Wren Hookey

Ashley Kowalchuk in Teen Trucker by Sara Arenson

Kaeleigh Ayre in Hide Away by Kendra Jones

Andrea Houssin in Black and White by Cairn Moore

Brittany Thiessen in Who Killed Snow White (Excerpt) by

Judith Thompson

Shanley Spence in #WhiteGirlProblems by Frances Koncan

Shae Burstow in I am not Malala by Hope McIntyre

Victoria Hill in What Being a Girl Means by Hannah Burns

Hailley Rhoda in Reflection by Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill

and

 Ali Tataryn in her own slam poetry piece – The Entanglement: The Nature of a Woman

We will be touring the monologues across Winnipeg and the surrounding areas to different International Women’s Week events from March 3rd-9th, 2014 with public shows on March 7th and 8th at the Colin Jackson Studio Theatre (at Prarie Theatre Exchange, 3rd floor Portage Place). For more info on how you can bring the monologues out to your event, tickets, and group rates, please contact us by calling (204) 586-2236 or by e-mail at associate@sarasvati.ca.

Sneak Peek at International Women’s Week!

Teen truckers, gender therapy, white girl problems from the perspective of a mixed-race girl and Judith Thompson! This March will mark Sarasvati Productions’ 10th Cabaret of Monologues in celebration of International Women’s Week. This year’s theme is Rise Up, which means that stories will focus on young women, the next generation of subversion, new forms of advocacy and ways young women tackle adversity! We are excited to offer a diverse line-up of monologues by Canadian playwrights, performed by a talented local cast. We love presenting this unique event as it gives voice to women of all backgrounds and covers topics from the hilarious to the inspiring. Today, we offer you a sneak peek into some of the pieces we will be featuring as part of our line-up! Keep reading to find out more.

Something’s Not Right by Wren Hookey – Our mothers raised us with the best intentions, but somehow, it’s just not really working out how everyone thought it would. Instead of being strong and confident, we’ve turned out insecure and confused. How many therapy sessions is this going to take?

Teen Trucker by Sara Arenson – Ever since she was young, 19-year old Genevieve knew what she wanted to be. This piece explores her dream career as a long-haul truck driver in the face of social expectation and family struggle.

Hide Away by Kendra Jones – Katie, a 23 year old prostitute, finds herself on the run hiding from local police. She finds a safe place and confides in a friend about the events that ultimately drove her to the streets.

#White Girl Problems by Frances Koncan – A stream–‐of–‐consciousness rant by a Mixed–‐race girl growing up in a largely Caucasian world.

Plus new pieces by the amazing Judith Thompson, teen writers Hannah Burns and Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill, and a special slam poetry performance by Ali Tataryn!

Getting excited? Stay tuned for details on the remaining three pieces! Join our mailing list, “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter to stay up to date as we announce more information over the coming weeks!

In Depth: FemFest Workshops

Every year when planning FemFest, Sarasvati Productions looks for new and exciting ways to connect with Winnipeg communities. We strive on representing as many communities as we can and helping them tell their stories. FemFest 2012: Staging Identity is so much more than just some actors on a stage. Women’s storytelling aims to engage the audience and force them to see something inside themselves and create their own artistic viewpoints and spaces. We are pleased to present, as part of our already stellar festival line-up, two excellent, hands-on workshops from two of our touring performers and companies.

Another exciting aspect about FemFest is the opportunity to present readings and lectures from distinguished and established playwrights and artitsts. It is importanting to attend readings of works in progress in order to better understand and appreciate the writing process. We are proud to be presenting writers from across Canada and across genres as part of the line-up of FemFest ancillary events!

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