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!

Giving Voice to Youth in Care

While we were all having fun with FemFest, the Giving Voice cast has been hard at work rehearsing for our October 13 to November 28 school tour. They will be traveling around Winnipeg and rural Manitoba with this timely and important forum theatre piece. Since we began developing the piece, there is been a big demand to see the final product. For youth who won’t catch it at their schools and for adults interested in this powerful play, there are two chances for the public to come and see it!

With all the attention CFS has been getting in the news recently, Giving Voice stands out by providing a voice to youth who are actually in the care system and the challenges they face every day, particularly the stigma being in care carries and the bullying that can result. Manitoba has the highest rate of youth in care in Canada, which makes this play all the more relevant to all Manitobans. We hope this play will spark conversations about the state of Manitoba’s foster care system and will contribute to positive change within our community.

If you’d like to be part of the conversation, the first opportunity to see this play written by and about youth in care is at our community preview on October 9th at 7:30pm in the Graffiti Gallery. This performance is being hosted by VOICES: Manitoba’s Youth In Care Network, the program who’s youth initiated this entire production. Two years ago after seeing our productions of Empty and Diss they looked for a way to get their stories on stage. Marie Christian, the Program Coordinator at VOICES, reached out to us and we’ve been collaborating on this project ever since. Admission to this performance is by $5 donation with all proceeds going to support the VOICES’ scholarship program.

Our second community performance comes halfway through the school tour on November 2nd at 2:30pm in the Carol Shields Auditorium in the Millennium Library as a part of the Winnipeg Public Library’s teen program. As much as we’d like to, it’s not possible for us to make it to every school, and this is a great opportunity for youth groups to come experience and be empowered by Giving Voice, and who knows, maybe they’ll be telling their own story onstage next year!

If you’re curious for a sneak peek, check out the story CBC did on us here! For more information on Giving Voice you can visit our website or phone us at 204-586-2236. Please note, seating is limited for both performances, so get there early!

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