A Toast to 15 Years: Celebrating Winnipeg Playwrights

Are you aware of the talented playwrights Winnipeg has to offer?

This city is home to female playwrights who challenge us, question us, inspire us and make us laugh. As a toast to 15 years of FemFest, we are celebrating some of Winnipeg’s most accomplished playwrights in this special edition of the One Night Stand.

Coordinated by Tatiana Carnevale, Sarasvàti Productions’ One Night Stand series gives playwrights the opportunity to test their work, while providing audiences a chance to take part in the developmental process. On Saturday, September 23rd at 7pm Judith Thompson will join five local playwrights as they present readings of work in development. Be one of the first people to hear this exciting brand new work!

One Night Stand Playwright Sharon BajerSharon Bajer is a member of the playwright’s unit at Prairie Theatre Exchange. Her plays include Molly’s Veil, Burnin’ Love, Hersteria, To the Country, The Mother Load, Jesus Does Laundry Too and The Gingerbread Girl (in progress). Coming up, Sharon will direct The Best Brothers at Western Canada Theatre Company and Theatre Northwest and Fly Me to the Moon at Prairie Theatre Exchange.

 

 

One Night Stand Playwright Columpa BobbColumpa Bobb was born in Canada and is the great grand daughter of Chief Dan George who was chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Many of her plays have been produced all across Canada. She has been nominated for the Dora Mavor Moore Award and the James Buller Award. In 1997 she won a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.

 

One Night Stand Playwright Ginny Collins Now

 

Ginny Collins has worked with English and French theatre communities. Ginny’s play The Flats (Les Flats) was produced by Prairie Theatre Exchange and Theatre Cercle Moliere in 2017. Ginny’s other works include Good Intentions (WJT 2014) The Good Daughter, MBTV: Histoire en Direct, Prairie Spirits, and Terroristas. Ginny is under commission by Prairie Theatre Exchange for Revenge and Co. She is a member of the Prairie Theatre Exchange Playwrights Unit.


One Night Stand Playwright Trish CooperTricia Cooper began writing sketch comedy with the Royal Liechtenstein Theatre Company and wrote for Fringe Festivals across Canada including The Comment Card and Homely Woman #2 (with Vanessa Macrae). Hey pay Social Studies, developed and produced at Prairie Theatre Exchange, went on to be produced by Centaur Theatre in Montreal, and Firehall Theatre in Vancouver. Social Studies won Best Play at the Manitoba Book Awards.

 


One Night Stand Playwright Primrose Knazan
Jewish Filipino-Canadian playwright Primrose Madayag Knazan has been featured at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, the International Writers Festival, CBC Radio, the Carol Shields Festival of New Works, and Sarasvàti’s
FemFest. She has been published in three anthologies and represented Manitoba at the first Asian-Canadian Theatre Conference in Toronto.

 

Some playwrights will be reading their own work and others will have our One Night Stand ensemble of actors at their disposal, including Anita Daher, Melanie Dean, Renee Hill, Melissa Langdon and Steve Yurkiw. Sarasvàti Productions would like to thank to PGC and the Canada Council for the Arts’ Play Connect program for supporting Judith Thompson and Ginny Collins’ participation. 

Play Connect

 

 

Join us in the lobby afterwards to celebrate another successful festival!

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The Long Journey to Breaking Through

Two years…that’s the average lifespan of a robin. Why work on a project for two years? It might be your first time reading about Breaking Through or perhaps you have you been following its progress for two years? Either way, as we launch in to rehearsals for the world premiere, we thought an overview was in order.

SMHC Playback

Playback group

In 2015 we launched “Mental Health is Everyone’s Health” with Artists in Healthcare Manitoba and Red Threads Playback Theatre. Much of the genesis was supported by the Selkirk Mental Health Centre where Red Threads did amazing playbacks sessions with residents who shared their stories and where co-writer Hope McIntyre had the honour of interviewing those in the geriatric and acquired brain injury ward. Sarasvàti also put out the word that we wanted to hear as many stories from as many perspectives. A need to break the silence and counter misrepresentation led to those with lived experience, health care workers and caregivers coming forward for interviews and to participate in open workshop sessions. We were hosted by the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, Rainbow Resource Centre, St. John’s High School, Resource Assistance for Youth and Aurora Family Centre’s male newcomer peer support group. In total almost 400 people shared their experiences! We were blown away. Writers Hope McIntyre and Cairn Moore with the support of facilitator Nan Fewchuk faced the difficult task of compiling so many diverse perspectives in to a compelling play. In fact, they would have liked a third year to take on this daunting task!

Nan Fewchuk and Cairn Moore

Nan Fewchuk and Cairn Moore make notes at a workshop reading of Breaking Through, 2016.

It was decided in consulting with all our partners that the ultimate goals was to increase empathy and understanding, highlight the reality that everyone has mental health, and demonstrate that everyone’s experience of illness is unique. All that as well as making it artistically engaging! Breaking Through was read in various drafts for those who contributed their stories. Then a full staged reading in May 2016 allowed actors to contribute their insights while testing the play out in front of an audience.

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Over one hundred feedback forms were received! Overall an extremely favourable response, but with amazing insights leading to round after round of rewrites. Then another workshop with actors thanks to the Manitoba Association of Playwrights and the guidance of Sharon Bajer in January 2017.

The process has already created a platform for people to talk about the importance of mental health for everyone. It is easy to think of mental health with an “us vs. them” mentality: people who have a mental illness and people who do not. However, it is important to know that this apparent line is a lot blurrier than many people may think. One in four Manitobans will receive medical treatment for a mental illness. Many people are affected in one way or another and some people to do not stop to consider their own mental health.

Finally we arrive at the beginning of the final stage. Our first read-through on Tuesday was exhilarating for everyone! We can hardly wait to share the results of this journey with the world or at least with Winnipeg audiences as a start.

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The world premiere of Breaking Through is coming up May 23-28, 2017 under the direction of Kevin Klassen with an accomplished Winnipeg cast and crew featuring Elena Anciro, Dorothy Carroll, Richie Diggs, Marsha Knight, Harry Nelken, Spenser Payne and Josh Ranville. Plus design team Kim Griffin (set/costumes), Dean Cowieson (lighting) and jaymez (video/sound).

For more information on Breaking Through and how to get tickets visit our website! http://sarasvati.ca/breaking-through-world-premiere/

Looking Forward to a Transformative Year

Happy New Year everyone! What are your resolutions? Here are our top 5 resolutions for 2015!

1. NURTURE EMERGING ARTISTS!

Work It Night!

Work It Night!

The first item for our 2015 calendar is our third Work It Night event that we created in partnership with ACI Manitoba on January 19th. Artists from all disciplines, emerging and established, have brought their works in progress to present for audience reactions or feedback. It’s been amazing to see the work of so many diverse artists including animators, videographers, and poets! Join us and come out to share your work or support the presenting artists with your insights. It is a fun, relaxed and supportive environment to connect with other artists. Work It Night is the third Monday of every month at 7pm!

2. LAUNCH NEW ARTISTIC CAREERS!

Sharon Bajer

Sharon Bajer

We are excited to have the multitalented Sharon Bajer facilitate How to Get Your Foot in the Door, a submissions workshop for emerging artists to learn how to format cover letters, resumes, scripts and headshots to industry standards while still standing out. Deadline to register and pay for this workshop is January 13th, so don’t delay! For more information and to read about the other fantastic workshops we have planned click here!

3. RAISE A GLASS AND RAISE SOME FUNDS!

Our fourth annual So You Think You Can Act Fundraiser on February 18th will be a chance to have a great time while helping us do amazing work. See celebrities face off in scenes about power play and at the end – you get to choose who goes home with the trophy. There are also going to be amazing raffle prizes and a wine reception! Click here for information on how to get tickets.

Banner SYTYCA 2015

4. EMPOWER SUPER WOMEN!

sarasvati (3)In March nine dynamic women will take the stage to bring the stories of nine amazing women to life in celebration of International Women’s Week. Come hear the empowering stories of Zelda Fitzgerald, Isobel Gunn, a young Mennonite woman, and even a superhero! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ve got two chances to see it on March 7th, the Cabaret has a history of selling out, so click here to purchase tickets now.

5. BUST BARRIERS!

Catherine Banks

Catherine Banks

Who says a 50 year old can’t bust a rhyme inspired by Missy Elliott? We will challenge the status quo with the world premiere of Miss’N Me May 21 to 31! Miss’N Me is a brilliant and unique new play from two time Governor General Award winning playwright Catherine Banks. The play follows Dawna, a hairdresser, who steals her husband’s plumbing van and heads for New York City to meet Missy Elliott. On the way there she crosses paths with a host of wacky hitch-hikers. You don’t want to miss this one, so mark your calendars!

This will keep us busy for the first part of the year but we won’t stop there. FemFest 2015: Hear Her Roar! is already in the works and the line-up will be announced in May. The festival will run September 12 to 19 and will feature life-changing plays by women for everyone. We are also embarking on a new community collaboration exploring mental health with Artists in Health Care, Red Threads Playback Theatre and the Selkirk Mental Health Centre.

Join us in making 2015 an inspiring, transformative and life-changing year!

Sharon Bajer and Jan Skene Share Their Knowledge!

Are you an emerging artist? We are offering a chance to get inside information from the pros through a wonderful series of workshops this season! We’re excited to report that our first workshop, The Wonderful World of Grants 101, filled up completely well before the registration deadline! A good reason for emerging artists to sign up ASAP for our next two workshops:

How to Get Your Foot in the Door with Sharon Bajer
Tuesday, January 27th 4:30pm to 6:30pm
$15 Fee
Sharon Bajer HeadshotSharon is an actress, playwright and director and currently the Directing Artist-in–Residence at Rainbow Stage. Recent credits include acting in The Seagull and A Christmas Story at RMTC, directing Portage and Munsch (PTE), Run for Your Wife (Festival Antigonish), Bloodless (White Rabbit Productions), Riddle Me Home (Tapestry New Opera), The Ends of the Earth (PTE@PTE) and Cry After Midnight and Eden for Sarasvàti. Sharon was a participant in Stratford’s Michael Langham Workshop in Classical Direction for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Sharon is a member of the Playwrite’s Unit at PTE. She has written several plays including Hersteria, Burnin’ Love and Molly’s Veil. Sharon is a graduate of Studio 58.

With all her experience as an actress, playwright and director she will teach participants how to make sure their cover letters, resumes, headshots, and scripts are actually considered. Sharon will teach participants about formatting standards, tips on writing great cover letters, and how to layout their resume to conform to industry standard and stand out from the others. Deadline to register and pay is January 13th!

Get Your Act Together – Introduction to Business Basics for Theatre Artists with Jan Skene
Sunday, March 8th 4pm to 6pm
$15 Fee

As a working theatre artist, you are essentially your own small business! Being self-employed brings many challenges but also many benefits over the course of an artist’s career. This introductory workshop offers an opportunity for artists to have their questions answered in relation to self-promotion, membership in EQUITY/ACTRA, dealing with taxes and accessing resources.

Jan Skene HeadshotJan Skene is best known as an accomplished actor/singer and director, having appeared on almost all of Winnipeg’s main stages over the past 25 years. Recent highlights include Peter Pan (MTYP), White Christmas (RMTC), The Brink (PTE), Footloose (Rainbow Stage), Hersteria at the Winnipeg Fringe, Follies (Dry Cold). Jan has been working steadily as an actor, puppeteer and voice performer in Manitoba’s film and television industry. She has many film, tv and radio credits to her name including series lead on Fred Penner’s Place and Tipi as well as principal roles on Strings, The Plague, The Atwood Stories, The Many Trials of Jane Doe.

Jan is currently Vice President of the ACTRA Manitoba Council and head of the Training Committee. She has co-developed and delivered ACTRA’s Apprenticeship Training Course over the past several years is currently a member of the Film Training Manitoba Board. In addition to her work as a performer, Jan is co-founder and business manager of Skene Stunts Inc. with her husband Rick Skene. Together with their sons Daniel and Sean they have worked on over 150 film and television productions.

For more information on these or are other awesome opportunities for emerging artists click here! To register phone or email Wren at 204-586-2236, wren@sarasvati.ca

Ready, Set, Register!

Everything you ever needed to know to get ahead as an artist will be covered in our exciting workshop series! After a great first installment of our monthly event, Work It Night on November 17th, we’re eager to reveal what other great events we have planned for emerging artists! Back in September we conducted a survey of emerging artists to ask what was needed and wanted. We received great responses that prompted us to create Work It Nights in partnership with ACI Manitoba, and these four workshops:

First up is…

The Wonderful World of Grants 101
Grant Writing Workshop

Facilitated by Martine Friesen and Dominic Lloyd
Saturday, December 13th 1pm to 2:30pm
University of Winnipeg Asper Centre for Theatre & Film
Cost: FREE!
Deadline to register is December 5th

WAC & MAC logoEveryone talks about grants, but who exactly are they for? Are you eligible? How do you apply for them? Martine Friesen from Manitoba Arts Council and Dominic Lloyd from Winnipeg Arts Council are here to help. They will talk about the various grant programs each of their organizations offers, who is eligible and how you apply for them, particularly as an emerging artist. This workshop is free, however you are required to register by December 5th.

 

After a bit of a break for the holidays, we kick the New Year off with…

 

How to Get Your Foot in the Door
Submissions Workshop with Sharon Bajer

Tuesday, January 27th 4:30pm to 6:30pm
Manitoba Association of Playwright’s Rory Runnells Studio at 504-100 Arthur Street (Artspace)
Cost: $15
Deadline to register and pay is January 13th

Sharon Bajer

Sharon Bajer

Like it or not, as a theatre artist you will be sending out a lot of submissions. Make sure your cover letters, resumes, headshots, and scripts are actually considered. Learn about formatting standards, tips on writing a great cover letter, and how to layout your resume from local actor, playwright and director Sharon Bajer. Through this workshop you’ll learn how to make your submissions conform to industry standard and stand out from the others. Deadline to register and pay is January 13th.

 

This is followed closely by…

 

Theatre Lives: Q&A with Krista Jackson & Rod Beilfuss

Krista Jackson

Krista Jackson

Thursday, February 5th 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre Mainstage Boardroom
Cost: FREE!
Please RSVP to confirm your attendance

Krista and Rod have both led fascinating careers as actors and directors. Both have worked and studied outside of Manitoba, and founded their own theatre companies.

Rod Beilfuss

Rod Beilfuss

Krista is the director of Royal MTC’s Private Lives, however she has also worked with the Shaw Festival, Stratford Festival, MTYP, her own company zone41 as well as last year’s The Seagull at Royal MTC. Rod joins her as apprentice director of Private Lives. Rod has been active in the Winnipeg theatre community for many years as one of the founding members of Theatre by the River. This is your chance to ask these two talented theatre artists about their careers, their work on Private Lives and get tips as artists! Seating is limited, please RSVP to reserve a spot. This workshop is being presented with support from the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.

 

And finally, to finish the season off…

 

Get Your Act Together
Introduction to Business Basics for Theatre Artists with Jan Skene
Sunday, March 8th 4pm to 6pm
MAP’s Rory Runnells Studio at 504-100 Arthur Street (Artspace)
Cost: $15
Deadline to register and pay is February 20th

Jan Skene

Jan Skene

As a working theatre artist, you are essentially your own small business! Being self-employed brings many challenges but also many benefits over the course of an artist’s career. Jan Skene has been working as a professional actor and business manager in film and theatre for over 28 years. This introductory workshop offers an opportunity for artists to have their questions answered in relation to self-promotion, membership in EQUITY/ACTRA, dealing with taxes and accessing resources. Deadline to register and pay is February 20th.

 

So mark your calendars, and email or phone Wren (wren@sarasvati.ca, 204-586-2236) to confirm your spot today! Space is limited in all of these, so don’t delay! (hey that sort of rhymed!)

Plus don’t forget upcoming Work It Nights on December 15th, January 19th February 16th and March 16th.

For more info on Work It Nights and the workshops, click here!

 

SYTYCA: Meet the Judges and Emcee!

SYTYCA 2014 promo banner

Who will be this year’s Simon Cowell? Will the emcee be able to keep the judges from taking over the show? Find out at our 3rd annual So You Think You Can Act fundraising event on February 19th, 2014! For those who are not familiar with the event, local non-actor celebrities are paired up with actors to perform scenes, our judges comment in a hilarious manner and then YOU get to vote for a winner! Last year Kerri Salki of 102.3 Clear FM took home the trophy prize and the audience was entertained by the carefully chosen scenes and from our celebrities,  the judges and host. Today we are pleased to feature this year’s judges and well known Winnipegger as our emcee! Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for our celebrity bios and to hear more about which scenes they’ll be working on!

Ace Burpee - HeadshotACE BURPEE – Emcee

We are pleased to welcome Ace back. He won the inaugural So You Think You Can Act trophy in 2012. Ace Burpee is from Cooks Creek, Manitoba. He currently works as the host of the Ace Burpee Show with Chrissy Troy on 103.1 Virgin Radio. Prior to that, he played in the NHL. This is not true. At all. Prior acting experience includes being on float with Beethoven the dog in Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure. Ace was cut from the scene prior to release.

Sharon Bajer - HeadshotSHARON BAJER – Judge

Sharon is an actress, playwright and director and currently the Directing Artist-in –Residence at Rainbow Stage. Recent credits include acting in The Seagull and A Christmas Story at RMTC, directing Portage and Munsch (PTE), Run for Your Wife (Festival Antigonish), Bloodless (White Rabbit Productions), Riddle Me Home (Tapestry New Opera), The Ends of the Earth (PTE@PTE) and Cry After Midnight and Eden for Sarasvati. Sharon was a participant in Stratford’s Michael Langham Workshop in Classical Direction for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Sharon is a member of the Playwrite’s Unit at PTE. She has written several plays including Hersteria, Burnin’ Love and Molly’s Veil. Sharon is a graduate of Studio 58.

Ardith Boxall - HeadshotARDITH BOXALL – Judge

A graduate of the University of Winnipeg, Ardith has performed with many professional theatre companies and recently directed Our Country’s Good for the U of W Theatre Department. Selected acting credits include, Three Sisters (zone41/TPM), Shakespeare’s Dog at the Manitoba Theatre Centre/National Arts Centre, Zaidie’s Shoes and The Norbals at Prairie Theatre Exchange, Crave with English Suitcase and The Darling Family by Linda Griffiths. In 2005, Ardith took the reins as Artistic Director of Theatre Projects Manitoba where her directing credits include John and Beatrice, North Main Gothic, Age of Arousal, The Daffodil Man, God’s Country: Tales of Doom from the North End, The Monster Trilogy, Chekhov and Me, Area 51, Hi Diddle Dee Dee, Seeing Red, and Floodgates.

Kevin Klassen- HeadshotKEVIN KLASSEN – Judge

Kevin has been performing, producing, writing, and directing professional theatre in Winnipeg for 18 years now. He is currently working on “The Cherry Orchard” for Theatre By The River/Echo Theatre. He has been a member of Shakespeare in the Ruins for the past 10 years, and currently serves as Artistic Co-Chair. He thinks all competitive artistic events are terrible except this one.

So You Think You Can Act is just over one month away! Tickets are $25 dollars and include a wine reception. There will also be thousands of dollars in raffle prizes and a 50/50 draw! There is no better way to spend your evening on Feburary 19th. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here or from our office by calling (204) 586-2236!

Local Celebrities Ham it Up!

Former Bombers, morning show hosts, radio personalities, and a comedian!? We’ve got it all at this year’s 3rd annual So You Think You Can Act fundraising event! Join us on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 as local celebrities are paired up with theatre actors to test our their acting chops in front of a panel of judges – much like your favourite reality television competition shows! The judges will provide insightful feedback, positive reinforcement, and side-splitting commentary. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better then this, we let the audience take matters into their own hands and let YOU choose the winner! Today, we are pleased to announce our celebrities and judges. We would also like to welcome back the hilarious Ace Burpee to the stage! Ace was the inaugural event winner back in 2012 and will be hosting this year’s event. For a list of complete bios, please click here.

INTRODUCING…

THE EMCEE: Ace Burpee – Host of the Ace Burpee Show with Chrissy Troy on 103.1 Virgin Radio

Ace Burpee - Headshot

THE JUDGES: Sharon Bajer (Actress, Playwright, and Director), Ardith Boxall (Artistic Director of Theatre Projects Manitoba) and Kevin Klassen (Artistic Co-Chair of Shakespeare in the Ruins)

Judges banner 

THE CELEBRITIES:

  • Alison Gillmor – Winnipeg Free Press and CBC radio
  • Jim Ingebrigtsen – TV Producer/Host
  • Obby Khan – Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber
  • Eva Kovacs – Global Morning News
  • Kris Laudien – CTV Morning Live anchor
  • Big Daddy Tazz – Comedian
  • Troy Westwood – Former Winnipeg Blue Bomber

Celebrity Banner

Get your tickets now before it’s too late! Just $25 gets you into the show as well as the after-show wine reception. All proceeds go to Sarasvàti Productions. Tickets can be purchased online from our website or from our office by calling (204) 586-2236. Don’t forget, tickets to So You Think You Can Act make a fabulous holiday gift for that hard to buy for person on your list!

We hope you’ll help support Sarasvàti Productions and join us for a fun filled evening on Feburary 19th at the Gas Station Arts Centre. Who do you hope will take home the grand prize?