Ten Minutes of Theatrical Treasures

The exploration of big dreams, a secret mission, and a “grim dream-world where women transform into badass anti-heroines,” these are just a few of the exciting stories featured in FemFest 2016 SHORTs from The Short-List.

Shorts Fem15 (8)At 8:15 pm every night from September 19th to the 24th, audiences can treat themselves to a reading of a 10-minute play or excerpts from works by women playwrights from across Canada.

We are proud to present this year’s amazing line-up of SHORTs:

September 19 Vagilantes by Ronit Rubinstein –Vagilantes is the story of women regaining their power against street harassers.

September 20 Dried Flowers by Maryjane Cruise – Award-winning playwright, lyricist and choral composer, Maryjane Cruise explores three women who each find themselves at a crucial turning point in their lives.

September 21Peace We Often Forfeit by Terrie Todd – Terrie Todd’s Peace We Often Forfeit follows Doris and her family. Their family bond and care are tested when a near tragedy takes place.Shorts Fem15 (7)

The Roomie by Emily Muller – In The Roomie, award-winning poet, Emily Muller, presents the kindness, femininity and self-doubt that can be found in all of us, even perpetrators of political violence.

September 22Our Golden Years by Sally Stubbs –What does it mean to build a life together? Our Golden Years is a dark comedy about the evolution of love and marriage.

The Funeral Guest by Tyler Joy White – After the death of her husband, Iris is forced to move to the city with her daughter Amy. The move does not make their lives better.

September 23Solo Journeys by Kirsten Van Ritzen – Actor/playwright Kirsten Van Ritzen lovingly mock clichés found in one-woman shows.

Saudade by Frances Koncan –Inspired by her personal experience, Koncan’s Saudade reflects our society’s perception of mental illness and those in care.

September 24, 8:15pmThe Living Library by Linda McCready – Young, enthusiastic Sylvia, is lost in the endless options of careers. A comedic look at the struggles that almost every 20-something can relate to.Fem12 Jordan Hall reading

September 24, 3pm – Full SHORTs Showcase – With a list of such amazing pieces, it would be hard to pick just one or two to see, but don’t fear! This year we’ve added a special Full SHORTs Showcase. On September 24 at 3pm, audiences can catch all nine plays in one show.

All pieces will be read by our talented ensemble of actors – Johanna Burdon, Melanee Deschambeault, Kim Kakegamic, Kevin Longfield and Cheryl Soluk. SHORTs is directed by recent Harry Rintoul Award winner, Frances Koncan.

Click here for more information and tickets.


The sound of what’s to come: Hear Her Roar!

Traditional stories from Afghanistan and non-traditional teen love stories. Moving explorations of relationships between mother and daughter and an elevator dance party! At this year’s FemFest, we bring you stories of women’s resilience, voice and power! We are excited to officially announce the programming for FemFest 2015: Hear Her Roar! Our festival’s diverse line-up includes plays, workshops, as well as readings that redefine and re-imagine the status quo. Stories written by emerging and renowned female playwrights from Winnipeg, across Canada and around the world will explore the notion of female empowerment through tragedy, humour, and gravity-defying performances. The FemFest2015 website will be launched very soon but as your reward for following our blog, we are releasing the festival line-up here first! Tell us what you’re looking forward to at FemFest 2015 by tweeting at us or commenting on Facebook.

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Read on if you want an overview of the full line-up or check out our festival brochure. The full website will be up and running for June 15th! Continue reading

The Bake-Off is a Pressure Cooker!

Ever wonder what 8 hours to write a piece for stage might look like. How will this year’s playwrights include the ingredients of ballroom dancing, dress up and teaching in their 10-minute scripts? Here are just some of this year’s Bake-Off artists’ experience!

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Terrie in car (3)Terrie home (3)Terrie left the meeting and was chauffeured by her husband back to Portage La Prairie so she could write on her laptop in the car. Here’s an overview in her own words:

The first photo was taken at 10:57 a.m. on the way out of the city in the rain. Second photo, 12:10 p.m. at home at my desk. Now to really get to work.

2:07 p.m. Paused for a bowl of beet borscht, hummus on rice crackers, and a pear. And tea with honey.

Now back to it. Thinking of hanging a sign on my door: “Playwright at Work. Anyone who interrupts will be subjected to a grisly and unnatural stage death and then reincarnated as a stage manager.”

5:00 p.m. I have a script. I don’t much like it. I’m going for a nap. Hopefully I’ll dream something brilliant to fix it with when I get up.

6:06. I’m up. I didn’t get any brilliant ideas for the script, but I did finally recall the last name of the young lady I saw on my way out of the theatre this morning who went to high school with my son.

Tick Tock.

You can also check out Terrie’s blog with an entry about being accepted in to the Bake-Off – http://www.terrietodd.blogspot.ca/


Carolyn Creed

Looking pretty relaxed a couple of hours in to the writing binge!


Today I participated in Sarasvàti’s FemFest Bake-Off. We were given 8 hours of time, and three specific elements to incorporate in to a short play. The elements were: dress-up, teaching, and ballroom dancing. We started at 10AM and finished at 7PM, and here’s a series of instagrammed pics that fairly accurately summarize my day if you add about 50 cups of coffee and numerous breaks to check up on important news on Twitter.

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1. On the theme of dress-up, this is how I look when people see me: cute romper, horizontal stripes that say “I’m not ashamed of my body”, and bold lipstick. I went to school in New York and learned a lot about developing your own identity and aesthetic as an artist, and I think I have a little bit of style. Notice how the ribbon on my hat expertly matches my shirt. I’ve been watching a lot of French film, lately, so that’s probably why I am looking precariously close to a mime.

2. Also on the theme of dress-up, this is how I look in private: hoodies galore, no makeup, and sweatpants, sweatpants, sweatpants. This is the me that nobody ever sees except my imaginary boyfriend, Albert, a lawyer and football enthusiast who doesn’t mind watching romantic comedies on Netflix on Friday nights.

3. I always like to scribble ideas in a notebook before I do anything on my computer. I use a black moleskin notebook like all my favourite writers. It just feels more important, somehow, like you’re a member of an ancient line of terribly important people. Whenever I get stuck on some dialogue or am struggling for ideas, I grab a pencil or fun pen (the more cute and less functional the better) or sometimes even eyeliner and just start writing, or at least playing MASH until I get bored. Today I found out I’m going to live in a mansion and have 18 children.

4. Once I’m full of inspiration and ready to “do this thing”, I like to use my laptop, because I’m a super speedy typer. I once clocked 200 WPM on Type to Learn. I have a desktop computer too, but there’s nothing I love more than writing while laying on my stomach in bed while a candle dangerously and photogenically burns next to my pillow. I don’t know who let’s me be an adult and make my own choices.

5. Despite technically being a writer by profession, and director by accident, I love design more than anything, thanks to Livi Vaughn, Felix Barrett, and the whole artistic team of Punchdrunk, who taught me not only how to sew and effectively illuminate things with LED candles but how to love, and find it helpful to get all my senses working when I write. I always try to pick something that appeals to each sense. My touch object was a beaded orange and black headband. The colours made me think of Halloween, and also of cultural appropriation of Native Americans at Coachella.

6. My scent objects were an array of scents from Demeter Fragrances, especially Lavender and Vanilla Ice Cream. Lavender smells like old people, whom I always have trouble writing dialogue for because I have no idea how real human beings over the age of 30 speak, and Vanilla Ice Cream, because it smells like cake, which is something I plan to eat later in glorious sugary celebration.

7. My aural object was a lot of Bruce Springsteen, because, as Dr. Danny Castellano on The Mindy Project, which was my source of dialogue inspiration, once said, “he got us through [Hurricane] Sandy.” I also listened to a lot of The Cars, and a variety songs from the late 70’s and early 80’s. I find this kind of music helps me write for men better, for some reason. It makes me feel like a bro from Jersey.

8. My taste object was cranberry juice and vodka, and I swear that wasn’t just an excuse to drink on the job. Although the positive side to being a freelance writer is that I can choose to drink on the job and frequently do. “Hemingway did and so can I!” was my entire graduate school motto. Once I had set my play, the cranberry juice and vodka seemed like the obvious choice. You’ll see why when you come and see it.

9. My primary visual inspiration was this super hot picture of Chris Messina with a puppy in his coat that I stole from Mindy Kaling’s instagram. I need either one or both of these immensely talented people to contact me immediately so we can discuss collaborating. This wasn’t so much a conscious decision as an unconscious obsession of the past few weeks. I figured, why fight it

10. After 8 hours of writing and numerous Hours of Energy (25 to be exact, and each bottle was more delicious than the last), this is the finished product. Do you like awkward high school dances? Do you like weird, vaguely inappropriate student-teacher relationships? Do you like dancing? Do you like seeing hot adult men get moderately naked? Do you like teachable moments? Then this play might be ‘Just What [You] Needed’.

I’m so sorry for that last joke. It was unnecessary and I’m trying too hard. I’ve been awake for a really long time. Anyway, I dedicate this play to Chris Messina, Vodka, and my professor Mac Wellman, who always encouraged me to be myself, even if that meant not knowing how to spell, having a tenuous grasp of grammar, and using emojii’s in real life conversations. Come check out all the plays of me and the four other amazing playwrights on Monday, September 15th!

Bake-Off Playwrights Announced!

What do you get when you mix talented playwrights, a carefully chosen list of script-writing ingredients and a healthy dose of friendly FemFest competition? For the fifth year in a row selected playwrights will be given a list of tasty ingredients and eight hours to stir up a script. The playwrights will then be required to share their creations with audiences who are eagerly anticipating a large helping of talent and laughter.


Janet Taylor

This year’s Bake-Off is honour of the late Sarasvàti board member, Janet Taylor, who was an invaluable member of our team right up until her passing in March. Janet’s favourite FemFest event was the Bake-Off and so we’ve decided to choose ingredients that reflect Janet’s interests and personality.To get a sense of what this deliciously decadent event will entail, read some fun facts of the participating playwrights below!

Carolyn Hoople Creed is an Associate Professor of English Literature at Manitoba’s University College of the North. Her poetry and prose have appeared in renowned publications across the country.

Terrie Todd has published seven stories with Chicken Soup for the Soul, two plays with Eldridge Plays and Musicals and writes a weekly faith and humour column for the Central Plains Herald Leader.

Angie St Mars co-hosts CKUW’s only feminist news and current events program—Femisphere. She is a relatively new playwright who graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a 3-year B.A double majoring in Politics and Theatre and Film.

Karen Clavelle teaches English Lit. and Prairie Lit to students at the University of Manitoba and is a poet writer and emerging playwright. She has recently progressed from writing voices in long poems to writing voices for theatre.

Frances Koncan is an Aboriginal playwright, director, producer, musician, composer, photographer, stage manager originally from Couchiching First Nations. She earned her MFA in playwriting at the City University of New York Brooklyn College and her BA in Psychology at the University of Manitoba.

You don’t want to miss what they come up with under the direction of Cairn Moore! You can get tickets to the Bake-Off by visiting our website, www.femfest.ca.