Powerful Performances Provoke Dialogue

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Record-breaking attendance, 10 stories, 11 community performances and over 800 people affected. This year, we set out to do something different with our Cabaret of Monologues. We had chosen a challenging theme, Stolen Sisters, with the goal of inspiring change by creating a platform for women to share perspectives on gender-based violence. In order to include more perspectives we worked with many women who do not traditionally tell their stories in a theatre setting. We welcomed these women’s stories to the Cabaret in diverse forms; dance, spoken word, slam poetry, oral storytelling, and visual art. The result of these collaborative efforts was an incredibly powerful production.

“What a beautiful show. I don’t know how you do it again and again…was so moved by all of the pieces” said Cairn Moore, who was in the audience for Saturday’s matinee. Cairn is a playwright and director who’s play Shiksa is currently premiering at Winnipeg Jewish Theatre.

“The relevance of the topics, the passion of the performers and the emotional impact on the audience are transformational”, said  Ms. Terry Price, Department Head of Professional and French Language Services with the Manitoba Teachers’ Society. Ms. Price hosted performances of three pieces at the Canadian Teacher’s Federation Women’s Symposium.

Sharing the stage with non-traditional theatre performers was an exciting experience! So was performing the pieces throughout the community in non-theatre settings. Intimate, informal, and often ad hoc DIY performance spaces can pose challenges, but our performers rose to these challenges with exuberance! This gave us the chance to make this art accessible and to connect with so many non-theatre goers in our community.

“It was such an honour performing as part of the Sarasvati Transformative ‪Stolen Sisters‬ Cabaret of Monologues this evening at the Thunderbird House on ‪International Women’s Day‬”, said Shaneen Robinson, reporter at Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and performer in Stolen Sisters. “Thanks to all who came to show support in our fight to raise awareness and put a stop to ‪‎MMIW‬ in our country.”

We are especially thankful to have had the chance to perform this productions for staff and clientele of crisis and resource centres in and around Winnipeg.

“As a Manitoba women’s shelter director, I know that our staff hear many stories from women escaping abuse and violence – our work is very challenging. Today’s monologues were outstanding and I found the theme very relevant to the clients we support” said Pam Hadder, Executive Director at Agape House-Eastman Crisis Centre in Steinbach, Manitoba.

“The performers and the content of this year’s monologues were incredible! Each performer did an outstanding job of entertaining us and informing us of current social issues. Very dramatic, very thought provoking, and very important! Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to build awareness in our community”, said Anna Pazdzierski, the Executive Director of Nova House Inc.

Thank you to all of our supporters, volunteers, audience, community hosts, performers, writers, Board of Directors and funders for helping to make our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues – Stolen Sisters a huge success. It was a pleasure to work with so many amazing women.

Standing with our Stolen Sisters

How can you show your solidarity? This year’s International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues is built around the theme of Stolen Sisters, and we do not take that lightly. We want our audiences at our performances on Saturday March 12 to not only hear these stories of gender-based violence, but to also expand their learning of other initiatives in our community. This year we received the help from practicum student Erin Schwartz to set up a variety of art installations and advocacy information for our audiences to interact with in the lobby, keep reading to find out what you’ll see!

 


Handmade felt faceless dolls from Nova House
: You may have seen them on our posters, but you’ll get to see them in person on March 12. These dolls represent the silencing of women, particularly those who are murdered and missing. They have been created by a variety of people, including those out of town sending them in to Nova House. Their target is to have a total of 1,200.

 

‘Mine is but a tear in a river’ photo exhibit by Tracey-Mae Chambers: Erin shared that “these photographs elicit a very visceral response” as they honour the 1,181 murdered and missing indigenous women in Canada. Experience it for yourself in our lobby or at the Edge Gallery and Urban Arts Centre where they are also being displayed. Tracey-Mae will also be doing an artist talk on Friday at this gallery, learn more here!

 

The red ribbon project to remember and honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: We will be demonstrating our support for this campaign that was started by Jennifer Flett, Pauline McGillivary, Janet Head and Rhonda Head from Opaskwayak Cree Nation by hanging red ribbons from the ramp railings that lead into the lobby at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film. Erin hopes that seeing this will inspire people to hang red ribbons in their communities as an act of remembrance and support.

 

We Care Quilt#WeCare Quilt: This quilt was created in collaboration with the #WeCare Campaign, The Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies, the Manitoba Crafts Museum, and the community. Erin was part of the team to coordinate this initiative last year that brought members of the community together to create “squares for the quilt to show their care for all who are missing and the need for immediate action.” To read more about this initiative and the team involved click here!

 

These projects all raise awareness, but we couldn’t stop there! There are three other components we’ve included to help keep the conversation going and to encourage everyone to take action. There will be a hands on writing response area for audience members to reflect, honour and show their care; Amnesty International Winnipeg will have a display with petitions and Stolen Sisters campaign materials; and there will be No More Stolen Sisters campaign material from the Canadian Federation of Students for people to take with them and place in their communities.

 

If you want to see all of this, ten powerful monologues, and the Buffalo Gals drumming group from the North End Women’s Centre, come down to the Asper Centre of Theatre and Film on Saturday March 12 at 4pm or 8pm. Tickets are available online here, by phone at 204-586-2236, or at the door and are only $10.

 

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