Building Bridges

We have kicked off our next long-term initiative and it has us busting at the seams – both with excitement and literally needing a bigger office space for our staff team! Our new collaborative project focused on reconciliation through storytelling is bringing together a team of Indigenous artists to work with Indigenous youth. Thanks to the generous support of the Winnipeg Foundation, we’re welcoming Nova Courchene to the team as our Project Coordinator for this exciting artistic community-based creation! Sarasvàti Productions joins twenty community organizations who have received funding from the Winnipeg Foundation for projects that work towards reconciliation.

 Nova Courchene Headshot
Nova Courchene is Anishinaabe-kwe from Sagkeeng First Nation and Rolling River both located in Manitoba. Nova has been involved in music and theatre for five years, working with musicians and in theatre organizations out of Toronto and Winnipeg. Currently situating herself in Winnipeg, she is actively working as the Assistant Program Director at the Native Youth Theatre program, run out of Manitoba Theatre for Young people. With experience in her past as an Arts Administrator Intern at Native Earth Performing Arts, and two intern positions at Manitoba Music including a Music Administrator Internship for 3 local Winnipeg Recording Music Artists.

Nova has a deep understanding of the challenges Indigenous people face in their daily lives and the conflict that colonization brings to everyday life. She is excited to dig into the reconciliation project. After meeting with Marsha Knight, our Indigenous Community Outreach Coordinator, she will be moving forward with coordinating the logistics of the project.  Discussions continue with various organizations as we welcome sponsors, partners, and participants. She hopes to bring her administration and coordination skills to the project to provide a safe and accommodating space for all involved in the project.

Nova has been surrounded by various Indigenous creatives including emerging playwrights, songwriters, and theatre professionals. She is excited to participate in Sarasvàti’s on-going pledge dedicated to using theatre to promote human understanding and the presentation of evolving experiences on stage. She holds strongly to the ideas of developing young Indigenous voices, experiences and representation within the theatre industry. 

The full project will include consultation circles in the
spring of 2019 leading to an initial public gathering in May 2019. Here artistic means will be used to share what has been captured to date, while also allowing for public dialogue around next steps in the project. From there we will continue to work with partner organizations to structure workshops with Indigenous youth at seven different locations. These sessions will allow arts skills to be transferred to participants, while also having them collaborate on a large-scale public performance in May 2020. The results and lessons learned from the project will be explored and methodologies built in to Sarasvàti’s practices moving forward. We are excited to continue to work with new partner organizations and artists with whom relationships are built as part of this process. Through long-term relationship building, collaboration, and welcoming amazing new team members like Nova we hope to continue the on-going commitment to true reconciliation.

Visit our website to keep tabs as the project develops or feel free to contact for information or to get involved.

Transforming Tomorrow – Help us make a difference!

“I laughed so hard my face hurt!” This is just one of the comments from the sold out crowd at our recent Rumor’s Comedy Fundraiser. A huge thank you to all of our supporters for coming out, to our amazing board for their work and to the Fundraising and Development Committee who coordinated it all. We know there is fundraising fatigue out there. It’s a tricky business trying to bring in the funds necessary to support the arts. The question is often raised why the arts can’t support themselves. From our perspective it is the nature of the type of art we create. It is community based, our goal is to make it accessible to all and it often includes working with marginalized groups who do not have the funds to cover the costs. The power of the work we do is clear to those who see it in action. More broadly as we joined our colleagues for Arts Day at City Hall on November 12th, what became clear is that the arts are an important investment not just due to their community building potential but because of their strong economic impact. With 25,000 Winnipegers employed in the industry and 1 billion in gross domestic product, we contribute a huge amount to the local economy and for each dollar spent on the arts it comes back several times over in benefits to other local businesses.

So, although we love creating great art and believe in the impact of the work, we also know we cannot do it alone. There are lots of ways you can get involved as volunteers and as audience. We are about to announce our So You Think You Can Act line-up and tickets for this fundraiser are already available. It is always a great time as you watch local celebrities try their hand at acting. As the holidays approach consider tickets to this amazing night out as a gift for friends or family. As well, the end of November is the deadline for us to receive matching funds for donations to our endowment. Your contribution to the endowment fund will result in double the value and provides you with a charitable tax receipt before the end of tax year.

Our endowment fund is held at The Winnipeg Foundation and is another great way to nurture growth in your community and maximize available funding. Long term financial stability is essential to achieving our mandate. By making a donation to our endowment fund, you will help us to continue creating and producing important, powerful works. In the past, interest from the endowment fund has supported our annual FemFest and unique projects like Jail Baby. One project we are extremely excited about is Giving Voice, our latest youth-based piece created by and about youth in care. This piece will tour to Manitoba high schools in the fall of 2014 in order to increase understanding of what youth in foster care and group homes undergo. Community support has allowed us to workshop with over 30 youth in care and share the work with test schools. We need your help to make the tour accessible to all youth!

Don’t forget that a donor’s gift may be doubled and the next deadline for the federal matching program is November 30th. If you are considering a gift to the company now is the time! Click here and help us make a difference in our community and transform lives through the power of theatre.

A Time to Give Thanks, A Time to Give

We have been overwhelmed and overjoyed with the positive responses we have received from students, teachers and the community with our world premiere of Empty at FemFest 2012, followed by a short community tour.  Here are just a few responses from students:
The play was very effective because it moved me so much that I went to talk with someone about volunteering at Winnipeg Harvest.
-I learned so much from this play.  I didn’t realize just how many people have to use food banks and have to make decisions like whether to feed their families or pay rent.
-The play made me respect volunteers more and realize just how many volunteers places like that need.
-I would tell the writer/director/actors that they did an amazing job and that it was really moving and heartbreaking.
-It felt real, like I had actually walked into and viewed the lives of people who visit food banks.

photo by Janet Shum  photo by Janet Shum

Sarasvàti Productions offers the combined benefit of contributing to artistic achievement while also supporting important social and community issues (such as poverty and food banks, as seen in Empty). Long term financial stability is essential to achieving our mandate. What better way to nurture growth in your community and maximize available funding than by supporting our endowment fund. An endowment fund is where gifts are pooled and permanently invested as capital and only the income earned is used for charitable purposes. An endowment creates a stable form of future income. A donation to the endowment fund assures the legacy of the donor is respected in perpetuity.

Sarasvàti Production’s endowment fund operates through the Winnipeg Foundation. There are matching programs available from both the Winnipeg Foundation and the federal government with the intention of encouraging private donors to contribute and provide future funding to charities. A donor’s gift may be doubled and the next deadline for the federal matching program is November 30th. If you are considering a gift to the company now is the time!

1. Contribute to our endowment fund at the Winnipeg Foundation.
2. Or to make a gift by cheque, please send to: The Winnipeg Foundation RE: Sarasvàti Productions Endowment Fund 1350-One Lombard Place Winnipeg, MB   R3B 0X3