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FemFest 2017: Human Library: transformative theatre that presents significant social issues (Sarasvàti Productions, Winnipeg)


FemFest and the Winnipeg Public Library Team Up to Challenge Stereotypes

FemFest 2017: Coming of Age is excited to celebrate its 15th anniversary with unique initiatives that engage the public. For the first time the festival will offer The Human Library™ in partnership with The Winnipeg Public Library! The Human Library, or “Menneskebiblioteket” in Danish, began in Denmark in the spring of 2000 and has gone on to produce events in over 25 countries. The event was designed to challenge readers’ stereotypes by putting them in a one-on-one dialogue with human ‘books’, demonstrating the power of not “judging a book by its cover”.

For the first time FemFest will follow the example of other national theatre festivals by including this exciting experience in the line-up. Sarasvàti Productions and the Library will host a wonderful array of Manitobans for the catalogue of Human Books. The event is free and runs September 21st – 23rd, 2017 on the second floor of the Millennium Library, 251 Donald Street (4-8 PM on Thursday, 1-4 PM Friday and Saturday). Readers (the public) may “borrow” a book for up to thirty minutes of conversation. The event features Human Books on a wide range of topics, from new immigrants to Canada to the modern Indigenous struggle to the challenges of living with mental illness. The books come from all different walks of life, but are united by their struggle against stereotyping or prejudice. By putting faces to important issues, the Human Library is designed to foster positive discussions and answer readers’ questions.

The Human Library is part of Sarasvàti Productions’ mandate to show experimental and transformative theatre that presents significant social issues. Some of the books featured include local comedian Lara Rae; the creator of Artbeat Studio, Nigel Bart; and Black Space Winnipeg founder Alexa Potashnik. In addition to presenting her play Watching Glory Die, master Canadian playwright and FemFest guest artist Judith Thompson will also take part as a book on September 23rd.

In addition to co-hosting The Human Library, FemFest is taking over the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film for eight days of exciting performances. The theme of this year’s festival is “Coming of Age” and 15 years of programming will be celebrated. FemFest 2017 will present Judith Thompson’s Watching Glory Die, produced by Mulgrave Road Theatre. Other productions include Two Indians by emerging playwright Falen Johnson and Ivan Coyote’s Tomboy Survival Guide, a heartfelt memoir backed by a live band. Plus the annual opening cabaret and live readings.

FemFest runs from September 16-23, 2017 based out of the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (at the University of Winnipeg, 400 Colony Street). Tickets are $15-$20 for single shows and a full festival pass is available for $50. FemFest welcomes all audience members to join the celebration of female artists and enjoy the local and national art scene. For more information visit our website: www.femfest.ca.

About Sarasvàti Productions: Founded in Winnipeg in 2000, we seek to inspire artists and audiences through the use of theatre and to provide a place where artists can develop, showcase their skills and celebrate their creativity. FemFest has been up and kicking since 2003 and to date has showcased hundreds of artists!

About Sarasvàti Productions: Founded in Winnipeg in 2000, we seek to inspire artists and audiences through the use of theatre and to provide a place where artists can develop, showcase their skills and celebrate their creativity. FemFest has been up and kicking since 2003 and to date has showcased hundreds of artists!”

-from Sarasvàti Productions press release
Read Sarasvàti Productions’ profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map.

FemFest 2017: Coming of Age (Sarasvàti Productions, Winnipeg)


FemFest 2017: Coming of Age – Celebrating 15 Years!

“In 2003 Chicago was dominating film awards, George W. Bush was leading the charge in Iraq, America’s Next Top Model premiered on television and FemFest was launched. This year we celebrate FemFest entering a new phase with FemFest 2017: Coming of Age, running from September 16 to 23. The 15th annual festival featuring powerful plays by women for everyone, will take over the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film for eight days of exciting performances. This year will also feature a special performance from an award-winning author at the West End Cultural Centre and a special interactive experience at the Millennium Library.

This year’s theme revolves around coming in to one’s own – growing up, maturing and accepting oneself. FemFest 2017 will take audiences through an empowering journey as they explore how we move forward as individuals and as a community. We are excited to announce the touring shows and guest artists who will be in Winnipeg for FemFest 2017:

Judith Thompson is one of Canada’s most celebrated and prolific playwrights. Her visit to FemFest in 2012 was profound for the writers who worked with her and audiences who heard her speak. To celebrate 15 years FemFest wanted to bring back Canada’s top female playwright.

Watching Glory Die – Produced by Mulgrave Road Theatre (Guysborough, NS): In order to truly explore the craft of our guest artist we are excited to welcome this powerful play by Judith Thompson from an East Coast Company with a long history of producing compelling work. The script was inspired by the true story of New Brunswick teen Ashley Smith. Deliberately fictionalized, a riveting and deeply compassionate portrait of three women – Glory, incarcerated for minor offences at age 14; Rosellen, the girl’s adoptive mother desperately trying to remain connected to her daughter; Gail, a prison guard, walking the line between her ‘orders’ and her conscience.

Tomboy Survival Guide – Written and Performed by award-winning author Ivan Coyote (Vancouver, B.C.): Tomboy Survival Guide is the music and story-driven collaboration of award-winning writer and storyteller Ivan Coyote, the hummingbird high-energied drummer and percussionist Sal Zori, the mellifluous baselines of Pebbles Willekes, and the subtle and graceful tinkerings of trumpet player Alison Gorman. FemFest is excited to partner with the West End Cultural Centre for the first time to present this unique concert experience. Ivan Coyote will also be doing a special lecture and reading from his books for queer youth as part of the festival.

FemFest 2017 will also include the Winnipeg premiere of Two Indians by Toronto playwright, Falen Johnson. 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? The piece will mark the stage directorial debut of Sonya Ballantyne, rising Indigenous film-maker. Of course the festival will continue to offer our Bake-Off playwriting competition; readings of new works in development; and an opening cabaret featuring fantastic female artists in music, theatre and film.

FemFest runs from September 16-23, 2017 at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (at the University of Winnipeg, 400 Colony Street). Tickets are $15-$20 for single shows and a full festival pass is available for $50. FemFest welcomes all audience members to join the celebration of female artists and enjoy the local and national art scene. For more information visit our website: www.femfest.ca.

About Sarasvàti Productions: Founded in Winnipeg in 2000, we seek to inspire artists and audiences through the use of theatre and to provide a place where artists can develop, showcase their skills and celebrate their creativity. FemFest has been up and kicking since 2003 and to date has showcased hundreds of artists!”

-submitted by Sarasvàti Productions
Read Sarasvàti Productions’ profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map.

FemFest 2016: Transformation (Sarasvàti Productions, Winnipeg)

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Sarasvàti Productions presents FemFest 2016: Transformation.

The 14th annual festival featuring captivating plays by women for everyone, will take audiences through an emotional journey as they explore what it means to rise above and come out stronger than before. Everything from the real-life struggles of a transgender poet, a comedy-duo’s growing pains, to the perverse exploitation of young girls; FemFest 2016: Transformation puts the stories of brave women centre stage. Whether you see one production or the entire festival, you are sure to leave with a new understanding of the power of change.

Catch FemFest 2016: Transformation at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (at the University of Winnipeg) from September 17 to 24. Please visit our website, www.femfest.ca, to learn more about the FemFest 2016 lineup and purchase tickets.”

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Read Sarasvàti Productions’ profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map.