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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:

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.

Breaking Through (Sarasvàti Productions, Winnipeg)



“I think we all live in mortal fear of losing our minds”

“This bold new play puts the spotlight on mental health like never before.

After two years of research and input from almost 400 community members with different perspectives on mental health, Sarasvàti Productions is excited to present the world premiere of Breaking Through.  The play follows the stories of five Winnipegger’s living with different mental health issues. Writers Hope McIntyre and Cairn Moore honour these stories with nuance, humour and unabashed honesty. Join the conversation with panel discussions following select performances.

Date: May 23-28, 2017.

Location: Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (at U of W, 400 Colony Street)

Time: Performance times vary”

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

FemFest 2016: Transformation (Sarasvàti Productions, Winnipeg)


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,, to learn more about the FemFest 2016 lineup and purchase tickets.”



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

Profile Highlight: Sarasvàti Productions: Community-Based Theatre Creation (Winnipeg)

As ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory grows, we realize that it’s a bit overwhelming to read through all of the profiles. We’re hoping that by occasionally highlighting some profiles on our blog, you may learn about an initiative that you may not have initially seen in the directory. Also, if you know of a Canadian community-engaged arts for social change initiative that isn’t in our directory, but should be, please let us know! We love and need your input/feedback in building this resource! -Lisa, Content Coordinator at Artbridges.


Sarasvàti Productions is experimental and transformative theatre that presents significant social issues; engages in community collaboration; and supports emerging artists. We are an independent theatre company that has been in existence since 1998, in the North End of Winnipeg since 2000, and a registered charity since 2003. We produce FemFest (an annual festival of plays by women for everyone currently approaching its 14th year), a wide range of plays that address topical issues, community tours, and workshops to support emerging artists.”

To read more about Sarasvàti Productions, please see their profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map.

International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues: Stolen Sisters, March 12 (Winnipeg)

“International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues: Stolen Sisters
March 12 at 4pm and 8pm
Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (at U of W, 400 Colony Street)
Tickets $10 (plus $2.50 for on-line purchases) or cash at the door
Please Note: Adult Language and Content

We will again be producing and taking to the community our cabaret of monologues to celebrate International Women’s Week. This year’s theme is Stolen Sisters, as we tackle the difficult topic of gender-based violence. The evening will offer a diverse line-up of monologues by Canadian playwrights, as well as slam poetry and spoken word by women with lived experience. Our goal is to honour women by telling their stories and to explore multiple perspectives on the subject.

2016 Line-Up:
Doing It for the Fame by Makrenna Sterdan
performed by Kim Kakegamic
It’s a satirical game show for women who want to accuse male celebrities of abuse! Tune in to find out if Jane Doe will win ‘believablity’ and the grand prize of getting to report her assault!

Chance by Melaina Sheldon
performed by Kelsey Wavey
A young First Nations woman goes out for a night on the town, but things do not go as planned. For her, a safe ride home will not come and protection does not lie where it should.

Lingua Franca by Frances Koncan
performed by Erica Wilson
Using dark humour and a morbid sense of wit, a young woman in purgatory reflects on the circumstances of her untimely death.

Good Enough by Lynne C. Martin
performed by Shaneen Robinson
Donna dreams of being happily married to Bear, the father of her baby, but the pecking order of racism and gender oppression stands in her way.

The Visitor by Alison McEvoy Murray
performed by Heather Bjorklund
A woman makes an appearance for a special anniversary but she cannot get through to the women in her family. Will they ever know what has happened to her?

She Said by Robyn Pooley
performed by Teri-Lynn Friesen
Angela erupts during a blind date in response to a rape joke. Will she work through her own anger and misgivings about rape culture and Bill Cosby?

Finding Freedom Spoken Word by Shamin Brown
performed by Shamin Brown
Powerful slam poetry challenging the marginalization and social isolation that keeps the voices of women and children in the sex trade silenced behind shame.

Warrior by Helena Kelly
performed by Montana Lehmann
Using traditional storytelling techniques, this piece follows the journey of Honey who must escape the dark creature to save herself. She fights to discover the warrior within.

Stolen Girls by Hope McIntyre
performed by Sydney Macfarlane
This movement based piece remembers the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria in April 2014. Why is it that women are used as pawns in the wars between men?

QUIET by Mary Black
performed by Mary Black
A spoken word piece on living as a quiet Indigenous woman in the inner-city. This piece brings voice to the SILENT issues that plague our communities and our lives.

Plus we will have art and advocacy in the lobby, including:
– Handmade felt faceless dolls from Nova House
– ‘Mine is but a tear in a river’ photo exhibit by Tracey-Mae Chambers
– The red ribbon project to remember and honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (started by Jennifer Flett, Pauline McGillivary, Janet Head and Rhonda Head from Opaskwayak Cree Nation)
– #WeCare Quilt created in collaboration with the #WeCare Campaign, The Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies, the Manitoba Crafts Museum, and the community
– A hands on writing response area for audience members to reflect, honour and show their care
– No More Stolen Sisters campaign materials from the Canadian Federation of Students”

Visit for more info!

Posted with permission from Hope McIntyre