Sarasvàti Productions, often stylized Sarasvati Productions, was a Canadian feminist theatre company. Sarasvati hosts several annual events including the International Women's Week Cabaret of Monologues, One Night Stand, and FemFest.

Sarasvati Productions
Formation1998 (1998)
Dissolved2023 (2023)
TypeTheatre group
PurposeFeminist theatre
Artistic director(s)

History edit

Sarasvati Productions was founded in 1998 in Toronto and permanently relocated to Winnipeg in 2000. The company was founded by Hope McIntyre who named it after the Hindu goddess, Saraswati.[1]

In 2003, Sarasvati launched their International Women's Week Cabaret of Monologues.[2] The cabaret features monologues from local artists pertaining to the annual theme.[3] In 2008, the Cabaret of Monologues expanded to include touring across Manitoba.[4] In 2017, Sarasvati relaunched their One Night Stand series. One Night Stand features ten-minute snippets from plays written by local playwrights.[5]

In 2020, McIntyre stepped down as artistic director and Frances Koncan was appointed the incoming artistic director.[6] Koncan resigned in March 2021.[7] In 2023, the Board of Directors announced the closure of the company.[8]

FemFest edit

FemFest was founded in 2003.[9] The Winnipeg Free Press described FemFest as "Canada’s main festival for female playwrights".[10] FemFest is a two-week festival that features plays and readings from female playwrights from Manitoba and around the world.[11][12]

The festival also features the annual Bake Off competition, in partnership with the Manitoba Association of Playwrights. Bake Off launched in 2012 and features several local playwrights who create ten-minute scenes with a surprise set of three "ingredients".[11] The playwrights are given eight hours to write their scenes.[9] The winning playwright receives dramaturgical assistance to develop their scene into a full play which will then receive a staged reading at the next FemFest.[13]

FemFest celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2012 from September 15 to 22. The theme of this iteration of the festival was "Staging Identity". This FemFest was decidedly national and featured artists from Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal in addition to Winnipeg-based artists.[14] As part of the 2017 FemFest, Sarasvati collaborated with the Winnipeg Public Library to create a Human Library, partially inspired by Denmark's Human Library. The "library" featured 24 human books.[15]

Select production history edit

Sarasvati generally produces only one main-stage show per year in addition to its programming with FemFest, the Cabaret of Monologues, and One Night Stand.[14]

  • Hunger by Hope McIntyre (1998)[16]
  • Revisioning by Hope McIntyre (1999)[16]
  • Missiah by Hope McIntyre (2000)[16]
  • Death of Love by Hope McIntyre (2001)[16]
  • Fire Visions: Poems by Bertolt Brecht (2002)[16]
  • One for the Road by Harold Pinter (2003)[16]
  • You Whore (2003) - collective creation, performed at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival[16]
  • Jill's War by Victoria Loa Hicks and Nancy Kruh (2004) - performed at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival[16]
  • Impromptu of Outremont by Michel Tremblay (2005)[16]
  • Ripple Effect by Hope McIntyre (2008) - touring production at various Manitoba high schools[17]
  • Bone Cage by Catherine Banks (2009) - reading, part of Carol Shields Festival of New Works[17]
  • Fen by Caryl Churchill (2010)[17]
  • Eden by Hope McIntyre (2012) - directed by Sharon Bajer
  • Jail Baby by Hope McIntyre and Cairn Moore with Nan Fewchuk and Marsha Knight (2013) - directed by Ann Hodges
  • Fefu and Her Friends by María Irene Fornés (2014) - directed by Hope McIntyre[12]
  • Giving Voice (2014) - created with VOICES: Manitoba's Youth in Care Network, touring production at Manitoba high schools[18]
  • Miss N Me by Catherine Banks (2015) - directed by Hope McIntyre[19]
  • Shattered (2016)[1]
  • Breaking Through (2017) - directed by Kevin Klassen[20]
  • New Beginnings (2018) - directed by Cherissa Richards[21]

FemFest productions edit

2020: "Engaging Community"

2019: "All the World’s a Stage"

  • Like Mother Like Daughter - directed by Rose Plotek[24]
  • To Kill A Lizard by The Launchpad Project[24]
  • Raising Stanley / Life with Tulia by Kim Patrick - directed by Bronwyn Steinberg[25]
  • 4inXchange - organized by xLq[26]
  • Baby Box by Eva Barrie, Miranda Calderon, and Michelle Polak - directed by Hope McIntyre[27]

2018: "Staging Resistance"

2017: "Coming of Age"

2016: "Transformation"

2015: "Hear Her Roar"

  • The Dance-Off of Unconscious Coupling by Frances Koncan[32]
  • The National Elevator Project[33]

2014: "She’s Got the Power"

  • The Naked Woman by Rebecca Gibson[34]
  • Launched by Tyler White[35]
  • Skin Deep by Alison Mclean - reading[34]
  • German Silver by Priscilla Yakielashek - reading[34]
  • 8 Ways My Mother Was Conceived by Michaela Di Cesare[34]
  • Herewithal: A Paranormal Comedy by Jim and Tara Travis[34]
  • River Story by Rubena Sinha[34]

2010: "On the Edge"

  • she by d’bi young.anitafrica[36]

2007: "We've Come a Long Way"

  • The Dance of Sara Wiens by Joy Eidse[37]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Rollason, Kevin (2016-08-27). "Theatre with a social conscience". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  2. ^ Geary, Andrea (2020-02-14). "Local actor taking the stage in Monologues". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  3. ^ Paizen, Grace (2020-02-27). "Come to the cabaret". The Manitoban. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  4. ^ McIntyre, Hope (2011). "Producing New Work in Winnipeg". In Day, Moira Jean (ed.). West-words: Celebrating Western Canadian Theatre and Playwriting. Canadian Plains Research Centre. p. 22. ISBN 9780889772359 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Nifesi, Tobi (2017-02-01). "Sarasvati Productions' One Night Stand series offers a space for feedback on theatre performances". The Manitoban. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  6. ^ "FemFest Restarts In-Person Theatre for Sarasvati Productions". 2020-09-09. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  7. ^ "Media Statement March 2021" (PDF). Sarasvati Productions. March 2021. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  8. ^ "News From Sarasvàti Productions". Sarasvàti Productions. 2023-02-09. Retrieved 2023-02-14.
  9. ^ a b Birnie, Sheldon (2019-05-09). "Opportunity knocks". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  10. ^ McFee, Jennifer (2016-08-31). "Aug 2016: Making sure the show goes on". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2020-08-02. Renowned as Canada's main festival for female playwrights, FemFest runs this year from Sept. 17 to 24 at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (University of Winnipeg, 400 Colony St.).
  11. ^ a b Cunningham, John Herbert (2012-09-12). "A decade of FemFest". The Uniter. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  12. ^ a b Dempsey, Shauna (2015). "Staging Feminist Theatre". Herizons. Vol. 20, no. 3. Herizons Magazine, Inc. p. 12 – via ProQuest.
  13. ^ Koncan, Frances (2019-09-14). "FemFest's lineup packs workshops, familiar favourites". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  14. ^ a b Scott, Shelley (2014). "Women's Theatre Festivals as Counterpublics: Groundswell, FemFest, and The Riveter Series". Theatre Research in Canada / Recherches Théâtrales Au Canada. 35 (1). eISSN 1913-9101.
  15. ^ Zoratti, Jen (2017-09-20). "Sep 2017: 'Human library' lets you discover the true story". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i McIntyre, Hope (2011). "Producing New Work in Winnipeg". In Day, Moira Jean (ed.). West-words: Celebrating Western Canadian Theatre and Playwriting. Canadian Plains Research Centre. p. 29. ISBN 9780889772359 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ a b c McIntyre, Hope (2011). "Producing New Work in Winnipeg". In Day, Moira Jean (ed.). West-words: Celebrating Western Canadian Theatre and Playwriting. Canadian Plains Research Centre. p. 30. ISBN 9780889772359 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ "Sarasvàti Productions Promises Powerful Season of Theatre". 2014-08-20. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  19. ^ Schmidt, Joff (2015-05-22). "Embrace the strange with Missy Elliott, clown play from Sarasvati Productions". CBC. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  20. ^ Schmidt, Joff (2017-05-25). "New made-in-Manitoba play breaks through silence on mental health". CBC News. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  21. ^ Schmidt, Joff (2018-05-25). "War deserters, asylum seekers and new beginnings: 3 new made-in-Manitoba plays hit the stage". CBC. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  22. ^ "FemFest Restarts In-Person Theatre for Sarasvati Productions". 2020-09-09. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  23. ^ Maharaj-Poliah, Shaylyn (2020-09-15). "Local theatre festival resumes performances". The Manitoban. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  24. ^ a b Luschinski, Justin (2019-09-09). "FemFest returning to U of W". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  25. ^ Halmarson, Daniel (2019-10-04). "Female Artists in the Spotlight". The Projector. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  26. ^ Sturrup, Naaman (2019-09-12). "FemFest provides a voice for all – The Uniter". Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  27. ^ Silva, Danielle Da (2019-09-09). "Local actors bring challenging story to life". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  28. ^ a b c d "FemFest 2018: Staging Resistance". Global News. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  29. ^ a b Papadopoulos, Jaz (2017-09-17). "Arts Briefs". Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  30. ^ a b c Schmidt, Joff (2016-06-17). "5 events to watch for at this year's FemFest". CBC. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  31. ^ Nifesi, Tobi (2016-09-14). "FemFest celebrates 13 years of giving voice to women". The Manitoban. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  32. ^ "Sarasvàti Productions FemFest 2015: Hear Her Roar". ART / DIALOGUE / ACTION. 2016-05-19. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  33. ^ Krahn, Sara (2015-09-14). "FemFest 2015: Hear Her Roar". Classic 107 - Winnipeg's classical and jazz radio station. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  34. ^ a b c d e f "FemFest Offering Diverse Range of Plays". 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  35. ^ Shaeri, Niku (2014-09-09). "FemFest 2014: She's Got the Power". The Manitoban. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  36. ^ "Sarasvàti Productions". Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia. Athabasca University. 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  37. ^ Falk, Teresa (2007-10-15). "New play challenges Mennonites to celebrate diversity-and dance". Canadian Mennonite. Vol. 11, no. 20. University of Waterloo. p. 29 – via ProQuest.