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FemFest 2018: Staging Resistance – 16 years and still evolving!
on July 9,2018 by jared

The commercialization of the environment, treaty relations, exploring erased stories in mythology and tackling racism head on...FemFest 2018 is not shying away from the reality of the world we live in. Things have certainly changed in 16 years and this year FemFest has taken a hard look at its role. After intensive community consultations, FemFest 2018: Coming of Age will focus on diversity, inclusivity and visibility. From September 15 to 22 Sarasvàti Productions will take over the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film for eight days of life-changing theatre for everyone! 

FemFest itself is resisting complacency with a desire to be responsive to community needs, stories that need to be told and adjustments to the festival to make it truly accessible. The artistic work this year will resist oppression, harmful tradition and silencing of voice. New initiatives will be announced in the lead up to September. To start, we are excited to announce the touring shows and guest artists who will be in Winnipeg for FemFest 2018:

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard is an emcee (aka Belladonna the Blest) and playwright. Her work has been recognized with a SATAward nomination, the Herman Voaden Playwriting Award, the Enbridge playRites Award, a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, and two nominations for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. We are excited to welcome her to Winnipeg to perform her one woman show The Sound of the Beast produced by Theatre Passe Muraille (Toronto). This solo piece speaks truth to power using spoken word, storytelling and hip-hop. Inspired by Tunisian emcee Weld-El 15 – who was jailed for his song Boulicia Kleb (The Police Are Dogs) – the show highlights St. Bernard’s quick wit and quicker rhymes in a performance that reflects on identity, oppression and what happens when authority is questioned.

Darla Contois is a Winnipeg artist who spends much of her time working in Toronto. After premiering her solo show at Summerworks, we are proud to present it here in her home town. White Man’s Indian is the story of Eva, a Cree teenage girl, and her journey through the maze of a White Man’s high school. It is a hilarious quest for identity and spirituality through the hallways of teen angst, racism, and an evil prom queen.

Our third Canadian touring show is Burnt by Norah Paton. Every year over 65,000 people gather in the desert outside of Reno, Nevada to form a temporary community called Burning Man. Burnt explores the participants and culture of Burning Man using recordings of interviews, conversations, music, dust storms, and chaos.

FemFest 2018 will also include a partnership with Théatre Cercle Molière to present an exciting French piece from Morocco – La Civilisatoin, ma mère!..., with an additional reading in Arabic. On the local front, in partnership with Manohar Performing Arts, The Game will be presented as a hybrid of classical Indian dance and theatre. The festival will continue to offer revamped versions of the Bake-Off playwriting competition, readings and an opening cabaret featuring music, visual art, comedy and film.

FemFest runs from September 15-22, 2018 atthe 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. 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!