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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 Passé 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: www​.fem​fest​.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!