Company Profile

Company Profile


Hope McIntyre, Artistic Director
Originally from Saskatoon, Hope received her BFA in acting at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1996, Hope received a full scholarship and a research award to complete her MFA in theatre directing at the University of Victoria. The following year was spent completing an intensive, multi-media apprenticeship in acting at ARTTS International in England. While in England, Hope wrote several scripts for radio, television and stage. From 1997-1998 Hope worked in Toronto as an associate of Rare Gem Productions, an international commercial theatre producer. During this time, she also became official Artistic Director of Sarasvàti Productions. Since moving to Winnipeg in the summer of 2000, Hope has continued to work as a director and playwright, with her scripts receiving awards and publication. Hope was also awarded Mount Allison’s Crake Fellowship for both the 2001/2002 school terms, was Assistant Professor in Drama at Brandon University in 2003/2004 and currently teaches at the University of Winnipeg and at PTE. In 2006 Hope was awarded the YMCA/YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Arts & Culture. She is also a former President of the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Daphne Finlayson, Associate Producer
Daphne is our new Associate Producer & a recent graduate of the University of MB theatre program. In the past, she’s directed a number of shows for the Black Hole Theatre, including Pith!, Empathy, & Deadly Politics. She’s excited to join the Sarasvàti team & be part of the organization’s great work moving forward.

Gail Thiesen, Administrator
Thanks to the generous three-year capacity building funding from the Winnipeg Foundation, Gail Thiesen is our new Full Time Administrator. She started in the office on November 20th and her addition to the team will truly be a game-changer as we now have the office support to move in to the future. Gail has worked with the Manitoba Museum, Manitoba Council for International Cooperation, Rainbow Stage and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She has her Business Office Diploma as well as an Arts and Cultural Management Certificate.

Elissa Kixen, Indigenous Community Outreach Coordinator
Elissa Black Wolf Kixen is our new Indigenous Community Outreach Coordinator! Elissa is an Anishinaabe Ikwe comedian/producer. She has been performing for 20 years & has been teaching for 17. Her passion is to bring Indigenous issues to the forefront of her comedy.


Wande Akinpelu, Director
Finance and Treasury Management
Wande is a business-savvy financial/treasury analyst and Chartered Accountant, with over 15 years of progressive experience in both the public and private sectors. He has established a reputation for delivering prudent financial guidance and propelling unprecedented profit and market share gains. Wande made significant contributions to globally recognized organizations, such as General Motors, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and KPMG Professional Services, and supported organizational objectives for companies in a variety of industries, including Energy, Manufacturing, and Financial Services. His diverse practical experience is complemented by a Master’s Degree in Finance and a Chartered Accountant designation. He is currently the Managing Partner/CEO of Queenston Developments, a Winnipeg based Real Estate Development Company founded in 2012. He is very happy to join the board of Sarasvati Productions as this gives him the opportunity to be involved in Arts providing social justice and an active engagement with his “new” community.

Bosun Amao, Director
Financial Advisor

Bosun has extensive experience in financial advisory and project management. Bosun’s experience span over 15 years with various organizations such as Guaranty Bank Plc, Union Bank Plc, Scotia Bank and Canada Revenue Agency. Bosun holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria and an International MBA with focus on Banking and Finance from Bologna Business School, University of Bologna, Italy. He is also PMP, PRINCE2 and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certified. Aside his professional experience, Bosun has served at different times as drama/theatre director, head of theatre group as well as co-founder of a dance group between year 2002 and 2003 with four other friends. He has handled various theatre projects and coordinated the production of a film titled “Fatal Slumber. Bosun has passion for youth development and mentoring. He is also passionate about acting and film production. His other hobbies include soccer, travelling and spending quality time with his family.

Allison Birch, Director
Children’s Hospital Research Institute Manitoba
Allison was born and raised in Maple Ridge, BC, but moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba for school and family and now proudly calls Winnipeg home. Allison holds a BA (Hons) in Geography and a Masters in Natural Resource Management from the University of Manitoba. Her research focused on understanding how joint forest management systems work in Northern India with a strong focus on gender relations, decision making processes, and learning outcomes of participants involved. Allison is passionate about environmental conservation, gender equality and representation, and creating inclusive spaces within research, policy, and education. Since completing her education, Allison works at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba and supports Indigenous Health and Active Transportation research. In her free time Allison enjoys spending time with family and friends, dabbling in different forms of art, testing out new culinary creations and exploring Winnipeg’s trails. Allison is honoured to be on The Board of Directors for Sarasvati Productions and strongly believes in the power of theater and art in creating community and bringing about social change and awareness.

Susan Cuvelier, Director
Assistant Professor and Clinical Hepatologist, U of M

Shahid Khan, Treasurer
Senior Financial Advisor, RCMP

Larry Isacoff, Director
Lighting Designer/Yoga Instructor
Larry has been in the theatre industry for more than thirty years. He was the Production Manager for Prairie Theatre Exchange during its final years on Princess Street and its inaugural years in Portage Place. He was Production Manager for RMTC for 11 years just missing out on the Royal designation. He taught production management at the National Theatre School in Montreal for 5 years and truly misses Montreal bagels. He continues to work in theatre as a lighting designer. His other life is that of a certified yoga instructor, working towards his advanced certification. Theatre and Yoga both have the power to transform lives.

Navneet Malhi, Director
Student, Non-profit Residential Management

Navneet is a socially conscious student with a particular interest in the processes of criminalization and social regulation. She uses a feminist approach to legal theory, which she believes allows her to have a healthy skepticism towards the justice system which often affects and ignores the experiences of women and other marginalized people. She has done extensive research on the literary and cinematic representations of the South Asian diaspora and also worked on research regarding racialized masculinities. In her spare time, Navneet enjoys independent cinema and books that represent diasporic consciousness, migration, clashes of culture and identity crises. Navneet is honoured to be on The Board of Directors for Sarasvati Productions and believes that the company is an excellent representation of theatre and social change.

Danielle Morrison, Director
J.D. Candidate, Robson Hall Faculty of Law
Danielle H. Morrison hails from Treaty 3 and is a proud member of the Anishinaabeg of Naongashiing. She holds an honours degree in Visual Arts and Indigenous Studies from the University of Ottawa, and is currently a second year student with Robson Hall Faculty of Law. Danielle’s career experience includes 16 years in program delivery and policy review with various Indigenous-led movements and non-profit organizations at both grassroots and national levels. She is a community organizer and advocate for systemic and social change, especially as it affects the lives of Indigenous peoples. In 2016, Danielle worked as the lead Community & Cultural Engagement Coordinator for the national tour of Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s “Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation”. Danielle is a graphic artist by trade, and volunteers her skills to create artwork that embodies the spirit and spreads the message of Indigenous resistance.

Erin Meagan Schwartz, Secretary
Emerging Theatre Artist Representative
Erin Meagan Schwartz is a trans-disciplinary artist, actor, and creator from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty 1 Territory, Home of the Metis Nation. She has improvised her way through festivals in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Winnipeg in addition to producing local improv shows with The Neighbourhood Watch, and working as staff with the Canadian Improv Games. Schwartz just graduated this spring with an honours degree in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Winnipeg and has worked on research regarding gender in improvisation by looking at the intersections of theatre and feminism and how they can work together to enact social change through intervention. Previously, Schwartz completed a practicum placement with Sarasvati and is thankful for the opportunity to be involved with the Board to support and represent emerging artists.

Myra Tait, Vice-President
Articling Student – Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP
Myra is a member of Berens River First Nation. She has a law degree from the University of Manitoba and completed her Master of Laws (on Treaty implementation and taxation) in 2017. Myra has participated in international research on constitutional development and Indigenous inclusion in NZ and Australia, and is the co-editor of “Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal” (ARP 2017). She is currently articling at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP.

Judy Wasylycia-Leis, President
Community Advocate / Former Member of Parliament
Involved in public service all her adult life, Judy served as Manitoba’s Culture Minister before working as MP for Winnipeg North from 1997 – 2010.  During her time in Ottawa, Judy was critic of Heath, Finance, Status of Women, Immigration and Persons with Disabilities. Judy resigned from her position as MP in order to run for the Mayor of Winnipeg in 2010 and then again in 2014. Over the last five years, Judy has been involved in democracy strengthening initiatives with the National Democratic Institute working on projects in Jordan, Kosovo, Pakistan and Tunisia. An avid promoter of Winnipeg’s rich cultural scene and a founder of the North End Artists Collective, Judy believes in the transformative power of the arts in building community.

Susan Tymofichuk, Media Advisor
Susan is best known for anchoring the CTV News at 11:30, and reporting live on location for CTV News at Six. Susan began her career at CKX Television in Brandon, and has also worked at A-Channel, CityTV, and Global Edmonton. Susan is a graduate of the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

Additional Community Committee Members include:

Nan Fewchuk, Theatre Artist and Educator
Cairn Moore, Playwright and Educator
Rachel Smith, Theatre Artist

Michael Enano, Public Relations and Strategic Marketing Student at U of W
Rasha Kossad, Administrative Professional
Jennifer Logan, Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation
Rym Tabbane, La Liberté
Kelsey Thomas, Marketing Assistant Manitoba Hydro

Delta Hirsch, RRC Creative Communications Student
Margaret Lewis-John, Manitoba Sustainable Development
Patrick McCauley, Volunteer Resource Assistant at Seven Oaks General Hospital

Marsha Knight, Indigenous Actor

Up Next

2017-18 Season

On August 4th Sarasvàti Productions held its annual season launch aptly titled Envision… Over 60 members of the community…