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 directed the Young Company and taught playwriting at Prairie Theatre Exchange’s Theatre School. She has also 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. 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.

Angie St. Mars, Associate Producer
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Angie received her B.A. with a Double Major in Politics and Theatre & Film from the University of Winnipeg in 2013. Angie is an emerging Playwright, Director, comedian, and performer. She is also an Apprentice Dramaturge at the Manitoba Association of Playwrights. Her self-produced play Mars One was nominated for the Harry S. Rintoul award at the 2015 Winnipeg Fringe Festival. She most recently collaborated on the play Sold Out for this year’s Winnipeg Fringe Festival. She shadowed Hope McIntyre as Assistant Director on the world premier production of Miss N Me in 2015. She has directed a number of independent productions and readings, including Short Shots at the 2016 Carol Shields Festival. She is core member of recent Winnipeg Sketch Comedy Groups The Mandaters and President Bear. She has performed comedy at the 2016 Winnipeg Comedy Fest’s Women’s Comedy Open Mic, and Token: Winnipeg’s Most Diverse Comedy Show. Angie is currently working on a new play as part of her Residency at Manitoba Association of Playwrights.


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.

Allison Birch, Director

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.

Tiffany Hruda, Treasurer
Financial Officer – Province of Manitoba

Tiffany is working towards obtaining her Certified General Accounting/ Certified Professional Accounting designation by completing her professional work experience requirements. Tiffany is a Financial Officer for the Province of Manitoba and has been with the Province for 12 years. Tiffany was a part of J H Bruns improv team, drama club and jazz choir and regularly attends local theatre performances. She supports the positive impact live theatre has on culture, communities, and relationships. Additionally, she values raising awareness around social issues.

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.

Jennifer Montebruno
Community Investment Manager, United Way of Winnipeg

Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Jennifer has called Winnipeg home since 2002. She has spent the past two decades working on human rights and community development education programming with youth and newcomers. A graduate of the University of Winnipeg, she is employed as a Community Investment Manager at the United Way of Winnipeg, where she works with organizations supporting individuals and families across Manitoba. Jennifer is married and has one child. She believes in the power of the arts as a vehicle for creating transformation in our society.

Shannon Sampert, Director
Editor-in-Chief, Evidence Network
Shannon Sampert is a former journalist interested in the intersections of media, politics and gender. She has returned to the University after a three-year leave, working as the first female Op-ed Editor in the Winnipeg Free Press’s 140-year history. She is currently the Director and Editor-in-chief of Evidence, an organization that works with policy researchers in the dissemination of their research through Canadian media. This work is possible through funding from the Canadian Foundation of Healthcare Improvement.

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.

Michael Sobowale, Vice-Presicent
Business facilitator at Mycos Corporation

Michael is currently a business facilitator at Mycos Corporation, a Canadian business facilitation firm. He brings with him a wealth of management and administrative experience in creating and implementing strategies that help businesses succeed, with a cumulative experience of nine years. He has been instrumental to the strategic and business growth of World Health Organisation, United nations, Sears Canada, Dream Maker Holding Fund, Emaar Properties UAE and Eternal Nigeria Plc. amongst many others. In 2012, he played a major role in the facilitation of a multimillion dollar project, the Condo Project based in Toronto. Among his investments and contribution to the growth of Canada is the Zooshare Biogas Cooperative Project, a Toronto community based organisation. Mr Sobowale is a graduate of Management and Educational Psychology from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is a firm believer in the power of the arts in fostering peace and sustaining a community. As part of his goals is a vision to support and contribute to the community through Sarasvati Production

Melissa Van Soelen, Director
Program Coordinator – Dakota Community Centre

Melissa is working towards a joint degree in Creative Communications at the University of Winnipeg and Red River College. Melissa works at Dakota Community Centre as the Program Coordinator and manages the social communications and electronic marketing. She is also a certified yoga instructor who shares her practice with many businesses and organizations around Winnipeg. Melissa has been a 3rd party fundraiser for Women’s Health Clinic, Options Pathways and Transitions and was a member of the in-house fundraising committee at The Society for Manitobans with Disabilities. She believes in the change that Sarasvati Productions creates and is excited to be apart of the progression.

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.


Nan Fewchuk, Theatre Artist and Educator

Cairn Moore, Playwright and Educator

Rachel Smith, Theatre Artist


Marianne Champagne, Communications Coordinator Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain

Michael Enano, Public Relations and Strategic Marketing Student at U of W

Jennifer Logan, Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation

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

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