One Night Stand 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

On April 25th at 7pm we’re bringing the One Night Stand series back for another year! This time around, all the submissions take place in a world much like our own – but with a few twists thrown in (heaven-sent chili fries? An evil plot about Mike & Ike’s? The drowned remains of Portage Place? What’s going on here?)

This year’s readings will take place in a studio setting, keeping the focus on the scripts and letting the work speak for itself. All five pieces were directed by Daphne Finlayson and will be performed by an ensemble cast: Betty Asseiro, Kate Berg, Kai Chochinov, Kelsey Funk, Rowan Gannon, Cheryl Soluk, Logan Stefanson, and Ryland Thiessen!

We’ve got a great mix for this edition of experienced playwrights and emerging artists – get to know them below!

A Fine Line by Wren Brian

Wren started her diverse career in Whitehorse, Yukon where she was born and raised. A graduate from the University of Winnipeg’s Theatre & Film Honours Program, Wren is a playwright as well as an arts administrator, director, and producer. In her writing, Wren is dedicated to creating characters that can be played by actors of any gender, ancestry, and age. Recently her play Anomie won the 2017 Harry S. Rintoul Award for Best New Manitoban Play at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, and her play Bystander was one of three plays shortlisted for the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada Emerging Playwright Award in 2015. For more information, visit

520lb Breakfast by J.P. Button

J.P. is a young emerging playwright and director from Winnipeg, Manitoba. They have worked out of the Black Hole Theatre Company as well as completed their Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at the University of Manitoba. They continue to find inspiration from the immense talent of their friends and peers. They hope to continue to write, and also one day find Big Foot. They believe that Big Foot would be a fan of the arts.

The True Deeds of the Illuminati by Thomas Donnelly

This play came to Thomas within one of his many mind rambles. He is a student of the University of Manitoba and enjoys writing, film, theatre, music, drawing, and comic books. He was a part of the 2016-2017 U of M Film Production class as part of the camera crew and recently took part in the university’s 2017-2018 Backstage theatre class. He served as light operator for Pith! and stage manager for Here We Go, the final Lunch B.H.A.G.G. in the Black Hole Theatre Company’s 2017-2018 season. His writing includes many complete and incomplete works that he will get to… eventually; he has other stuff to do.

The Winter Hideout of the Wasp Queen by Larissa Hikel

Larissa is a freelance writer from Winnipeg, MB, who brings a native instinct to her writing, photography and acting. She explores the world from a personally complex place. High school dropout, drifter, used to shifting between identities as they serve her, she has the power to observe life from a wide range of vantage points which she brings to her art.

Here Together by Jonathan Mourant

Jonathan is a Winnipeg improviser, performer, and playwright. He performs regularly with his improv troupe Unexpected Results and serves as an executive and treasurer for the University of Winnipeg Improv and Common Crow Improv. Jonathan has written multiple plays and screenplays including the self-produced Here Together, first performed at the University of Winnipeg’s 2017 DIO Festival and now as part of the One Night Stand series!

Come take part in the future of Winnipeg theatre and hear what’s next from local, up-and-coming playwrights! The One Night Stand series returns Wednesday, April 25th at 7PM in Studio 2T05, Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (400 Colony Street). For more info, check out the event page!

Women Helping Women Award

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Artistic Director Hope McIntyre was honoured to accept the Soroptimist International of Winnipeg ‘Women Helping Women Award’ on April 14th. The inspiring awards luncheon marked the Club’s 75 years and also honoured three single mothers accepting the ‘Live Your Dream Award’ to further their education.

Sarasvati staff and Board

Here is an excerpt from Hope’s speech:

“Thank you so much. First of all a big thank you to the Soroptimists for all the amazing work that the Club has done for 75 years here in Winnipeg. It has been a privilege to get to know this amazing group of women over the last couple of years.

“I literally just came from rehearsal for our latest production – New Beginnings. It is a huge responsibility and honour to take stories from dozens of amazing individuals and capture the essence of it all on stage. So what do you do when you’re sitting at a table opposite someone like Laila a Yazidi refugee and her 19 year old son. When I ask what they want the world to know, they respond: ‘They came for our girls. They took thousands of our women. They separated the men from women and children. The men they killed. Why? We did nothing to them. 40,000 in the mountains without food or water. All Yazidis. Many die with no water. No help came. Why? Did the world forget us? We didn’t do anything to anyone, so why?’ I can’t answer that question, but I can make sure it is asked for a larger audience. I’ve decided that my role now is to make sure these stories are told.

“I am often accused of putting my head down and just doing the work. Sometimes that is necessary with so much to do but it is important at times like these to step back and recognize what has been accomplished. I started officially producing work twenty years ago, although to be honest I am the horrible stereotype of the theatre kid who used to do shows in my basement with sheets hung for curtains. I think my official debut though was playing Mary in my Kindergarten Christmas pageant.

“When I became disillusioned with the roles of maid, prostitute and mother assigned to me while studying acting doing my undergrad, I found every play I could written by a woman in the library and devoured them. I started writing and directing work so that I could give opportunities to the amazing young women studying alongside me. Doing my Masters in directing, I met with resistance having expressed a desire to study feminist theatre and ending up working with a full male faculty who had no experience in feminist theatre. Like so many women, including most in this room, it meant having to find my own path. Founding Sarasvàti Productions was huge as it allowed me to create theatre that I believed in. Theatre that promoted empathy. And that was transformative.

Much of the work has focused on women because of the reality that their stories continue to be under-represented on stages. There are exceptions of course, but statistically Canada can’t seem to average more than 33%.

“I’ve been privileged to work with amazing community organizations to address important issues. Hearing hundreds of people, mostly women, share their stories – often heartbreaking, difficult, brave, powerful and so full of humanity. I’ve seen the impact when we just listen to someone and when people feel that their lives are important. It is a part of healing to be able to express when there has been an injustice. Like Laila has. Right now it is the story of refugees that I have been honoured to hear for our latest project. They have fled for safety, leaving everything behind. Lots of tears but also laughter, pride and hope.

“Then there is the powerful moment of seeing those stories shared with an audience. Those who attend our shows see the world through someone else’s eyes. It’s a life-changing experience for the original storytellers to witness their experiences on stage, but also in seeing people’s hearts open. Once you see someone as human it changes everything. I can’t wait for Laila to sit in the audience and see people react to her question.

“I also have worked with so many wonderful artists. Some seasoned pros who have taught me so much and young women that we have mentored and seen grow. My teaching gives me the special opportunity to see others discover their creativity, their potential and their passion. A young student at Children of the Earth High School workshops who wants to pursue backstage work for theatre. After each activity she leans in and asks “what’s next” so hungry to learn.

“It’s certainly not an easy vocation but one full of rewards. 

“Nina Lee Aquino said that theatre ‘is a different kind of heart surgery.’ I believe theatre cracks open the heart, lets in the light, opens us up to new perspectives, allows for empathy. Once you see someone as human there is no going back.”

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