The Board of Directors of Sarasvàti Productions is pleased to announce the appointment of Elizabeth Whitbread as Assistant Artistic Director. Hope McIntyre, as founding artistic director, has indicated a need to transition the company to new leadership in a year’s time. The filling of this position will support both the longevity of the company and allow McIntyre to focus on other pursuits.
Whitbread was born and raised in Winnipeg and trained in theatre at the University of Winnipeg. Since graduation, she has been splitting her time between Winnipeg and Toronto, most recently working as the Communications and Administrative Coordinator with The Theatre Centre in Toronto. Her previous experience includes producer of the Toronto Fringe Youth Takeover Night, assistant producer of Seven Siblings Theatre, associate producer of Lost & Gone, participant in the Festival Administrators Program with the Paprika Festival as well as the Young Innovators Program at the Nightwood Theatre, and emerging artist in residence with Theatre Projects Manitoba. She is now eager to bring her skills and energy to supporting transformative theatre that has been the hallmark of Sarasvàti’s 18 years of collaborative work in Winnipeg.
“I’m thrilled to be returning home and taking on the role of Assistant Artistic Director,” said Liz Whitbread. “Sarasvàti does incredibly important work in the Winnipeg theatre community as well as in advancing issues of social justice and equity and I’m really looking forward to making those community connections and learning from Hope and the rest of the team.”
The Board of Directors is excited about the energy and willingness to learn that Whitbread brings to the company at this time of transition and change. With the request to the board by founder and long-serving director Hope McIntyre to begin succession planning, it became an urgent priority to recruit an Assistant Artistic Director to work side by side with McIntyre as she takes Sarasvàti into its 19th season in Winnipeg, learning from her vast experience and absorbing crucial knowledge and trade practices. Whitbread takes up her position in time for FemFest, allowing her to be involved in job shadowing during this signature event of Sarasvàti’s calendar year and then to begin assisting with programming decisions for the rest of the 2019/20 season.
The community owes Hope McIntyre a debt of gratitude for creating and leading what has become the most established of independent theatre companies in Winnipeg and uniquely positioning Sarasvàti Productions as an innovator in transformative theatre. The Board of Directors knows it will be difficult to fill her shoes but believes that the best way to honour McIntyre’s contribution is to ensure that Sarasvàti continues and grows as a leader in transformative theatre that presents significant social issues engages in community collaboration and supports emerging artists. With the hiring of Liz Whitbread as her assistant, the preparation for succession has begun and the ground laid for an effective year-long transition of responsibility and new leadership.
The position of Assistant Artistic Director has been made possible with the generous support of the Winnipeg Foundation.
About Sarasvàti Productions: Founded in Winnipeg in 2000, Sarasvàti Productions is experimental and transformative theatre that presents significant social issues; engages in community collaboration; and supports emerging artists. FemFest has been up and kicking since 2003 and to date has showcased hundreds of artists!