Sarasvàti Productions’ FemFest 2011: Staging Inspiration wrapped up on September 24th with over 1200 people taking in performances, workshops and outreach activities. This year marked the 9th annual festival with artists traveling to Winnipeg from England, Newfoundland and Vancouver.
A huge thank you goes out to all of our artists, volunteers, audience members and supporters!
Although officially ending with its exciting cabaret on September 24th, an extra reading of the new children’s play Bear and Blue’s Adventures Through the Whispering Woods was added on September 25th at the Children’s Museum.
“We’ve heard nothing but positive responses to this year’s line-up,” says Artistic Director Hope McIntyre. “Both the audiences and participating artists were inspired by the work. We are already planning for the festival’s 10th anniversary in 2012.”
Certainly a highlight was hosting over 140 elementary school children for the workshop presentation of TopDog by Janice Salkeld. The festival’s goal is to support and showcase women playwrights; by showing new works in development in front of her target demographic the playwright was truly able to gauge how the piece was working. The children were extremely excited to be there and keen to participate.
Zena Edwards, guest artist in residence from London, England also had a profound effect on both audiences and emerging artists. Her lecture was attended by over 100 students from the University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film. The overview of her artistic journey both inspired students and opened their eyes to the possibilities of collaboration between artistic disciplines. Edwards also conducted one on one mentorship meetings with emerging artists, providing them with guidance and advice. This was a rare opportunity for Winnipeg artists.
As a result of the festival there is already talk of other theatres in town bringing the artists back and of one show being remounted for the Winnipeg Fringe. The festival has therefore successfully achieved its goal of providing opportunities for women playwrights.