FemFest 2017: Coming of Age

Our 15th FemFest will run September 16-23!

This year FemFest celebrates its 15th birthday and we are going all out! In 2003 Chicago was dominating film awards, George W. Bush was faced with protests due to the war in Iraq, America’s Next Top Model premiered on television and FemFest was launched. This year we celebrate FemFest entering a new phase with FemFest 2017: Coming of Age. The 15th annual festival featuring powerful plays by women for everyone, will take over the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film for eight days of exciting performances. This year will also feature a special performance at the West End Cultural Centre as well as a unique experience at the Millennium Library.

We’ll welcome two-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for drama, Canadian legend Judith Thompson. She is one of Canada’s most celebrated and prolific playwrights. Her visit to FemFest in 2012 was profound for the writers who worked with her and audiences who heard her speak. To celebrate 15 years FemFest wanted to bring back one of Canada’s top female playwright. She will teach a masterclass, read from her work and give a lecture.

In order to truly explore the craft of our guest artist we are excited to welcome a powerful play by Judith Thompson from an East Coast Company with a long history of producing compelling work. Watching Glory Die, produced by Mulgrave Road Theatre (Guysborough, NS), will be featured at FemFest 2017. The script was inspired by the true story of New Brunswick teen Ashley Smith. Deliberately fictionalized, a riveting and deeply compassionate portrait of three women – Glory, incarcerated for minor offences at age 14; Rosellen, the girl’s adoptive mother desperately trying to remain connected to her daughter; Gail, a prison guard, walking the line between her ‘orders’ and her conscience.

Tomboy Survival Guide by fubar photo

Our second touring show of the festival is Tomboy Survival Guide from Vancouver, B.C. It is the music and story-driven collaboration of award-winning writer and storyteller Ivan Coyote, the hummingbird high-energied drummer and percussionist Sal Zori, the mellifluous baselines of Pebbles Willekes, and the subtle and graceful tinkerings of trumpet player Alison Gorman. FemFest is excited to partner with the West End Cultural Centre for the first time to present this unique concert experience. Ivan Coyote will also be doing a special lecture and reading from his books for queer youth as part of the festival.

In terms of local contribution, FemFest 2017 will include the Winnipeg premiere of Two Indians by Toronto playwright, Falen Johnson. After years apart two cousins meet in a Toronto alley to recreate a ceremony from their childhood, but can they remember how? When the words missing and murdered, truth and reconciliation, occupation and resistance are everywhere, how do two Mohawk women stand their ground? The piece will mark the debut of Sonya Ballantyne as a stage director, a break from her busy schedule as a film-maker. Of course the festival will continue to offer the Bake-Off playwriting competition; readings of new works in development; and an opening cabaret featuring fantastic female artists in music, theatre and film.

Finally the festival will offer an exciting partnership with the Winnipeg Public Library with a new rendition of the Human Library™ —a roster of real people on loan to readers for discussion.

Tickets are $15-$20 for single shows and a full festival pass is available for $50. FemFest welcomes all audience members to join the celebration of female artists and enjoy the local and national art scene. More information and tickets will be available after June 15th at femfest.ca

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