Bios

Bios

FEMFEST 2020: ENGAGING COMMUNITY

Biographies 
(alphabetical by last name) 

Joseph Abetria (Virtual Set and Costume Designer, Alice and the World We Live In)
Joseph Abetria is excited to be back for FemFest this season. He is a Filipino theatre designer based in Winnipeg. Some of his costume design credits include: Spelling 2-5-5 (MTYP); Bang Bang, Last Train to Nibroc (RMTC); Women of the Fur Trade (Vault Projects); Mary’s Wedding, Iceland (TPM); Love’s Labour’s Lost, Concord Floral, and Vinegar Tom (UofW). He’s also worked as an assistant costume designer in shows like Othello, The NeverEnding Story, The Rocky Horror Show, Romeo & Juliet (Stratford Festival), and Billy Elliot (RMTC). Joseph would like to thank Sarasvàti and Ann Hodges for this unique opportunity of creation!

Aboriginal School of Dance (Dancer, Opening Cabaret)
Founded by professional performer and entrepreneur Buffy Handel, the vision behind the Aboriginal School of Dance was to create a dance studio that brings the education of Native American dance styles to a new level and heightens the bar of cultural entertainment. The diversity of the group’s performances, productions and presentations engagingly educate on culture and humanity and always leaves audiences with lasting memories. The Aboriginal School of Dance has grown tremendously over the years, having hosted several cultural festivals and having represented Canada in an international dance festival in Korea. Yet they have remained focused on the development and enhancement of the education of Aboriginal culture and history 

Norah Aldridge (Piper, Closing Event)
Reading a list of Norah Eldridge’s activities and accomplishments can leave you out of breath, but this 16-year-old bagpiper likes to keep moving and is a social butterfly. She plays the pipes with the Lord Selkirk RFM Pipe Band and highland dances with Highland Hoppers and Ena Sutton Highland Dancers. She runs cross country and track and plays hockey. COVID-19 has slowed Norah’s pace a little in 2020, but it’s given her a little room to breathe

Cole Alvis (Director, bug)
Cole is a Michif (Métis) artist with Chippewa, Irish and English heritage from the Turtle Mountains in Manitoba. They are a leader of lemonTree creations, manidoons collective, Ad Hoc Assembly and led the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance from 2013 – 2017. Recently, they performed in Louis Riel (Canadian Opera Company / National Arts Centre) and directed bug by Yolanda Bonnell (manidoons collective / Luminato). Next, they will direct Lilies by Michel Marc Bouchard (lemonTree creations / Why Not Theatre / Buddies in Bad Times Theatre).

Elena Anciro (Performer, Alice and the World We Live In)
Elena Anciro is an actor, theatre educator, and arts administrator. A graduate of the University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre & Film, she has performed professionally in Winnipeg, Toronto, and Prince George. She is also a member of Red Threads of Peace, a playback theatre troupe that merges artistry, social justice, and community building through improvised storytelling. Elena is grateful for her past work with Sarasvàti, most recently in The Game and Breaking Through, and for the chance to present this poignant, beautiful piece with a stellar creative team.

Kathryn Ball (Stage Manager, Alice and the World we Live In)
Kathryn is thrilled to be returning to theatre after this few months break. She is excited to be Stage Managing Alice and the World We Live In for FemFest 2020. Other favourite theatre credits include The New Canadian Curling Club & Matilda (Royal MTC), Once (Citadel), Kiss of the Spider Woman (Dry Cold), Mary Poppins (Globe Theatre), and over 20 productions with Manitoba Opera. 

Sharon Bajer (Director, Agency)
Sharon Bajer is an actor, director and playwright. Her play The Gingerbread Girl almost premiered at PTE but…Covid. She trained at Studio 58 in Vancouver and at The Stratford Festival in Ontario. She is also a trained Intimacy Director with Intimacy Directors International and believes in creating safe, inclusive creative spaces for all. Websites: sharonbajer.com and thekeeptheatre.com

Riva Billows (Marketing and Community Outreach Assistant, Sarasvàti Productions)
Riva Billows is an improviser, writer, and sometimes-actor who lives on Treaty 1 Territory. She’s a recent graduate of the Joint Communications Program between Red River College and the University of Winnipeg. She’s performed in the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Montreal Sketch Festival, and University of Alberta Improv Festival. She loves social justice, intersectional feminism, and theatre, so she’s very excited about FemFest 2020: Engaging Community!

Chantal Bilodeau (Guest Artist, Climate Change Forum/Workshop)
Chantal Bilodeau is a Montreal-born, New York-based playwright and translator, whose work focuses on the intersection of science, policy, art, and climate change. Her plays and translations have been presented in a dozen countries around the world, and she is a recipient of the Woodward International Playwriting Prize as well as the First Prize in the Earth Matters on Stage Ecodrama Festival and the Uprising National Playwriting Competition. She serves as the Artistic Director of The Arctic Cycle and is currently at work on a series of eight plays that look at the social and environmental changes taking place in the eight Arctic states. 

Caitlyn Aasinese Bird (Junior Participant, Launchpad)
My name is Caitlyn Aasinese Bird, after my late grandpa Rocky. My spirit name is Binesikwe, which is Thunder Woman. I have two younger siblings, and one step sibling. Their names are Rylan, Rachel, and Nagweyaab in that order. I am part of the sturgeon clan. I was born December 26th, 2005; which makes me 14 turning 15. I play the euphonium in concert band, and wish to go to Japan with the wind ensemble this year. I’ve lived in Winnipeg with my mom for three years and have attended schools there. That’s where I picked up my interest in music. I then discovered theatre when I got to high school. Since then, I’ve started to peak interest in things I probably wouldn’t have, which I’m grateful for.

Heather Bjorklund (Performer, Bake-Off)
Heather Bjorklund was born Heather McKenzie in Winnipeg, MB., and has always called Winnipeg home. Heather took theatre at the University of Winnipeg earning a degree in theatre in 1996. Since then, she has performed in many theatre shows as an actor, director and stage manager. She now does Indigenous drumming and workshops for daycare children and other organizations who want to learn about Indigenous culture. Most recently, Heather performed with Sick and Twisted Theatre this past February. Heather continues to devote her life to drama and the arts. She feels very fortunate to be working with Sarasvàti. 

Yolanda Bonnell (Performer/Creator, bug)
Yolanda is a performer and playwright of Ojibwe and South Asian descent, from Fort William First Nation Indian Reserve in Thunder Bay, ON.  Now based in Toronto, Yolanda graduated from Humber College’s theatre performance program and was named one of NOW Magazine’s artists to watch in Summerworks in 2016.  Yolanda developed Scanner, her first full length play, in Factory Theatre’s Foundry program and is currently part of their Deep Development Unit. Performance credits include: Ipruq/Atugauq in The Breathing Hole (Stratford Festival), Fanny/Roberta in Treasure Island (Stratford Festival), Theresa in The Crackwalker (Factory Theatre), and Roe in Two Indians (Summerworks 2016).

Brazilian Vibe (Musicians, Closing Event)
Brazilian Vibe brings a rich palette of rhythms and graceful melodies that will take you to the tropical land of Brazil. Guylaina’s authentic interpretations range from the Bossa Nova Jazz songs by renowned composer such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, to the lively Samba recognized worldwide as symbol of Brazil. From Africa to latin America, Guylaina traveled the world to deepen herself to the world beat rhythms and discover her passion for Brazilian music. Along with guitarist Marcos Martins, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian Vibe is simultaneously revitalizing the classics while introducing us to the newest songs from Brazil.

Wren Brian (Office Manager, Sarasvàti Productions)
Currently based in Winnipeg on Treaty 1, Wren is a playwright as well as an arts administrator and producer. In 2014/15 she did a short contract as the Emerging Artist in Residence at Sarasvàti. After four years gaining experience at a variety of contract jobs in theatre and film, she was happy to come back as a part-time Administrator in January 2019. For more information on her playwriting visit wrenbrian.com

Shamin Brown (Spoken Word, Opening Cabaret)
Art & Story Activist, Shamin Brown, is the Owner of Shamin Brown Consulting and the author of “I’m An Addict In Bits And Pieces.” Recipient of the Joy Smith Foundation Canadian Heroes Inspiration Award for her commitment to the victims of human trafficking, Shamin is a powerful survivor and an advocate for better services for, and relationships with, women and youth survivors of sexual exploitation in every stage of their recoveries. In addition to her work with communities impacted by the sex industry, Shamin is passionate about applying shame resilience, harm reduction and the stages of change to foster the empowerment of all women who are recovering from trauma and working to rebuild their lives. 

Buffalo Gals Drumming Group (Drummers, Closing Event)
Buffalo Gals is an Aboriginal Style Drumming Group that was founded in January 2004. A group of 6 women called Womyn’s Tribe and Mae Louise Campbell birthed 13 community drums that are still used to this day. 15 + years later over 50 women and girls of all ages gather together at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday to drum, sing, celebrate and share our Aboriginal roots. The group provides a safe space to gently reclaim our Ingenious traditions and return to our identities as First Nation community members. We also welcome all our relations. 

Johanna Burdon (Original Movement Piece, Opening Cabaret)
Johanna Burdon is a non-binary theatre artist living and creating on Treaty 1 land in Winnipeg. Being creative over the last six months has had its ups and downs and Johanna welcomes the opportunity to create a mime piece for this cabaret. Outside of acting, Johanna loves to ride their bike, run, and climb rocks.

Kristian Cahatol (Participant, Launchpad/Performer, Shorts)
Kristian has always been passionate in sharing her creativity with her community. Last year she co-wrote and composed an original French musical, C’est nous les gagnants !, that premiered and won Best Production at TCM’s annual Youth Theatre Festival. Since then, Kristian has been eager to involve herself in local theatre productions and projects, including Pocketfrock Production’s Romeo & Juliet at ShakespeareFest earlier this year, and Shorts at FemFest 2019. Kristian hopes to keep exploring exciting new theatre and building meaningful connections within Winnipeg’s artistic community. 

Tatiana Carnevale (Director, Shorts)
Tatiana Carnevale is based in Treaty 1 Territory / Winnipeg. Select directing credits include: The Trump Card, Tigers Be Still (District Theatre Collective), A Fine Line, One Night Stand, Shorts… (Sarasvàti), Romeo and Juliet, You Were There, [title of show] (Pocket Frock Productions), Godspell (Winnipeg Studio Theatre). Tat holds an MA from the University of Guelph and BA from the University of Winnipeg. When not doing theatre-related activities, she enjoys drinking local beer, riding her bike, thrift shopping, and spinning sweet tunes. She’s super excited to be back at FemFest! www.tatianacarnevale.com / @itstatertat

Belina Corpuz (Member, Tita Collective)
Belinda Corpuz (she/her) is a Filipina-Canadian actor, vocalist, musician, and creator. Her EP, All I Am, has garnered national radio-play, including CBC Radio. She is a member of award-winning group, Tita Collective. Music credits include: The Witch (Pulse Films/Sythia Films), In the Tall Grass (Netflix), and Tanya Tagaq’s Retribution. She holds a BMus in Performance – Jazz Voice from the University of Toronto-Faculty of Music. Selected Theatre: Lady Sunrise (Factory), Tita Jokes (Tita Collective), Hilot Means Healer (Cahoots/bcurrent), Prairie Nurse (Factory/Thousand Islands Playhouse/PlayME CBC Podcast) Selected Film: Lola’s Wake (Canadian Film Centre), Jezebel (Reel Asian). www.belindacorpuz.com

Chris Coyne (Technical Director, FemFest/Sound Designer, Alice and the World We Live In)
Chris Coyne is currently the Technical Director for Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and has been with the company for 2 seasons now. Although being in a technical role his passion is audio/sound for theatrical performance. Chris has had the pleasures of working with small to large theatre companies in Winnipeg creating sound designs for a majority of show. Some of these include Bashir Lazar Theatre Projects Manitoba 2013, Hounds of Baskerville Prairie Theatre Exchange 2015, Kill Me Now Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre/National Arts Centre Ottawa 2017, Fun Home Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre Tom Hendry Warehouse 2019.

Alyssa Crockett (Performer, Agency)
Alyssa is thrilled to be having her debut performance in FemFest with Sarasvàti Productions, alongside this stellar team! Alyssa is a born and raised Winnipeg performer. She is a University of Winnipeg student and was a member of the 2019/2020 class of The Village Conservatory. Select credits include: Cinderella (Rainbow Stage), A Chorus Line (RBS/WSO), Twelfth Night (The Village Conservatory), Baby Shark (Koba Entertainment), Pippin (WST/ The Village Conservatory), Chicago (Pizza Party Productions), Reefer Madness, American Idiot (WST). Thank you to everyone involved in FemFest. It is so special to be doing live theatre right now.

Eleanor Crowder (Director/Designer, Monstrous)
Eleanor works in Ottawa as actor, director and playwright. A life-long focus on feminism and physical theatre includes popular theatre work in Sudan and Ghana, with OPT Theatre in Action (women’s issues, housing, refugee stories, climate action) and Salamander Theatre, a theatre-in-education company where four of her scripts toured to half a million children over 15 years. She designs long-term neighbourhood projects to foster inclusion and respect for diversity, writing and producing with large intergenerational casts.  She is working on a script based on Jane Urquhart’s novel AWAY, which traces the legacy of colonial exploitation through four generations of Irish women. 

Julia Davis (Performer, Bake-Off)
Julia Davis is an Inuit actress and singer currently residing in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is graduating from the University of Manitoba this fall, where she studied classical voice with opera singer, Tracy Dahl. During this time she was also a member of the University of Manitoba Musical Theatre Ensemble with Donna Fletcher. Julia will be attending the Village Conservatory for Musical Theatre beginning in Fall 2020, and the Opera NUOVA summer program in Edmonton beginning in Spring 2021. Highlights of recent years include Less Miserable (Online fringe musical by Connor Wielgosz) and The Yeomen of the Guard (The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Winnipeg).

Denise Dela Cruz (Crew /Mentorship Assistant Stage Manager, Alice and the World We Live In)
Denise Dela Cruz is a student in The University of Winnipeg, currently on her third year of her BA in Theatre Stage Management and Production. She has worked on shows for the university like The Love of the Nightingale as an assistant stage manager and an electrician, as well as in Love’s Labour’s Lost as an electrician.

Samantha Desiree (Production Assistant/Production and Tour Coordinator, Sarasvàti Productions/ Stage Manager, Shorts/The View From Here)
Sami has a BA in Stage Management and Production (University of Winnipeg). She is a multidisciplinary artist working in production, directing, stage management, design, and producing. She founded Beau Theatre Co. in 2017 and since has produced six full productions with them.  Directing credits include: Women of Manhattan (MPF), Animosity (Downside Up Prod.), and Student Body (BTC). Sound Credits include: Othello (Echo Theatre), Seascape with Sharks and Dancer (BTC) and Arcadia (UW). She thanks her partner Matt, and her cat Zella for the unconditional support. She is so grateful to be working on FemFest for the second year in a row with such brilliant humans!

Anika Dowsett (Playwright, Bake-Off/Performer, Shorts)
Anika Dowsett is a queer theatre artist and drag performer (Petty Davis) located in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba. Descendant of European colonizers. Looking for ways to de-centre patriarchy, colonialism, capitalism, heteronormativity, and cisnormativity from their work and life.

Sarah Flynn (Playwright, Shorts)
Sarah Flynn is an actor and creator based in Winnipeg MB with a penchant for making people laugh. She has a BA Hons in Theatre: Performance, with a specialization in Devised Theatre from the University of Winnipeg. She toured with TPM’s Interlake Chautauqua; performing as Mary in Mary’s Wedding. Sarah became a Baby Clown on Manitoulin Island at the Clown Farm, studied Music Theatre with the Village Conservatory and is a self-taught puppeteer. Sarah co-founded Naked Theatre in 2014 and lead the production and creation of 7 shows. Sarah enjoys breathing fresh forest air, lighting things on fire and playing with her food.

Hannah Foulger (Playwright, The View From Here)
Hannah Foulger is a British Canadian disabled writer and theatre artist from Cambridge, Ontario on the Haldimand Tract of Treaty Three Territory in Ontario. A graduate of the University of Winnipeg’s Theatre and Creative Writing programs, her writing has appeared in Prairie Fire, Matrix, Geez and the Winnipeg Free Press. Her theatrical works have been produced in the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, PTE festival of new works and Sick and Twisted Theatre’s Lame Is… cabaret. She lives and works for the Uniter, in Winnipeg, Manitoba on treaty one territory. 

Brittney Fredrickson (Participant, Launchpad)
Brittney Fredrickson is a promising young theatre artist who recently completed her fourth year in the University of Winnipeg’s honours acting program. She has been fortunate enough to work with some wonderful people on fun and creative projects such as, Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed by Rodrigo Beilfuss, and Millworth, a television show that aired on Shaw T.V Winnipeg. She has loved working with so many amazing and talented people while preparing this show and thanks Sarasvàti from the bottom of her heart for giving her such an incredible opportunity. 

Tamera Grace (Health Officer, FemFest)
This is Tamera’s fourth year working on FemFest! She started as the student summer production assistant for FemFest 2017: Coming of Age. The next year, FemFest 2018: Staging Resistance, Tamera worked as props and costume coordinator for The Game, a co-pro with Manohar Performing Arts of Canada. And last year at FemFest 2019: All The World’s A Stage, she stage managed Baby Box. Tamera wants to thank Hope McIntyre for all the amazing opportunities, and for always believing in her. Happy FemFest!! 

Taylor Gregory (Participant, Launchpad)
Taylor Gregory is a bilingual artist and teacher who graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and a Bachelor of Education degree. Taylor founded Meraki Theatre Productions after her time teaching theatre at ACS Athens International School in Greece (the word “meraki” is a Greek word meaning to put love, creativity, and your soul into what you do). Taylor has been studying theatre formally and informally for over 12 years and she also works with many other organizations including Get REAL Manitoba, MTYP, Rainbow Stage (upcoming) and Rady JCC.

Kristina Guevarra (Community Outreach, Tita Collective)
Kristina Guevarra (she/ they/ siya) is a multi-disciplinary filipinx artist, specializing in improvisational theatre, breaking hearts and online bullying. Her journey in theatre and comedy started in 2012, competing in the Canadian Improv Games as a rebellion against her parents. Kristina has performed in the WPG Improv Festival, WPG Comedy Festival, WPG Fringe Festival and other fests across Canada. Her artistic pursuits currently include immersing and amplifying the voices in her BIPOC / queer community and “stirring the pot”. Recent projects include co- producing with Woke comedy, producing an all-filipinx cabaret and coordinating with the grassroots organization “Diaspora Against Dictatorship”. Kristina is passionate about deconstructing traditional theatre, contagious laughs and her motherland. 

Alexandria Haber (Playwright, Alice and The World We Live In)
Alexandria Haber is an award-winning playwright. Her plays have been produced in Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, the UK and include: Alice and The World We Live In (Centaur) Mouth to Mouth (Montreal Fringe, The White Bear, London) (co- written with Ned Cox) On This Day, (Centaur Theatre ) Life Here After, (Imago, Centaur, Wildside,) Closed for Urgent and Extraordinary Work, (Theatre Yes, Edmonton,):  Game Changers and I don’t like Mondays and The Water Chronicles,  Geordie Productions. This is the second time she will have the pleasure of having her work in FemFest, the first time being, Ordinary Times, in 2002. 

Victoria Emilie Hill (Coordinator/Facilitator, Launchpad)
Victoria Emilie Hill is a creator, mover, and actor based in Winnipeg, Treaty 1 Territory. She is passionate about work that focuses on movement and the body as a place we hold and tell stories. She is curious about the myriad ways we express and communicate with ourselves, our environments, and other creatures. Victoria co-facilitated the Launchpad Project last year and was in awe of the emerging artists who gave so much heart to the process. Victoria is honoured to be working on the Launchpad Project again this year and looks forward to learning from these new collaborators.

Ann Hodges (Director, Alice and the World We Live In)
Ann directs plays, musicals and operas at companies across Canada.  For Sarasvàti, Ann directed Jail Baby. A graduate of the National Theatre School, favourite credits include Grey Gardens (Musical Stage Company — 7 Dora nominations); August: Osage County, Top Girls (RMTC); The December Man, Butcher (PTE); Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia (Rainbow Stage); and Once (Citadel)Ann has taught and directed at numerous colleges, universities and conservatories across Canada, and teaches the Artistic Streams, Directing courses remotely for Sheridan College (even pre-pandemic!).  Later this season, Ann is scheduled to direct Yaga (RMTC), Frozen River (MTYP), and Blackout (Musical Stage/Canadian Stage Company). 

barb m. janes (Playwright, Agency)
Granddaughter of a British Home Child, aunt of an international adoptee, and guest/intruder on Treaty 1, barb struggles with who has agency in child welfare and the keeping of secrets. A theatre-lover, barb’s directed, mimed, clowned, crewed, written and acted, and sees as much as she can in Winnipeg’s brilliant creative community. Enjoying the freedom of retirement, barb is thrilled, thankful and a bit terrified to be working with the Sarasvàti team on her Bake-Off play, AGENCY. Thanks Ellen Peterson (dramaturge), team Sarasvàti, and best-beloved, Bev. Happy FemFest 2020!

Lindsay Johnson (Coordinator/Facilitator, Launchpad)
Lindsay Johnson is a Winnipeg-based actor, director, deviser, and animal-lover. Some of her credits include III (Fill The (W)hole), PURGE (Geritheatrics), Little Dead Lady (Naked Theatre Productions), Richard III (Shakespeare in the Ruins), Palm House (+friendsprojects), Channel Zero: Dream Door (Universal Cable Productions), A Christmas Carol (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre), Passion (Red Hen Collective), Shattered (Sarasvàti Productions). Currently, Lindsay is finding inspiration in flowers, seasonal shifts, and Blair Amadeus Imani. Lindsay is grateful to be living and playing on Treaty 1 Territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dene and Dakota peoples, and the homeland of the Metis Nation. 

Johsa (Artist, Closing Event)
Johsa is a Philippine-born and desert/prairie-raised singer-songwriter, musician, and performance artist based in Treaty 1 territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba. As a proponent of using creative expression as a means for activism, in her writing and shows she focuses on the rights of migrant workers, experiences of diaspora youth, Peminism, body positivity and reclamation, and the impact of resource extraction on postcolonial and Indigenous communities. She has released five independent albums, and is a member and frequent collaborator of a number of artist collectives, notably feminist riot girl punk band Queef and Dave and fatlesque troupe ChubRub Productions.

Isabel Kanaan (Member, Tita Collective)
Isabel is an actor, comedian, and writer best known for CBC’s Air Farce, the Canadian Comedy Award winning troupe “The Sketchersons,” the lead in the “Haunted or Hoax” series, and of TikTok fame as “izzykayeh” where she has over 100k followers and 3M likes. She garnered rave reviews on her performance in Factory Theatre’s Prairie Nurse and as the lead in Ponytail during the Reel Asian International Film Festival. She was awarded the NBC Universal Bob Curry Fellowship, the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award, one of NOW Toronto’s breakthrough stage artists, and was nominated for a Premier’s Award for her expeditious achievements in comedy, theatre, and film/TV.

Danielle Kayahara (Emcee, Come Together – Closing Event)
Danielle Kayahara is a benevolent cat owner and up-and-comer in the Winnipeg comedy scene. Fuelled by equal parts anxiety and caffeine, she remains convinced that the former has nothing to do with the latte. Danielle has had the honour of appearing in the numerous shows and festivals in Winnipeg, including the Winnipeg Comedy Showcase, Winnipeg Fringe Festival and Winnipeg Comedy Festival. She is extremely excited to have the opportunity to bring her unique blend of storytelling and silliness to FemFest!

Tom Keenan (Performer, Agency)
Tom Keenan is a Winnipeg actor and musician. Recent performances include RMTC’s Bang Bang, TPM’s Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet, and Heavy Bell’s By Grand Central Station (presented by PTE). He is very happy to have the chance to participate in this year’s FemFest. 

Anna Kerot (Participant, Launchpad)
I am currently a second-year student at the University of Winnipeg, majoring in Theatre & Film. I am one of the writers for the Quarantine, Actually, the production of which is currently in progress. I did a lot of acting in High School, took private lessons with a professional Ukrainian actress and played Viola in Shakespeare’s 12th Night. I am part of the improvisation group at U of W and acted in a couple of student films. I have roles in a couple of projects on Shakespeare and “Quarantine” movies. I write books, poems and scripts, dance and sing professionally. 

Kind Hart Women Singers (Singers, Closing Event)
Kind Hart Women Singers is an all Women family singing group that sings prayer and social dance songs in the Anishinaabe, Crée, Dakota, Lakota and Oneida languages.  Kind Hart Women Singers are mostly Asini Aski Ithiniwak, Muskego and Anishinaabe. They are Raven Hart, Katelyn Hart, Skyla Hart and Ivana Yellowback.

Gary Kirkham (Dramaturg, The View From Here)
Gary Kirkham is an award-winning playwright.  He has authored several plays including Falling: A Wake, Queen Milli of Galt, Pearl Gidley, Rage Against Violence (with Dwight Strorring) and Pocket Rocket (with Lea Daniel) He is an artistic associate with the MT Space and has worked in collaboration as a playwright with the company on several shows including AMAL, Body 13 and The Last 15 Seconds.   His plays have been produced by over 80 theatre companies across Canada and internationally. His scripts have been translated into French, Italian and Arabic.  Kirkham was the Blyth Festival’s Playwright in Residence in 2008.      

Marsha Knight (Playwright, Bake-Off/Performer, The View From Here)
Marsha Knight has worked extensively in the theatre and film industry in both up-front and behind-the-scenes capacities. She currently has numerous initiatives, all of which include advocating for accurate historical and current representation of Indigenous Peoples in the varied digital and live medium. Marsha is currently instructing Introduction to Theatre: Indigenous Perspectives at the University of Winnipeg where she is also studying Anthropology. Marsha would like to extend her gratitude to the Sarasvàti team and especially to all of their supporters as we all venture through these re-defining times. ‘At a distance, but still together.’

Frances Koncan (Incoming Artistic Director, Sarasvàti Productions)
Frances Koncan (she/they) is a playwright, director and journalist of mixed Anishinaabe and Slovene descent hailing from Couchiching First Nation in Treaty 3 territory. After graduating with an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College, she returned to Winnipeg — because her F1 Student Visa expired and she wanted access to universal healthcare — and has been making both good theatre and bad theatre, which is often great theatre, ever since. You might know her writing from plays like Women of the Fur Trade and from articles in the Winnipeg Free Press, or you might not. But either way, she is enormously excited to be joining the Sarasvàti team and to continue to champion the work of under-represented artists, voices and stories through the transformative and radical possibilities of theatre. 

Melissa Langdon (Performer, Agency)
Melissa is a graduate of The University of Winnipeg’s acting honours program. She completed the Creative Manitoba Mentorship under Brenda Gorlick in choreography and is currently interning with One Trunk Theatre Company, specifically focusing on devised theatre development and production, arts administration, and production management. Selected credits include Home 2.0, The Game, New Beginnings (Sarasvàti Productions), Better (Workshop, Nightwood Theatre), Spelling 2-5-5 (Manitoba Theatre for Young People), Ophelia (ShakespeareFest 2019), Hamlet (SIR), School Girls… (Obsidian and Nightwood Theatre), Animosity (Winnipeg Fringe Festival), Time and the Conways, Concord Floral, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (The University of Winnipeg). 

Anita LeBeau (Filmmaker, Opening Cabaret)
Anita LeBeau has worked in film for over 30 years. As an animator, she has produced two award-winning short films with the National Film Board of Canada – Louise and Big Drive. She has also produced, written and directed a number of documentary films. She debuted her independent animated film, FACE|TIME, in 2019, which won the jury prize for Best Short Film at the Gimli Film Festival. With the help of seven Manitoba visual artists, Anita is currently at work on a Canada Council and Manitoba Arts Council funded film project entitled 8 Rooms. She is also an animator on the series Canot Cocasse (ManitoMedia/Loogaroo).

Zoë Leclerc-Kennedy (Show Runner, FemFest/Stage Manager, Bake-Off)
Zoë is pleased to be back for her fourth FemFest! She was previously the Prop Coordinator for Baby Box, Two Indians and Seduction Theory and the Stage Manager for Like Mother, Like Daughter and Bake-Off 2016 and 2017. Zoë has built props with Royal MTC, Watermark Theatre, the Grand Theatre, and the Banff Centre. She has also worked on Stage Management teams at Royal MTC, MTYP, and Manitoba Opera. Zoë is a proud graduate of the University of Winnipeg Theatre Production program.

Shannon Loewen (Performer, Bake-Off)
Shannon is honoured to be a part of the Bake-Off Ensemble this year! A grateful and proud graduate of the University of Winnipeg Honours Acting program, Shannon recently had the privilege of portraying Kate in Winnipeg Mennonite Theatre’s production of The Taming of the Shrew (ShakespeareFest). Other theatre credits include: Middletown, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Frankenstein, Footfalls, Twelfth Night (University of Winnipeg), The Hunting Party (ChristieFest), One Piece Missing (Fringe), and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Rainbow Stage). She thanks God for all who have supported her in this pursuit – including you! Thank you for supporting live theatre!

Sarah Luby (Participant, Launchpad)
Sarah a triple threat performer; holds a 2020 B.Mus. Vocal Performance Degree from the U. of M. Desautels Faculty of Music. Stage Credits: Rainbow Stage – The Sound of Music, Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, Mamma Mia, South Pacific; Manitoba Opera – Verdi’s Falstaff & Massenet’s Werther; Dry Cold – The Bridges of Madison County. Film & television: CBC’s Burden of Truth; Stand; Lifetime’s No Time Like Christmas; Eagle Vision’s Diaspora; and Universal’s Nobody. Upcoming, Lifetime 2020 Christmas movie. Sarah is delighted to be part of the Launchpad Project for FemFest 2020. Thank you Sarasvàti Productions for this amazing opportunity.

Julie Lumsden (Performer, Agency)
Julie Lumsden is a proud member of the Manitoba Metis Federation, with Scottish and German settler ancestry. She was born on, and is currently based out of Treaty One, which is the land of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Dakota, Dene, Oji-Cree Nations and is the homeland of the Metis Nation. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice Performance from the University of Manitoba Desautels Faculty of Music. She recently completed her 2nd season at The Shaw Festival, and has performed on such stages as: RMTC, PTE, MTYP, Rainbow Stage, Théâtre Cercle Molière, Magnus Theatre, and Neptune Theatre.   

Manohar Performing Arts of Canada, Inc. (Dance Performance, Closing Event)
Manohar Performing Arts of Canada is a Winnipeg- and Ottawa-based dance theatre collective of Bharatanatyam and Kathak dancers. An independent non-profit organization since 1993, Manohar integrates the classical dances of India into the contemporary Canadian dance scene while maintaining the purity of the Kathak and Bharatanatyam classical traditions. Manohar’s performances have been written, choreographed and produced by the artists of the company; and with their originally-recorded world music and dialogue, are accessible and relatable to Canadian dance and theatre enthusiasts. Manohar actively participates in festivals and workshops, collaborates across borders and regularly creates new choreography and re-staging of works.

Jazz Marcelino (Stage Manager, Agency/Crew Member, FemFest)
I am currently a University of Winnipeg student in Theatre and Film Management and Production. I have experience working for the Winnipeg Fringe, several University of Winnipeg theatre productions and more recently Shakespeare Fest. Like many others, I fell in love with theatre because I love entertaining people. Every time I watch a show whether it be on television and theatre I always imagine myself working in them and it’s always a dream come true when I am. Inspired by my high school theatre teachers, I look to pursue a lifelong career in Theatrical Arts. 

Kimmy Martin (Participant, Launchpad)
Kimmy is a multidisciplinary artist who resides in Winnipeg, originally from East Selkirk, MB. She is a graduate from the University of Winnipeg’s Honours Theatre Program/ Creative Writing. She is the founder of the theatre company Faded Floral Productions which debuted their first show at the 2019 Winnipeg Fringe Festival (writer/director/performer). She teaches musical theatre classes and was a student of The Village Conservatory for Music Theatre this past year, which included being in the show Twelfth Night The Musical as part of ShakespeareFest. Her own personal mission is to pet every dog in Winnipeg. Please show her your dog pictures when you see her. 

Hope McIntyre (Artistic Director, FemFest/Outgoing Artistic Director, Sarasvàti Productions)
Hope is the founding and outgoing Artistic Director of Sarasvàti Productions. She has a BFA in performance and an MFA in directing for theatre. She also completed a performance apprenticeship at ARTTS International in England. She is an award-winning playwright and director who specializes in community collaboration. She has received the YWCA Women of Distinction Award, the Bra D’Or, and the Women Helping Women Award. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of Winnipeg. She is also a former President of the Playwrights Guild of Canada.

Ross McMillian (Performer, The View From Here)
Ross is a Winnipeg-based actor who has appeared on stages in various parts of the country. He has worked at almost all local theatres, and is delighted to be working for Sarasvàti for the first time. He recently acted in a film version of Steven Ratzlaff’s Dionysus in Stoney Mountain, which will come out sometime next year. 

Cairn Moore (Director, Bake-Off)
Cairn is a director and playwright. She teaches performance at the University of Winnipeg and is the former Associate Artistic Director of FemFest. She is also the founder and proud owner of Actors Studio (Acting classes for Adults). Cairn has co written two plays with Hope McIntyre: Jail Baby (published by Scrirocco) and Breaking Through (Sarasvàti). Her award winning play SHIKSA premiered with Winnipeg Jewish Theatre (2016). Her latest work Lockdown, was programmed for production by Prairie Theatre Exchange’s Youth Acting Conservatory in May, 2020. Cairn is pumped to return to direct FemFest’s 10th annual Bake-Off!

Jonathan Mourant (Playwright, Shorts)
Jonathan Mourant is a playwright, performer, comedian, drag robot Nora Vision, and the creator and host of Jon After Hours, a late-night talk show that nobody asked for. They have performed at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, Toronto Sketch Fest, and most recently, their living room. Taking influence from pop culture, queer history, and post-modern memes, Jonathan’s work confronts identity, complacency, and propaganda, and questions how all three can contribute to one’s sense of reality. This fall, Jonathan will be attending National Theatre School of Canada to study playwriting.

Cassy Musick (Marketing and Community Outreach Assistant, Sarasvàti Productions)
Cassy Musick is a recent Creative Communications graduate from Red River College specializing in public relations and communication management who lives on Treaty 1 Territory. By day, Cassy is a strategic writer, graphic designer, and photographer. By night, she is a dancer at Studio One School of Performing Arts.

Hera Nalam (Singer-Songwriter, Opening Cabaret)
Hera Nalam is a Winnipeg-based actress who moved to Canada 9 years ago. A graduate from the University of Winnipeg’s Theatre & Film Department, her credits include: Romeo & Juliet (Pocketfrock Theatre Productions), Quest (Meraki Theatre Productions), Torn Through Time (Manitoba Theatre for Young People), Timon of Athens (Shakespeare in the Ruins), Time & The Conways, Concord Floral, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (University of Winnipeg). Hera had her recent film debut in I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight, directed by Sean Garrity. Her original music is available on Spotify and Apple Music. Thanks to Hera’s mom for being a guiding light throughout her creative journey.

Fawnda Neckoway (Administrator, Sarasvàti Productions)
Fawnda Neckoway is from the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation in Manitoba and born and raised in Winnipeg. She has a background in film, having worked as an actress and casting director. She’s an honours graduate from the Academy of Acting and is an alumni of the National Screen Institute. She previously casted Taken III and IV with Eagle Vision Productions and worked at Film Training Manitoba as the Aboriginal Programs Coordinator. Fawnda is passionate about the arts & entertainment industry working closely with the indigenous community. 

Not My Favourite Daughter (Sketch Comedy, Opening Cabaret)
Not My Favourite Daughter is an all-female comedy group from Winnipeg! Ciera Fredborg, Tessa Jenkyns, Carly Rackal and Olivia Raine have been providing laughs to audiences all around Canada through-out the last few years. Their comedy sketches have been seen live, on the web and CTV. Colin Mocherie even re-tweeted them once- that was an exciting day! Not only do these four ladies create, write and produce their own sketch, but they have also written two comedic plays: Call Girls and The Great Pillow War of ’96- both very well received at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Please enjoy an online curated sketch show created especially for FemFest 2020. 

Manuel Ortega (Performer, Bake-Off)
Manuel Ortega graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts where he performed in numerous productions with the Black Hole Theatre Company. Afterwards, he’s performed for MAP’s Scirocco Drama High School Playwriting Contest, Sarasvàti’s Home 2.0, IbsenFest The Pillars of Society, and 2019’s Fringe Festival Setting Sail. When he’s not on stage you can find him working at the Grace Hospital in Patient Registration, on the wrestling mats, or cycling around town. As always, he’s simply happy to be involved in another production.

Matthew Paris-Irvine (Performer, Shorts)
Matthew Paris-Irvine is an emerging Director, Actor and Playwright currently based in Winnipeg, Manitoba and a proud representative of Winnipeg’s North End. A graduate of the University of Winnipeg, Matthew’s recent credits include: Bastard (OFUR), Hamlet, O(Phelia (ShakespeareFest), Concord Floral, Time and The Conways, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (University of Winnipeg), Tuesdays and Sundays, Cob Bob (Winnipeg Fringe) and Becoming Dr Ruth (Apprentice Director, WJT). Matthew is also a founding member of the Out From Under the Rug theatre collective, dedicated to amplifying stories by, for and about people of colour. Thank you to Sarasvàti for having me at my 3rd consecutive FemFest. Love to Melissa and Ares. 

Ellen Paterson (Dramaturg, Agency)
Ellen is a playwright, dramaturg, actor, and teacher. Her adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility premiered at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in October 2018. The Brink and The Eight Tiny Reindeer of the Apocalypse premiered at Prairie Theatre Exchange (2013) and Theatre Projects Manitoba (2012) respectively.  Numerous short plays have been produced and published in anthologies. She has appeared on many of Winnipeg’s stages, and teaches theatre, playwriting and creative writing. She has served as dramaturg for the Manitoba Association of Playwrights, the Playwright’s Atlantic Resource Centre, and the Saskatchewan Playwright’s Centre. 

Debbie Patterson (Director, The View From Here)
Debbie Patterson is a playwright, director and actor. She trained at the National Theatre School and is a founder of Shakespeare in the Ruins and the founding and current Artistic Director of Sick+Twisted Theatre. She was honored with the United Nations Platform for Action Committee’s Activist Award in 2014 and the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Making a Mark Award in 2017. She lives in Winnipeg’s Wolseley area and in a cabin on Lake Winnipeg.

Ann Paula (Member, Tita Collective)
Ann Paula is a Filipina-Canadian actor, singer, and writer. A graduate of Randolph Academy’s College program, she has performed on stages all around Canada and the US. Past credits include: Peter Pan (Badhats), Aqsarniit (Charlottetown Fest), Disenchanted 1st National tour (Starvox), We Will Rock You, Avenue Q (STF), and In the Heights (We Are Here Prod). She also sang the national anthems twice for the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.

Tracy Penner (Playwright, Bake-off)
Tracy Penner is a local Winnipeg actor, and emerging playwright. After graduating from the U of A’s acting program, she wrote and produced her one-woman show, simple gifts.  She performed it in Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Steinbach, as well as Washington, D.C., at the Canadian Embassy, as part of the Capital Fringe.  Almost 15 years later, inspired by Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, Tracy wrote Awaken.  Dramaturgy was by Krista Jackson and Michelle Boulet, with the help of the Manitoba Association of Playwrights.  This past January, Awaken was produced by zone 41 Theatre with Shakespeare in the Ruins, as part of RMTC’s ShakespeareFest. 

Tori Popp (Production Coordinator, FemFest)
Tori is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg with a BA Honours in Theatre Production & Stage Management. Passionate about the festival atmosphere and providing artists with accessible opportunities, she spends most of her time during the year as the Festival Manager of the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival but continues to take on other projects, continuing her support of local theatre companies as much a possible. As the FurMom of two rambunctious, 1 year old kittens, when she’s not working, the rest of her days are filled with snuggles, kibble, and nursing foot pain from stepping on cat toys. (Pro tip: bells are the worst, beware.) 

Ellie Posadas (Member, Tita Collective)
Ellie Posadas is a Filipina- Canadian, Actor, Singer, and Creator from Toronto. She is a member of the award winning comedy group ‘Tita Collective’. Ellie was featured in the 34th TFF Official Selection film, Wexford Plaza (CAAMfest, Slamdance) and is also featured in the short film The Morning After (Toronto ‘Inside OUT’ Festival, Los Angeles ‘OUT fest’). Ellie is currently working on the film Scarborough based on the award winning novel by Catherine Hernandez. Selected Theatre Credits include: Tita Jokes (Tita Collective), The Penelopiad (Hart House), Emily & EV (Nöta Collective), Silenced (HERstory Counts), Avenue Q (LOT).

Alia Rasul (Member, Tita Collective)
Alia is a Canadian Comedy Award nominated writer/performer. She is a member of sketch troupe, The Tita Collective which won “Second City Outstanding New Comedy” and” Patron’s Pick” at the Toronto Fringe 2020 for the sold-out run of their musical comedy Tita Jokes. Alia received rave reviews for her performance in Generally Hospital whose “outstanding ensemble” won Patron’s Pick and the David Séguin Memorial Award.  She understudied for Second City’s Mainstage award-winning show, She The People.  She graduated from the Second City Conservatory program and is a NBCUniversal Bob Curry Fellowship alumni. She made her directorial debut with Kwento, an improvised Filipino folktale.

Hailley Rhoda (Puppeteer, Opening Cabaret)
Hailley Rhoda is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg’s Theatre department. She has a small company, Chronically Ch(ill) Productions, and enjoys exploring the bounds of just how ridiculous puppets can get before someone intervenes.

Maricris Rivera (Member, Tita Collective)
Maricris Rivera is a Filipina-Canadian musician, dancer, performer, creator, stage manager, producer and educator. She co-produced Short Dances and has collaborated with many esteemed dance companies, including Gadfly, Rock Bottom Movement and TOES FOR DANCE. She stage managed three runs of Eve of St. George, Toronto’s first large-scale immersive dance theatre production. She also plays with her band, Understudy, and is planning on releasing a solo EP in the near future. Previous theatre credits include: Tita Jokes (Tita Collective, Next Stage Theatre Festival), Tale of a Town (FIXT Point), The Renaissance Woman (BOSS Dance Company), Lily (In’Trinzik Dance Project).

Joanne Roberts (Playwright, Bake-Off)
Joanne Roberts is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker and actress best known for her role as Julia in the musical short film The Perfect Life (2019), which screened at TIFF Bell Lightbox. She won the prestigious Emerging Filmmaker Pitch Competition at the 2020 Gimli Film Festival. In her spare time, she is a strong advocate for survivors of intimate partner violence and speaks out often against systemic racism. She is open about her personal experiences in the industry in hopes of providing support to others. Love to P, J, & D. WWW.JOANNER.COM

Ridge Romanishen (Stage Manager, Launchpad/Closing Event)
Ridge is thrilled to be back working with Sarasvàti Productions on Launchpad and Coming Together-Closing Event for FemFest 2020. As a previous fan and Stage Manager of past FemFest shows, Ridge is excited to once again be a part of the ground-breaking work the festival presents. Previous credits include Kiss of the Spider Woman (Dry Cold Productions, Apprentice Stage Manager) and The Golem’s Mighty Swing (Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Apprentice Stage Manager). Most recently he worked on Shakespeare’s Will (Master Playwright Fest 2020, Stage Manager) and Narrow Bridge (Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Apprentice Stage Manager). A big thanks to Sarasvàti Productions for having him back! 

Erin Meagan Schwartz (Front of House, Sarasvàti Productions)
Erin Meagan Schwartz is a Jewish non-binary creative from Winnipeg, Treaty 1 Territory with a deep craving for understanding and collaboration. They have performed and taught improv nationally and are currently the Regional Producer of the Canadian Improv Games Manitoba. She holds a BA Hon. in Women’s and Gender Studies with a focus on cultural production. Notable past credits: inertia (performer/co-creator, Happy/Accidents), We Care Quilt (collaborator, permanent art installation; University of Winnipeg), Here Together (choreographer, Autonomous Productions), Moving Parts (camera-person/sound designer, WNDX Super 8), My Name is Rachel Corrie (actor, MayWorks), The Neighbourhood Watch Improv (improviser, self-produced). Xoxo. 

Amanda Shymko (Performer, The View From Here)
Amanda is absolutely ecstatic to be back with Sarasvàti reading The View From Here by Hannah Foulger for FemFest! She is a recent graduate of the University of Winnipeg Acting Honours program who you may have seen in ShakespeareFest’s HAMLET (Bunchback’d Toads), touring with Munschtopia (Prairie Theatre Exchange), or on stage in Time and The ConwaysConcord Floral, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (University of Winnipeg). She is looking forward to creating new works in a new way with friends and colleagues in the near future (Zoom or not Zoom), and is thankful for her plethora of plants thriving through this pandemic arguably better than she is. All the love to M & I. Please wear a mask. 

RobYn Slade (Host, Opening Cabaret)
RobYn Slade is a Winnipeg-based actor and improviser. Select theatre credits include Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) (TPM), The Cottage, Steel Magnolias (RMTC), Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Keep Theatre); The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, The Brink, MunschBusters!, How It Works (PTE), New Canadian Kid, IMPROVident (MTYP), 204FM (One Trunk Theatre). RobYn is a proud member of the musical improv company Outside Joke, who will be performing as part of Prairie Theatre Exchange’s season in April 2021. 

Tara Streilein (Participant, Launchpad)
Tara studies theatre at the University of Winnipeg and is a proud feminist and climate change activist. Her favourite past roles include Lacey LaForge in Journey to Kalcedon Island at the 2018 Winnipeg fringe festival, and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. She intends to continue acting/performing as a career. Tara is a graduate of Garden City Collegiate and was a very active member of their music and theatre programs. Tara also has a passion for music, and loves singing with her guitar, ukulele or a piano at any chance she gets. She’s very excited to work with Sarasvàti Productions.

Ray Strachan (Performer, Alice and the World We Live In)
Ray is a Winnipeg born theatre artist of Grenadian and Filipino descent. He has trained with The Black Hole Theatre Company and at The Banff Centre for Performing Arts, and has worked at various Theatres across Canada. He was the inaugural winner of the Winnipeg Theatre Award (Evies) for Best Performance by a Lead Actor for his work in The Whipping Man in 2017, and is looking forward to teaching Theatre at the University of Winnipeg this fall.

Lindsay Taylor (Participant, Launchpad)
Lindsey Taylor is a Theatre & Film major at the University of Winnipeg currently studying playwriting. While Lindsey’s love for words became apparent at a young age, her fascination with theatre grew to be strong during high school. Last year, Lindsey had the privilege of seeing her work onstage for the first time as one of the winners of the 2019 Scirocco Drama Manitoba High School Playwriting Competition. This year, she is thrilled with the opportunity to learn, grow, and collaborate with the 2020 Launchpad team! Outside of writing, Lindsey enjoys making music, eating candy, and watching animated films. 

Meredith Taylor-Parry (Playwright, Shorts)
Meredith Taylor-Parry is a playwright based in Calgary, Alberta. Her plays include Survival Skills (Winner New Works of Merit Playwriting Contest) So Long, Devices, Book Club, Book Club II: The Next Chapter, When She Was Good, Jumpy and the Frog and Paul Is NOT a Penguin. Meredith’s work has been produced by The 13th Street Repertory Theatre, Lunchbox Theatre, Alumnae Theatre, Sandbox Children’s Theatre and Wagonstage Children’s Theatre. Meredith is a co-founder of Bigs and Littles Theatre Society and a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Alberta Playwrights Network. She received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Calgary in 2018. 

Garth Tohms (Performer, Bake-Off)
I am very new to acting. I started doing classes, landed a small part in a short film, and did some background work at the end of 2019. Then COVID hit and you know the rest. It is something that I have always been interested in, but never found the courage to do until now!  I am very excited to have the opportunity to perform at FemFest 2020.

Charlene Van Buekenhout (Performer, Agency)
Charlene is a Métis / Belgian / Canadian theatre artist living and working on Treaty 1. She is the Artistic Producer of Echo Theatre, programs stuff for Dalnavert Museum, is an actor, and mom to Phoebe. She participated in the 2018 New England Puppet Intensive, has performed ghost stories with her Crankie box, is currently creating some theatre about her Métis self and has learned to jig. Theatre you might have seen her in: Di and Viv and Rose (RMTC Warehouse), Destroy, She Said (Mia van Leeuwen). The imagination Situation, HAMLET (the rest is silence), Hedda Gabler, and Blithe Spirit (Echo Theatre).

Sarah Waisvisz (Performer/Creator, Monstrous)
Sarah is a playwright, dramaturge, and multi-disciplinary performer with training in dance and physical theatre (classical ballet, puppetry, acrobatics, stilts, West African dance styles). Her solo script to Monstrous, about the Afro-diaspora experience and mixed-race identity, was published in Alt.theatre 13.3 and the show has been performed in Montreal, Toronto, Philadelphia, and elsewhere. Sarah has been Artist-in-Residence at Great Canadian Theatre Company and at the National Arts Centre. Her most recent play Heartlines premiered to sold-out houses at Ottawa’s undercurrents festival.

Hazel Wallace (Performer, Shorts)
Hazel is a young emerging artist from Winnipeg, MB! Hazel studies classical voice at the U of M Desautels Faculty of Music. She is also a member of fabulous choral community and performs with amazing high-quality choirs such as Prairie Voices and the U of M Women’s Chorus. Hazel has been performing on stage since she was in sixth grade and hopes to pursue a career in Musical Theatre and as a Music Educator. Hazel is also involved in the strong TV and Film industry we have in Winnipeg. Hazel booked her first principal role this summer on the movie A secret to keep. Hazel is excited to see what the future has in store for her!

Emma Welham (Participant, Launchpad/Director, To: Morrow)
Emma is thrilled to be returning to The Launchpad Project for a second year! In addition to performing in last year’s show, To Kill a Lizard, she has also appeared in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Arcadia (University of Winnipeg), Student Body (Beau Theatre Co.), School of Rock (WST) and House at Pooh Corner (MTYP). She is very grateful to Sarasvàti for this wonderful opportunity to work on a piece centered around such an important issue!

Elizabeth Whitbread (Assistant Artistic Director, Sarasvàti Productions)
Elizabeth Whitbread is an actor, singer, arts administrator and theatre creator born and raised in Winnipeg on Treaty One Territory. She graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 2015 with an Honours: Theatre degree, after which she spent a number of years in Toronto.  She was delighted to have the opportunity last year to return to Winnipeg to work with Sarasvàti and to re-connect with Winnipeg’s vibrant theatre scene.

Kate Willoughby (Participant, Launchpad)
Kate Willoughby is a multidisciplinary artist, mover and educator based in Winnipeg, Treaty 1 Territory. She has a passion for movement, devised theatre and believes in theatre’s ability to challenge and inspire change. Kate recently completed her Bachelor of Education and is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg’s Honours Acting Program. Kate loves stinky cheese, road cycling, and living her best life with her pup Pierre by her side. Credits include: Hang Me Out to Dry (,shesaidcollective), A Date with Disaster (Knowles Productions), Vinegar Tom (U of W), Twelfth Night (U of W), Semi Monde (U of W), Celtic Ireland (Will Millar Tours). She enjoys collaborating with other artists, and is honoured to be a part of the Launchpad Project. 

Evan Wohlgemut (Crew Member, FemFest)
Evan Wohlgemut is a 2020 graduate of the University of Winnipeg’s Theatre and Film program, with a focus in production. Some of his recent work includes: Assistant lighting designer for RMTC’s As You Like It, Sound engineer for NAfro’s La Barona and Moving inspirations festivals, Student production manager for U of W’s People, Places and Things, (Cancelled due to Covid-19) and production assistant for SIR’s/Zone 41’s Awaken, and TPM’s Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet. 

Maia Woods (Performer, Bake-Off)
Maia Woods is a second-year theatre student at the University of Winnipeg. In the past, she performed with Prairie Theatre Exchange’s Youth Conservatory for 3 years, her most notable role being Rhonda in the Youth Conservatory’s production of Almost, Maine at Fringe Festival 2019. She is more than excited to return to theatre in 2020 with the Bake-Off, and is glad that everyone will be able to safely enjoy the show!

Catherine Wreford (Performer, The View From Here)
Born and raised in Winnipeg she performed at the Stratford Festival at the age of 18. She then went on to play leading roles in many New York Broadway shows and tours.  In 2013, when her daughter was 5 weeks old, she was diagnosed with brain cancer and given 2-6 years to live. She had an awake crainiotomy, radiation and 4 kinds of chemotherapy. Catherine returned to the stage and has been dedicated to performing, teaching, mentoring, learning and choreography! She is very happy to be home with her family and her two amazing kids and awesome husband.

Mona Z (Playwright, Bake-Off)
Mona is a budding new writer, with a love of words, and desire to express the stories in her head on paper and on stage. She has previously taken part in playwriting contests throughout high school and dabbled in theatre since she was young. In addition, she is a current university student with a keen interest in the humanities and social sciences. She hopes to further develop her artistic skills and get more involved in the world of theatre.

Vicki Zhang (Playwright, Shorts)
Vicki Zhang is a Toronto-based writer. Her plays have been produced and garnered several awards including InspiraTO Festival’s juried playwriting competition, Hamilton Fringe Festival New Play Contest and Toronto Ergo Pink Fest. Excerpts of her plays have also received staged readings at Toronto’s Festival of Original Theatre (FOOT), Asper Center for Theatre and Film, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), the Canadian Play Thing, and University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama. She is a full member of Playwrights Guild of Canada. She is also the author of Uncalculated Risks (Canadian Scholar’s Press, 2014).

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