Incoming Artistic Director

The Board of Directors of Sarasvàti Productions is pleased to announce the appointment of Frances Koncan as Incoming Artistic Director. Hope McIntyre, as founding Artistic Director, has indicated a need to transition the company to new leadership. The filling of this position will support both the longevity of the company and allow McIntyre to focus on her role as Assistant Professor at the University of Winnipeg.

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 and has been active in the theatre scene ever since. You might know her writing from plays like Women of the Fur Trade (RMTC Warehouse, 2019/20 Season) and from articles in the Winnipeg Free Press. “I am 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,” said Frances Koncan.

The Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome Koncan to the company and they look forward to her creative contribution to the ongoing goal of transformational theatre within the community. Koncan takes up her position in time for FemFest, allowing her to experience this signature event of Sarasvàti’s calendar year and then to begin with programming decisions for the rest of the 2020/21 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 a new leadership model and the hiring of Frances Koncan, the succession has begun and the ground laid for a transition of responsibility to new leadership. Administrator Wren Brian, who has been with the company for over a year and a half, has moved in to the Office Manager position. She will bring incredible organizational skills and theatrical knowledge to the management of the company. The Board is still in the process of hiring a Marketing and Community Outreach Manager to create a strong, collaborative team to lead the company beyond its first 20 years in Winnipeg.

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!

For more information on this exciting transition or for media interviews please contact Debbie Norman, Board President at debnormanca@gmail.com .

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Songide’ewin – Thank You!

A huge thank you to all those who helped to make our revamped production of Songide’ewin such a success. We had sold out audience, in our socially distanced set-up at Whittier Park. Plus a couple hundred more viewers of our inaugural livestreamed production. We are grateful to all the artists, elders, advisors, community members, audience, and of course the youth who gifted their stories. We could not have asked for better weather! 

Production Designer Louis Ogemah; Photos by Leah Borchert

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Songide’ewin Coming Soon!

From August 25 to 27 we will finally share Songide’ewin with audiences! We’ve worked hard to ensure a safe process for our cast, crew and audiences. This production features the stories and lived experiences of over 70 Indigenous youth performed by a cast of 5. Join us outdoors or online!

For three nights at 7pm we will have 50 in person tickets available for the outdoor performance with socially distanced seating. Each performance will also be livestreamed for at home viewing. Tickets can be purchased online here or by calling (204) 586-2236.

Gathering online for the first rehearsal this past Tuesday was an exhilarating experience. Under the direction of Tracey Nepinak and with the support of Knowledge Keeper Gayle Pruden, the team shared how thirsty they have been to return to creative work.

Reconciliation through Theatre was initiated by an Indigenous Advisory Committee two years ago. We have since worked with seven amazing organizations to offer a creative and safe space for Indigenous youth. Using an artistic lens, with the guidance of experienced facilitators and elders, youth examined how they interact with the world around them and how the world in turn interacts with them.

Anishinaabe playwright Jo MacDonald with Darla Contois have transformed these stories into a theatrical script. With a fabulous design team, including production designer Louis Ogemah and sound designer MJ Dandeneau, renowned Cree theatre artist Tracey Nepinak will bring this production to life! In addition, participant Bear Harper is mentoring with Jaime Black to display a large mural of his artwork alongside art created during the workshops.

Our gratitude to the amazing funders who have waited with us – The Winnipeg Foundation, Province of Manitoba, Department of Canadian Heritage, NIB Trust, Manitoba Arts Council, The Winnipeg Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and our sponsors Cushman & Wakefield | Stevenson, Wawanesa Insurance & Manitoba Blue Cross.

“You need to take everything you’ve been taught and put it aside. And really hear what the young people have to say.”

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see this exciting performance!

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Pitching 101: Virtual Workshop

We are excited to announce our next workshop will be on August 12 at 7pm. Join us for our Pitching 101: Virtual Workshop!

What is a pitch? This workshop’s focus is on an artist’s ability to attract the attention of an audience.

Wednesday, August 12th 7pm- 9:30pm
Online
Registration Fee: $10.00
Led by Artistic Director Hope McIntyre
With an array of amazing experienced panelists!

How do you get people interested in your show? You’ve likely heard of the ‘elevator pitch’ which is a quick and catchy way of introducing yourself and providing a brief synopsis of your show to gain someone’s interest in 30 seconds or less. This workshop will help those who are interested in bringing their creative ideas to the stage. A strong pitch will attract early interest in your creative ideas and also effectively bring in audiences.

Sarasvàti Production’s Artistic Director will guide participants through the process of creating a strong pitch. She was the inaugural Winnipeg Foundation Fast Pitch winner and has twenty years of experience producing and marketing work. Then participants will have time to finesse their pitches and test them out on a panel of experienced artists with a history of promoting their own work. The final component will be getting valuable individual feedback. Pitching experience, feedback, and a networking opportunity all in the comfort of one’s home!

Registration is limited to allow for the best experience for participants. Reserve your space now by booking online! For more information please email info@sarasvati.ca or call our office at 204-586-2236.

Deadline is August 7th 2020.

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Hiring Commitment

Sarasvàti Productions joins its voice to other organizations and institutions that unreservedly acknowledge that racism and sexism continue to impact how we function in our respective areas of society. While Sarasvàti exists to break down barriers in the theatre world, we know we can do better. As a Board of Directors we are struggling with how to make the most of the opportunity we now have concerning hiring a new Artistic Director, and because this is such a crucial time in our Company, we want to get this right. Our Board will continue to actively engage with this question in the coming weeks, in order to devise a strategy to meet this goal.

Please see full job posting.

We want to express a huge thank you to consulting IBPOC artists for their input to date on our current hiring process for Artistic Director. We were happy to offer compensation to make sure that information was clear and that there were no barriers preventing a range of candidates from applying.

Our deadline for applications is this Friday, July 17th. Although shortlisting for interviews will begin at this time, we wanted to clarify that we will continue to accept applications until an offer is made.

We are encouraging applications from all candidates with theatre experience in any area (administrators, actors, playwrights, stage managers, directors, producers) who are passionate about a leadership role and feel the skills listed are a match. We have done our best to share the posting through a wide range of non-traditional means and are grateful to community groups who have helped disseminate the opportunity. We appreciate any continued assistance in spreading the word.

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FemFest 2020 Line-Up

We are excited to announce the line-up for our 18th annual festival! FemFest 2020: Engaging Community is coming up in September 2020 and gives us all something to look forward to. Over a year ago we started planning an amazing array of artists for the festival. We are pivoting some aspects to be offered virtually in order to respect the health and safety of audiences as well as artists, however we are excited to share the incredible work by nationally-renowned women and non-binary artists we have been collaborating with. The annual festival of life-changing plays by women for everyone runs September 19-26. This year’s festival features eight days of thought-provoking plays, readings, skill-building workshops, and our annual Opening Night Cabaret.

Check out our FemFest website for all of this year’s programming. Keep checking back for updates on how and where components will be delivered. You can also check out the brochure to get a full sense of the festival we imagined months ago and are committed to seeing through in unique and exciting ways!

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Call for Bake-Off

We are accepting submissions from playwrights for our annual FemFest Bake-Off. Five Manitoba women/non-binary playwrights will be selected to participate. A meeting will occur in August at which the writers will be given their ingredients to bake a new script. Readings of the resulting work will take place on September 21st at FemFest 2020: Engaging Community. The audience will then select the piece they would like to see further developed. The winner receives a $500 prize and a slot for a full reading at FemFest 2021.

Please review the full submission details here. We are seeking applications from a wide-range of writers and encourage anyone needing assistance with their application to contact us at info@sarasvati.ca .

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Hiring – Building a Team

We are excited to announce a new staff structure and opportunities for new leadership and team members. Over the last eight months, thanks to the support of the Winnipeg Foundation, the Board of Directors of Sarasvàti Productions has had the valuable ability to assess leadership structure and office operations. With an Assistant Artistic Director job shadowing the founding Artistic Director, there was the opportunity for a thorough review of operations. Every activity has been documented, the programming assessed, and critical paths created. As a result, the best path forward for sustainability and a healthy work balance has become clear. This is an exciting but challenging time for transition as we navigate a way forward while also responding to the current crisis that has led to postponing and redesigning programing.

We want to share with all of our supporters, patrons, and artists that there has been a slight change in direction from where we were a year ago. This is a positive development based on having the ability to look forward after the experience of an outside perspective. The practical needs of the company require a better distribution of work among staff and a reduction in capacity. To this end we are excited to announce that a new model for our leadership team has been finalized. It will be a core group of three. An Artistic Director, Office Manager, and Marketing and Community Outreach Manager will work together to keep Sarasvàti Productions running day to day and achieving our mandate of using theatre to propel social change. This triumvirate will mean being able to spread out the responsibilities and workload so the company is not resting solely on the shoulders of the Artistic Director. It also means that the team can bring different skills and effectively collaborate through both a difficult post-crisis time as well as the challenge of transition away from a founding Artistic Director model. Due to our current budget limitations, the three positions will start as part-time, but will allow a much better life balance by supporting one another. We are not a traditional theatre company, and therefore a traditional model did not fit. On top of artistic considerations, the administrative workload of an organization that has grown over twenty years, we also have a commitment to community that requires intensive outreach.

A search, exploration of shifting current staff in to these new roles, and ultimate hiring process will take place in the coming months with a goal to have candidates ready to begin overlap by September’s FemFest. A full transition will occur by the end of fall 2020.

A huge thank you to the current staff for amazing work and input in assessing needs.

Please see postings for the Artistic Director Job Posting and Marketing & Community Outreach Manager Job Posting

Plus an internship position beginning in August – Production Tour Coordinator Intern posting 2020

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General Auditions – Virtually

We are seeking submissions from actors, but due to the need for on-going social distancing we won’t be holding in person general auditions this year. Simply express your interest via email submission with a headshot and resume. We will then hold show specific virtual auditions as needed for our 2020/21 season.

DEADLINE
It is recommended that you submit before June 15th, 5pm, however we will be accepting submissions on an ongoing basis.

Please submit by email to production@sarasvati.ca or call (204)-586-2236 for more information.

Please email your headshot and resume in PDF format and any pertinent information regarding your availability.

Sarasvàti Productions is looking for a diverse range of performers. We are committed to inclusive casting welcoming people regardless of age, ability, gender, and ethno cultural background.

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Black Lives Matter: Official Statement

Over the last week, we’ve been reflecting on how best to use our platform as a way to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Of course, one statement on social media is not enough, there also needs to be action taken to ensure that we continue to centre BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) artists and their stories. While we show our solidarity through partnering with community groups and hiring artists of colour, we know we have to do better and work harder to dismantle systemic racism within our organization and our industry. More on this to come.

Below is the official statement we posted on June 2, 2020. 

As a theatre company with a mandate to produce theatre for social change, we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The horrific events of the past week have been a stark reminder about how police violence disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous and people of colour in Canada and the United States.

We want to actively challenge the far-too white, able-bodied, cisgender, heteronormative theatre we see. We acknowledge our role in dismantling these structures that perpetuate racism by centring Black artists and their stories, recognizing our privilege, and choosing allyship over silence.

We also acknowledge the historic and continuing racism directed at Indigenous people which is taking place on stolen Indigenous land.

We support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) performers, writers, and artists. We support these members of our local theatre community and theatre communities everywhere.

We know words aren’t enough. But now isn’t the time for us to talk, but rather, to listen.

Here is a link to anti-racism resources https://docs.google.com/…/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-V…/mobilebasic

And here is a link to a list of 10 historic Black theatre companies we encourage you to donate to (if you are able) in this time: https://www.theatermania.com/…/10-black-theater-companies-d…

And finally, we wanted to bring attention to the Black Lives Matter march that is taking place in Winnipeg, in front of the Legislative building, at 6 PM on Friday, June 5. There’s critical information in the event description here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2522942161368878/

After posting on our Facebook Page, it was pointed out that many of the shared resources were from the States and we were encouraged to include Black theatre companies in Canada, which you can find below:

Black Theatre Workshop

b current

Obsidian Theatre Company

Little Black Afro Theatre Company

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