By Hannah Owczar

Audience member looks through FemFest program at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film on Sept. 16, 2017./ OWCZAR

Anita Daher is a performer in this year’s FemFest. She says the event thrives because of its inclusiveness and diversity.

“[It’s] women supporting women,” said Daher.

FemFest 2017 features live theatre performances by female artists and is a safe space for them to develop their work. The festival gives a voice to women’s issues and provides opportunities to drive social change.

Winnipeg based theatre company Sarasvàti Productions created FemFest in 2003 as a way to tackle the gender inequality in theatre.

“FemFest was our way of taking action,” said Sarasvàti artistic director Hope McIntyre.

Using transformative theatre, FemFest explores experiences and social issues significant to women. It celebrated it’s 15 production year with the theme ‘Coming of Age’.

“Transformative theatre is creating understanding and transforming audience and community,” said McIntyre.

Former Sarasvàti Production board member Andrea Geary goes to at least one show a year. She is attracted to FemFest because it brings a mix of people together.

“There is such a diversity of talent,” said Geary.

Hope McIntyre (left) poses with writer Ivan Coyote (right) after Coyote’s reading for FemFest 2017 at Asper Centre For Theatre and Film on Sept. 16./ OWCZAR

Performer and LGBTQ advocate Ivan Coyote is one of the performers at this year’s festival. Coyote is the author of eleven books and is acclaimed for their storytelling, writing, poetry and filmmaking. They will be performing Tomboy Survival Guide, a rendition of their publication on short stories, but reworked and set to music.

FemFest will close the festival with Saturday’s production of One Night Stand, a show where female playwrights can debut their work while offering the audience insight into the writing process.

First-time performer Anita Daher is involved in the show and is thrilled to be a part of the event.

“I have always admired the production company [Sarasvàti],” said Daher. “I like that the festival goes beyond perceived boundaries.

Melissa Langdon is also taking part in One Night Stand. Langdon is an Honours student in the faculty of Theatre and Film at The University of Winnipeg. She feels FemFest relates to students as it starts a conversation.

“The festival allows students to converse about really important issues,” said Langdon. “It’s so inclusive and reaches a broad audience.

Primrose Madayag Knazan has been a part of FemFest since the beginning and is performing her work in One Night Stand at Asper Centre For Theatre and Film. She believes in the work of the event, as it provides a space for female theatre that’s related to female experiences.

“FemFest celebrates women playwrights and women’s issues,” said Knazan.

McIntyre says to expect a wide variety of work throughout FemFest. Performers are local and from all across Canada, contributing to the range of talent in the festival.

“The goal is to make sure to represent wide varieties of women and diversity,” said McIntyre.

Knazan says audiences can expect strong female voices as FemFest is a place for women to express themselves.


Tickets are available from $10-$25. Venues are accessible.
For more information and ticket sales visit the Sarasvati website.