Sarasvati Productions’ FemFest 2019 showcases homegrown talent

By Ricky Yusishen

In previous years, FemFest has included international performers. This year, they’ve kept it Canadian and most of the artists were from Winnipeg.

Sarasvàti Productions is a theatre company that works with upcoming artists to create productions focused on social issues. In 2003, it started Winnipeg’s first FemFest.  

“FemFest means the celebration of woman playwrights, woman artists, and the varied stories they have,” said FemFest’s Assistant Art Director, Liz Whitbread.

Kim Patrick and guide dog Tulia with the director of her show, Bronwyn Steinberg, on September 17, 2019./RICKY YUSISHEN

Kim Patrick’s FemFest show “Raising Stanley/Life with Tulia”, is a story about her experiences with the guide dogs she has had throughout her life.

“She always gets us the best table at a restaurant,” said Patrick about her dog, Tulia. “She waits at the side of any table she wants in a restaurant and just stares at whoever is sitting there until they move, and I had no idea.”

Patrick and her dog have performed this show 12 times at venues across Canada.

University of Winnipeg student, Ashley Kaoukis, reads about FemFest’s roots./RICKY YUSISHEN

Kaoukis was introduced to FemFest through her women and gender studies course at the University of Winnipeg. This was her second year going and she said she plans to go again next year.

“The energy when you walk into a show venue is so positive, I love it, it definitely makes me feel proud to be a woman,” said Ashley Kaoukis. “I feed off of strong feminine energy, like my mother’s.”

Jenny Gates, a 61-year-old book editor, has submitted a monologue of her own to FemFest before, in hopes of finding a place within the festival.

Her hopes for the festival are that more people will benefit from it.

“We get to experience the support and friendships, to get an understanding of how powerful woman playwrights are,” said Gates. “I would love to see it out there more and that more people knew about it.”