FemFest is an annual national festival hosted in Winnipeg, Manitoba celebrating women theatre artists. It is produced by Sarasvàti Productions.
FemFest envisions a future for Canadian theatre where plays by women comprise an equal number of productions in main stage regional theatres; where women directors, designers and performers are given equal opportunities; where the voices of women and the issues important to them are brought to life in theatres across the country. In order to achieve this goal, every fall FemFest provides a supportive environment where performances by women can be showcased, promoted and developed. Their vision includes a desire to increase the relevancy of theatre to a broader representation of our communities. This also allows for the inclusion of work from diverse cultural backgrounds, artistic traditions and disciplines.
Sarasvàti Productions and FemFest have at their core ‘transformative theatre’ and are often viewed by the community as socially conscious theatre. We use theatre as a medium to initiate discourse on issues of relevance to the community, in particular disenfranchised sectors of the community.
FemFest has been up and kicking since 2003. What started as a small, grassroots festival to showcase women playwrights quickly grew into a 10-day festival featuring female theatre artists from Winnipeg, Canada and the world. Over the years they have developed countless new plays, brought dozens of artists to Winnipeg to share their work and provided skill development to actors, directors, designer and technicians in Winnipeg. FemFest has also expanded to include performance art, installations, dance, video and music.
Community outreach has also increased over the years with shows being performed in schools, FemFest artists teaching workshops at universities and for community groups, as well as speaking engagements across Winnipeg.