What’s the fastest growing age demographic in Manitoba?
According to Statistics Canada, the province’s senior population is growing faster than any other part of the population.
While this growth represents inevitable adaptations to Manitoba’s social and economic landscape, it also points to less obvious examples of change.
Sarasvàti Productions, a local non-profit theatre company, aims to expose Winnipeg audiences to the stories and experiences of older generations during its fall festival, FemFest. The 12th annual festival of theatre by women for everyone will include senior playwrights, actors and even a production about a naked 84-year-old woman.
Hope McIntyre is the Artistic Director of Sarasvàti Productions. McIntyre says that understanding the stories of senior populations is an important aspect of societal health.
“Seniors have a lot to teach us,” says McIntyre. “Understanding our history and the experiences of the past is essential in working towards a healthier and happier community. FemFest 2014 aims to break down the barriers that often keep us from learning different perspectives.”
This year’s FemFest theme is power and it is through this lens that the festival will explore the experiences of seniors. As a national festival, FemFest will also include productions from female playwrights across Canada. River, by senior playwright, Rubena Sinha, is one of the FemFest touring productions. Rubena says that her FemFest production was made possible by the lessons she learned from other people’s stories.
“I found comfort and wisdom in the stories that came from the Mahabharata, from folklore…and my grandmother,” says Sinha. She hopes that her performance during this year’s FemFest inspires Winnipeg audiences to draw courage from the narratives that impact their lives.
FemFest will also showcase work by up and coming artists as part of its mandate to empower female playwrights.
Tyler White is a Winnipeg senior who has only recently begun writing for theatre.
White has a comical production in this year’s FemFest. She hopes that her role in the festival inspires other seniors to share their own experiences.
“As we age we have a different perspective on life than we did in our 20’s or 30’s. And all our perspectives are important,” says White. “Our society is richer when all members of our society have a voice. ”
You can catch the work of Sinha, White and many other talented female artists of all ages and backgrounds at FemFest 2014: She’s Got The Power. The national theatre festival runs from September 13th – 20th at the University of Winnipeg Asper Centre for Theatre and Film. For more information about the festival and how you can purchase tickets, visit www.femfest.ca.