BREATHE INDIA BREATHE FUNDRAISER
India is in the midst of a catastrophic second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and needs our help. On June 5th, artists from Canada & the USA will come together as part of Conversations & Connections – Breathe India Breathe, an online event to raise funds for a beleaguered nation’s fight against COVID-19. All proceeds will be donated to organizations providing relief to the people who need it most. Join us as we share songs, stories, poetry, music and dance.
Smudging – Cat Criger is an Indigenous Elder, Traditional Teacher and Knowledge Keeper. He is from the Cayuga Nation, Turtle Clan, as well as having German and English ancestry. Cat was taught through traditional methods to use Indigenous pedagogies, perspectives and philosophies when working with people. Cat has been working as an Indigenous Teacher and Knowledge Keeper for almost 30 years. He is a healer, spiritual dreamer, and pipe carrier. Under the guidance of an Indigenous Elder from the Anishinaabe Nation, Cat learnt traditional ceremonies, teachings, circles, counselling, healing with plant medicines and uses these gifts to help all people to ‘walk in a good way’ through life.
Cat has worked as an Elder and advisor in many Indigenous Agencies across the GTA, as well as with NPOs, financial, public, and corporate sectors, Government Ministries including Health, Education and Transportation, in Ontario and Canada. He facilitates leadership coaching and cultural competency training workshops. Presently Cat holds the position of Indigenous Advisor at the Indigenous Centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga Campus within the offices of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. He is a Sessional Instructor and lectures in multiple faculties at the University of Toronto.
Cat also works in secondary schools as an Elder and academic advisor on Indigenous inclusion, historical awareness, student success and integration of Indigenous pedagogies. He is active in the inter-faith and inter-cultural communities. He has received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for his work, speaking to diversity, equity, respect for women, anti-racism, and anti-oppression. Cat’s focus and vision for life is to help build a world based on inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogues. This will require trusting relationships and strong bridges between all cultures. Most importantly we will need to listen to one another with our hearts. “I believe we have a lot of work ahead of us.” In his spare time, he takes land-based learning to another level with extreme sports, motorcycles, and car racing.
Akhila Jog (Vocalist) – Akhila Jog is aspiring to be an Indian classical vocalist and has spent her formative years learning music from her mother Smt. Rasika Jog in Canada. She has completed her Sangeet Visharad under the guidance of Pt. Vijay Koparkar. She has also had the fortune of being guided by Smt. Anuradha Kuber for 2 years. Currently, she is pursuing a B.A. degree in Khayaal Gaayan at Bharati Vidyapeeth School of Performing Arts in Pune, and is being guided by her guru Smt. Aparna Gurav. Akhila is on the path to completing her Sangeet Alankaar. She has performed at many semi-classical, and classical events. Akhila has been performing Indian classical and semi-classical music for 6 years. She has a deep love for the arts and uses various mediums to express herself.
Anand Rajaram (Actor) – Anand is an improviser, actor, playwright, director, musician, teacher & puppeteer. Most recently, he was in Buffoon by Anosh Irani and Mustard by Kat Sandler (Dora award for best performance in each), adapted/performed in Rohinton Mistry’s The Scream, at SummerWorks (Winner Best Production), and has performed at Second City, Stratford, CanStage, VideoCabaret, and others. He is an accomplished film and tv performer as well as voiceover artist for video games and cartoons. You may sometimes hear him as a panelist on CBC Radio’s Because News. He is artistic director of @N@f@N@, currently creating AR digital content for live streams under the banner of his company, Cardboard Dreams.
Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone (Vocalist) – Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone is a free spirit, interdisciplinary artist, and activist. Though she is a proud Anishinaabe Kwe~original life giver of the land, she is also of mixed ancestry; Aniishnaabe Métis with Irish and French heritage and identifies as a 2Spirit genderless being. Through this difficult time Aqua has continued to perform her original medicine music and lead circles for her community as she is an advocate for anyone who has endured violence and adversity. She provides a safe space in her sacred circles and performances so the community can grow together, stronger, forever as a whole, as music truly is the universal language of love. www.aquamusic.ca
Asha Ponnachan (Poet) – Asha Ponnachan is a writer, actor, theatre artiste, dancer and lover of all things art. After many years of a successful career in Marketing and Communications, she has now embraced storytelling as her fulltime passion. Many of her literary works have been published in Canada and internationally. Recently, she played the lead role in the short film, ‘The Layoff’ which has been accepted into the 9th Annual Workers Unite Film Festival 2020. She has also acted in several theatre productions. She volunteers her time to raise awareness about mental and emotional health. Asha is also an anti-human trafficking activist. In her own words, “she walks in faith, talks in satire and dreams in flavours”.
Bharath – Vocalist/Handpan & Noah Appel – Handpan – (Both Courtesy RAPTURE, NYC) – Having met in New York in early 2019, Bharath & Noah have been creating sound journeys from the intersection of south Indian classical Carnatic music, with soothing tones of the hang drum and the western scale. Their sounds lead us down interesting philosophical rabbit holes – merging a traditionally bhakti driven artform with the new-age consciously esoteric.
Deepak Chakravarty (Vocalist) – A Creative Media Producer, a performing Music Artist, a Composer and multi-genre DJ – Deepak ‘Dee’ Chakravarty has a media profile that spans over 2 decades. From creating traditional broadcast content to the latest in online digital media and from theatre to live events, he has built himself an extensive portfolio in technical production, both in Canada and India. He has previously co-produced and led the post-production processes for a vast range of ethnic and mainstream content made for Canadian television. He is also a seasoned technician in managing the audio-visual backend across various media settings that involve the latest and trending online streaming and webcasting technologies. He has been associated with the SAWITRI Theatre Group as a music composer for Hindi Shorts 2018 and a few other theatrical and short film projects in the recent past and is excited to belong to the team this year as well.
Elly Ball – Vocalist – Singing with soul, Elly Ball is a vocalist with a deep connection to the body, mind, and spirit. A rising name in the world of Organica & Deep House, Elly also teaches holistic voice practice.
Guru – Poet – Originally from Mumbai, the city of dreams, Guru was born a dreamer who strongly believes everything in this world starts as well as ends with or for dreams. He often describes himself as a wandering soul stuck between poetry, art, food and ‘acting’ to follow routine!
Megha Raina – Poet – Megha Raina is the founder of Mizaaj Art Forum for poets, singers and writers. Apart from writing and acting in a few short films, she enjoys presenting poetry and dance. Megha would soon be performing in the Mississauga Multilingual Fringe Festival in a play that is being written by her.
Nishanth Chari – (Courtesy RAPTURE, NYC) – Sitarist – Nish Chari is a Brooklyn-based sitar player, multi-instrumentalist and composer. A disciple of Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan of the renowned Etawah/Imdadkhani tradition, Nish imbues his playing with the emotion, improvisational prowess, and virtuosic technique that has been handed down in this tradition for over 250 years.
Nova B – Dancer – Nova Bhattacharya is an award-winning, barrier-breaking, artist and cultural leader based in Tkaronto. Her creations are filled with lush, vivid images that invite the viewer on a journey of the imagination. Her creative inspiration is found in her hybridity of born and raised in Canada-Bengali-ness, and immersion in global dance and theatre traditions. She’s always been a rebel breaking rules, reinterpreting traditions and reinventing rituals. In 2008 she founded Nova Dance, a space for creation, conversations and collaborations. www.novadance.ca
Prashanth Vishwanathan – Vocalist – Prashant began his journey in music singing film songs with a band at the age of 7. He later took on South Indian classical vocal training under Smt Raji Gopalakrishnan, an A grade Carnatic vocalist, at the age of 11. Prashant continues to train in this art form, and performs classical concerts regularly. In the last couple of years, Prashant has also focussed on voice culture training with Pratibha’s music school.
Sharada Eswar – Vocalist – Playwright, storyteller, singer and arts educator, Sharada Eswar’s work spans across multi disciplines and art forms. A graduate in Literature Studies, she trained to be a writer and a storyteller. Simultaneously she also immersed herself in Carnatic Music (south Indian classical music) in Chennai, India. She also took to many other styles including Hindustani Classical (Patiala Gharana) Rabindra Sangeet, Abhang and European. While maintaining her Veena studies, her interest shifted to the voice and storytelling. She was part of the team representing India at the India Abroad show in Paris and New York. She was also one of the three chosen by the Centres Culturels des Lions Clubs de Paris to present Indian culture in Normandy, France. Since then, she has been performing and teaching in Toronto and internationally, drawing on her own South Asian ancestry and heritage. A published children’s author, Sharada has until recently been OAC’s Cultural Animator In Mississauga/Peel Region.
Sheniz Janmohamed – Poet/Spoken Word – Sheniz Janmohamed is a firm believer in fostering community through collaboration and creativity. A poet, artist educator, spoken word artist and nature artist, Sheniz is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Guelph. She has performed her poetry for over 15 years including features at the Jaipur Literature Festival, Aga Khan Museum, and Vancouver Writers Fest. Her writing has been published in Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant and CV2, and she is a regular reviewer for Quill & Quire. A recipient of the Lois Birkenshaw-Fleming Creative Teaching Scholarship, Sheniz also holds an Artist Educator Mentor certification from the Royal Conservatory. She visits dozens of cities and schools to offer performances, talks and workshops. Sheniz is the author of two collections of poetry: Bleeding Light (Mawenzi House, 2010) and Firesmoke (Mawenzi House, 2014), both of which explore the ghazal form. Her third collection of poetry, Reminders on the Path, is an exploration of the path we inherit and seek out, that disappears with every step we take on it. Her ephemeral land art has been exhibited at the Aga Khan Park, The Aga Khan Museum, Confluence Concerts and the Indian Summer Festival. https://shenizjanmohamed.com/
Suba Sankaran – Vocalist/Musician – DORA award-winning, thrice JUNO-nominated world/fusion vocalist Suba Sankaran has effortlessly combined musical worlds, performing across North America, Europe, the UK, Asia, Australia and Africa with Autorickshaw, master drummer Trichy Sankaran, FreePlay and Retrocity (80s a cappella revue), to name a few. Performance highlights include performing for Peter Gabriel, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and performing with Jane Siberry, Lorraine Segato, Bobby McFerrin and the Swingles. Suba is in demand as a choral director, arranger, educator and composer. She has composed and produced music for theatre, film, radio and dance. Highlights include collaborations with Deepa Mehta, the CBC and Stratford and Shaw Festivals. Suba is currently the co-artistic director of SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, co-director of City Choir in Toronto and teaches at Humber College in the vocal jazz department. www.subasankaran.com
Urvah Khan – Musician – Urvah Khan (she/her) is a Canadian Pakistani rocker based out of Toronto, Canada. Reconciling Muslim tradition with western culture has provided the fuel for Khan’s hybrid form of rock and roll she calls “Scrap… Rock is dead. We built this from the Scraps.” Urvah Khan was born in Karachi, Pakistan and arrived in Canada with her family as a teenager. The daunting task of fitting into North American culture as a non-conforming foreigner was at times overwhelming. This backdrop has shaped Khan’s path as an artist, and has furnished a desire to provide a safe performance environment for artists who share a similar experience. Over her ten years as an independent artist, she has gained a worldwide following through her performances there, as well as in Karachi, Los Angeles and London (UK). Her unique story and musical style have reached millions online, and have been recognized by BBC, CBC, Noisey/ Vice, as well as Sports Center LA (during the Winter X Games,) among many other prominent outlets. She has been admired for her fierce onstage performance; turning heads and demanding attention. With over 25 music videos and millions of online views, Khan has begun working on her sixth studio album, set to release in 2021. Let’s see what the future holds in store for this scrappy lil’ brown gal on a mission to find her safe place in the world!
- Adolyn H Dar – Adolyn Dar is an emerging artist and mental health worker. He’s currently working on projects related to the science of inclusion and diversity, building programs from a cognitive science approach and working with organizations as we transition into this new normal. As an actor, you may have seen him recently on the Citadel’s production of A Brimful of Asha or on such shows as the Expanse and Woke and…actually, listing credits is kind of an odd way to get know someones biography eh? Instead, just know I love the arts, sciences and laughing at my own jokes and have devoted my life to understanding what that means.
- Anu Radha Verma – Anu Radha Verma has lived, worked, studied, played, struggled and agitated in both Canada and India. Her work has cut across sectors and places, but is always focused on the intersections of social justice, community and creativity. She has been focused on the suburbs as a place of brilliance and social change—having organized various queer and trans, racialized community spaces locally. Anu Radha is a community-based consultant, an independent curator and an organizer with QTBIPOC sauga (a grassroots gathering of queer and trans BIPOC folks from across Peel). She is a queer, diasporic, sometimes-femme, a survivor, and someone who lives with mental health struggles. Twitter: @aradhaverma Instagram: @eh.arr.vee
- Jasmine Sawant – Actor-producer-writer-manager, Co-Founder and Artistic Co-Director of SAWITRI Theatre Group, Mississauga. Jasmine’s stage acting credits include her role in ‘Where There’s A Will’, ‘Koi Pan Ek Phoolnu Naam Bolo To?’ and ‘Seven Steps Around the Fire’; film credits are listed on www.imdb.com She’s indebted to the late Mahendra Joshi, her mentor in theatre under whose guidance she pursued professional theatre in India. She has written plays for SAWITRI Theatre and dance scripts for Sampradaya Dance Creations and Academy.
- Miriam Fernandes – Miriam Fernandes is the Co-Artistic Director of Toronto-based company, Why Not Theatre and has worked as an actor, director, and theatre-maker around the world. She trained with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company, and is a graduate of Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Directing and creation credits include Nesen, (MiniMidiMaxi Festival, Norway) The First Time I Saw the Sea (YVA Company, Norway). She is currently is co-writing/adapting for the stage the ancient epic, Mahabharata (Why Not Theatre/Shaw Festival), is developing a Deaf/hearing production of Lady Macbeth (in partnership with 1S1 Collective), and is co-writing and performing in What You Won’t Do for Love with Drs. David Suzuki and Tara Cullis. Miriam is the recipient of the JBC Watkins Award and was nominated for the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize.
- Neesha Mathew – Neesha Miriam Mathew is a research consultant based in Toronto. She loves travelling, music, learning about different cultures, painting and is a big foodie! She’s tried her luck with improv and failed miserably. She has now moved on to practicing Kalaripayattu (an Indian martial art form) and yoga.
- Sid Sawant – Film to photography, screen to stage, lens to literary. Sid Sawant is a Toronto and Mississauga based artist whose aspirations have led to both sides of production. After graduating with Honours from Cawthra Park’s Regional Arts Program for Drama, followed by Humber College’s Acting For Film and Television Program, Sid continued to keep a balance with all sides of production. His Producing credits include Massive Monster Mayhem (Nickelodeon – 2018) and, The Expanse (FX – 2018). As an Actor his credits include three award-winning films; two features titled Street Soldiers (2016) and Dowry (2015) and a short titled SUN (2015). Stage credits include Mahesh Dattani’s Where There’s a Will (2018), Dance Like A Man (2014) & Seven Steps Around The Fire (2013). Sid Sawant’s passion for the arts stems from his family and he is grateful for their continued support.
PANDEMIC PANDEMONIUM – AUDITIONS – Sun 6th June 2021 1 pm to 4 pm
Actors Apply Asap!
English Play- by Jasmine Sawant and Kyle Climans
Director: Dia Frid and Dramaturge – Ron Cameron-Lewis
The play will be staged outdoors in July-August 2021
Email headshot and bio to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31st May 2021
Smita Mehta – 54 – Emigrating from Mumbai 25 years earlier, Smita is a straight-shooting, fun-loving, hard- working and caring person.
Ajay Mehta – 58 – Smita’s husband of 31 years, he can never say ‘no’ to anyone, much to Smita’s annoyance.
Raj Mehta – 29 –Smita and Ajay’s only child, he was raised in Canada. a struggling actor with big dreams.
Daniel Choi – 38 – Korean-Canadian neighbour, he is a cheerful optimist who values family and neighbours. Loves cooking.
Miriam Choi – 38 – Daniel’s Jewish-Canadian wife. She is Smita’s friend and relies on Smita for help and advice.
Kavita “Kavi” Arora – 33 – Visiting from Mumbai, she is a lovely young woman trying to get over her broken engagement to a wealthy young man living in Dubai.
Vishal Arora – 63 – Father of Kavita, he loves to eat and drink well both in Mumbai and while visiting Canada; he bursts into Bollywood song whenever the situation calls for it.
Deepa Arora – 58 – Kavita and Rinki’s mother, she is a charming socialite from Mumbai.
Rinki Arora-Agarwal – 28 – A vivacious woman who loves to party. She’s a lot like her mother.
Dev Agarwal – 32 – A good-looking young Delhi businessman, who loves his wife enough to accompany her half way across globe, way out of his comfort zone.
Ryan Barrett 25 – A Caucasian neighbour who is a struggling artist suffering from writer’s block.
“A wellness program for South Asian seniors 60 years plus”.
Conversations & Connections
30th Nov to 28th Dec 2020 – Every Monday at 7 pm EST
Hindi Shorts 2020
One short play each Friday – Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27 and Dec. 4, 2020- 9 pm EST livestreamed
HINDI SHORTS 2020 – 5 Short Plays
There are no tickets. You are welcome to make a donation.
To DONATE Kindly e-transfer to email@example.com
Acting workshops – Postponed due to COVID-19 closures yet again.
Register for Acting workshops – in-person – health protocols in place.
Online Acting Workshops – Every Tuesday from 16th June to 4th August 2020 – Postponed
Register Today! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
SAWITRI Theatre Group
During these uncertain times of closures, lay- offs, and social distancing, SAWITRI Theatre is very aware and concerned about the significant impact this phase will have on our livelihood, our health, and on our general sense of well-being. At this stage, no one is able to predict the extent of its impact on local, national and global economies, wherein the arts and culture sector plays a significant role.
Following the directives of public health authorities, SAWITRI Theatre’s response has been to postpone the following projects and productions which were all taking place, or about to take place:
- The Stitch In Time Project
- The Food For Thought Project
- The Conversations & Connections Project
- The rehearsals and performances of Hindi Shorts 2020
- The workshop series for artists
- The launch of a new theatre festival
- SAWITRI’s participation in The Dispelling Darkness Project.
We are closely following public health updates and we will advise the new dates for resuming in-person activities when it becomes possible to do so.
Meanwhile we are continuing to rehearse Hindi Shorts 2020 via conference/video calling and are planning the launch of a few online activities to keep us creatively engaged.
We also urge you to document the effects on your arts programming and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Record your financial and other losses and take surveys put out by government and arts councils.
Government and arts councils are still determining the best way to help the arts sector through this crisis and they have stated the importance of documenting your financial losses as an artist or an
If you have any questions, please write to us at email@example.com
Stay healthy and Stay Connected – Digitally/Virtually
Below are some resources we have gathered for you. Hope you find them useful:
- Peel Health
- City of Mississauga
- Government of Canada
- Tracking financial losses due to COVID-19 – worksheet by Generator
- List of resources by CBC for Canadian Artists & Freelancers
- Ontario Arts Council
- Canada Council for the Arts
HINDI SHORTS 2020! Auditions!
A new set of short plays in Hindi written by
Uday Krishna and Tanuj Khosla.
strong actors from ages 20 years to 60 years male and female who can speak
Hindi! And looking for two 15-year old male actors!
To Apply: Email headshot (professional
headshots not required) acting resume and self-tape (professional recording not
required), no more than two minutes in duration with one comedic and one
dramatic piece of your choice. Latest by
Wednesday 19th February 2020.
Rehearsals will take place week-nights and
weekends from 21st February 2020 and
leading up to the performances. A detailed rehearsal and performance
schedule will be given to those actors who are selected. Actors have to
commit their time to all rehearsals and performances.
Rehearsal Venue: In Mississauga. Exact location
dates – April 10, 11 & 12, 2020 – 4 performances.
Venue: Sampradaya Theatre, 4-3250 Ridgeway Drive, Mississauga, ON L5L 5Y6
Theatre Group – Winner of 2016 Marty Award for Best Established Theatre,
SAWITRI, founded in
January 2003, is an incorporated not-for-profit theatre organization,
presenting original, challenging and exciting works, of established as well as
emerging artists. Highlighting issues prevalent in the South Asian community,
SAWITRI Theatre Group is known to take risks, bringing unique theatre
experiences every year to its audiences; producing plays in some of India’s
many languages, including English.
Website – www.sawitri.ca
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/sawitritheatregroup
SAVITA weds SATISH was recently remounted in collaboration with the City of Mississauga at the historic Small Arms Inspection Building (SAIB) from 15th May to 21st May. Stay tuned for details on our productions and events.
SAVITA WEDS SATISH
Written by Jasmine Sawant and Adam Langton
Directed by Siddhant (Sid) Sawant
Producer: Nitin Sawant; Assistant Director: Raina Desai; Music/Sound Design: Kalaisan Kalaichelvan; Choreography: Suma Nair; Costume Design: Shruti Shah; Bazaar Design: Elly Ball.
CAST: Suma Nair, Gunja Chakraborty, Uma Ambike, Sylvan Valladares, Anjum Siddiqui, Shalaka Sardesai, Sweta Surisetti, Janifer Randhawa & Ashutosh Walia. Additional Cast: Raina Desai & Amlan Das.
Celebrating South Asian Heritage Month – SAWITRI Theatre Group, in collaboration with the City of Mississauga, brought back SAVITA WEDS SATISH, (in English), at the Small Arms Inspection Building, Mississauga, for 7 performances, from Wednesday May 15 to Tuesday May 21, 2019. It was an immersive, wedding-style theatre piece. The story of widowed Savita, who suddenly decides to get married with all the ceremony and tradition of an Indian Hindu wedding. Her proper relatives are unhappy for a variety of reasons not least of which is that no one has seen the groom. In these days of social media, that’s a huge cause for concern. Maybe he’s “fat and ugly!”? Or worse!?! The audience were part of the play as the wedding party and every show had the audience members dancing to the wedding party music.
There was a pre-show bazaar that evoked the colours of the bazaars of India, right here in Mississauga.
Coming this FALL, is our next series of Theatre Workshops.
Stay tuned for more information. Follow us on Social Media.
In Mississauga! email firstname.lastname@example.org for details
Acting workshops for All! A seasoned performer or a never-been-on stage or screen, you will love these classes!
Rev up your public persona, spark up your confidence, ignite your imagination, or just vent after a long week at waiting tables, pushing paper, or balancing budgets, this is right for you. Fun and supportive, it will help you reach your artistic goal, whatever that may be.
Learn acting skills through script work, scene study, monologue and improvisation, as well as on-camera auditioning skills for commercials and film.