Renaissance woman

Ginny Collins. Dylan Hewlett

Ginny Collins has been a global champion for women’s rights.

In Zambia, the political arts activist and published playwright saw firsthand what women were dealing with around the globe. She also witnessed extreme strength, ingenuity and intelligence.

“Women hold communities and families together,” Collins said in an interview. “In our world’s most desperate situations, I see hope and resilience in the faces of the women.”

It is this belief that can be seen in all of her work.

At only 27, Collins has worked throughout Africa and Latin America as a journalist, as well as working for the United Nations Development Program. She is currently employed as the communications and marketing director for Manitoba Film & Music.

A couple of years ago she realized that she could choose more than one path in her life, and that has come to define her career. With interests as varied as hers, she always felt as though pursuing one would be compromising the others.

“Maybe I’ll never be a millionaire, but my focus is on feeding all my passions one at a time and not denying any part of myself,” she said.

These passions range from activism to theatre.

She started out taking theatre courses at the University of Winnipeg and eventually received a degree in journalism from the University of Regina.

From there, she moved to Zambia and became the editor of Kwacha Kum’mawa, a women’s rights magazine.

She earned a degree in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies from the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica and began to work for the United Nations Development Program in Namibia.

“In other parts of the world, boundaries are being broken. When you realize the importance of the arts on a national level – really great things start to happen and cultures are defined,” she said.

She accomplished all of this while remaining active within the theatre scene and writing plays – most recently for Canadian Parents for French and Winnipeg Jewish Theatre. In addition to being an established playwright she is also, naturally, a strong supporter of the arts.

Of course, in her worldwide travels, it hasn’t been uncommon for Collins to come across people familiar with Winnipeg.

“You’ll hear people say ‘Hey, you’re from Winnipeg? I hear they have a great music scene or a great arts scene,’” she said. “That’s pretty neat to hear. It means that people want to come here and perform, but it also means that when you go elsewhere you have increased credibility because you’re from here.”

She finds the theatre community within Winnipeg extremely encouraging.

“It’s the perfect size city to get some recognition and opportunities, especially if you’re an emerging artist.”

Published in Volume 65, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 25, 2010)

Related Reads