THE STRANGEST DREAM: A Play on Body Image and Self-Esteem

The annual Listen Up youth theatre troupe will once again tour Lanark County and Smiths Falls youth centres and schools in April with a new play about body image, The Strangest Dream. Based on research and conversations with young people and in consultation with the Hopewell Centre – Eastern Ontario’s only clinic dedicated to working with those dealing with eating disorders – the show is being staged at a time when teenagers especially face a barrage of images in print and electronically that make them question their self-worth and can lead to harmful behaviours. “In addition to all the expectations we place on young people, the social pressure to conform to looking a certain way can have devastating impacts,” says Smith. “While this is certainly not a new thing – we know eating disorders have been with us for a long time – it is magnified by the 24/7 access we now have to a bombardment of visual images and voices that get into our heads and tell us to look and act and feel a certain way.” The Listen Up! project has served as an inspiration for inter-generational dialogue over the past four years, with parents and adult community members taking part in post-show feedback discussions with teenagers. “It has opened the eyes of a lot of people who aren’t always as well connected to what is happening in the world of young people as they could be,” says Smith, who notes that young people in rural eastern Ontario face many challenges, not least of which are long waiting lists for a number of services to meet the needs of the teen population. “Through theatre, we tell stories that we hope will provoke the kind of discussion needed to hear what young people’s lives are really like and hopefully to generate the kinds of changes they need to live healthy lives.” The play tours throughout Lanark County on the following dates: Wed. Apr. 17 at 4:30pm, WAK, Smiths Falls Youth Arena, 71A Lansdowne Street, Smiths FallsThurs. Apr. 18 at 6:00pm, Carambeck Community Centre, 351 Bridge Street, Carleton PlaceWed. Apr. 24 at 5pm, Mississippi Mills Youth Centre, 134 Main St. E., AlmonteThurs. Apr. 25 at 6:30pm, Royal Canadian Legion, 26 Beckwith St. E., Perth; Fri. Apr. 26 at 6pm, Lanark Highlands Youth Centre, 61 Princess St., Village of Lanark. For further information call 613-264-8088 or email Continue reading

SEEKING PERFORMERS: For Summer Youth Training Program 

The Classic Theatre Festival is accepting resumes from young people aged 15 to 29 to take part in this summer’s paid youth theatre training program. While experience is not required, the Festival is looking for people with a strong interest both in performing and in working behind the scenes. Successful applicants will be featured (and will also stage manage) the Perth through the Ages historic walking plays, a popular tourist attraction each summer that brings to life the stories and fabled characters of Perth’s past. Those familiar with this beloved annual ritual will recognize the costumed characters singing, dancing, and re-enacting Perth history on Gore Street, Foster Street, and in the unique alleyways of the downtown core. The 2019 walking play will focus on how residents of Perth came together to survive the economic austerity of the Great Depression during the 1930s. In addition to performing street level all summer long, program participants will also appear in playwright Laurel Smith’s new adaptation of the hilarious Shaw comedy about the Roman Empire, Androcles and the Lion, the entertainment portion of this year’s Classic Dinner Theatre with Michael’s Table. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural show, the dinner theatre is adding a lunchtime component too. Both will play on Tuesdays. “It’s always wonderful to work with the very talented young people in this area who are looking for a career in the arts,” explains Smith, who notes that some graduates of the program have gone off to major in theatre at schools as diverse as Queen’s and York University. “And when you can get paid to do what you love, that’s a real bonus.” Interested individuals should send a resume and letter of interest to by February 10. Continue reading