Submitted by Sharon Stearns

Through researching the past and examining the present, young actors in Valemount will get the opportunity to create a play with music that reflects their vision of the community and how they imagine their ideal society.

Director and producer Sharon Stearns will oversee the creation process, helping youth meet research targets, develop an acting ensemble, generate material from ideas, and teach storytelling, improv and character creation techniques. Donalda Beeson will act as assistant mentor and director.

The youth will also help manage the production, from set/prop/costume building to stage and budget management.

Stearns says the youth will interview senior residents and collect stories about what their town was like when the seniors were young. How has it changed? What does community mean to them? Youths will make up their own questions and turn their research into characters and monologues.

She says the youth will visit local businesses, interview shop owners/workers to learn about running a business. They will collect ideas about what services they would like to see, what is missing, what is important to maintain a healthy society. They will attend a local council meeting to learn how they are run, then practice running one to understand how municipal decisions are made and dramatize this work. They will walk with outdoor professionals to learn how their environment is managed, and what issues challenge their area. They will record their research process and rehearsals to create a video documentary of their work. The finished play will be presented over two nights at the Valemount Community Theatre in May/June 2014.

Regularly scheduled sessions with youth creators will be head every Saturday at the Valemount Library, in their basement space. Through the winter the ensemble work will channel into play, music and character creation. In the spring, rehearsals begin with script and music.

This project has received funding support from CKCA and CBT.