Youth cause a Commotion devising new theatre plays

The Campaign for a Bold New Brock

Youth cause a Commotion devising new theatre plays

Aug. 24, 2009

A Brock University professor has teamed up with a Niagara theatre company to start a teen theatre group that will culminate in a festival of new, teen-created plays in summer 2011.

Gyllian Raby, associate professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts — part of the University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts — has formed the Commotion Youth Theatre Project in partnership with Pablo Felices-Luna, artistic director of the Carousel Players, and TALK Niagara (Teams of Adults Listening to Kids).

Commotion will be a series of teen-created productions involving 60 students from Niagara high schools, plus five Brock University students. The group will create five new plays and a new youth theatre festival.

The plays will help youth express what they can teach us about the world, said Raby, who has organized theatre with groups from Newfoundland to Whitehorse.

“The techniques used in our theatre work with teens will provide strong tools for inspiring creativity and self expression,” she said.

The professional production values and use of the Sullivan Mahoney Studio — a theatre dedicated to youth — will “create an environment where teens can really be heard,” said Felices-Luna.

Commotion is supported by a $140,277 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. During the project, Raby will study the decisions of the University students facilitating the team creations, while TALK Niagara will bring together young audiences, educators and community decision makers for the showcases. TALK Niagara is an umbrella group of 15 community organizations, including the Gay and Lesbian Youth Association, the Resource Association for Teens (RAFT) youth shelter and the District School Board of Niagara.

Drama teachers interested in participating can call the Carousel Players at 905-682-8236 x 24 to learn more.