Arts Orillia’s Youth Project – Theatre & Cross Creativity 2024

Arts Orillia's youth project

Have you heard about what Arts Orillia (AO) is doing with youth? In February AO brought 400 students to celebrate Black History Month at the Orillia Opera House for a performance called Black in Canada. This winter, AO also launched Global Steps in Simcoe County schools. This workshop teaches children about people, history, and culture through dance.

In March, Arts Orillia brought Water Monument; a project that included a comprehensive study unit for Grade 6, 7 and 8 students about the Lake Simcoe watershed. Students took pictures of ice and salt and created a collaborative sculpture collage by assembling each individual student’s artistic work.

Arts Orillia is also at the Orillia Youth Centre every Thursday from 4 – 5:30 with Creative Youth Lab, a digital art class. And this year the company has launched a multidisciplinary summer art camp that has a 1 to 6 instructor: youth ratio, with artists as instructors, and which offers family subsidies for fees!

This May, Arts Orillia is ready to initiate yet another youth focused project. You may remember “Theatre and Cross Creativity” from last year. The idea behind this platform is to use theatre as a tool for civic change. In 2023, AO invited a group of seniors to collaborate with a group of young people to share stories and put them on stage with the help of Directors Clara McBride and Iain Mogach. The opportunity created an intergenerational bridging moment and a great performance that was all the things – heartwarming, emotional – and personal to our own community.

This year AO has invited Forum Theatre expert Simon Malbogat of Mixed Company Theatre to collaboratively create a performance with youth that will expose and give voice to the concerns and hopes that youth have for the future. We’re looking for five youth who are interested in sharing their perspectives through a creative process that will end with a play.

Malbogat has been a key player in Canada’s theatre scene for over 25 years and has provided workshops, creation, direction and facilitation for vulnerable communities in Canada and abroad. Mixed Company Theatre (MCT) began as an artist-run collective in 1983. As Artistic Director, Simon Malbogat, trained with activist, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and founder of Theatre of the Oppressed August Boal and in 1991, Augusto appointed Mixed Company as the first official Forum Theatre Centre in Canada.

Theatre of the Oppressed and Forum Theatre are powerful tools recognized by UNESCO for their impact in community dialogue and social change. MCT developed Canada’s first forum theatre works in collaboration with Toronto’s communities. Today, MCT has created over 160 Forum Theatre (FT) and Community Arts productions with people of all ages and backgrounds.

A $300 stipend is available for each participating youth. Please note that previous experience in theatre is NOT a requirement. Arts Orillia welcomes and encourages individuals of all artistic and creative backgrounds to apply!

Interested participants must be between the ages of 15 and 23. The rehearsal period is from May 6th – 10th and May 13th – 16th, every day from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House. The performance runs on May 17th at 7:30 p.m. If you or someone you know would like to participate, reach out to Arts Orillia here.

Beyond this Forum Theatre creative process, Arts Orillia is pleased to announce that Malbogat will offer workshops in six highschools in our local Simcoe County area.


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