A stage for acceptance

Coast Captial Savings donation sets in motion a youth theatre program that will tackle multi-culturalism

Tori Dmytar looks like what's she's eating doesn't agree with her. She is a cast member in the upcoming presention of The Forgotten Children

Tori Dmytar looks like what's she's eating doesn't agree with her. She is a cast member in the upcoming presention of The Forgotten Children

A $5,000 donation from Coast Capital Savings to the Mary Winspear Centre is leading the way in support of a new performing arts program for area youth.

The donation, announced Monday by the Centre, will soon be followed by a grant from the provincial government, says the Centre’s development co-ordinator, Lynn Fanelli.

“That one promises to be quite a large sum,” she told the News Review.

She added that cash infusion will likely get the program fully-funded, but could say no more at this time.

Fanelli did say the Centre is excited about the program, called Why am I different, with a focus on issues of acceptance.

“We have always handled some social issues — bullying and the effect of technology on children — but perhaps it’s not as large as this issue,” she said.

Why am I different will focus on issues of racism, multiculturalism and diversity. Children from the area’s school districts will have input into the program, creating performances that reflect some of the problems they deal with each day. The Centre is working with Margaret Watt, instructor and principal at Mountain Dream Productions in staging the plays.

“She is really amazing, working with the kids,” said Fanelli.

Children from a variety of backgrounds are rehearsing for a production of The Forgotten Children in January — the first of five planned shows in 20012/2013. Fanelli said while older youth (ages 11 to 18) will be mainly the ones on stage, younger children (6 to 10) will help with the overall program, on stage and behind the scenes. Twenty to 25 children will be involved directly, said Fanelli, and more will be bused in to be part of the audience. She estimates the program will reach up to 4,000 youth, as they take the shows on the road in the new year.

The Forgotten Children will be on stage at the Mary Winspear Centre Jan. 25 and 26. For details, visit www.marywinspear.ca.