Theatrical Families

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Theatrical Families

Hope, CanadaCanada
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Community Theatre group to bring together people from all walks of life.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Our community of Hope is very small and very isolated from other towns. People don't always have transportation/gas money to take advantage of theatrical shows being offered in larger communities. Also, we have high rates of low literacy in Hope, language barriers, and a community with high rates of unemployment. The group I have started welcomes community members from childhood right up to senior citizens. The group is comprised of both individuals and families. For the individuals it gives them a sense of family and reduces isolation, for the families it brings them together with a sense of participation and accomplishment. Theatre has no barriers, as the magic of creating rises above language, culture, age or has a language all it's own.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Theatre helps communities come together for a specific cause. Businesses help with the advertising, artisans help with the sets, community support is vital to the final show. Through participating in a show, literacy levels are raised, creativity is challenged, community members bond and support each other, people of different ages, education levels, cultures, and financial differences are brought together on a level playing field. The theatre has always been used to inform the masses about current events, social issues and current modes of thought. It is an instructional tool used to help people think in a broader way and to understand from a different perspective than their own. My solution is to have more and more people in this small town become involved in the theatre, to begin to write plays of their own (I have written and directed the last 3 shows we have done) and to increase the skill level and self esteem of all involved through workshops, classes and performances.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

One specific example of how my solution makes a difference is through the story of one teenage girl. She joined the theatre group because she had a crush on one of the boys in the group. To begin with she was so painfully shy that she could only blush and barely speak when asked a question. She was picked on at school and had a very difficult home life. Through her association with the theatre group she made friends and found encouragement and support. In our last performance she braced herself to sing a song and even though she had barely a whisper of a voice to begin with, and several times tried to back out, the cast just kept encouraging her. She sang in front of audience of 150 people and has taken on a speaking part in our current show. Our primary activities at the moment focus on performing three different shows a year. Our last show, Memories of Music, we performed at a local school, then took it out to the Thunderbird (residence for homeless citizens, where 17 of the 25 occupants came to watch) and then took it to a local Seniors home. The last two groups of people would probably not been able to attend a performance if it had not been brought to them. There was some concern about taking the show to the homeless shelter because of rumours and stereotyping. It was a huge success and the residents were all smiles and compliments. Theatre is about bringing people together in a shared experience.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Free Rein Associates and New Page Human Services Society support community initiatives around literacy. They completely support our theatre group and understand how people have different methods of learning. While they increase knowledge through computer classes, ESL, conversation circles, we address the artistic side of human learning. We really don't have any competitors here as we are the only theatre group running here in Hope. Many of the businesses and service groups support us through donations towards the rental of the stage, sets, props, and doorprizes.

Founding Story

When I arrived in Hope I tried to find a theatre group to join and found out there wasn't one. I was told that people in Hope really didn't get involved in too much and there was no way I would get enough people interested to even put on a show. Here was a challenge. I knew the importance of community theatre in changing lives and bringing people together. I sensed an apathy in people who said it had been tried in the past but hadn't been successful. Envision Financial had given the Art Council a grant for their Winterfest Celebration and I asked the Art Council if they would financially support a Christmas Pantomime and the door money would go to them as a fundraiser. They were dubious, but agreed. Through word of mouth and by sometimes literally pulling people in off the street we raised a cast of 30 men, women and children with little or no acting experience. The show ran for three nights, 1/2 full audience, then 3/4 full and then a sell out show on the final day.