By Suzzanne Pautler
Drumming, movement, expression, emotion, and ensemble combined to create a powerful opening act for the Thompson’s Thespians Showcase II, “Tell it Right.” Student voices shared narratives and statistics to promote child rights including: gender equality, clean water, food, healthcare, education, religious equality, freedom from illegal transfer abroad, racial equality, physical protection, and recreation. There is great strength and power when child voices promote child rights!
Imagine sitting in a black box theatre, focused on the actors all dressed in black. A teenager speaks on behalf of other teens around the world by stating they “get paid low wages because of their ages.” Another shares with the audience that it’s not fair and we must “stop child labour.”
In addition to live performance, two small groups had performed previously in front of a green screen. This was altered in post-production by 11th grader Jay Nagjee using advanced technology to superimpose the actors on a variety of backgrounds. The end result is one video short on child trafficking and the other on humanity. A level of wisdom, maturity, and readiness exists amongst these young actors to be able to share such meaningful and weighty messages.
Sixteen young actors, as well as a tech team of three and publicity team of four, collectively shared their talents and resources to share powerful messages of social justice. They organized props, costumes, stage make-up, set changes, sound and light design and operation, video coverage and social media interviews. They memorized lines and created improvisation for short scenes. They supported one another throughout the journey and the evening’s showcase.
Necessary Arts continually promotes social justice through the arts channelled through the voices of our youth. One actor reflects that “it’s inspiring to be part of a positive message.” While another explains, “we get to make a change in the world through our performances.”
When young people have the creativity, innovation, commitment and power to share messages of social justice, and strive to tell it right we must listen!