The vibrant theatre community in Whitehorse is making room for some new, budding talent.
After years of bringing innovative and imaginative works to local stages, Gwaandak Theatre presents youth with the chance to tell their own stories through the Uth Ink project.
“There’s some youth who might have been in the [Music Arts and Drama] program, so they might already know they like to express themselves through theatre. But there might be other youth who just haven’t had the chance yet to see how much fun it is to tell their own stories,” says Patti Flather, co-artistic director for Gwaandak.
Uth Ink is a youth arts project supported by the Playwrights Guild of Canada and [murmur], a documentary oral history project based out of Toronto. And Gwaandak has joined on to bring the project North of 60.
Uth Ink unites the craft of writing a play with a sense of community, by providing a platform for youth to write the tales of their hometown.
From 2007 to 2010, the project will be brought to life in numerous communities in Ontario, as well as in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and begins in Whitehorse this February.
Gwaandak is calling all youth between the ages of 13 and 17 to apply and up to 15 applicants will be selected to write, recite and record their plays.
Flather, a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, says when she heard about Uth Ink, she thought it was a great direction for Gwaandak and would be a perfect fit for Whitehorse.
“It’s a really concrete way for a young person to start writing because sometimes when you’re just beginning, you think ‘What am I going to write about? I don’t know where to start, I have total writer’s block,'” she says.
“And if you think about a place in your neighbourhood, a place where you and your friends hang out, a place that means something to you, then you think, ‘That’s a great starting point for a scene in a play.'”
Participants will have the opportunity to work with professional playwright Celia McBride to tweak their creation, with further assistance from facilitator Lauren Tuck. Gwaandak is also hiring a youth arts facilitator to assist in the process.
The writers will create their plays and then record them at the CBC Yukon studios. From there the recited works will be available online and at site-specific locations.
“So if you set your play in the skateboard park and somebody walks by and sees a sign there, then they can dial in on their cell phone and hear that play,” Flather explains.
She says opportunities like this are so important for youth to establish their own voice in the community and shout out their viewpoints.
Furthermore, she reiterates that applicants need not worry about the length of their resume. Experienced or inexperienced … all writers and their stories are welcome.
“Our community is so diverse. We have people from so many different ancestries here and we have so many neighbourhoods that are so different, too. So I think it’s a way to be really inclusive and get a lot of different voices and perspectives on what Whitehorse is.”
To apply to Uth Ink, go online to www.uthinkers.ca or call Gwaandak Theatre at 393-2878. Applications must be in by Feb. 6.