An first-hand look at the lives of small-town, rural teenagers will be performed at the Royal Canadian Legion (Perth-Upon-Tay branch, 26 Beckwith Street East, Perth) on Saturday, April 18 at 2 pm. This performance follows on its enthusiastic debut at a recent national conference in Ottawa, where hundreds of delegates representing youth centres from across the country gathered for their annual meeting.
“Listen Up, Perth!” is an eye-opening exploration of what happens in the lives of typical teenagers – often outside the view of adults – as they deal with stress, anxiety, depression, abuse, and other problems, alongside the hope that sustains them through the most difficult times. Conceived by a group of four young people working in tandem with professional theatre director Laurel Smith of Burning Passions Theatre (the parent company of the summertime Classic Theatre Festival), the hour-long show, including a post-show talkback, addresses a variety of topics in a way that puts a human face on what are often dry social science terms.
“We have been truly privileged to work with this group of teenagers who have put so much effort and care into crafting scenes that depict the challenges, struggles, and joys of their lives and those of their friends,” says Smith, whose project has been supported by a range of organizations that recognize the importance of projecting young voices into the community, including the Ontario Arts Council, The Basilian Human Development Fund, Kiwanis Club of Perth-on-Tay, the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, and the Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. “Listen Up, Perth!” has also received generous in-kind support from the The Royal Canadian Legion, First Baptist Church, St. James the Apostle Anglican Church, and The Hub, all located in Perth.
“For a lot of us in the so-called adult world, teenagers are invisible. Often youth can hide what’s going on underneath, whether they are dealing with abusive parents, homelessness, drugs, or the lack of opportunities in their lives,” says Smith. “This play is intended to open up a dialogue with community elders, to challenge us to respond to what they are saying and doing.”
Admission to the April 18 performance at 2pm at the Legion in Perth is by donation, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. For more information, call 613-264-8088 or email [email protected]