Friday night a group of Nelson youth participating in the Gender Action Project will perform live at SelfDesign High.
Rumours and Just a Friend, interactive forum theatre pieces about gender issues, are the result of a ten-week long workshop series facilitated by the Nelson Women’s Centre and supported by SelfDesign High and the Columbia Basin Trust. They are entirely written and performed by teens aged 14 to 18.
Unlike ordinary theatre, forum is a space where the community is invited to be a part of the action onstage. These plays don’t have neat and tidy resolutions — they end in crisis. Then the audience is asked to respond, by offering alternatives, options, and choices to the characters, attempting to change the outcome.
It is an exercise in collective problem-solving, community responsibility, and self-exploration. Together, you get a chance to look deeply at issues people in our community face, and explore ways you can help address these problems together.
The Gender Action Project is facilitated by the West Kootenay Women’s Association, an organization with a 40-year history in the region, that works to promote gender justice and equality, and seeks to create supportive space for women in our community.
The Nelson Women’s Centre hosts a drop-in three days a week where women can access free food and clothing, counselling, referrals and advocacy.
The Gender Action Project was initiated in the hopes of extending this supportive space to youth, and learning together how to address gender justice issues in the younger generation.
Ten youth from the Nelson area participated in workshops this winter and spring, bringing their stories together to write the two pieces which will be performed tonight. It has been a powerful and inspiring learning process for all involved, and the work of these youth will be honoured and built upon by the community attending the performance.
The performance is at SelfDesign High (402 Victoria Street). Admission is by donation to the Women’s Centre, and doors open at 7 p.m.