A first-hand look at the lives of small-town, rural teenagers was performed at the Royal Canadian Legion (Perth-Upon-Tay branch, 26 Beckwith Street East, Perth) on Saturday, April 18, 2015. This performance followed 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.
“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.”
The play featured Kaija Evangelho, Kaley McQuillan, Tara Kreissler and Kai Archer, with set design by Patti Vopni, production and sound design support by Matthew Behrens, and direction by Laurel Smith.
“Listen Up, Perth” was supported by:
Basilian Human Development Fund
Kiwanis Club of Perth-on-Tay
First Baptist Church, Perth
Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul
The Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception
The Royal Canadian Legion, Perth
St. James the Apostle Anglican Church