Community theatre production preparations well underway

Flying Arrow Productions putting on play written and performed by locals that looks at multiculturalism in Revelstoke.

Flying Arrow Productions community theatre project features actors ranging from age seven to age 70.

Flying Arrow Productions community theatre project features actors ranging from age seven to age 70.

By Anita Hallewas, Flying Arrow Productions

Flying Arrow Productions is mid-way into rehearsals for a production that will launch at the Revelstoke Railway Museum next month.

This production will be the first of its kind for Revelstoke. To begin with, the play has been researched through a series of theatre workshops with local community members aged three to 90. The play is site specific, which means the script was written to be specifically performed in the Revelstoke Railway Museum, and it has been written as collaboration between a large group of locals, many who are first time writers and performers.

The idea for this project began after I read in the Revelstoke Review that 51 per cent of Revelstokians didn’t want the newly sponsored – and still yet to arrive – Syrian refugee family to come to our town. The hesitation in welcoming this family suggested there were some important conversations to be had with community members:

How do locals feel about sponsoring a refugee family?

Why do they feel this way?

How as a community can we build more empathy for others?

How can we look at our own history to put perspective on our current situation?

I see theatre as a great way to discuss, explore and start conversations. This project began in September with theatre workshops across the community to start a conversation. The workshops were designed to gather thoughts and ideas on the topics surrounding the refugee crisis and, more specifically to Revelstoke, on how Revelstoke can become a more welcoming and inclusive community.

Photo: The play was written to take place inside the Revelstoke Railway Museum.

I conducted 19 workshops over three months. Workshops were held with pre-schoolers at the library, with school-aged children at Begbie View Elementary, and with young people, adults and seniors on afternoons, evenings and weekends.

As the workshops progressed, the groups and I learned more about what they felt was important to discuss and share with each other and what the group wanted to share with the wider community.

Our next step was to take what we learned at the workshop phase and turn that into a play. We took ideas from the workshops such as conversations, triggers, photos, historical lessons and more and began sculpting a script.

We are now just three weeks away from performance and are excited to share what we have created with the community. The play tells the story of two teenagers who, while on a tour of the museum, end up meeting characters from the past, present and future to learn from their lived experiences.

The play features heavily from Revelstoke’s past, includes more than 20 local performers between seven and 70 years old, and will involve short vignettes, improvisation, song and movement to tell a story.

The launch of this truly local production will be on February 11, 2017, at the Revelstoke Railway Museum. There will be showings at 4.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m., with an opportunity for audience to share ideas and feedback with the team.

Tickets are free but limited, and are available via email at heather.flyingarrowproductions@gmail.ca and by phone at 250-814-8066.