A really big show coming out of the pandemic seems better than what the doctor could order for a breath of fresh air.
There’s a lot of creative young talent in North Cowichan and surrounding communities and it’s Stephanie Roth’s plan to harness some of that into a production that will lift spirits when it’s so badly needed.
“I received a grant from Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society and am building a variety show casting local youth who will create the show together and then perform the show at the Chemainus Health Care Centre for the seniors,” explained Roth.
“The timeline is spring/summer at the moment,” she added.
“There is this exciting opportunity happening with no cost to anyone who wants to audition to participate.”
Through her Stephanie Roth Performing Arts Studio, she’s looking for eight young people between 13 and 17 years old who love to perform and sing. Roth will be the creative team director/choreographer and husband Kraig Waye the music director.
Both are extremely well known in the region for their numerous appearances at the Chemainus Theatre.
The program that’s eventually created is expected to run one hour to 75 minutes.
“I’m so excited to be able to do this,” said Roth. “When I was younger I used to go into the long-term homes on a regular basis to sit and read and sing.”
The chosen cast will write the show together, rehearse it and perform for residents at the Chemainus Health Care Centre when all restrictions are lifted. There will also be an honorarium of $50 for each of the cast members for their interest, effort and contribution to the seniors community and the added bonus of a potential performance at the Chemainus Band Shell in the summer.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for the youth of the area to give back and entertain our seniors who have been so alone during COVID,” Roth pointed out.
She’ll be utilizing Room No. 19 at the Saltair Community Centre as the location to write and rehearse the show.
Interested teens will have to act fast because the due date for submissions is March 7. Rehearsals will begin March 28, with regular sessions each Monday from 6:15-8:15 p.m.
For those making submissions, Roth would like a note in an email about each prospective participant, experience, location and reasons for wanting to contribute to the production.
Audition requirements will also include submitting a self-tape of candidates singing two short, contrasting, contemporary musical theatre songs. Self-taping guidelines are to use an iphone in landscape position, with an accompaniment on a second device placed at a distance so your voice can be heard clearly.
Names of each person and the name of the song to be sung should be included at the start of the tape.
Roth’s vision and the benefits of her proposal are very clear.
“Live performances are a powerful tool to provide connection, community and positive experiences,” she explains. “In today’s climate of COVID-19, wellness is a constant worry, especially for seniors who have been alone for so long. This is an opportunity to bring people together; the younger generation with the older generation and create a new experience by engaging our youth and uplifting our seniors through music, song, dance, laughter and stories.”
The benefits for youth with a project like this are also to engage, inspire, create a sense of community, a sense of inclusion, confidence and support a creative outlet that otherwise might not be available. The benefits to the seniors and all who work at the centre will show them people care and it’s important to come together and share in an enjoyable experience created just for them.
“Maybe it’s a permanent thing and we can share this with other centres in our communities, not just in Chemainus,” proposed Roth. “Music brings so much joy to so many people so we should be sharing this.”
The exact date will, of course, depend on the COVID-19 situation, but it’s Roth’s hope to do it in the summer or even sooner.
“Hopefully, they can be allowed to sing by then,” said Dale Cochrane, the activity coordinator at the Chemainus Health Care Centre, who’s excited to hear the news of the plan.