Education News Spring 2018 - Page 20

Globe Theatre performers and playwright perform and discuss Us musical for Arts Ed students A make-shift theatre in the round set the stage for Globe Theatre actors to perform short excerpts of Us for Arts Ed students and faculty. On Friday, March 2, a make-shift theatre in the round in the Faculty of Education drama room set the stage for Globe Theatre Actors Daniel Fong, Angela Kemp, David Light, and Kaitlyn Semple as well as Performance Pianist Craig Salkeld to perform two short excerpts from the Us musical, which was being performed at the Globe Theatre Main Stage. “Us is a heartwarming, brand new musical that explores what happens when LGBTQ+ youth come together in a group of peers at a summer camp. Created by award-winning playwright and radio producer Kelley Jo Burke and internationally renowned singer- songwriter-pianist Jeffery Straker, Us is an uplifting play about “coming in”—finding acceptance within yourself and in your community” (Globe Theatre). Arts Ed students were privileged to be part of this up-close performance and discussion as part of their PLACE experience. Alumna Kelley Jo Burke talked about her experience at Camp fYrefly, where she had made herself available to listen to any LGBTQ+ youth and counsellors who wanted to talk about their experiences of coming together at summer camp, the research she drew on in writing the script for this fictional play. Other members of the creative team, such as Director and Musical Director Valerie Ann Pearson and Set and Costume Designer Wes D. Pearce, discussed the thought behind decisions made in each of their areas of development of the musical. A panel presentation followed the performance moderated by Dr. Kathryn Ricketts. Panel participants discussed the importance of the play (and summer camp) for youth who have identified as LGBTQ+, who are needing to find an “Us” to which they belong, and the group also addressed current issues around diversity and inclusion. Playwright and alumna Kelley Jo Burke talked about her experience at Camp fYrefly, where approximately 30 LGBTQ+ youth and counselors accepted her invitation to listen to them talk about their experiences of coming together at summer camp, research she drew on in writing the script for this fictional play. Participants in the panel discussion included Professor Emeritus James McNinch (director of Camp fYrefly), members of the creative team, and educators. Page 20