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Cancer Clinic Winter Workshop Series

In the fall of 2000, we ran a Saturday afternoon drama workshop series for the children and siblings of the Kingston Regional Cancer Centre. This workshop series was aimed primarily at the involvement of children with cancer and their siblings, but we also invited children who are in remission or who have been cured of cancer, and children from the Kingston area who have little or no experience with cancer.

Each workshop focused on a different theatre arts topic, including mask work, movement, and puppetry. Supported and encouraged by the children's cancer clinic, the workshop series was well received. We maintain our ties with the cancer clinic and we hope to offer them more drama workshops and events in the future.

The Polar Project

In the winter of 2000, we gathered together a group of adult actors to create and perform a dramatic adaptation of the well-known children's story The Polar Express, by Jumanji author Chris Van Allsburg. This 30-minute extremely low-tech performance was highly dependent upon the actors' skilled use of body and voice to create both scene and character. The cast of eight took the audience through high mountains, dark forests, and vast polar ice caps on a journey to a North Pole alive with hundreds of elves. The magical production was much enjoyed by families at the Kingston Regional Cancer Centre's annual Christmas party. An additional successful performance was offered for the general public. We hope to revive this production for performance in the winter of 2001.

New Canadian Kid

That's what we are! And not only was the title appropriate, but this fantastic play gave our audiences much to think, and laugh, about. Written by well-known Canadian children's playwright Dennis Foon, New Canadian Kid was performed to delighted audiences in May of 2001.

New Canadian Kid is about a boy, Nick, who immigrates to Canada from "Homeland". It is about the value and strength of friendship, the difficulties immigrants face when coming to a new country, and the celebration of individual and cultural diversity. In the world of the play, Nick cannot speak English. The actor playing Nick, however, does speak English while Nick's Canadian classmates speak a gibberish language. This hilarious and intelligent device is used to put the audience in Nick's place.

Our production of New Canadian Kid was complemented by a short prologue created by the eleven children of our Young Actors Program. The ten-minute piece explored the issues of the play, such as bullying, being new, and feeling different. Based on the children's own experiences, the prologue was full of heart and provided the audience with the reality behind the fiction.

The production also featured an original song, "Here's to New Canadian Kids", with lyrics and music written by Sarah Gibson-Bray who played Mother. The cast of New Canadian Kid, along with the children of the Young Actors Program, performed the song together.

Big Sisters day camp project

In August of 2001, Artistic and Managing Director Kirsi Rossborough ran a drama portion to the Big Sisters of Kingston day camp. The girls met with Kirsi for two afternoons and created a 20-minute show about how they were special. The fantastic show was performed at the end of the week to an enthusiastic audience of parents and friends. The iSTORM Children's Theatre Company hopes to reconnect with Big Sisters on future projects.

Not So Dumb

The iSCTC production of John Lazarus's Not So Dumb took to the stage in November of 2001. Engaging and entertaining, Not So Dumb is about three 10-year olds who discover they have no teacher, an unlocked filing cabinet, and a lot to learn about each other. Although the play explores specific issues concerning learning disabilities and schoolyard stereotypes, it is fundamentally about the human experience of being and feeling different.
The show included a prologue written and performed by the children of our Young Actors Program. The 20-minute piece entitled "It's a Jungle Out There" was created by the children based on their own ideas and stories in relation to the themes of Not So Dumb. With a gossiping parrot, a dragon who breathes Skittles, Mayor Hippo, and even Tiger Woods, the delightful prologue opened our show with warmth and humour.
The performance was concluded with a musical finale performed by both the children and the adult cast. This African chant-like piece, written and directed by Robin Attas, encouraged the audience to be proud of themselves and their diverse community.

Out of the Spotlight

In March of 2002, Kingston was the lucky witness to a spectacular event: the debut of Canada's latest pop sensation, K-Town! Created from scratch by a cast of six and written specifically for Kingston pre-teens, Out of the Spotlight centers on the formation and fame of K-Town, a group of teens in line to be the next big thing. Brought together by hard-nosed manager Synergy, the K-Town teens - Roxy, Tommy, Alexandria, Cindy, and Lil' D - struggle to maintain their integrity in a sea of demands and expectations. With humour and honesty, Out of the Spotlight explores issues of self-identity, conformity, stereotypes, peer and social pressure, and the conflict between individuality and public image. Audiences enjoyed the musical numbers, complete with choreography and live musical performance, almost as much as the cast loved to perform them. An autograph session held at the Kingston Centre the weekend before the show allowed kids to meet the band and find out more about the play, and gave our actors a chance to have fun improvising as their pop star alter egos. Stay tuned for a possible K-Town reunion show!

ISTORM Children's Theatre Company