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Drama@Ross plays to tackle acceptance, gender stereotypes, racism and stigma in schools this fall

MEDIA RELEASE
August 29, 2017


GUELPH, Ontario – Drama@Ross has a long and rich tradition of providing educational and entertaining plays for its audiences. At Ross, drama as an educational tool to support learning and are proud of what we offer our elementary and secondary panels year in and year. We are also thrilled to offer our productions to the public and to communities throughout the southwestern Ontario region. Our touring company brings plays of social significance to thousands of students in the province in order to bring attention to many issues facing students today.

Drama@Ross has been recognized with countless awards throughout the years including representing Canada, on four different occasions, internationally as one of the top 10 productions in the world as adjudicated by the International Thespian Society, a part of the Educational Theatre Association.

We are excited to offer you two productions that we can bring to your school this 2017/18 school year. Both productions are directed by Tom Slater, the Co-Head of Arts and Co-Director of RECAP, and feature the talents of students from our enriched acting and technical streams. The tours will begin in November 2017.

New Canadian Kid is written by critically acclaimed Canadian playwright Dennis Foon. The production is 35 minutes in length and is suitable for Grades 3-12. While this play was written awhile ago, it’s themes have become new again because of the refugee/immigration issues.

“Hello, my name is Nick.” What is it like when your whole world is turned upside down and everything is strange? Exuberant and touching, the play uses a clever language twist that allows us to truly share Nick’s experiences as he makes friends, learns a new language, and adjusts to change. Dealing with acceptance, bullying, immigration, racism, tolerance, conflict, resolution, and relocation, this is one of Canada’s most widely produced plays and its universal message of inter-cultural harmony has been lauded by critics and audiences everywhere.

“Worldmindedness is no longer a luxury but a necessity for survival in the new millennium. Encountering diverse viewpoints and perspectives engenders, too, a richer understanding of the self.” (Global Teacher, Global Learner – p. 12)

Curriculum Connections: The Arts, Physical and Health Education, Humanities, English, Languages, Guidance, E.S.L.
Themes: name-calling, bullying, racism, tolerance, acceptance

Out in the Open is written by critically acclaimed Canadian playwright Dave Deveau. This 50 minute production uses humour to discuss serious subjects using teenage vernacular: homosexuality, stigma and acceptance. The play is suitable for Grades 7-12. This play deals with the topic of homosexuality, a topic that should not be an issue anymore, but still is prevalent in schools and our society. It will definitely spark discussions.

Out in the Open follows best friends Adam and Stephen as they head off for a weekend camping trip. Stephen hates the outdoors, getting dirty, and most of all the thought of going a day without indoor plumbing. However, Adam convinces him to get out of the city and enjoy the outdoors. While lost in the forest we see how these two interact and how gender stereotypes have these two boys stuck in roles they aren’t sure they fit in. Stephen is clean cut, fashion conscious and sophisticated while Adam is laid back, sloppy and girl crazy. That is until the moment when the truth is finally revealed. One of them has a secret they have been hiding for fear of losing everything they know as ‘normal’. Both of their worlds are changed forever and the boundaries of stigma, acceptance and friendship are pushed.

Out in the Open explores the experience of having to reveal a truth about yourself that others may not understand or agree with. The idea that what you say could change things forever is terrifying, whether you are the one revealing or receiving the secret.

“Anti-homophobia education works towards ensuring the physical safety of every student and that each student has a safe environment in which to learn. It is a legal and moral responsibility. Homophobia fosters, condones, and turns a blind eye to violence and hate.” – Equity & Inclusive Education Resource Kit for Ontario high schools (GSA) 

Curriculum Connections: H&PE, Safe Schools, The Arts, Social Sciences & the Humanities, Guidance & Career Education, Gender Studies
Themes: Homosexuality, gender stereotypes, acceptance, homophobia, stigma, ally, labels, betrayal

If you would like to preview the shows and/or book one or both these productions, please contact Tom Slater at: tom.slater@ugdsb.on.ca.

In bringing these plays to you, we hope that each school will commit to pre-show as well as post-show educational opportunities for your students because the productions cannot be the “be all and end all” of the education process; they are just a springboard for discussion and change.

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For more information:
Tom Slater, Co-Head of Arts and Co-Director of RECAP
John F. Ross CVI, UGDSB
tom.slater@ugdsb.on.ca

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