WHO does it touch?
The Screaming Monkeys are made up of a variety of our friends. Some have always dreamt of acting, some were in their high school productions but haven't done much since, one of our team has performed at Massey Hall and Stage West, while still others are just looking to try their hand at something new.
When it comes to putting on a production, it is important for the actors to be able to make and keep commitments to memorization of lines as well as to attendance at rehearsals and performances. Many of our community are not yet in a space to make commitments like this and so are unable to participate. But for those who are willing and able, it is a great gift!
Since the drama program began we have had over 20 actors involved in at least one of our plays. We have 6 who have performed in multiple shows - this kind of consistency is a definite goal.
Through the Arts Extravaganzas, we have been able to share the gift of drama within our community with likely over 500 friends and supporters.
WHAT do we do?
Short Plays and skits
We have produced 10 shows to date for 3 to 6 actors and focus on engaging people either in acting or helping out behind the scenes.
Held three times annually, these are the primary venues in which our productions find their audience. For each extravaganza, we work up one or two plays and perform them two nights in a row. Our works have been enthusiastically received by 150 - 200 of our friends and guests at each of these events.
HOW do we do it?
Rather than operating on a project-by-project basis (as most theatre initiatives geared toward the "poor" do), we have a full-time and long-term commitment to offering a drama program to our community, and are cultivating a similar commitment from our participating community members.
Since community is our primary focus, it is important for us not to focus on the number or length of the shows, or the level of performance. We can focus, instead on calling people "higher up and further in" through the dramatic process.
WHY does it matter?
It is important, for each of us to feel that we are being heard...that we have a voice. while most of us take this for granted, many of our friends who live on or near the streets don't enjoy that luxury. Instead, they are often disregarded, shoved aside, overlooked...not heard. This contributes vastly to their sense of health and value. Dramatic expression gives them an opportunity to be heard and, even more, to have their voice celebrated and affirmed. This experience increase their overall sense of health which allows them, in turn, to be healthier participants in and contributors to the Sanctuary community.
As well, street life often reflects an attitude of "every man for himself". The essential gifts of interdependence, trust and mutuality are rarely cultivated or valued. Being involved with others in a drama production is a powerful way of developing these values. Actors depend on one another for the right lines; the director depends on the actors to execute well; everyone relies on the stage-hands to do their part. A drama production, properly executed, is a beautiful microcosm of healthy community.