Youtheatre bringing anxiety, depression into spotlight

Ashley Thompson
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The Mermaid Youtheatre is looking to thrust the topic of teens living with anxiety and depression into the spotlight. (Submitted photo)

The Mermaid Youtheatre is seeking funding for a project that will thrust the topic of teens living with anxiety and depression into the spotlight.

Co-ordinator Kaleigh Heide is in the process of visiting local schools to recruit for the Mermaid Youtheatre’s Beyond Blue Project, an endeavour that will challenge youth involved to create a performance that explores the topics of teens living with anxiety and depression.

“They’ll be able to express their realities and do that in a creative way, which sometimes is a great release for people who are struggling with mental health challenges,” Heide said.

Mermaid Youtheatre, a program founded by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia in 1990, allows young people to take ownership of a performance, work with guidance from industry experts to shape it from start to finish, and spread important messages through live theatre.

“We’ve had great success with reaching young people. I think one of the reasons why is that the mandate is basically allowing young people to express their own realities and speak to each other, so it’s youth speaking to youth,” Heide said.  

Heide is looking for a core group of young people willing to meet once a week.

“The whole time Mermaid Youtheatre has been running, we’ve had a wide variety of kids with acting experience, and kids without,” she said.

She says the group, which will be known as The Circle, will develop a theatrical piece that will be presented at local schools, medical conferences and Dalhousie University’s High School Drama Festival. 

“It’s up to them what the show looks like.”

Dr. Lorraine Lazier, a clinical psychiatrist with the IWK, is also involved in the project to ensure the information presented in the final package is accurate, Heide noted.

Above all, Heide says Beyond Blue is about empowering teens and working toward positive change.

The Beyond Blue Project, slated to begin later this month, is vying for online votes to stay alive in the Aviva Community Fund competition. The project must receive more votes than others entered to make it past the semi-finals. The last round of voting started Nov. 12, and closes Dec. 2.

To help Mermaid Youtheatre’s Beyond Blue Project remain in the race for funding, visit www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf16083

Organizations: Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, The Circle, Dalhousie University Aviva Community Fund

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