Leading Tone Arts Productions
Syncretic Arts Workshop
In January 2001, Human Resources Development Canada approached Leading Tone to ask if we could address the needs of Youth in our rural community. Leading Tone responded by offering DoorWays 2001 a five-month inter-generational arts workshop for "youth at risk" and seniors (April September). DoorWays involved a daily series of arts workshops in which sixteen youth gave voice to their issues and concerns through performances integrating movement, sound and sculpture. These works were toured to seniors' homes, festivals and art galleries in our region and met with very enthusiastic response from all sectors.
Under the direction of Amanta Scott and David Tomlinson, the youth presented a total of 25 performances during their 22 weeks with DoorWays, achieving a high standard of performance well received by diverse audiences of all ages. At the program conclusion the youth were clearly empowered, demonstrating increased self-esteem, confidence and collaborative problem solving skills in a public Open House presentation with performances scheduled throughout the day.
DoorWays 2001 fostered a symbiotic relationship between youth and seniors, presented a vehicle for self-discovery and encouraged the development of work-related skills.
Youth participants were drawn from the communities of: Little Britain • Omemee • Bobcaygeon • Fenelon Falls • Bethany • and Lindsay.
DoorWays 2001 revolved around the creation of a series of performances based on issues relevant and important to the youth.
DoorWays 2001 was presented throughout the City of Kawartha Lakes and beyond, in:
* Curve Lake
* Port Perry
Performances integrated music, movement and visual art, and were presented at 25 different venues including art galleries, museums, festivals, fairs, and seniors homes.
DoorWays even won a medal for "Best Musical Float/ Best Music" in the RiverFest parade.
Performing for seniors proved to be one of the main highlights of the program. Youth were initially apprehensive about interacting with seniors, and, judging by comments heard from seniors in this community, the seniors were just as doubtful. Neither group really knew what to expect beyond their initial preconceptions. Depending on your perspective, walking sticks and wrinkles can be just as daunting as fluorescent hair, chains and army boots.
Nevertheless, the DoorWays youth participants went to the seniors’ homes, over-came initial stage fright and performed for what turned out to be wonderfully forgiving, interested and gentle audiences.
For the seniors, there was no text dialogue to worry about hearing and no storyline to try to follow. They were entertained with interpretive movement, song and visual art; and they loved it. The youth discovered that the seniors were open to everything. Following performances the youth discovered the fun of chatting with seniors, discussing their work and listening to seniors recount stories of their own lives.
In this way several community needs were addressed. Seniors in residences crave outside stimulation and attention; they need to feel that someone still cares and that they're not just shut away and forgotten in a home. Similarly youth need positive reinforcement, they also need to feel that someone cares and is interested in what they have to say. Doorways addressed these needs and provided an opportunity to improve senior’s perceptions of youth while increasing youths' understanding of seniors in our community.
DoorWays also empowered the youth to believe in themselves, discover hidden talents and engage more fully with their community. DoorWays participants developed increased self-esteem and confidence … through completing of projects, resolving conflict, working as a team, leading a group, and performing at the many venues.
It was not an easy process. As you know, getting 16 people to agree and work together is not a simple task. And as would be expected with 16 youth there was a fair amount of baggage to be dealt with, including the anticipated rebelliousness, resistance to authority, attendance issues and other problems of a much deeper nature. The youth were often difficult to motivate. Moving beyond the barriers they placed before us was sometimes a rather formidable task. To this end Leading Tone Arts Productions engaged two counsellors who offered valuable support during the programme. Due to the nature of the youth participants, on any given performance day there would be somebody absent. Over the course of the programme, the participants learned to cope with their initial feelings of panic and frustration and became able to adapt and cover for the missing performers. The youth in Doorways learned essential collaborative and creative problem solving skills while developing and presenting high quality and entertaining performances.
Through DoorWays the youth also learned a number of transferable life and work skills:
- Conflict resolution
- Time management
- Communication skills
- Anger management
- Stage presence
- Introduction to web design
- Resume writing
- Meditation, yoga
- The basics of starting a small business
- Introduction to business in the arts
- Proposal writing
Highlights of the DoorWays programme included:
- a trip to Toronto:
- Ontario College of Art, Open House,
- Art Gallery of Ontario
- School of Toronto Dance Theatre's annual student performance
- a trip to Stratford:
- Stratford Festival thanks to their donation of tickets:
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- Costume Warehouse and Archives tour
- a trip to Academy Theatre
- Kawartha Lakes Summer Playhouse donated tickets
- 4 productions of 2001 summer season
Doorways youth participants attended a total of 11 arts events: in theatre, visual arts and dance; and took part in 8 workshops with visiting professional guest artists.
A total of 40 sponsors and community partners contributed to making DoorWays a success and we are very grateful. Laidlaw Transport generously provided transportation throughout the programme. We would especially like to thank Ken Louie, of the Spectrum Centre, Ms. Emma Thomas, and the Academy Theatre for donating studio space to make DoorWays possible.
Leading Tone Arts Productions hosted an open house event for the public and sponsors on August 29th 2001. From noon 'til 7 p.m. fascinated audiences of all ages viewed the exhibition of sculptures and drawings and enjoyed a series of energetic solo, group and ensemble presentations by the youth.
Leading Tone Arts Productions gratefully acknowledges the support of:
Human Resources Development Canada • Adobe Systems
AGO Industries • Academy Theatre • Aprons n' More
Binney & Smith Canada (Crayola) • Black's Photo
B & W Sewing Machine Co. • Centennial College
Color Your World • Emma Thomas • Lindsay Boys' and Girls' Club
Laidlaw Transport • Loyalist College • MinCom Plus Realty
Optimists' Club of Lindsay • Polito Ford Lincoln Sales Ltd
Rogers AT&T Wireless Express • Spectrum Centre
The United Way of Victoria County • Victoria County Career Services
© 2000 - 2006 Leading Tone Arts Productions Inc.
Revised: Fri, Jan 27, 2006