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Posted: February 8, 2016

Key City Theatre set to unpack The Suitcase Project

By Brenda Ann Babinski

Key City Theatre is set to roll out a new and innovative youth program next week. The Suitcase Project is a series of workshops for young people, aged 14 and older, designed to expand their theatrical reach.

SuitcaseLtrszThe workshops are being led by Beth Turcon, director of last year’s hit musical, the Drowsy Chaperone. Turcon has packed her own suitcase many times over her young life, studying theatre in London, Ontario, London, England, Victoria, BC and finally landing in Cranbrook where she now teaches Drama at Laurie Middle School.

The Suitcase Project launches February 11 and runs each Thursday from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Key City Theatre until the final performance, March 11.

“This is an opportunity for young people to experience devised theatre in a safe and creative space” states Turcon. “In devised theatre they create something from nothing, with no limitations. It is an opportunity to open creative channels, think outside the box and create something meaningful to them.”

The project involves the use of a suitcase that will be filled with interesting items. Each item is meant to inspire improvisation and innovative thought. The imagination of the participants is the key to the project. “There is no script, no safety net,” Turcon explains. “The hope is that what is created will communicate something meaningful to the participants and even incite important changes.”

Beth leading the cast of Drowsy Chaperone in a cheer (Photo credit: Julian Bueckert)
Beth leading the cast of Drowsy Chaperone in a cheer (Photo credit: Julian Bueckert)

A suitcase full of inspiration with the objective to give valuable tools to the performers will offer crucial skills to developing performers. With the Festival of Performing Arts coming soon, along with so many audition opportunities, this project promises to allow the participants the chance to gain more confidence when performing on stage.

An innovative and exciting time for young theatre lovers, and a wonderful chance to develop their craft, the Suitcase Project is the first of what Galen Olstead, Key City Theatre’s Managing Director, hopes to put in place for youth in the community.

“The intention for the project is to build the creative capacity for young performers. This project aims to enable the performer to go beyond interpreting a script into creating their own narrative, and to create a space where emerging actors step out of their comfort zone and be challenged. It’s an exciting program for the theater as it takes us into training and developing creativity in-house. It also means we are becoming more accessible. Those are both big changes that will hopefully have long-term effects.”

Registration will remain open until February 11. Contact the Key City Theatre at 250-426-7006 for more information.

Lead image: Bethany Turcon. Photo submitted

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