A pair of Surrey teens are set to hit the stage in The Release Party, a new play created by Vancouver-area youth in collaboration with professional artists.
The show is presented by Some Assembly Theatre Company for stagings at Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in Vancouver from May 2 to 5, in partnership with Roundhouse Youth Theatre Action Group (RHYTAG). Admission is free and “donations are appreciated.”
Some Assembly is now in its 17th year of collaboratively creating and producing original plays that aim to promote awareness, wellness and dialogue about issues facing teens. Audiences are invited to participate in talkback sessions after each performance.
The story of The Release Party follows Wind, a young First Nations artist who is releasing her new single. The play features comedy and drama along with original dance, music, spoken word, rap, visual art, film and parkour.
This spring, Surrey-area teens Josh Kennedy, age 16, and Laurel Trueman, also 16, are on the show’s writer/performer team – Josh in the role of Henry and Laurel as Aria.
This is Josh’s first year working with the RHYTAG project. “He aspires to become an actor and has just started broadening his horizons with Some Assembly,” according to a bio posted by the company. “Josh is still completing secondary school in Surrey, but is looking for new opportunities in the Vancouver area with both film and theatre. When he’s not involved with acting or work, Josh loves to spend time with family and friends, as well as enjoying his favourite sports, hockey and volleyball. Josh loves the project and enjoys sharing his outgoing and loud personality with the group. He is excited to work with RHYTAG in the upcoming years and further pursue his acting dream.”
Laurel, a Grade 11 student at Killarney Secondary, has been working with the RHYTAG project for two years, and is “incredibly excited to see how the two shows differentiate story and performance-wise. She has loved the experience both times, and feels blessed to be a part of something so unique and wonderful. Laurel dedicates a large amount of her time to acting, on screen in short and feature films, as well as on stage, and hopes to continue to peruse this career through her lifetime as nothing brings her more joy.”
Other youth involved in the production are Latisha Wadhams, Haley Christenson, Christopher Rahim, Elodie Doumenc, Sian Raya, Devana Petrovic, Carly Le, Nikita Gutman, Cam Adriano and Steven Cao. They have worked in collaboration with industry professionals/artists Valerie Methot, Ken Lawson, Flick Harrison, Rup Sidhu, Jeremy Baxter, Anna Talbot, Athena Ivison, Nikki McLaren and Allen Morrison.
The Release Party is a play based on real life — “a story powerful enough to save lives,” according to the company. “It is a celebration of youth expression in a pursuit to manage struggles with mental health, bullying, and suicide prevention. The Release Party inspires with bravery, exhilarating artistry and hope for the future.”
The five show times at the Roundhouse are May 2 at 1:30 p.m., May 3 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and May 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m., at 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver. For more details, visit someassembly.ca.