Colleen Kenyon is the Creative Lead for the project. First meeting with SAY IT! On Stage participants to conceive and write a play full of colourful characters and local flavour, she then combined forces with Jen Benson (Drama Teacher, E.L. Crossley Secondary School) to bring the group's first production to the stage. Over to You was a holiday gift to Pelham, delivered on two snowy nights in December, 2019. Colleen has carried on to direct and produce this year's radio play, Unearthed, written and performed by Pelham seniors and teens. At the start, Colleen's idea was to develop a program that would give seniors a space to share their stories, and to feel more connected with younger generations. More than 40 participants invested their time and talents last season, and she's thrilled to see that the committed group this year has created something just as special.
Q& A with Colleen Kenyon
Question: What inspired you to start SAY IT! On Stage?
Answer: "I believe in the power of creative thinking. Everyone should have opportunities to use their minds for more than just the mundane and the practical, but not everyone knows how to find those opportunities. So, with SAY IT! On Stage, I am presenting people with a forum in which to expand their imaginative capacities. I've worked with teenagers and I've worked with older adults, but it seemed to me that something very special could be accomplished by bringing those two age groups together in a room. And indeed, it has!"
Question: What are some of the goals you have for SAY IT! On Stage?
Answer: "SAY IT! On Stage is about the process, not the final product. It's about letting people share their own ideas, build on those of others, and stand back in amazement when they see what all of those ideas come to be. I want the participants to look forward to meeting each week, and to accomplishing the steps in the project together; I want what we do in our weekly sessions to leave individuals with a sense of purpose and intellectual fulfillment; I want everyone in the room to appreciate that people might be vastly different in age and disposition, but still find pleasure in one another's company. Most of all, I want SAY IT! On Stage to make every single contributor feel valued for who they are, and for what they have to offer."
Question: What outcome do you hope to achieve with SAY IT! On Stage?
Answer: "An outcome I really hope to see is a broad recognition of the power of drama to stimulate and heal minds. Music has gained a lot of recognition for its potential as a form of therapy. I have a strong conviction that storytelling and theatre can also promote mental well-being. My dream is that, a few years down the road, SAY IT! On Stage will have expanded to other communities. When I watch what happens each week at our SAY IT! meetings, I feel 100% certain that we're doing something really special here in Pelham. I hope that people who hear about the project, or who first encounter it as audience members, will be curious enough to want to experience this scintillating community and creative process for themselves."