Theatre group shines spotlight on emotional healing

Performance to coincide with suicide workshop



It’s curtains up for a new Iqaluit theatre company in mid-May when it presents a pilot projects aimed at raising awareness of Inuit culture and social issues affecting youth.

The Qaggiq Theatre Company is an up-and-coming, local, non-profit performing arts organization initiated by a group of drama enthusiasts who’ve been working toward their first community break-out presentation since the summer.

The six-day workshop, “Shutting Down: Dealing with Emotional Isolation” will take participants on a journey of discovery into what it means to internalize problems when there’s no one to turn to for help.

Over the next few weeks, Jonathan Dewar, Qaggiq’s executive director, will be recruiting between 12 and 25 interested individuals aged 15 to 25 to participate in the six-day workshop beginning May 10.

The week’s theatre games and exercises will culminate in a dual performance for the general public and delegates of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention conference being held in Iqaluit May 15 to 17.

With a little money left over from their 2002-03 fiscal year, the Nunavut Literacy Council was able to help fund the theatre company’s project. The council offers programs that overlap with Qaggiq’s mandates of culture, education, awareness and social issues, Dewar explained.

While searching for that special someone to put on a top-notch show, Dewar kept coming back to one name: David Diamond.

Diamond, acclaimed workshop leader and artistic director of Headlines Theatre in Vancouver, has held more than 300 previous seminars.

Dewar says the man was very easy to find out about because there was so much press on him. But when he approached Diamond he was quickly told that the popular drama dude was booked up 18 months in advance.

But Dewar’s luck hadn’t run out just yet.

“He was very, very interested in a developing theatre in Iqaluit. And though he was about to go on sabbatical, he decided he wanted to make time for us,” Dewar said.

One of the highlights of scoring a guy like Diamond is that he’s worked with aboriginal youths for years, specifically in dealing with heavy social issues.

“He’s worked with all different kinds of groups, many First Nations groups and communities, dealing with a variety of heavy topics like suicide, racism, abuse and residential school experiences,” Dewar said.

Anyone interested in participating in the workshop can contact Dewar at 979-0123.

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