Blog post 1 – Jan 26, 2016 by Karen Balcome
I had a great first week with the youth at Somerset West Community Health Centre. Our hosts have provided us with a space in their beautiful new Rosemount facility in Hintonburg. Six young women joined in for the first session of our Art Place storytelling and theatre creation project. We got our physical, vocal and imaginative skills warmed up and then explored ensemble exercises, getting to know you games, storytelling and improvisation. The youth were energetic and creative, taking on larger than life characters and exploring themes that were funny, meaningful and exciting to them. We talked about building a story as a group, giving everyone a chance to contribute their ideas, and filling out our stories and scenes with lots of details so our message can be clear to our audience. The participants shared their love of music, dance, reading and sports and gave me lots of ideas of places we can go with the project. I look forward to getting to know this group throughout the sessions and seeing where their creative impulses will take us.
Karen is an Ottawa-based theatre creator, community artist and educator. She is co-creator of THUNK!theatre with Geoff McBride, and has worked with Gruppo Rubato, New Theatre of Ottawa, Salamander Theatre, Skeleton Key Theatre, STO Union and, most recently, dancer Kara Nolte. Karen has lead theatre workshops, courses and community projects for the Ottawa Children’s Theatre, the City of Ottawa’s Community Arts and Special Needs programs, and the Ottawa School of Speech & Drama’s Our Stories outreach program. Karen has trained with Calgary’s One Yellow Rabbit and London’s Oily Cart Theatre and holds a BA in Collective Creation and Playwriting from York University.