Local play inspires youth to give back

Capturing the imaginations of children is as easy as making them – or their teachers – laugh.

“Humour is a much more gentle way of getting the message across. They don’t feel like it’s a lecture,” said David MacPherson, who is stage managing and acting in a new play now making the rounds of more than 40 Greater Victoria private, public and Catholic schools.

Stepping Up! promotes the message of sharing time and kindness with others, but does so in a humorous and charming way through folk and fairy tales.

During the performances, young audiences are often too busy laughing and calling out answers to questions the actors ask them that they don’t realize they’re learning important lessons. Teachers also can’t help but be engaged.

“The teachers are usually the ones to say, ‘Oh I was almost crying I was laughing so hard,’” MacPherson said.

Jim Leard, artistic director of Victoria-based Story Theatre Company, crafted the play for younger audiences to plant the seed of philanthropy at a young age.

School kids from kindergarten to Grade 7 can enjoy the 50-minute play, featuring four actors playing 12 characters, for free thanks to a shared grant made possible by the Telus Victoria community board, the Victoria Foundation and Island Savings Credit Union.

“There is a trend today where younger people are volunteering,” said Sandra Richardson, Victoria Foundation CEO. “They want to make a difference.”

The play may go a long way to building the ranks of future volunteers.

“They grow up with a sense of belonging,” Richardson said, “and wherever they’re planted they’ll look at whatever community they’re in and say, ‘How can I be part of that? How can I give back?’”

Final performances happen Friday (April 29). Schools interested in booking Stepping Up! can visit www.storytheatre.ca.

emccracken@vicnews.com

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