HPTC debuts stop.think.delete

Heritage Park Theatre Company (HPTC) will be debuting its new play, stop.think.delete April 13-14 at the Clarke Theatre.

Hounded, harassed and abused, young people are taking their lives in unprecedented numbers. How do you make sense of teens who witness another’s abuse and then with a cellphone, video the beating or rape and post it online to further exploit the victim and compound the damage? How can one person affect a change so that those who stand by and witness, are moved to intervene?

After hearing about the Pitt Meadows rave rape and the viral video of the crime, Heritage Park secondary’s drama teacher, Beverley Holmes, came up the idea for a new project.

She mobilized 16 students to act by creating an original ensemble play, titled stop.think.delete, with Holmes taking on the directorial duties.

The play explores issues of bullying in the present teen culture: violence among girls, gay bashing, online bullying and the accompanying deadly combination of desensitization and anonymity.

With an Arts Starts grant, world-class percussionist and actor Boris Sichon was brought in to work with the group to create soundscapes to enrich and support the work.

The company was formed in September 2010 and the students ranging from Grade 8 to 12 meet twice a week to discuss, research and workshop the play.

For one week, the group was challenged to forego all forms of social media, and computer use was restricted to research school assignments. Students documented their experiences and blogged about their journal entries at stopthinkdelete.blogspot.com once a week.

HPTC hopes to take its play across the Lower Mainland beginning the first week of May. Any schools interested in the show can contact Beverley Holmes at bev.holmes@mpsd.ca.

The debut at the Clarke Theatre begins at 7:30 p.m. on April 13 and April 14. A forum to explore the topic of bullies and bullying will follow the 55-minute play.

For tickets or information please contact Heritage Park Centre at 604-820-3961.