The purpose of The Virtual Stage’s Community Outreach Program is to engage youth and young people with special needs in innovative theatre and film projects alongside professional artists. The program provides participants with invaluable work experience, guidance, and life skills support within a professional artistic environment in a publicly presented play or film.
Our Community Outreach Program originated in 2012 alongside the inaugural production of The Zombie Syndrome. The Virtual Stage’s Artistic Director Andy Thompson, who designed and oversees the Community Outreach Program, has 20 years of experience supporting youth and young people with special needs in many capacities, including 14 years with the Vancouver School Board as a Special Education Assistant. As a result, The Virtual Stage has access to a vast network of contacts across the Vancouver School Board. The program was created in response to the needs of youth eager for mentorship and opportunities to develop skills in preparation for the responsibilities of adulthood, and a possible future career in theatre.
Too often youth are without a healthy creative outlet in which to express themselves. This can result in them feeling isolated, frustrated, left with a sense they don’t belong, and ultimately leads them down a path that may not be healthy or safe. These issues are particularly acute among youth disadvantaged by special needs, social or economic challenges. Now in its fourth year, The Virtual Stage’s Community Outreach Program has demonstrated its capacity to address the need and benefit of a structured professional learning environment for youth in the community.
This program provides a safe, creative environment for youth to develop skills that are useful in the workforce, and at the same time help to build their self-esteem as they work on shows such as The Zombie Syndrome, an extremely popular production described as the #1 Halloween event in Vancouver by multiple media outlets for many years.
For further inquiries, or if you are a youth between the age of 15-24 who wishes to become a member of The Virtual Stage’s Community Outreach Program, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.