Tuesday July 6, 2021
In the summer of 2012 the Highlands Summer Festival, under the Directorship of Scot Denton, created a piece of theatre called “Early Stages.”7 young women, and 1 young man, from our community, made up the cast.The showed was devised by Scot and it told the story of the history of education for women. Jenee Gowing was hired as the choreographer and worked with the cast as the story was told through dance, music and storytelling. It was my daughter’s first experience with the summer festival and she was almost 12 years old at the time.Scot, Jenee and the cast met every Saturday and Sunday for 3 months to create the play.
I remember them working really hard, and being pushed to their edge of being creative in their movement and in the way they told their stories.It was a totally new experience for these young people to create something from nothing. I can remember them being uncomfortable at times, frustrated, tired and uncertain.And at the same time excited to be creating something original and to be learning about women and the challenges that they have faced in terms of getting an education. The show was performed 3 times and I watched them all. I laughed, got teared up and learned a lot. The show had a series of short pieces that highlighted different times in history and what education and life was like for women at that time. It began in the Stone Ages and ended in current time.At the end of the show each of the young actors walked out onto the front of the stage and announced a goal they had, or what they wanted to do with their life.I vividly remember Loretta Kerr stepping onto the stage, looking with confidence out into the audience and announcing that she was going to study Arts and Science at McMaster that fall. She was so excited.I don’t remember if she said she wanted to be a dentist, but I think we all knew that she did.
Last week I had a cavity that needed to be filled and Loretta was my dentist for the first time.When she came in to meet me I smiled to myself and thought “she is the dentist who dances her way through her work.”She was as lighthearted, friendly, full of life and interesting today as she was 9 years ago when I watched her in Within Reach. We chit chatted for a bit and she got to work. She loves her work. She comes from generations of caring dentists.
It is always so exciting to run into graduates from our High School and hear about the adventures, work, education and lives that they are living and composing.There are so many positive stories like this one.Thanks to all our educators once again for all that you do to teach our young people.This year has been an especially challenging one, and you all deserve a great summer off line!