On March 15, Streams Community Hub will launch the first annual Word of Mouth Monologue Competition.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to make in-person programming and events difficult and in many cases impossible, this competition provides an exciting opportunity for children and youth aged 8–17 from Dufferin County to be engaged, develop and express their creative voices, and showcase the work of diverse Canadian playwrights. They will also have the opportunity to win some significant cash prizes.
The event will be mostly virtual, with the hope of an in-person, filmed final event, where the winners will be selected. The final event will be shared via a live premiere broadcast (via YouTube/Social Media).
- Submissions will be open to two age categories: 8-12 and 13-17.
- Contestants in these two age categories will choose one monologue, from a list carefully curated by Streams Community Hub, to reflect the stories of diverse Canadian playwrights.
- Contestants will film their performances according to the competition recording guidelines and submit them online through our website.
- Once the submission window has closed, the public will be engaged and invited to vote for some "Fan Favourite" awards. Concurrently, a panel of judges, consisting of actors, teachers and playwrights will select three to five finalists from each category for the hopefully live (no crowd) final.
- Finalists will present their monologues live, after which the judges will decide on the winners.
This event is designed to accomplish several objectives
- Youth engagement, excitement and inspiration
- Youth exposure to and education about Canadian playwrights with diverse storytelling experiences
- Community engagement in supporting and encouraging young and aspiring artists
- Frankly, fun. It's been a challenging year, and we all need an outlet of expression and something to make us smile and keep us encouraged.
Why this matters
As a provider of youth programs and services, especially in North Dufferin County, we know first-hand just how needed these programs are. Our organization was founded specifically to meet this need. Over the last 12 months, we have had to cancel our regular programming and find creative ways to engage young people in arts-based activities that don't relegate them to their computer screens for extended periods of time. The nature of the arts is rooted in community and collaboration. This reality makes our task even more difficult to accomplish.
We know the physical effects of COVID-19. They have been drummed into our minds for a year now. But there is also a psychological effect of social isolation that is occurring—the long-term effects of which are unknown. Those of us who work with youth need to be looking for ways to mitigate these effects, whatever they may be.
While young people are forced to adapt and to learn new technological skills, are their communication skills suffering? How is their self-esteem being affected? Are their social skills being stunted before they have even had a chance to develop?
Well here’s what we know. In addition to building social and communication skills overall, involvement in drama, and theatre performance has been shown to improve students' self-esteem as well as their confidence in their academic abilities. Although we can’t offer them a physical stage right now, we can still challenge their esteem to grow and support them as they rise to the challenge.
We’ll combine individual, personal creativity, with the rallying support of the community, and the rewards of not just winning, but having participated in something excellent and beautiful.
This is an opportunity to be part of some good news. It's something to feel good about, at a time when there is so much to feel bad about. We believe this event can lift the spirits and voices of young people, and enrich the hearts and minds of the wider community in Dufferin County.