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Teacher Marsha Legault Speaks About Studio 180’s A NEW MODEL Campaign
Meet Marsha Legault, drama teacher and Head of Streetsville Secondary School’s Arts and Geography departments, and read about her experience with our education program and its impact on her students. In conjunction with Studio 180’s production of NSFW, Marsha is encouraging her students to discuss and create A NEW MODEL of femininity.
Find out how you can help by joining our A NEW MODEL Fundraising Campaign. We believe that theatre has the power to positively change how we look at women in our media. If you share that belief, we invite you to make a donation and help us reach our goal to raise $15,000 by December 31, 2014.
When my students talk about Studio 180 Theatre, they get excited.
Over the past several years, I have brought my students to several Studio 180 productions and many of them have also participated in the Studio 180 IN CLASS workshop program.
As a drama teacher, I’m always encouraging my students to be critical thinkers and they can’t be critical thinkers unless they understand viewpoint and bias, and understand that there are different perspectives. What I love about Studio 180’s shows is that there’s never a right or a wrong answer. It’s always, “These are the people – these are the voices that we want to hear from – and we’re going to let them speak. Sometimes, there will be voices that you don’t like but they still deserve to have a voice. And this is what is going to start our dialogue and expand our ability to think about ourselves and our view of our world.”
I return to Studio 180 every year because I really appreciate their choice of plays. They are always thought-provoking and always give voice to situations and characters that my students don’t normally hear.
My favourite moment in the past few years was seeing the kids crying at the production of The Normal Heart. We cannot talk about The Normal Heart without crying. They just fell in love with it and it made them question and re-evaluate their views on AIDS. There was a lot of discussion like, “I was uncomfortable.” And I would say, “Yeah, you’re allowed to be and that’s okay.” It gave them a safe way to talk about issues that were very important to them, like their own sexual identity and how we treat people.
The Studio 180 IN CLASS workshop program adds another valuable layer to my students’ experience. The Artist-Educators are positive role models – demonstrating how adults can share leadership and engage with one another in a mature, mutually respectful way.
From the teacher’s perspective, I find the workshops to be a great complement to my everyday teaching of the curriculum. There are opportunities during the workshops for me to draw connections to previous learning and to prepare students for what is to come later in the course.
By offering programming that expresses different viewpoints, Studio 180’s work reminds me that even within my own teaching, I have to make sure I honour every student’s voice and experiences.
I’m particularly looking forward to the discussions we’re going to have around Studio 180’s production of NSFW and the theme of how women are represented in the media. The girls in my classes are inundated with this idea of image and what they’re supposed to be. I have so many girls that are dealing with issues of self-image and mental wellness – depression, eating disorders, thinking that they have to be sexualized – that everything they do is sexualized. It’s also going to be important for the boys to consider how our society, and how they themselves, sexualize women by asking questions like, “Why does our culture say it’s okay to sexualize women at one age but not another?”
It’s important for us to have these conversations so that our kids can be empowered to think critically about the world, become more empathic, stand up for what they believe in and help to create A NEW MODEL for the way we look at and treat women.
Studio 180’s productions and IN CLASS education program have left undeniable imprints on my students. I’ve seen it first hand. But of course, Studio 180’s programming requires financial resources to remain accessible.
If the ways my students have been affected by Studio 180’s programming resonate with you, I invite you to consider making a donation to their A NEW MODEL Campaign. If you’ve contributed in the past and your situation allows, please consider increasing your gift. Your donation can give students like mine access to unique, life-shaping learning opportunities. Learn more about how you can create A NEW MODEL today.
Thank you for your time, for allowing me to share my experience and for continuing to support Studio 180 Theatre.
Drama Teacher & Head of Arts and Geography
Streetsville Secondary School, Mississauga
We value your support! If you would like to donate to Studio 180’s A NEW MODEL Fundraising Campaign today, please click here.