Conversations around bullying in schools are good, but action is better.
That was the inspiration behind The Positivity Tour, says Anita Burleson, who runs LB Productions, a Whistler children's theatre company.
"Kids need tools," she says. "It's great to say, 'don't bully,' but what do you do instead? My idea is some of these songs are simple, but catchy... If someone isn't being nice to you, you have choices. You could choose love, which sounds insane, but sometimes being kind to people who aren't kind can change everything. I'm taking these big concepts and making them simple in song."
While Burleson has a dream of taking the 25-minute performance on the road to schools that would benefit from seeing it, first it will make its debut at Signal Hill Elementary School in Pemberton and at a Lillooet school on March 2.
"My after-school students in Whistler, Pemberton and Lillooet will be travelling and performing that day. It's a pretty big deal for them — we're going over the Duffey," Burleson says, with a laugh.
The show itself was "inspired by many things," she adds — including her students. "One thing I've really learned from teaching is they're so inspiring and full of life and ideas. They're not bogged down with some of the cares of the world we have as adults. They come up with great ideas."
On top of the tour, the group is gearing up for its big spring showcase, which is open to the public and set to be performed at the Maury Young Arts Centre on March 11. "We need to inspire (kids) to dream because it's in those dreams that discoveries are made," Burleson says. "Through song and dance we want to encourage them to dream big. I was only seven when I started writing funny songs — and I still write funny songs, or at least I crack myself up. This idea (of dreaming) is referenced in the March 11 show."
That will lead into LB Productions' annual spring break theatre camp. This year, the camp will produce The Legend of the Cuddly Urchin, which will carry on with the theme of being kind to everyone. "Everyone needs love, even those who are a little prickly," Burleson says, explaining the story. "The last thing you would do is hug a sea urchin."
The camp runs from March 19 to 23, 9 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Maury Young Arts Centre and culminates in the production on March 23 at 2:30 p.m.
Already, though, the young actors involved in the positivity-focused productions seem to be embracing the message, she adds. Her most fulfilling moment recently was when a participant in Lillooet decided to face his stage fright.
"He was initially nervous about performing for seventh graders," she says. "(But) he thought about it and says, 'No, I want to show them what true leadership is.' He's a talented kid."
To learn more visit lbpentertainment.com.