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College of Arts and Humanities

The Mattawa Monologue Project Gives Voice to Young Students November 20

In the crucible of middle/junior high school, as children become adolescents, young students’ real fears and concerns are often overlooked. In Mattawa, a unique project by Central Washington University’s Theatre Arts department is empowering the often underrepresented voices of pre-teens and young teenagers.

In September, Patrick Dizney, Theatre Arts professor and associate chair, teamed up with Wahluke Junior High teacher Autumn Harlow to create M2P, The Mattawa Monologue Project. Their objectives were to encourage personal expression of the Wahluke students and to make connections between WJH and CWU students.

Working with five WJH teachers, Dizney led two days of monologue writing workshops. WJH teachers then continued to work on the text with these sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, until more than 100 monologues were written and submitted.

“The writing parameters were intentionally left open, and there is a broad representation of voices and concerns of these young people,” Dizney said.

CWU Theatre Arts students also selected monologues to perform and worked on them in their class with Dizney through late October and early November. They learned about the performance process, the importance of honoring the writers work and how to apply concepts learned in their acting class to performance.

On November 20, more than 20 CWU students will travel to Mattawa to perform the selected monologues for the entire junior high. The WJH and CWU students will have an opportunity to meet each other and discuss the work.

In addition, MECHA and other CWU organizations have been invited to a mixer with the authors of the selected monologues and their parents before a second performance on December 6. The goal of the mixer is to create bridges for these young students in the hope of making attendance at a university more accessible to them.

Harlow and Dizney created this project with sustainability in mind and look to continue and further the reach of its impact on more communities.

“I think this collaboration was a complete success—for all the students involved,” Dizney concluded. “I know the CWU students were impressed with the depth and range of the WJH students’ writing, and learned a lot from working with the younger kids.”


Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu

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