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Central Washington University

Mattawa Monologues Project Comes to CWU December 6

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.

On December 6, the CWU community will have an opportunity to experience the results of a rewarding collaboration between junior high school students and CWU theatre arts majors. The Mattawa Monologues will be performed at 7:00 p.m. in the SURC Theatre. The event is free and open to the public. Parking in CWU lots is free after 4:30 p.m.

Prior to the performance, MECHA and other CWU organizations will host a mixer with the young authors of the selected monologues and their parents. 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.

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.

In November, more than 20 CWU students traveled to Mattawa to perform the selected monologues for the entire junior high.

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.”

Photo: CWU Theatre Arts students performing the Mattawa Monologues at Wahluke Junior High School in Mattawa

 

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

Monday, December 4, 2017

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