CWU News

Wahluke Junior High Students and CWU Theatre Students Partner to Create Mattawa Monologues

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.

The result is Mattawa Monologues, a collaboration between Wahluke junior high school students, CWU theatre arts students, CWU World Languages, and MECHA, which will be performed on December 5 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, CWU Theatre Arts, and CWU World Languages will host a closed mixer with the young authors of the selected monologues and their parents. The mixer is sponsored by CWU Dining Services and is designed to create bridges for these young students in the hope of making attendance at a university more accessible to them.

This fall, Theatre Arts professor Patrick Dizney and Theatre Arts graduate student Brandon Carter teamed up with Wahluke Junior High students to explore the topic of bullying through exercises and written assignments.

“WJH teachers Autumn Harlow, CharRe Burnum, Rachel Greshock and Principle Andrew Harlow have been instrumental to this collaboration,” Dizney noted. “Autumn and I started the collaboration last year, unsure of where it might lead us, and it has really taken off.”

Their objectives for The Mattawa Monologue Project were to encourage personal expression of the Wahluke students and to make connections between WJH and CWU students.

“For a lot of these students attending a university seems out of reach. We’d like to change that perception; have them meet some of our students, ask how they ended up at Central and maybe plant a seed,” Dizney said.

Additionally, Nathalie Kasselis’ Spanish Translation and Interpretation class will be working with Theatre Arts and MECHA students on the project this year.

“We are very excited to have some of the monologues be performed in Spanish this year, and to have students from each of the involved organizations perform,” Dizney said. “This is a true collaboration that brings so many perspectives and disciplines together. It is a true testament to the quality and personality of this university.”

In November, 20 CWU students will travel 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.

Media contact: Richard Moreno, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-2714,