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Mattawa Monologues Project Comes Back to CWU December 5

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 5, the CWU community will have an opportunity to experience the results of a rewarding collaboration between Wahluke Junior High school students, CWU Theatre Arts, CWU World Languages and MECHA. 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, CWU Theatre Arts, and CWU World Languages will host a closed mixer with the young authors of the selected monologues and their parents. The goal of the mixer and project is 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” states Dizney. “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.”

Nathalie Kastellis’ 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 states. “This is a true collaboration that brings so many perspectives and disciplines together.”

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.

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

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