Bullying continues to be one of the most important issues facing Canadian youth today. That’s why the students in the DAREarts Vancouver program recently saw Stickboy at the Vancouver Opera. Inspired by the show, our students from the Downtown Eastside will be creating their own versions of Stickboy in the coming months.
You might recognize the librettist for Stickboy, Shane Koyczan. His spoken word poem, “To This Day,” went viral last year. Raking in over 14 million views, it helped spark national awareness about bullying. Koyczan makes it clear that bullying isn’t just a youth problem, but one which causes deep psychological trauma into adulthood. As he says in the poem, children are:
surrounded by people who used to say
that rhyme about sticks and stones
as if broken bones
hurt more than the names we got called
That phrase about “sticks and stones” inspired the title of Koyczan’s opera, first published as a novel and now adapted here. Stickboy follows a fictionalized version of Koyczan (a stand-in for anyone who has felt the effects of bullying) as he navigates his teenage years.
Many thanks to both the Vancouver Opera and Shane Koyczan. The victims of bullying have incredible allies in you.
Stay tuned to see what our youth will create and how they will become ambassadors for this issue in their communities. They’ll be performing their own versions of Stickboy on January 24, 2015.