Natalie Joynes, Sonna Qualizza, Theo Hepher, and Anna Schmidt and Nico Chiasson hang out at the most recent Teen Theatre Company event. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

Natalie Joynes, Sonna Qualizza, Theo Hepher, and Anna Schmidt and Nico Chiasson hang out at the most recent Teen Theatre Company event. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

FYAN fills gaps in youth programming

Teen Theatre Company rehearsals bring youth together as pandemic ensues

With organized sports and other school-based youth programming cancelled for the foreseeable future, the Fernie Youth Action Network (FYAN) is going forward with a number of fall events to keep kids safe and busy after school.

“We found out this week that there won’t be as much organized activity,” said FYAN program coordinator Alana Minifie-Rybar.

“We are trying to fill that void with the resources and capacity that we do have. We will supplement as best we can and make sure we are serving as much youth as possible, especially hitting those under served youth like girls and youth from the LGBTQ community.”

Bringing together theatre-lovers, FYAN began a COVID-friendly Teen Theatre Company for youth aged 12 to 18. The club will be holding weekly rehearsals for their upcoming production, a self-written comedy called High School Horrors.

Following rehearsals held throughout September and October, the community will be invited to watch the outdoor walking play, which will be performed throughout Fernie in an effort to allow as many members of the community to watch the production while abiding by social distancing regulations.

“It’s definitely something much more innovative than we’ve ever done before, but at this point it’s that or nothing and we don’t want to do nothing,” said Minifie-Rybar about the play’s alternate format.

To ensure the utmost safety of participants, upcoming events will be hosted outside when possible. Following space limitations and other pandemic requirements, programs are limited to 10 participants per event.

Other upcoming events include a Brushes and Brownies paint and sip night, led by local artist Terra Higgins from the H Squared Gallery.

“One of the things that get cut first are fine arts, and this time sports is going as well. Seeing cuts in arts programming, we are doing what we can and are figuring it out.”

For information about FYAN visit their website or Facebook page.

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