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RR  Research Process

 

i. Type of Research

The writers are interviewing old timers,residents,activists,artists,writers, historians; setting up story gathering sessions in public locations; distributing questionnaires to schools and gathering places; and reviewing historical documentation. They are also researching songs, music, and art forms which have impact and resonance in the community and then translating this research into a theatrical script, songs and characters. While drawing on historical elements, the play will include personal stories, hoping to touch on common threads in the lives of today’s residents as well as on events or important issues that resonate in the community’s identity.

 

ii. Artistic Methodology

We are looking at the model of England’s Colway Theatre Trust for guidance, the principles of which have governed several Canadian community plays, including the Enderby Community Play. In this model leadership roles are filled by professional theatre artists in order to ensure high artistic calibre, culturally sensitive interpretation and a well-organized production time, but the performing, communication and most building are done by residents of the area, who participate in whatever way they feel comfortable.

 

iii. Community Participation

Our Community Play project will utilize cultural development methodology throughout, involving hundreds of residents from the community working together with a small team of professional artists on every aspect of the play from determining the theme, through researching and writing; skill development for acting, music, costume and prop making, set and staging, publicity, rehearsing, building, performing and production. The twelve month process include will include 40-60 special events and public workshops to generate popular support and community participation.  Through the play development process, individuals and groups that rarely come together are involved in a common endeavor, and spectators feel  included in a moving representation of the community.

 

iv. Evaluation Process

The Community Play has received $4,000 in funding from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation to contract the Strathcona Research Group to undertake a professional evaluation of the Community Play. This research will be carried out by Sister Victoria Marie OSF and PHD Candidate, using the logic model. The purpose of this evaluation process is to create a DTES Community Play Evaluation Document which will measure the outcomes to the original objectives. Copies will be made available to the play’s funding agencies and theatre artists to promote Artists and Community Arts funding and the development of both new models of Community Theatre in BC.

 

v. Outside Documentation

The Roundhouse Community Centre is providing the services of their 2003-2004 Artist in Residence, writer/theatre artist Valerie Method to write a travelogue of the process of creating the DTES Community Play. The artist fee they are supplying is $2,500 for this work. This travelogue will be an important element for the professional dissemination of the process of creating a community play in a BC/Canadian urban context for the broader theatre community.

 

Summary of questionnaire responses:

 

Among the Seymour children, their biggest concerns are for safety; getting rid of trash, garbage and graffiti; education; and more housing and homes for the homeless.  Their biggest heroes are their parents and teachers.

 

Here is a summary of the other questionnaires:

i)What do you like best about the DTES? The variety and cultural diversity; Chinatown, people’s friendliness and cooperation; the good food; the mountains, sea and historic buildings; the parks, community centers and local business and all the connections with service centers; the openness and honesty; growing up with values; people mobilizing on the streets to talk about what is going on with them and the world

 

ii)What do you like the least? People like the least: most people mention the drug scene, prostitution, poverty, garbage and trash on streets.  Some people mention lack of safety, police brutality, bad dates, disease, gentrification, homeless asking for change, condescending attitudes of volunteer staff, service agencies becoming a bartering tool for power; rich kids partying with condescending attitudes.

 

iii)What do you want to change about the DTES?: clean up streets and graffiti; get rid of drugs and/or cure addicts/provide more recovery places; provide more affordable housing and renovate buildings, reduce crime; provide more opportunities for those in need, and get rid of stereotypes. Some want more parks and trees; to improve way police treat DTES residents; change attitudes of volunteer staff.  One would provide drug maintenance of choice; another would give greedy people a taste of what it’s like to do without, one would encourage people to work and get off the street, one would end welfare.

 

iv)If you were to send 5 photos of the DTES to someone far away, what would they be?  Pigeon Park, Main and Hastings, First United, drug trade and addiction, needles, police beatings, homelessness, poverty, prostitutes, Woodward’s occupation, food lines,

 

Beautiful Carnegie and its volunteers, the beach and the parks, old historic buildings, Chinatown, Gastown, Oppenheimer Park during Japanese Festival, peaceful people who are drug and alcohol free, many nationalities, housing coops and schools, karate and Wushu studios, Chinese New Year’s celebration, people talking on a stoop, cat in a window, kids working on a project, tiles created by Carnegie people, variety of lifestyles and restaurants, “my house”.

 

Loading docks, rainy alleys, railway tracks, warehouses,  international mall (dead; ghost town), GM place and BC place, the mountains and sea.

 

Elders, smiling faces, fearful faces, artful faces, police faces, alienated car faces.

 

Some say it’s way too depressing to show.  A couple wanted to show Science World, Sky Train.  One wanted an aerial view.

 

iv)Who are your heroes? Some say no one.  Others mention the homeless; drug free heroes; the unsung heroes who help others and work to make the community better (streetworkers and street nurses, counsellors and drop in staff, First United and soup lines, woman who runs Place of Grace, Jim Green, Mark Townsend and Liz Evans from the Portland, constable Dave Deckson); drug free heroes; cops; bartenders who listen; “working folk like me”, Raymur mothers fighting for overpass, DETES community artists and performers and Bud Osborne; first nations people; friends, a grandmother and grandfather who pulled themselves out of poverty.  God and Andrew Carnegie (“he did a lot of good and bad things”) get mentions.

 

v)What are your favourite stories?  Some say none.  Some mention historical stories: Native villages, Little Italy, stories of when Vancouver was young (Gas   town, historical drug busts, underground tunnels, spies, the haunting at Strathcona school, train stories), stories of civil protests (like the stories of the Raycam Mothers in 1971 and the 1930 protests at Carnegie, the On to Ottawa trek, etc.).Some want to hear about current DTES successes: Woodward’s sit in, housing projects, Crab park. One wants to hear about their escape from the DTES in the future, another that the crime rate and drug use are decreasing; another wants to hear Bible stories.

 

People want to hear stories about people standing up for themselves, stories about how we can survive and get along with and look out for one another; stories about complete recovery from drugs, stories about cleaning up the community, stories that show that you care. 

 

Stories Collected

Stories Collected

Stories Collected

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Story1 chloeu 1418 0 0 6/17/2003 @ 10:42 am Story1 by chloeu on 6/17/2003 @ 10:42 am

BIBLIOGRAPHY
The Downtown Eastside Community Play


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Strathcona

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Contemporary Downtown East Side

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Gastown

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Poverty and Homelessness

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Community Plays

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