RUMFORD – Talk about hard work and commitment. River Valley area teens are being sought to write, design and produce an educational play about smoking in just under a year.

Writers, singers, dancers, musicians, actors, poets, songwriters and theatrical technicians are needed, in addition to students interested in marketing, graphic design and advertising, according to Steve Casey of the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition.

The coalition will conduct an informational meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in the community room at the Rumford Public Library.

“The more poets, songwriters, musicians, writers, actors, sewers and artists we can gather together to commit their time and talent to this now, the more effective we can be with that time,” area comedian and writer Nancy Demings said in a recent coalition report.

Demings will direct the process to make it as fun and as successful as possible, Casey said in the report.

For the past few years, Demings has worked with area youth, writing and directing yearly plays through the library’s theater program and at the high-school level.

Consigned by the state of Maine, the coalition youth art project has two purposes. The first is to serve the community with an important message about the truth of smoking, albeit in an artistic way.

“The play will be based on that theme, but the project has been designed as much for creativity and entertainment as for message. There is plenty of room for fresh approaches and new ideas. We can go with just about whatever the kids decide to do with it,” Demings said.

The second purpose is to show that young talent is capable of producing a quality product.

“Basically,” Demings said, “the state has selected two rural communities to be guinea pigs to see if this is possible. I’ve been working with some of the young talent in this area for a few years now,” he said, “and I know that if they put their minds to it, they can do something really spectacular.”

Attending Thursday’s meeting is the first step for all interested youth. There, a full production schedule and sign-up sheets for different crew interests will be available.

Since the entire process will be videotaped, a technical crew will be put to work right away. Additionally, Casey stated, special funding for marketing work was included in the project to utilize area visual artists and future advertising executives.

Project work will go from monthly to once a week or so when production begins next winter.

“If all the kids can show up and sign up on April 24, we’ll find something for them to do on this that works with their other interests and activities,” Demings said.

For more information, contact Casey in the coalition office at 364-7408.


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