Laeib / Play!

The Cause

As part of our 2016-2017 Season Concrete Theatre, Edmonton’s foremost Theatre for Young Audiences company is launching a new week-long Spring outreach program for Syrian refugee children called Laeib/Play!

Building on the success of our commissioned play Honey and Nuts by Syrian theatre professionals and playwrights Aksam Alyousef and Amena Shehab at our 2016 Sprouts Festival of New Plays for Kids, and the opening next season of our new rehearsal and classroom space in Old Strathcona, we will be launching a special and fun-filled 5 day Spring Break drama camp for refugee children from Syria March 27 to March 31, 2017 in The Playhouse in Edmonton.

Who Will it Benefit?

Geared specially towards the unique needs of newcomer children ages 6-12 from Syria who are learning English, recovering from the trauma of war and finding ways to adapt and fit into a new culture, this week-long camp for up to 15 children will be held over the March Spring Break and be gently taught in Arabic and English. Facilitated by educator, Artistic Director and Governor General Award nominated playwright Mieko Ouchi and Syrian refugee and professional theatre artist Amena Shehab, who has been in Edmonton for three years, the camp will be a fun filled exploration of what it is to be a newcomer to a new culture using all the amazing tools that theatre has to offer! Acting, music, dance, games and most of all, the chance to Play! Laeib!

Goals of the camp are to rebuild confidence, strengthen language skills and allow kids who have been through a lot of stress and change, the chance to find their love of play again. It’s also a chance to make new friendships and learn more social and team-building skills. We know it will also be of great benefit to their parents, most of whom are at ESL or LINC classes. Many struggle to find childcare over Spring Break, let alone something as special as Camp! The program will run from 9:00-4:30, with pre and after-camp supervision from 8:30-9:00 and 4:30-5:00 each day, which allows parents’ travel time from work/school to pick up the children.

We will be partnering with our contacts at the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, Catholic Social Services LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) program and Islamic Family Social Services Association, whom we are coordinating with for our Sprouts Festival. We will work with them to connect with families and identify 15 children with extreme high needs.