Erica in Technoland is a play written by Hope McIntyre with direction from participants of the Girls’ World after-school club at West Broadway Youth Outreach. The play uses the style of magical realism to deal with themes of bullying and discrimination – issues which the girls in the program specifically wished to tackle and bring to the public. It follows the lives of a group of friends who learn to understand the very real impacts of rumours, meanness, and peer pressure. The world created by Hope and Girls’ World directly reflects the passions and difficulties of the young artists themselves. The title is a clever nod to the influence of Alice in Wonderland on their creative process.
A project of the Youth WITH ART program that matches community groups with artists, the creation of Erica in Technoland took place over many brainstorming and writing sessions in which Hope took the themes, concepts, and scenes outlined by the Girls’ World participants and translated them to a full play. The girls then developed their characters, rehearsed, drew and created sets, and invented costumes. The play gives a better understanding of the dreams and struggles of the kids who come to West Broadway Youth Outreach, and extends hope for a world in which people can have fun together by being totally accepting of each other.
“In starting this process there was concern that the girls would be hesitant to jump in and take part. From day one we discovered the real challenge was that they all had so many ideas that we had to facilitate the time so that they could all express themselves and participate fully,” Said Hope McIntyre. “They are an amazing, talented and creative group of girls. It has been wonderful to watch them come out of their shells and to see their excitement as their ideas are realized before their eyes.”
The fully-staged play was performed by Girls' World participants at the U of W's Asper Centre for Theatre and Film on June 13, 2014.