Nancy Kovachik: Canadian students prepare for visit to Lismore

Powerview School, in Powerview-Pine Falls in Manitoba, is once again abuzz as students and staff engage in a school year filled with opportunity and incredible learning experiences.

Just  8 weeks into the school  year and high school drama students along with teachers, Tanya Magnan and Bonnie Borlase, are rehearsing for the musical production, Grease, which will debut on 19th November and run until 24th November.

This is in preparation for a much anticipated visit to Canada  by Sadie Dixon-Spain and The Walking Theatre Company who will  be commissioned to produce a play about Scottish participation in the fur trade and the legacy left by those brave souls who crossed the Atlantic in search of a new life in Canada.

This Walking Theatre  Company play will be performed in May 2013 by The Powerview School Drama Troupe under the direction of Sadie Dixon –Spain in collaboration with the teaching staff.

To make this experience even more thrilling, the Powerview School drama troupe will be venturing to Scotland in June and will be performing on the Isle of Lismore.

Staff at Powerview School have the support of the Sunrise School Division Board of Trustees, Superintendent Mr. Wayne Leckie, Assistant Superintendent Mr. Paul Magnan and school Principal Mr. Trevor Reid. They are all committed to providing students with authentic learning experiences that will enhance their development as global citizens and lifelong learners – and this adventure fits that bill.

The group of students involved are being provided with the opportunity to work with highly trained and accomplished individuals in a unique situation exploring environmental, cultural and historical connections across two continents through real life experiences.

Planning an international project of this magnitude and complexity is not without challenges – the biggest being the fundraising required to meet the budget needs.

An application was submitted to the Canada Council for the Arts but was declined only because the council is unable to fund school projects. This has resulted in a search for funding bodies that will assist us to meet our goals.

To reduce costs while travelling, the group will be using hostels and camping as methods to minimize expense. We will also be relying on all forms of public transportation, including trains and ferries and will be required to travel ‘par pied’ on the Island of Lismore. Students will be required to financially commit to their individual travel costs and fundraising activities to offset these costs are being planned.

After searching for a tour company willing to work with us on a customized tour we were very fortunate to discover Daniel Rinzler co founder of  Evolve Tours.

Mr. Rinzler has listened to our needs and objectives and has created a skillful itinerary, filled with engaging student activities and has planned what promises to be a trip of a lifetime.

Along with rehearsing and preparing for their performance on Lismore, students will be participating in a variety of other activities facilitated by island residents.

  • Scottish folk singer and songwriter, Mairi Campbell with be conducting an Interplay Workshop, where students will explore simple yet powerful forms based in movement, voice, story, stillness and contact.
  • Curator of the Lismore Heritage Center, Robert Hay author of Lismore the Great Garden, will be conducting a walk and talk tour for the group.
  • Our trip will also include a raft building workshop and race, where students will experience firsthand how rafts were built and used for trade.
  • Internationally acclaimed local artist, Sarah Campbell of Mogwaii designs will be conducting a felt making workshop. Students will learn the felt making process and will create a product to bring back to family and friends.
  • Plans have been made to also visit the beaches and caves of Lismore and meet a local canine who is training to be a Rescue dog.
  • And finally no visit to Lismore would be complete without a fishing trip, where students will be taught by local experts how to fish, hopefully catching a favorite to be eaten for dinner.

Stay tuned for updates on our progress as we work towards making connections across the Atlantic ocean, strengthening our understanding of how cultures and histories merge and bringing people together as global citizens as we embark on this exciting journey.

Nancy Kovachik

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