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A poetry slam and a weeklong online scavenger hunt are two of the ways Peers Alliance will try to bring the community together to celebrate Pride Week, July 26-Aug. 2.
Rory Starkman, the youth service co-ordinator with Peers Alliance, said while the pandemic has presented obvious challenges when it comes to holding events, it has also been a bit of a blessing.
That’s because the fifth annual poetry slam, normally held at the Confederation Centre Public Library, is moving this year to The Mack, the centre’s performing arts theatre on Great George Street. Due to physical distancing restrictions, it can’t be held at the library.
Those same restrictions mean anyone interested in attending will have to book a table for four people, and that table will be its own bubble. Starkman said the event is free, but pre-registration is required for contact tracing. Starkman estimates they will be able to accomodate about 11 tables.
“We just got confirmation that we will be able to do it at The Mack," Starkman said.
“It’s really exciting. In no other summer could we possibly afford The Mack and rent The Mack in the middle of the summer. It just wouldn’t be doable. We’re taking this homegrown poetry slam and (putting it on) a big stage."
The poetry slam will take place at The Mack in Charlottetown:
Peers Alliance is renting The Mack for the event, Tuesday at 7 p.m., at the not-for-profit rate.
Starkman said it was partly possible due to funding from organizations that haven't donated in the past.
“We can actually buy prizes and gifts from local organizations who have donated to us before. It’s a give-back thing. We’re trying to support local artists."
The poetry slam will be hosted by Island musician Irish Mythen.
Maddy Power-Lockman, community co-ordinator with Peers Alliance, said for people not familiar with the slam it’s poetry that is designed to move and shake the audience.
“It pounds the ground, it shakes the earth. It’s supposed to be a visceral experience," Power-Lockman said.
“A lot of times we’ll have people get up on stage and sometimes be so moved to emotion that they will cry. It’s palpable with what the person is saying on stage. You can feel it. I don’t think there would be another format that would work for the subject matter that we’re trying to get across."
There will also be an online scavenger hunt that will span the entire length of Pride Week on the social media website, Discord. Participants will be asked to perform a wide variety of wacky tasks, some of which include taking a selfie with a boomer (an older person), to use one example. This event is open to all those 18 and under, regardless of how people identify.
Peers Alliance YouTube promo for scavenger hunt:
In the past, Peers Alliance has held youth events for Pride Week at Murphy's Pharmacies Community Centre in Charlottetown but that’s not possible this year.
“They will have a list of challenges to complete that are very goofy and based around taking images and videos ... to prove you’ve done them," Power-Lockman said.
“People can complete challenges without having to be around other people, and that is important because you don’t always have people who can come to in-person events. We feel we can reach a lot more youth over Discord."
Power-Lockman said attending in-person events can be challenging. Pride events are traditionally held in Charlottetown, which can pose issues for those living in rural P.E.I.
It can also pose issues for youth who haven’t come out yet.
“These are challenges where they don’t have to explain to their parents that they’re doing something for a queer group. We don’t know everyone’s situation," Starkman said.
Need to know
Following is information on the Peers Alliance fifth annual poetry slam:
- Will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. at The Mack on Great George Street in Charlottetown.
- Pre-registration is required for contact tracing but the event is free.
- Register by contacting Rory Starkman at [email protected] or through the Peers Alliance Facebook page.
- Tickets for this event must be booked in groups of four.
- Peers Alliance is hoping to live stream the event.
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