Green Thumb Theatre
Since it was founded in 1975, Vancouver-based Green Thumb Theatre has grown to become one of Canada's most compelling theatre companies in creating original plays that address often hard-hitting social issues for young people.
Without preaching, proselytizing or condescending, the over 50 plays Green Thumb has commissioned or produced - translated into such languages as Hebrew and Japanese - have tackled such contemporary concerns as physical, emotional and sexual abuse, substance abuse, AIDS, violence and aggression, racism, peer pressure and bullying.
The award-winning company’s one-act, one-person, 55-minute play, The Shape of a Girl, written by British Columbia playwright Joan MacLeod, deals with schoolgirl bullying.
Without directly mentioning the tragic 1997 beating and drowning of a 14-year-old Victoria girl, Reena Virk, by a group of teens, or the 2000 suicide of Dawn-Marie Wesley, another 14-year-old British Columbia girl, and the resulting criminal conviction of a fellow classmate on charges of harassing her, The Shape of a Girl shares the sorrow, guilt and fear of bullying. The angst is shared through the voice and experience of Braidie, the play's 15-year-old sole character and narrator, horrified by a "monster in the shape of a girl," portrayed to perfection by Jenny Young.
The second national tour of the production in 2003 enjoyed sold-out performances across the country and earned critical praise for its "emotional truth," according to a reviewer in the National Post.
Through touring and main-stage shows, Green Thumb has performed over 10,500 times to about 3.5 million people throughout the world - more than 180,000 children alone in every B.C. school district the company visits every year.
-- Christopher Guly