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Writers on the Storm (of Teenage Angst)

A hand writing with a pen in a book. Text over says "Writers on the Storm of Teenage Angst."

Youth Writers Circle: February 2 – 23

Bus Stop Theatre, Gottingen Street

Facilitators: Andre Fenton, Meg Hubley, Sue Goyette

More information to come

Next Open Writers Circle: January 29, 2023, 4:00 – 6:00 pm (please RSVP)

“…I was in that storm of teenage angst and didn’t realize how powerful a voice can be until I was given my first platform. I feel like having the space where we can foster this creativity and help youth, you know, find their voice, to create art, to really speak about topics regarding social activism […] that’s huge.”

– Andre Fenton

This is Andre Fenton, celebrated African Nova Scotian author and one of the organizers of the upcoming Bus Stop Theatre’s Youth Writing Circle, a project Inspiring Communities is supporting. Bus Stop Theatre got the idea for a youth drop-in writing circle as an add-on to their regular writers’ drop-in. 

The Bus Stop Theatre has been hosting an all-ages writers circle for about a year.  “It used to be the playwrights’ circle,” Andre explained. “But then we kind of opened that for other artists, other writers. So it’s always a mix of poetry, playwrights, people that are writing fiction. … It just makes more versatile artists, in my opinion. I always leave feeling super inspired.”

The Theatre sent a description of the planned Youth Writing Circle to Inspiring Communities. It said, “This programming will allow local youth to creatively process and make legible how it feels to be coming-of-age during unprecedented times.”

Inspired by youth-organized actions in HRM and abroad such as School Strike 4 Climate and Climate Strike Halifax, where many young writers turn up with poetry and written manifestos, Megs Hubley and Sue Goyette, along with Andre, saw an opportunity to merge artistic expression with societal engagement. 

Andre says, “I feel like so many young people have so much resilience that they don’t quite know. This is a great way to channel that, to really dig deep and help them use their voice.” 

“This is going to be a really versatile space where we’re not going to shy away from harder topics to talk about. But we’re also going to be inspiring, and really kind of uplifting as well, so there’s going to be a big mix.”

With Inspiring Communities’ emphasis on building thriving communities centered on equity, Executive Director Louise Adongo was pleased to support the project through our relationship with SI Canada (Social Innovation Canada) as the Atlantic node.

“I feel like a lot of people from marginalized communities turn to writing specifically to tell these stories,” said Andre when asked about the relationship between writing and equity. “I mean, I’ve been writing YA about underrepresented youth for most of my 20s now, and I feel like, when I was first starting out, it wasn’t something I realized was important until youth that looked like me were starting to read it.”

“We all have unique identities. And I feel like this is a good space where we can learn a lot from each other. And we can also kind of hear other perspectives on things too. And as we share these lived experiences, it does set that foundation of empathy again, you know, that, that we weren’t always aware of, and I feel like having young people in the space is going to be very enlightening. I’m going to learn as much from them as I’m sure they’re going to learn from me, Megs, Sue and our facilitators. And this is kind of like that pitstop for them, where they can stop, reflect, you know, really kind of, assess where they’re at, and seek where they want to go in the future.”

The leaders of the Writers Circle are themselves award-winning writers, poets, playwrights and artists. The Bus Stop Theatre is an artists’ cooperative. Visit their website to learn more about member-ownership.

Photo in header is Person Holding Orange Pen by Lil Artsy on Pexels.

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