The Mermaid YoutheatreMermaid Youtheatre began in 1990 as part of the larger Mermaid Theatre, and was directed for many years by Chris Heide, well-known Nova Scotia playwright, director, and theatre manager. Following a hiatus after his departure from Nova Scotia, the program was revitalized from 2012-2015 with the appointment of Kaleigh Heide as the Youtheatre’s new coordinator. A broad range of topics has been tackled over two decades, with theatrical pieces collectively scripted and performed for high school audiences by Youtheatre members. Subject matter has included peer violence, substance abuse (both by young people and their parents), bullying, body image and eating disorders, racism, the restrictions of rural life, and dealing with ADHD. The Youtheatre productions have also showcased emerging talent in music, graphics, writing, design and performance. An impressive number of ‘alumnae’ have gone on to pursue careers in these fields, and cite their Youtheatre experiences as life changing.
Mermaid Youtheatre’s mandate is: "To provide a forum for Nova Scotia’s teenage community; To explore and express their realities through the creation of original performance material; To present theatre which promotes awareness and facilitates positive change."
- In 2008-2009 the Youtheatre ran the ISAATS project on the subject of teens living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, working with IWK Psychiatrist Dr. Lorraine Lazier. The group of young people who joined the Youtheatre that year created an original short play, which toured to local schools; Avon View High, Horton High and West Hants Middle School.
- In 2012-2013 Youtheatre Coordinator Kaleigh Heide led a new group of young people in a new project focusing on teens living with anxiety and depression. The resulting production, The Beyond Blue Project, performed at the Nova Scotia High School Drama Festival in Halifax, and at Avon View High School in Windsor.
"No experience in all of her 15 years has had the positive impact that this one did. She has grown from it tremendously." – Parent of a teenage participant in our Summer Theater Camp. "Mermaid is giving gifted young people a chance to develop artistically, culturally and intellectually - and they model these choices for thousands of other young people!" – Local High School teacher. "I've worked with youth for many companies in the province, and have found Mermaid Youtheatre to consistently be the most user friendly of all." – Young Theatre Professional. “My 14 year old daughter has now joined the Circle. It meant so much to all of us, and still holds a very special part of all our hearts. I wish I could still go to Circle!” – Former Youtheatre Member.