The Regent Park Project is a dynamic web series, now set to debut its second season on YouTube next month. This is a must-see for those wanting an authentic glimpse into one of Toronto’s most diverse
Sheena Robertson has worked in Toronto’s Regent Park for over 25 years. As a teacher, advocate, and artist-educator, Robertson saw a demand for projects that allowed the creative youth she engaged with daily to not only gain access to the professional film world but also to build strong relationships, and skills to share their own stories. To her, the stories were always there; they just needed a forum. Kick Start Arts, where Robertson is artistic director, jumped in with free acting classes where content began to take shape.
We used a story circle process where we used prompts to generate story ideas, and over time we told stories, and responded to them, pulling out the ones that felt important to us. Using forum theatre approaches, we improvised those stories, honing them, and eventually filmed them, and created scripts by scribing the improvisations. What developed were a series of fictionalized characters, and interactive stories, drawn from the lived experiences of our participants.”Sheena Robertson, director
Never before have we been exposed to such a flowering of narrative, spinning out of every corner. Consumers are hardly starved for content, even if it is one look-alike series after another. Along comes this unique interactive story with an absolute mandate of authenticity.
Someone said to me that they think our series is ‘like the Degrassi Street series, but real’ – and I understand what they mean, and take that as a compliment. I think we’re super unique in that I don’t see anything out there where the youth participants are so engaged in all elements of the creation; from acting, to writing, to
crewing. Our hope is these episodes give people an opportunity to look beyond the negative stereotypes of Regent Park, and see the amazing, smart, articulate, and talented young people I know so well.”
Season One follows an eight-episode arc exploring a community the cast and crew describe as one of “complexity, friendship, love, fear, laughter, and irony.” I encourage you to check it out. Season Two will begin with a launch party