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Increasing awareness big part of Coming Out Monologues

“I think it is really important because we do encounter moments of hate speech in the valley. Having events where people can come together and not just celebrate, but learn.”

CANMORE – After the original plan for the fall season fell through for the Pine Tree Players, the decision was made to move in a different direction while also helping make the Bow Valley a more inclusive space.

The Coming Out Monologues will be coming to the Canmore Miners’ Union Hall on Nov. 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m., and it’s not the first time the production has been in the Bow Valley.

“The Coming Out Monologues has been happening for a while, we are not the first people to do it,” said Jen Tweddell, Pine Tree Players president. 

Maxine Bennett, Pine Tree Players board director, said she was part of The Coming Out Monologues when it was in the Bow Valley a few years ago.

"I found it to be an excellent and meaningful experience to find there was a queer community here in the Bow Valley,” said Bennett, Pine Tree Players board director. “What I like about it is how it brings people who are willing to be a public voice of getting their story out there together.”

The Coming Out Monologues is an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community to share its story and experiences through various performance modes.

“It can be a monologue, through song, a dramatization. It can be any way to express and get across their story and experiences,” Tweddell said. “It is not a scripted event. It is not something where you memorize lines. It is a collaborative process. As a group, the participants workshop their performance.”

There are four people doing monologues at the event, with others choosing different creative avenues.

“We have monologues, we have two short plays, we have musicians, and we have a juggler,” Bennett said. “One of our performers joked that this was the Coming Out Cabaret.”

Having events like the Coming Out Monologues are important to help make the Bow Valley a more inclusive place. The performances can also help those who have not come out publicly yet.

“It invites people to interact with that part of the community,” Bennett said. “It is important for the people who don’t want to share their stories, to see the experiences of others in the community.”

Bennett added the performances are not just for the LGBTQ+ community, but for anyone who enjoys theatre and anyone who wants to learn more about the queer community and wants to support it.

“I think it is really important because we do encounter moments of hate speech in the valley,” Bennett said. “Having events where people can come together and not just celebrate, but learn.”

For Pine Tree Players, which has been running since 1978, providing a space for The Coming Out Monologues has also helped its own organization become more inclusive. The washroom signage is now gender neutral and the Pride flag is flying the entire month of November at the Miners Hall.

“For us, it has been great to hear the voices and understand better how we can create a welcoming space for the community,” Tweddell said. “I think it is important for groups that have been traditionally marginalized to highlight and showcase their stories. Storytelling is a great way of sharing experiences and learning we have more in common than we think.”

The Coming Out Monologues will be held on Nov. 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and available at www.pinetreeplayers.com.