Ptarmigan Music and Theatre Society

For over 20 years the Ptarmigan Music and Theatre Society has been providing educational art programs and workshops to meet the needs and interests of specific audiences such as children, seniors and people with disabilities.  Ptarmigan utilizes an incredible variety of artistic disciplines, including storytelling, song-writing, animation, music (instrumental & vocal), Kodály music instruction, fiddle group, drumming, dance, pottery, film-making, painting, drawing, paper mâché, murals, music therapy, drama, environmental education, astronomy and local history.

Ptarmigan’s programs, workshops and performances are presented in broad range of accessible community venues, including schools, libraries, hospitals, day care facilities, seniors’ residences, community halls and summer camps. In the true spirit of community building, we collaborate with a broad range of community organizations that share similar interests, including the Gulf Islands School Board, Parks Canada, and the GIFTS centre on Salt Spring Island for special needs youth, amongst many others. In addition, we also celebrate the cultural heritage of the Gulf Islands with community concerts and art shows throughout the year.

Strength within Arts Program for Seriously Ill Children:  Strength Within is a multi-disciplinary arts program for children with serious illnesses, developed and delivered by the Ptarmigan Music & Theatre Society. The project began in 2004, in cooperation with the BC Children’s Hospital as a program of music, theatre and dance for teenage survivors of childhood cancer. After 18 months of workshops, 15 participants under the mentorship of 8 Ptarmigan artists performed a 35 minute stage production which was an expression of their journey though surviving childhood cancer. The production was presented at the SIOP International Cancer Conference in Vancouver in September 2005. We sang, danced, laughed, did theatre sports, told stories and improvised. This arts program was a catalyst for summer arts camps on Pender Island for cancer survivors from all over western North America. The second phase of the program began in May 2011. Through the BC Children' Hospital and a new partner, the Starlight Foundation, we became aware of the need for an arts program like Strength Within for children with other serious illnesses. Approximately 20 bi-weekly workshops for seriously ill children were held in Vancouver. Forty-five children took part with an average of 15 per session. We expanded the program to include clients in the Specialty Camps Network that provide summer programming for seriously ill children. From 2012 to 2014, Strength Within has been presented at Camp Goodtimes for children with cancer and at Zajac Camp for children with a wide range of serious illnesses including autism and blindness. In 2013-2014 the BC Arts Council sponsored a year-long pilot version of the program for Children with Mental Health issues in cooperation with the Canadian Mental Health Association. That program component will continue when the pilot segment is completed. In 2014, in partnership with Live Out Loud in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Strength Within was presented to its first clients outside the province of BC. Workshops were presented for COWL (Creating Opportunities for Work and Life), a group dedicated to teens with intellectual disabilities and for Moxie’s Club Summer Camp who host youth with autism.  Purpose: To provide free programs of music, theatre, dance and the visual arts to children with serious illnesses and financial disadvantages.  Participants: Ages 6 to 18 years. Children and youth with serious illness, physical disabilities, and mental health issues.  Outcomes: Provides seriously ill children a chance to socialize; develop artistic abilities for enjoyment and as a means of expression.

Partners: Canadian Mental Health Association; Canadian Cancer Society (Camp Goodtimes), Zajac Camp, Adler School of Psychology
Time: 2004 - Ongoing
Location: Vancouver Lower Mainland
Resources Available: Ptarmigan Society Headquarters
Art Modalities: Comedy, Dance/Movement, Drama/Theatre, Music, Singing, Storytelling/Poetry, Mixed Media

Ptarmigan Music & Theatre Society
Patrick Smith, Artistic Director, or Lisa Fleming, Executive Director

Email: | Web: | Phone: 866-859-0634 

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