The Regent Park Project is an initiative by Kick Start Arts! Hosted by the Regent Park Film Festival. A multi-disciplinary project incorporating writing, film and theatre in a collective creation process with professional artists, and youth from Regent Park and beyond.
The Regent Park Project is a prime example of using the arts to empower young people to express themselves through the creative process, and in doing so engage diverse communities in thought and collaboration. This hands-on film-making initiative, offers young people ranging in age from 13-27, an opportunity to participate in free training in acting, writing, and production. They then participate in all aspects of the filming of the on-going web series – collaborating with professional artists who offer their time and expertise as mentors.
The tangible end product is an engaging web-series that explores stories meaningful to the youth-participants, and inspired by their own ‘lived experiences’. The unique collaborative process allows participants to develop significant skills as actors, as members of the production crew, and as creators of the original content. Many of the youth now have acting agents, are following their dreams at various post-secondary institutions, and are engaging in internships.
Just as importantly as the professional skills gained, the youth have learned a lot about one another, and what it means to be a citizen-artist in our diverse country. Art plays an intrinsic role in identity formation, both personal and social, and can be a powerful tool for social justice. By collaborating and creating with others whose backgrounds are different than their own, by sharing their stories, the youth involved in the Regent Park Project hope to create an opportunity for dialogue and connection with each other and the world.