MINTY: Write on, Surrey youth — here’s a Saturday workshop for you!

Youth Arts Council of Surrey hosts literary workshop Saturday at Newton Cultural Centre

Linda Xia and Gavin Tran won Surrey's Write On one-act play event in 2016.

SURREY — Millennials are pretty good at texting, snap-chatting and talking. But can they actually write something as complex as a play, or a story? Using a computer with spell-check is actually no guarantee that the wording is correct, compelling or even concise. There is some talent and technique that is required to write a good story.

For several years, the Youth Arts Council of Surrey has presented Write On, a one-act play competition for youth ages 13 to 21. Next month, on Feb. 18, three plays will be presented and adjudicated. That’s fantastic, but really not enough if you don’t want to write a play but would like some direction in the literary arts.

Lyn Verra-Lay, mentor for the Youth Arts Council, is absolutely excited to let us know that a Write On Literary Workshop is a go! “We received funding from the City of Surrey Cultural Grants,” said Lyn of a list of her recent achievements. This was her first effort in writing a grant application, so there it is. The ability to write clearly and concisely is important. Congrats, Lyn, and good news for the program.

The Write On Literary Workshop was a decision made by YACOS members. Any youth can belong to the group. It’s like joining the Arts Council of Surrey, but with a voice for the youth of our city. Great idea, don’t you think? So now, thanks to the effort of a few people, the workshop is a reality. Sorry I couldn’t get the info out to you sooner, but everyone had to wait for the grant approval.

But for now, Write On Literary Workshop is definitely on. It is on Saturday, Jan. 28 (happy birthday, Lyn!) at Newton Cultural Centre, from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Presenters are Barbara Gould, Ellie King, Sylvia Taylor and Barbie Warwick. I think these personalities and people are perfect to inspire young writers. Put that in your snapchat.

The workshop is open to youth ages 13 to 21, and is free. Register by emailing, or call 604-594-2700. Refreshments will be provided. And if you miss this year, stay tuned for opportunities for next year. Sometimes all we need is a kind word and a bit of enthusiasm. And, teens and tweens, before you spend 90 per cent of your waking time texting, give a thought to what you write. Make it count. Make it a story that needs to be told. And because I am “old” and have been doing this a long time, I do have a message: If you have nothing to say, the least you can do is sit down and shut up. And write. But not on Twitter. Please.

Surrey Little Theatre is making moves to reactivate its youth program. Right now, they are accepting proposals to provide youth activities with the company. Yes, yes, I told you all this before, but it looks like everyone who had done youth programs before is overloaded already with community theatre projects. So look, here is your chance. Surrey Little Theatre is a great organization. I have been a member for about 30 years – I told you I was old. So if you have the energy and an idea, here is your opportunity. It’s a great group of people, and you will love it if you get involved.

Here are the options: Organize a summer camp for 2017, or do after school or evening activities this year. There was a run of several years where SLT had a youth show at Christmas (when the youth were not in school) and also a play in the summer months. The summer session involved workshops as well as putting on an actual play.

Hey, here is a thought: Could someone consider mounting the winning play from the YACOS Write On competition as a summer project?

If you have a proposal for a different age group, you are also welcome to submit that for consideration. Send your proposal to SLT with all the details, including the program to be offered, age range, number of participants needed, duration, number of instructors or leaders, length and/or time per session, your qualifications, costs involved and your contact information. In other words, you need to write it all out in a compelling composition.

All participants and instructors must be members of SLT. At least one instructor is required to be an adult. A criminal record check is required for all instructors of youth. Send your proposal to by Feb. 15.


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