Students Create Play Based on Pocahontas County Stories
Marlinton, WV – A handful of students at Pocahontas County High School have been gathering stories from around the community. These stories are being incorporated into an original play to be staged at the Opera House this Friday during the Marlinton Women’s Club’s evening with the Arts.
Emily Newton, a VISTA member with Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation has been working with five students over the past 8 weeks on what she describes as a community-based theater project.
“It is a piece of theater that is created by, for and about a particular community,” said Newton, “so, in this case, it’s Pocahontas County.”
On March 30, Newton and the students hosted a story circle at the Pocahontas Center Nursing home in Marlinton.
“This kind of theater does not cannot exist without the community from which it comes,” Newton continued. “It requires the community members. It requires the stories and the history of the community.”
“In an effort to gather together community members and stories and history, we held an evening of story telling at the nursing home,” said Newton. “We had about six residents there at the Pocahontas Center who agree to be part of it, and the five high school students came.”
But it wasn’t just a handful of students and seniors who turned out for the evening.
“Anyone else in the community was invited to come, as well,” Newton said. “We had about 40 people show up. It was a really lovely crowd.”
This level of participation from the community means that the resulting theatrical play is more than just entertainment, says Newton.
“It’s important to share these stories across generations,” Newton said, “especially in an area where it is so rich with stories. That’s where this theater can really serve very well, because it’s not just about entertainment. Creating this type of theater, you create a framework where people can come in and celebrate their community. And it’s about celebrating your home and your stories.”
Newton says she may conduct a condensed, two-week community-based theater workshop in the summer if there’s enough student interest.